A Trump official just helped make my point
I just read something surprising. Please read this for a critical lesson about the news-for-profit model.
Today, there is new evidence in reporting by Axios.
Jonathan Swan writes how one of Trump's Cabinet secretaries told him in 2017 that they felt lucky to run an agency not on Trump's radar: "While the media was distracted by the daily drama and treachery of the West Wing, this cabinet secretary gleefully said that they were racing a ton of controversial conservative policy through the system, largely untroubled by pesky journalists."
That is an admission by a cabinet secretary about a systemic problem which everyone should contemplate. By and large, the media let a single political figure dictate the narrative. There are many reasons for it, but you cannot ignore the financial structure of the industry.
Because disruption draws in a large audience, commercial news outlets can charge more for ads. That drives up revenue.
My concerns stem from experience at MSNBC, but they are not ideological. The news-for-profit model adversely affects people across the spectrum.
Consider what's been missing during Trump's administration. Recently, I wrote for Columbia Journalism Review: "During his presidency, fatal encounters with police have remained steady (about a thousand a year). Regulations to protect air and water have been removed. Judges, many unqualified, all zealously ideological, have been confirmed at a record pace. All have happened in broad daylight on Capitol Hill, but with minimal scrutiny."
It's the lack of scrutiny that should concern us all. Do you really want such important decisions being made without oversight or accountability, whether it's this administration or the next? That scrutiny is the job of the press, but it's being decimated for the wrong reasons.
Journalism in the era of Trump is difficult. Reporters have taken much abuse, while attempting to cover a WH using standard practices. It's hard to make sense of much of the news.
But nearly all have profited. It's that model, news-for-profit, that I urge you to rethink.
Whether it's Trump for another four years or some other politician who's able to replicate that behavior (OR a Party willing to engage in other radical acts), the press, unfortunately, will continue to fail on many counts in the future, until this for-profit model is changed.