Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Discussion About Media Bias with NY Times’ Tina Rosenberg, Co-founder of Solutions Journalism

 

Tina RosenbergTina Rosenberg is the co-founder of Solutions Journalism, which collaborates with 170 news organizations and 10 journalism schools to change the culture of news. We discuss combatting activist journalism, media bias, hypocrisy, the future of journalism, what’s missing in today’s news, and how journalists can allow for a more civil and enlightening conversation.

Tina is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. She co-authors the Fixes column in The New York Times‘ “Opinionator” section. Her books include Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America and The Haunted Land: Facing Europe’s Ghosts After Communism, which won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. She has written for dozens of magazines, including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic. She is the author most recently, of Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dave Sussman: She is the author most recently, of Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World.

    Ah, no.

    I sent the club a wire stating, “Please accept y resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

    — Groucho Marx

    I should read it before I disparage it, but as some of the worst things humanity has ever perpetrated were consensus positions, peer pressure is no panacea, and can in fact lead to great evil.

    But don’t listen to me. I’m just one guy.

    • #1
    • November 22, 2017, at 5:55 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    @percival, please don’t dismiss her. Tina Rosenberg is perhaps one the smartest and most honest of New York Times’ writers, having penned in 2004, What the World Needs Now is DDT -something that not everyone on the left was thrilled to hear, even though she truthfully reported how to save millions of lives.

    Her newest honorable venture, Solutions Journalism seeks to use technology to recenter journalism, and make the truth profitable, something we should all applaud. And take another look at Join the Club; it’s full of insights on social organizing, something the Right tends to suck at. She’s also kind of a badass, having spent 5 years in South America, hanging out with Shining Path guerrillas, among other dangerous pursuits, in order to write Children of Cain.

    • #2
    • November 24, 2017, at 8:12 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    @percival, please don’t dismiss her. Tina Rosenberg is perhaps one the smartest and most honest of New York Times’ writers, having penned in 2004, What the World Needs Now is DDT -something that not everyone on the left was thrilled to hear, even though she truthfully reported how to save millions of lives.

    Her newest honorable venture, Solutions Journalism seeks to use technology to recenter journalism, and make the truth profitable, something we should all applaud. And take another look at Join the Club; it’s full of insights on social organizing, something the Right tends to suck at. She’s also kind of a badass, having spent 5 years in South America, hanging out with Shining Path guerrillas, among other dangerous pursuits, in order to write Children of Cain.

    I should read it. But having occasionally been the only one in the room who was right, I fight against the consensus just often enough to recognize it as an impediment.

    • #3
    • November 24, 2017, at 9:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    I should read it. But having occasionally been the only one in the room who was right, I fight against the consensus just often enough to recognize it as an impediment.

    Yes, please listen to the podcast if you haven’t, and skim some of her writing. I’ve mentioned it before, but Andrew Breitbart once told a group of us that the point would come when we would need to reach out to the other side and unify on issues like truth. Tina is trying to do that.

    • #4
    • November 25, 2017, at 11:50 AM PST
    • Like
  5. Larry Koler Inactive

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I should read it. But having occasionally been the only one in the room who was right, I fight against the consensus just often enough to recognize it as an impediment.

    Yes, please listen to the podcast if you haven’t, and skim some of her writing. I’ve mentioned it before, but Andrew Breitbart once told a group of us that the point would come when we would need to reach out to the other side and unify on issues like truth. Tina is trying to do that.

    I will listen to it. But, I hope this isn’t like the idea that we need to have a national conversation about race. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Eric Holder all think they might get a chance to show us how benighted or racist or both that we are.

    • #5
    • November 25, 2017, at 12:04 PM PST
    • Like
  6. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    I will listen to it. But, I hope this isn’t like the idea that we need to have a national conversation about race. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Eric Holder all think they might get a chance to show us how benighted or racist or both that we are.

    It’s a truly non-partisan effort to bring truth and relevance back to journalism. Outside out little political circle, most people just a want their lives to improve.

    One example: We all want our kids to learn – but discussions of what works in education tend to get shut down according to perceptions of which “side” supports them. Homeschooling works under the right circumstances, poor inner city schools can be successful, but as long as stories of failure are promoted over stories of success, it’s hard to find solutions for individual communities, or event o get a conversation started.

    An important issue for Solutions Journalism is to support publications that report on relevant local issues that are important to the local community. My local paper back in Michigan has become a slim pamphlet that carries mostly national headlines, with lots of spelling and grammar errors.

    There might be a way to make journalism great again, and Solutions Journalism is actively recruiting little papers throughout the United States to take part. And yes, Tina is specifically looking for conservative publications because she recognizes that solutions to most of our problems shouldn’t involve a political battle or agenda. She’s interested in what actually works, something we should all applaud.

    • #6
    • November 25, 2017, at 2:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’ve listened to all but the last few minutes of the podcast, and Ms. Rosenberg sounds like a nice lady, very bright, and she doesn’t have a ghost of a clue as to what the problem with journalism is. Even allowing for my bias (I’m slightly to the right of Charlemagne), most of the papers in flyover country would fit right into the Times’ newsroom. More stories about solutions would be fine. How about more stories about things that don’t? Or even fairly and honestly reporting the objections of those old fuddy-duddy conservative types that prove with hindsight to have been borne out by events?

    We didn’t get stuck with Trump because of a lack of happy news reporting from the hinterlands. We got Trump because of a lack of happy news to report from the hinterlands. When the New York Times studies the government provided data and declares that the economy is recovered, people in Ms. Rosenberg’s under reported regions roll their eyes.

    • #7
    • November 25, 2017, at 3:23 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    Percival (View Comment):We didn’t get stuck with Trump because of a lack of happy news reporting from the hinterlands. We got Trump because of a lack of happy news to report from the hinterlands. When the New York Times studies the government provided data and declares that the economy is recovered, people in Ms. Rosenberg’s under reported regions roll their eyes.

    Once again, it’s not about Trump, it’s not about “happy news”. It’s about delivering truth and relevancy to the vast majority of people who don’t really care about politics, and just want unbiased information. “Solutions” refers both to encouraging unbiased reporting, and to solving the fiscal crisis that most newspapers find themselves in.

    When Ms. Rosenberg wrote, What the World Needs Now is DDT – for the New York Times- it was not particularly well received by leftists whose knee-jerk reaction was that only evil capitalists could be in favor of poisoning birds. Tina argued that in balance, DDT sprayed on the inside of huts wild save many more lives than any other pesticide.

    It’s a totally non-political observation backed up by reason and statistics; its the kind of thinking that we should all be supporting.

    • #8
    • November 25, 2017, at 4:36 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I should read it. But having occasionally been the only one in the room who was right, I fight against the consensus just often enough to recognize it as an impediment.

    Yes, please listen to the podcast if you haven’t, and skim some of her writing. I’ve mentioned it before, but Andrew Breitbart once told a group of us that the point would come when we would need to reach out to the other side and unify on issues like truth. Tina is trying to do that.

    I will listen to it. But, I hope this isn’t like the idea that we need to have a national conversation about race. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Eric Holder all think they might get a chance to show us how benighted or racist or both that we are.

    The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging one exists. I thought Tina was very upfront and although she leans left of center she acknowledges the extreme bias in the media and hopefully her organization can help move journalism toward a solution.

    • #9
    • November 26, 2017, at 7:37 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Larry Koler Inactive

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I should read it. But having occasionally been the only one in the room who was right, I fight against the consensus just often enough to recognize it as an impediment.

    Yes, please listen to the podcast if you haven’t, and skim some of her writing. I’ve mentioned it before, but Andrew Breitbart once told a group of us that the point would come when we would need to reach out to the other side and unify on issues like truth. Tina is trying to do that.

    I will listen to it. But, I hope this isn’t like the idea that we need to have a national conversation about race. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Eric Holder all think they might get a chance to show us how benighted or racist or both that we are.

    The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging one exists. I thought Tina was very upfront and although she leans left of center she acknowledges the extreme bias in the media and hopefully her organization can help move journalism toward a solution.

    Thanks, Dave. I agree with the premise but will withhold my kudos for a little bit longer. I haven’t yet listened to the podcast — I’ll have time this week. I have your regular podcast in my IPOD now and I love what you are doing.

    I think the problem in this country is an issue of power politics and it’s not something that can be seriously affected by an intellectual discussion or debate. When Republicans are in ascendancy these people act like this (and I don’t mean Tina who might be well meaning) but when the left is in ascendancy they institute things like NPR, PBS, the Fairness Doctrine, huge welfare programs and now we know they want to sue people into submission (SSM stuff — bullying stuff).

    The biased reporting is not the cause — it’s a symptom of something else that’s going on. We are under attack from within. These people use bias in their reporting because they hate this country. They want racial divides, they support black dorms and black graduations. The left has the high ground now in many of our most influential institutions and these little reversals like Trump are just seen as a temporary setback.

    • #10
    • November 26, 2017, at 8:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman

    Larry Koler (View Comment):

    Thanks, Dave. I agree with the premise but will withhold my kudos for a little bit longer. I haven’t yet listened to the podcast — I’ll have time this week. I have your regular podcast in my IPOD now and I love what you are doing.

    Thank you Larry!

    I think the problem in this country is an issue of power politics and it’s not something that can be seriously affected by an intellectual discussion or debate. When Republicans are in ascendancy these people act like this (and I don’t mean Tina who might be well meaning) but when the left is in ascendancy they institute things like NPR, PBS, the Fairness Doctrine, huge welfare programs and now we know they want to sue people into submission (SSM stuff — bullying stuff).

    The biased reporting is not the cause — it’s a symptom of something else that’s going on.

    Agreed.

    We are under attack from within. These people use bias in their reporting because they hate this country.

    I wouldn’t go as far as that. Sure, there are some sociopaths with ink barrels at Mother Jones, VOX, and many college papers, but I think most are decent people whose political ends are not far from our own. As stated in the interview, how we all get there is the difference.

    They want racial divides, they support black dorms and black graduations. The left has the high ground now in many of our most influential institutions and these little reversals like Trump are just seen as a temporary setback.

    My view is more macro. I was watching a movie over the weekend where a character standing amongst hysterical Vietnam protestors outside Congress in 1973 said, ‘Washington will never be as screwed up as it is now’. We are fighting the same fights now as then, just replace the cause. The right is still referred to as ‘fascist’, while the left aim to use media to take down a president. Today’s technology just gives us louder voices and makes the outliers seem more ubiquitous.

    • #11
    • November 27, 2017, at 4:41 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Larry Koler Inactive

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    We are under attack from within. These people use bias in their reporting because they hate this country.

    I wouldn’t go as far as that. Sure, there are some sociopaths with ink barrels at Mother Jones, VOX, and many college papers, but I think most are decent people whose political ends are not far from our own. As stated in the interview, how we all get there is the difference.

    I should state it this way maybe: These people use bias because they think they are justified because of the horrible people who inhabit this country. Many times we say anti-American when we should say anti-Americans — against the people of this country.

    And it’s possible to be a decent person without understanding things in the country and more especially without understanding the people in this country.

    I was overseas after Bush 43 was elected and I asked a Dutchman if he had any idea why we re-elected Bush. He said quite clearly that he had no idea and that he was simply thrown back to the only explanation that made sense: Americans are stupid. We talked a great deal and he didn’t know any ideas of our founding fathers and what the conservatives in this country actually thought. Media in Europe is sickening — it’s as if NPR and the NYT were their only sources of news from America.

    • #12
    • November 28, 2017, at 7:40 AM PST
    • 1 like

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