Jeff welcomes Fox News contributor and Senior Editor of The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway, for a conversation on media and political society. Their conversation covers what’s wrong with contemporary journalism, its relation to politics, and how thoughtful engagement with American Founding principles is good for journalism — and for the country.

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  1. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Excellent, brief interview. Recommended.

    Mollie challenged the notion of a “mainstream media” saying it had become a left wing media, in fact. Doing something about it is perhaps our most important challenge right now.

    With her important book about the 2020 election about to be released, Mollie’s publisher will probably seek opportunities for her to publicize the book and have her conclusions challenged on that very same Major Left Wing Media. This will be tough for Molly, because in this interview she demonstrates her understanding that on television you only get to make you main point, and must prepare to exclude nuanced argument. Interviewers will demand proof of her assertions, so she’ll have to be ready with punchy, catchy, brief, while fully responsive examples and answers. State-by-state irregularities,  COVID-prompted ballot mailings, those late tallies in the urban centers, the question of coordination if any, and side topics like the 1/6/21 confrontation may come up. The larger questions about big tech and media complicity will certainly be challenged, perhaps to the point of muddling the election content. None of it will be easy to condense, but even getting these issues aired will be a win, given the suppression of the entire election 2020 convesation in all major corners of medialand, even Fox.

    There will also be a real challenge for genuine major media journalists. Some really do care about their image as fair, independent-minded fact-finders, and in an age of crashing newspaper revenue and shrinking network shares, want the continued patronage of some portion of Republican voters. The more openly partisan will try to control the narrative and act like bullies, but since this isn’t Mollie’s first go round (Justice on Trial was a huge breakthrough) there could be a modicum of respect accorded her by those genuinely unaware of their own, and their organs’ biases.

    The subtitle of Rigged is “How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.” If you’re part of Big Media, do you ignore Mollie completely, set her up for a brutal, highly defensive interview, or are you Big enough to allow her a platform to make an argument believed by a significant portion of public?

     

    • #1
  2. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    I attended a panel about the First Amendment in 2017. It had a number of journalists from the Dallas Morning News. I spoke afterwords to one of them about the abortion issue. I complained that papers used the terms pro-choice versus anti-abortion. Why not use the term pro-life. She responded that they used the accepted terms from their style book. I responded that their style book was biased and at least 50% of their potential audience would think that they were biased. It was a cop out to use a biased style book as an excuse. We agreed to disagree.

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  3. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    I attended a panel about the First Amendment in 2017. It had a number of journalists from the Dallas Morning News. I spoke afterwords to one of them about the abortion issue. I complained that papers used the terms pro-choice versus anti-abortion. Why not use the term pro-life. She responded that they used the accepted terms from their style book. I responded that their style book was biased and at least 50% of their potential audience would think that they were biased. It was a cop out to use a biased style book as an excuse. We agreed to disagree.

    In the 30-ish years I taught Mass Media to undergrads, my syllabus always included a presentation/discussion on journalistic fairness. I asked the students to bring in illustrations on one of about a dozen forms of judgements, e.g. selection and exclusion of stories, spokespeople chosen, slanted language, etc.  For the language example, I always cited the abortion controversy. On the question of abortion rights, I said that the two sides of adherent-activists preferred the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life” as self-descriptives. I added that both these terms are also propaganda, chosen to influence public opinion.

    IMHO, academics — and hard news journalists — have more credibility when they avoid editorializing. It’s not easy. Once, around 1990, my wife and I ran into a couple of recent students at a pro-choice demonstration over in Cheviot Hills. Other than that, perhaps the students couldn’t guess my viewpoint. In more recent years, as pervasive cancel culture began to take hold on campuses everywhere, I think maybe it was assumed that anyone not referencing race, gender, etc. according to the left wing playbook, was therefore some kind of right wing dissident. What they surely did notice was that the journalists and creative artists who visited my classes spoke freely from a variety of contrasting viewpoints.

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  4. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Great interview. Wonder what MSM answer s to her.

    • #4