Brief Essay On View Of America

My dad, an early and proud media disruptor himself since the days when he and my mother founded ’s business section in the spring of 1987.A sort of old-fashioned community bulletin board for Capitol Hill, it had been around for decades but had just been bought for 0,000 by Arthur Levitt, chairman of the American Stock Exchange.Today’s beat reporters on Capitol Hill are as a rule doing a far better job than I did when I was a rookie there two decades ago, and we get more reporting and insight live from the campaign trail in a day than we used to get in a month, thanks to Google and Facebook, livestreaming and Big Data, and all the rest.

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Stories that would have killed any other politician—truly worrisome revelations about everything from the federal taxes Trump dodged to the charitable donations he lied about, the women he insulted and allegedly assaulted, and the mob ties that have long dogged him—did not stop Trump from thriving in this election year.

Even fact-checking perhaps the most untruthful candidate of our lifetime didn’t work; the more news outlets did it, the less the facts resonated.

For the last two decades, the rules of political reporting have been blown up. Not for me the mourning over the dismantling of the old order, all those lamentations about the lost golden era of print newspapers thudding on doorsteps and the sage evening news anchors reporting back to the nation on their White House briefings.

Because, let’s face it: too much of Washington journalism in the celebrated good old days was an old boys’ club, and so was politics—they were smug, insular, often narrow-minded, and invariably convinced of their own rightness.

The truth is that coverage of American politics, and the capital that revolves around it, is in many ways much better now than ever before—faster, sharper, and far more sophisticated.

There are great new digital news organizations for politics and policy obsessives, political science wonks, and national security geeks.Richard Nixon may have had his “enemies list” among the media, but the difference is that today Trump as well as his Democratic adversaries have the same tools to create, produce, distribute, amplify, or distort news as the news industry itself—and are increasingly figuring out how to use them.The bully pulpits, those of the press and the pols, have proliferated, and it’s hard not to feel as though we’re witnessing a sort of revolutionary chaos: the old centers of power have been torn down, but the new ones have neither the authority nor the legitimacy of those they’ve superseded. The election of 2016 showed us that Americans are increasingly choosing to live in a cloud of like-minded spin, surrounded by the partisan political hackery and fake news that poisons their Facebook feeds.Yes, we are now being accused—and accusing ourselves—of exactly the sort of smug, inside-the-Beltway myopia we thought we were getting rid of with the advent of all these new platforms.I’m as angry as everybody else at the catastrophic failure of those fancy election-forecasting models that had us expecting an 85 percent or even a ridiculous 98 percent—thanks Huffington Post! All that breathless cable coverage of Trump’s Twitter wars and the live shots of his plane landing on the tarmac didn’t help either.But it’s hard not to look at what just happened in this crazy election without worrying: Did we finally just burn it down? I first came to work in Washington at the back end of the 1980s, during the second-term funk of the Reagan Revolution, as the city obsessed over the Iran-Contra scandal and the rise of rabble-rousing conservatives on Capitol Hill led by a funny-haired guy named Newt Gingrich. would launch an ethics investigation to take out a powerful Speaker of the House, Texan Jim Wright, who left town warning of the new age of “mindless cannibalism” they had unleashed.It was the twilight of the Cold War, even if we didn’t realize it at the time.Nature, not to mention Donald Trump, abhors a vacuum.It’s certainly been fun storming the castle over these last couple decades.One November afternoon during my junior year in college I took a nap and when I went downstairs a short while later, I found the security guard in the dorm lobby staring incredulously at a tiny portable TV that had suddenly materialized on his desk.The Berlin Wall had come down while I was sleeping, and it didn’t take an international relations scholar to figure out that pretty much everything, including our politics here at home, was about to change.


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