Fox News and Right-Wing Radicalization | Journalists as Targets | New Conservative Talk-Show Guidelines | How to Describe Trump’s GA Phone Call | Social Media and Riots

Fox News and Right-Wing Radicalization 

Ouch. In a scathing criticism of Fox News and other pro-Trump media outlets, The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan speaks to the past five years of conservative reporting that preceded and instigated the outburst of rioting at the capitol last week. Columbia journalism professor William Grueskin labeled the events as the logical conclusion of the past five years of reporting from Fox News. From birtherism in the Obama era to Covid denial and claims of election fraud, Fox News and other right-wing media have played a huge role in the radicalization of the right wing. 

Journalists as Targets

The public wanted to hear about the riots happening at the Capitol. The rioters had been trained not to trust the media. The combination of these two volatile elements led to journalists becoming a target during the January 6 events in Washington. Reporters Hsu and Robertson of the New York Times reported that during the insurrection, protesters were trying to suppress the media, carving “Murder the media” into a door of the capitol and fashioning a camera cord to a noose and hanging it from a tree. This clash between the radicals and the journalists increased the chaos of an already chaotic display of violence and rage. 

New Conservative Talk-Show Guidelines

Following the display at the Capitol last week, some conservative media organizations have taken action to counteract escalating anger from right-wing radicals. Cumulus Media, which specializes in conservative radio shows, has directed its talk-show hosts to stop espousing claims of election fraud. Executive vice president Brian Philips ordered his hosts to “help induce national calm NOW.” It’s still unclear as to whether or not the hosts will actually stop their inflammatory rhetoric and tell their listeners what they don’t want to hear: that Trump lost the 2020 election and the results must be accepted. 

How to Describe Trump’s GA Phone Call?

After Trump called Georgia election officials to attempt to change election results last week, journalists grappled with how to label the phone call. Some news organizations like New York Magazine called it a coup attempt, while others were more hesitant to label it as such. Poynter’s Kelly McBride weighs the pros and cons of calling it a coup. The anti-coup argument is that there was no military involvement, no arrests, and using the word “coup” is too harsh of a term, especially when the use of the term is not explained in the piece in which it is used. However, other journalists argue that the phone call fits the definition of a coup and is not too strong. Either way, the choice to use or not to use the term is one that carries a lot of weight, and it’s important that readers are given the ability to make their own decision and distinction. 

Social Media and Riots

In his weekly column, Ben Smith follows the career history of one of his previous colleagues at Buzzfeed, Anthime Joseph Gionet, who livestreamed his involvement in last week’s insurrection at the capitol. Gionet participated in the siege, but Smith described his interests as “aesthetic” rather than “journalistic,” explaining that Gionet was not motivated by ideology but rather fame and internet attention. That this man was driven to extremism by his own desperate need for a memorable online presence showcases the fact that the role of the internet and social media in these riots must not be underestimated. Furthermore, it proves that there is real danger in social media’s ability to foster extremism, Smith argued. 

Google’s Publisher Pay out | COVID-19 Lessons for Journalists | How journalists covered Trump’s rant

Google’s Publisher Pay out: Publisher-hate relationship with Google. Yes, Google search drives millions of views their way, which they can monetize through ads and subscribers. On the other hand, Google (and Facebook) have basically taken over online advertising from newsrooms, costing them untold billions in revenue. Now Google is giving back — a little. Ingrid Lunden for TechCrunch reports Google is paying $1 billion to some publishers to license content for Google News Showcase. We will see how well it works. 

COVID-19 Lessons for Journalists: The pandemic has not been easy to cover. For one thing, reporters are covering a disease where much is unknown, so they have to learn themselves as the science catches up. CJR asked journalists what lessons they learned from their coverage. This is what they had to say.


How journalists covered Trump’s rant: President Trump’s 46-minute rant was filled with falsehood after falsehood. So if you are a news organization, how do you cover it? Carefully, it appears. According to Tom Jones at Poynter, “It’s not an easy answer. Most responsible outlets seemed to do the right thing. Acknowledge it, but don’t spend a lot of energy on it. And spend most of that energy debunking it. In other words, pay attention to it, but not enough to give it unnecessary credibility.”

Journalism & ‘Mutual Aid’ | How to cover COVID-19 correctly | Why the GOP is never coming back to mainstream news

Journalism & ‘Mutual Aid’: CJR reporter, Darryl Holliday tells how mutual aid’s solidarity network has risen and resulted from untenable economic disparity and social breakdown. From this, Holiday wrote how this should give journalists something they need to hear, saying that when government and civic institutions fail to provide equal benefits across society, marginalized people will create new systems. What does this mean for journalists? This means we have to be more clear in what we report, as well as inclusive such as represent different communities evenly instead of unevenly as the press tends to do. 

How to cover COVID-19 correctly: Journalism has changed a lot during these past few months due to COVID-19. Many media outlets have reported on the matter in their own way and some of them have worked while others have not. Poynter reporter, Roy Peter Clark, provides some writing tools to better cover COVID-19 in a comprehensible way. Clark provides amazing tips for the upcoming future journalists in order to provide accurate knews with the goal to give people what they need to make safe decisions about their personal health and the public’s health and to give readers confidence in their knowledge so they will not be harmed by the type of anxiety that leads to panic-and worse. 

Why the GOP is never coming back to mainstream news: Academic Nikki Usher explains why Republicans have given up on mainstream media and why they seem to love misinformation.

Newsmax election denialism | The Inquirer’s service journalism | TV can’t be like Twitter

Newsmax election denialism: Newsmax, a cable news show you might never have heard about, is making a play for Fox viewers who are upset that the Murdoch station has taken a (slightly) skeptical view of the falsehood that there was widespread voting fraud in the presidential election. Newsmax is diving deep into conspiracy theories and it seems to be paying off. Newsmax has seen it’s highest ratings with 800,000 tuning in and many people, including with Trump, sharing clips and retweets.

The Inquirer’s service journalism : Why invest in service journalism? For the Philly Inquirer, it’s about creating stories that are “actionable and accessible,” says Megan Griffith-Greene, the Inquirer’s service features editor. She says: “Actionable stories are useful and practical; they help people make better decisions. Accessible stories mean they are easy to read, understand and remember, and we use a variety of techniques to break up the text and make it easier to absorb.”

TV can’t be like Twitter: It may be an odd thing to be reminded about, but the major TV networks are not Twitter, or any other social media platform. That fact was driven home during a Nov. 5 press conference by President Trump, who falsely said massive voter fraud had stolen the election from him. As soon as he started on his rant, the networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and Univision — cut away to tell people that there was evidence for Trump’s statements.