in

Big Media Editors Seek to Move Away From Politicizing Everything

We can count on Big Media to make nearly every story political. It’s been that way for years, but the Trump era ratcheted the politicization of everything into a higher gear. And now, some editors at mainstream media and sports sites are looking to calm it all down before the engine blows.

A while back, I wrote about The Athletic and mused whether that site’s new corporate overlords at the New York Times can save it from financial doldrums. This week, The Athletic’s chief content officer Paul Fichtenbaum, sent staff writers a new directive: to avoid politicizing sports stories and report the relevant information.

Mediate reported an example that Fichtenbaum gave to staff:

“We don’t want to stop people from having a voice and raising their voice for appropriate issues,” he wrote. “But there comes a point where something that is a straightforward, ‘Hey, I’m concerned about guns in America,’ for instance, right, that’s an apolitical statement. It becomes political when you say, ‘I’m concerned about guns in America and this political party is the reason why we’re having an issue,’ right? That’s when it tips over. So again, we don’t want to stop people from having a voice and expressing themselves. We just need to keep it from tipping over into the political space.”

As expected, this new policy hasn’t gone over well with those staff writers who drift to politics by default.

“What about Black Lives Matter? Is that a social cause? Who will write about athlete protests? What about trans athletes in sports?” complained one staff member. “Where this policy gets you is that the people who care the most about a particular issue, the people who are most informed about a particular issue, are now the ones who are banned from covering the issue.”

No word yet on how the new policy has affected reporting at The Athletic, but if the staff can get this rule down pat, maybe Fichtenbaum can enact a rule that bans The Athletic’s favoritism toward the New York Mets over every other MLB team.

Meanwhile, the tides may be turning under CNN’s new management. Earlier this week, the network’s new president, Chris Licht, told a group of executive producers and network management that he prefers on-air talent to avoid the Hitlerian phrase “the big lie” — which is also a favorite term for the Democrats — when discussing claims about the veracity of the 2020 election.

 

“He encouraged producers to instead use the terms ‘Trump election lie’ or ‘election lies’ in banners and graphics,” reports Mediaite. “According to a source, Licht argued that using “the big lie” makes the mistake of adopting branding used by the Democratic Party, thereby weakening the objectivity of the network.”

It’s refreshing to think that Licht is worried about objectivity at CNN, but, once again, some people at the network don’t like to be told not to favor one side over the other.

“It’s worrisome that we’re being told how to talk about one of the worst things that ever happened to American democracy,” a CNN insider told Mediaite. “We have to call lies, lies, whether they’re small lies or big lies. Is there any lie bigger than that lie?”

Should we take encouragement from this move toward objectivity and away from politicizing news and sports stories? Or is it just wishful thinking to believe that Big Media will change (even in small ways)? We’ll just have to wait and see.

NFL Star Walks Away From the Game to Pursue a Higher Calling

Official Child Abuse