As readers wonder how journalists failed at their jobs, the journalists decide to point right back at them.
There is a bit of a furor taking place in the New York area as Congressman-elect George Santos is being looked into for various possible fabrications in his résumé. The New York Times came out with the story this week, raising questions about his background, finances, and possible disclosure violations. (Sam Stein managed to step in it, as he pretended no other politician has such a fictionalized biography.) Other outlets are suggesting Santos is insufficiently gay as well. But the Times and others are managing to generate more questions as well, primarily Long Island voters and others asking, “Where was this reporting before the election?!”
It is a valid query, especially considering there is something of a pattern taking place with stories managing to be newly focused in a post-election environment. It is notable how after November 8th, we learned Jose Biden had not actually solved the train labor dispute, and there has been a rise in interest at the border. Call it “Laptop Lag,” the phenomenon of press diligence increasing after election results are called. But in this case, it has been the Democrats who have been impacted by journalistic sloth, so now it is regarded as a problem.
In facing these questions New York Times fixture Michael Barbaro defensively lashed out, declaring that if news consumers were bothered by this result they should actually look in the mirror. Seriously – he tried to deflect by stating the problem might rest with the news consumer.
To everyone asking why reporters didn't dig up the George Santos story before the election … a fair question …. ask yourself when you last paid for your local newspaper, like Newsday on Long Island, which covers it day in and out.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) December 20, 2022
This says so much. When the news outlets do not do their actual jobs the blame rests with the consumer for not supporting them properly. The ridiculousness begins with the suggestion that the New York Times is insufficiently staffed to have looked into this matter. Meanwhile, this is the same paper that has its journalists going on strike, demanding more money – as they are being shown to have not performed their jobs.
But making this asinine dodge more wrong is the fact that the news outlets had been spoonfed the Santos information months prior. The Democratic Party had compiled most of the information that is now being reported about the Republican, and they were not hoarding that oppo-research. The DCCC had a paper with background on Santos, including some of his questionable financials. This was sent out to numerous news outlets, both locally and with national offices. This was delivered out “To Interested Parties” this past August.
Instead of being introspective, other journalists have joined in with Barbero with the finger pointing. Alberto Riva from The New Yorker makes a point about this consumer report, but it is not the point he thinks he is making.
The point is that overall expenditure on newspaper subscriptions by Americans is down enormously. It fell about 30% from 2020 to 2021, for example. https://t.co/rZhozsOVCt
— Alberto Riva (@Albertoriva) December 20, 2022
What Al needs to consider is that when discussing the drop in subscriptions in a discussion of journalists failing at their jobs he has justified the decision to walk away from these publications. Also in need of referencing here, following that plunge in subscriber rates, you have the public trust in the media plummeting at the same time. They are fueling their own demise and then blaming the marketplace reaction for their predicament.
Another writer chimed in with an opinion on the matter and it only deepens the idiocy.
I'm still laughing over this reaction to readers complaining that news outlets failed to catch a major election story. pic.twitter.com/0YgavNvh51
— Brad Slager: Free Agent for New Social Platform (@MartiniShark) December 23, 2022
There is so much contained within the brevity of just over a dozen words. Expecting the press to deliver news and vital information is now an act of entitlement?! Well, good to know. Then there is the small matter of suggesting people go find out information for themselves. These are the same type of elitist writers who denigrate the citizen journalist, calling them sub-level reporters because they do not have to submit to the same rigorous editing standards and fact-checking that legitimate outlets maintain.
But look at the reaction when it is pointed out that they are not even doing the work to be submitted to those verifications – “Well then go find out for yourself!” Well played, Mr. Geniusolist; when you send people to go off and do their own investigations it means they do not need you to do it for them, which means they do not need to subscribe to any outlet where the reporters are abdicating their role in that same line of work.
They spend more time assessing blame for their lack of results than delivering results. Then they sit back and bemoan the dwindling sales figures and watch co-workers filling up document boxes as they clean out their desks.