Wick Communications

Should we just shut up?

In journalism on 27 Jan 2017 at 10:59 am
Steve Bannon, via Wikipedia

Steve Bannon, via Wikipedia

You probably heard that one of the president’s top advisers said this week that the media should “keep its mouth shut.” Strategist Steve Bannon labeled the media “the opposition party” and said it doesn’t have a clue and should just listen and stop talking. Ouch.

Of course, like the president himself, Bannon, the unapologetic leader of Breitbart News, says a lot of things. Perhaps we ought take his salty language with another grain of salt and not spend an inordinate amount of time whining about what he said.

Bannon’s calculation is that the people who elected his boss largely feel the same way. The define “the media” as an amorphous blob of eggheads in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. I think that he is right about one thing: Many people don’t go for navel gazing like I’m doing here. They don’t care if our feelings are hurt and don’t have time for existential crisis on the value of a free press in a just society.

I don’t think he or his believers are thinking of the New Iberia Daily Iberian when they talk of the media. After all, he invited our own Matt Lindberg onto his plane not so long ago. …

Of course, the big-city media will not just shut up. In fact, antagonizing the American press is a singularly bad idea. Look no further than Richard Nixon. Or Gary Hart. (Democrats make the same mistake…) I can tell you it is energizing college journalism programs and causing many more smart young people to take up the mantle.

In fact, I’m beginning to think the new administration, by denigrating our profession, has given a large gift to us all. Never in my lifetime have so many people been talking about journalism — it’s importance, where it goes wrong, how it can be better. Subscriptions are up at places like the New York Times. Money has poured in to non-profit news providers like ProPublica.

If it feels dark, remember that each of you holds a candle. Protect it and it will protect us.

Clay

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