“American media wants to save democracy. Is it helping?”

Interesting LAT story on the role of the media in reporting on — and shaping — the debate about American democracy.

Top American journalism leaders have publicly argued that the continued existence of democracy in the U.S. is no longer something that can be taken for granted. Efforts to undermine voters’ choices across the U.S. have given way to new “democracy” beats, where newsroom editors and reporters no longer simply cover candidates and elections but voter registration laws, ballot access and election integrity. . . .

There are signs that some of those attitudes have also reached the newsroom rank-and-file. While 76% of American adults polled in a recent Pew Research Center study said that journalists should always strive to give every side equal coverage, a majority of journalists surveyed disagreed.

Andy Donohue, executive editor of projects for the publication Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting, who predicted the rise of the democracy beat in 2020, said in the journalism industry that there is “very broad recognition from everyone from newsroom leaders to reporters that we very much are in a red-alert threat for a real demise to our democratic system.” . . .

But in newsrooms, in books and on the air, journalists and experts are openly pondering how American democracy can win the argument for its own survival when the battle of persuasion is with a public skeptical of their authority. Americans’ trust in newspapers and TV news is at an all-time low. Many Republican politicians have simply stopped talking to mainstream reporters, preferring the company of friendlier conservative outlets and personalities.

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