[FEATURE] Covering politics in a ‘post-truth’ America

White House press secretary Josh Earnest delivers the daily briefing at the White House. /BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
White House press secretary Josh Earnest delivers the daily briefing at the White House. /BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Journalism has never been better, thanks to these last few decades of disruption. So why does it seem to matter so little?

By Susan B. Glasser | POLITICO

For the past two decades, the rules of political reporting have been blown up. And I’ve cheered at every step along the way. Not for me the mourning over the dismantling of the old order, all those lamentations about the lost golden era of print newspapers thudding on doorsteps and the sage evening news anchors reporting back to the nation on their White House briefings. Because, let’s face it: too much of Washington journalism in the celebrated good old days was an old boys’ club, and so was politics—they were smug, insular, often narrow-minded, and invariably convinced of their own rightness.

The truth is that coverage of American politics, and the capital that revolves around it, is in many ways much better now than ever before—faster, sharper, and far more sophisticated. There are great new digital news organizations for politics and policy obsessives, political science wonks, and national security geeks. Today’s beat reporters on Capitol Hill are as a rule doing a far better job than I did when I was a rookie there two decades ago, and we get more reporting and insight live from the campaign trail in a day than we used to get in a month, thanks to Google and Facebook, livestreaming and Big Data, and all the rest. Access to information—by, for, and about the government and those who aspire to run it—is dazzling and on a scale wholly unimaginable when Donald Trump was hawking his Art of the Deal in 1987. And we have millions of readers for our work now, not merely a hyper-elite few thousand.

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