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10 mistakes journalists make that hurt our credibility

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

-- We take criticism personally. Despite belonging to a profession that thrives on criticizing others -- especially elected officials -- many journalists have thin skin.

-- We've become too comfortable with hypocrisy. The recent wave of sexual harassment scandals involving media figures -- Charlie Rose, formerly of PBS and CBS News; Mark Halperin, formerly of ABC News and NBC News; and Michael Oreskes, formerly of NPR and The New York Times, etc. -- shows that journalists don't do a good enough job of policing their own backyard.

-- We try to be social workers and social engineers. Our job is to constantly try to tell better stories. That's it. Instead, we've gotten sidetracked into the totally different mission of making better people and building a better society.

-- We take our cues from Washington and New York.. These big cities have been given free rein in shaping the national discussion, while paying too little attention to what matters in small towns and rural areas.

-- We let our bias show. . Many of us are anti-Trump and pro-Democrat. We don't even bother to hide it anymore. In fact, many of us seem proud of our activism and partisanship.

-- We tell ourselves that the ends justify the means. This is especially true in our battles against "deplorables," including the one in the White House.

-- We haven't done a good job of telling our own story. Readers don't know the difference between editorials, columns and news articles. Television viewers confuse reporters, anchors and commentators. We've mixed it all together.

 

So how does the media get back on track -- and rebuild the public's trust? We have to stop being defensive, be more introspective, and admit we have a problem. We need to look in the mirror and confront what we've done wrong. Then, every day, on the job, we have to make it our mission to improve our craft and win back our audience.

Ours is a remarkable country. We need a media worthy of it.

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Ruben Navarrette's email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com. His daily podcast, "Navarrette Nation," is available through every podcast app.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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