Ideas to Impact Blog

The Next Generation of Journalism: Opportunities and Threats to Freedom of the Press

logosMollie Hemingway, Editor in Chief of The Federalist, discussed how the publication was founded ten years ago to bring serious reporting and fresh perspective to stories that were being botched by the elite media. It wasn’t long before The Federalist broke a number of important stories about the integrity of the 2016 election and the contentious nomination and appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Considering how, by controlling the framing of the biggest stories, the corporate media controls the way Americans talk, even how we think about so many complicated issues, it has never been more important to bring fearlessness and rigor to the table to shed light.

As Mrs. Hemingway put it, it’s hard to win a war if you don’t control the airspace, and that’s what the news media is. The Left has invested heavily in information warfare, so it’s critical that the facts typically hidden by mainstream media are brought out into the light. By doing so, outlets like The Federalist provide a broader perspective that helps people articulate what is wrong with so much that they’re hearing. This is especially true given the latest evolution of cancel culture, now in the form of government agencies funding private NGOs who together determine what can and can’t be said on social and traditional media.

Mark Hemingway, Senior Writer at RealClearInvestigations and book editor at The Federalist, noted a “palpable shift” in the media between his entry into the newsroom in the early nineties and the situation today. Thirty years ago, journalism was still mostly a working-class profession, even if there were more famous personalities. He traced the culture change to the emergence of Woodward and Bernstein, after which people started to look at journalism as more of a prestige position. Far more common in mainstream media bylines are MFAs in creative nonfiction from Ivy League schools than reporters who have ever held a blue-collar job. So, along with the politicization of institutions, journalists formed in elite education silos have begun to see their profession through the information warfare model. One of the effects is that the trusted institutions now present an alternative reality. The New York Times and the Washington Post received Pulitzers for reporting on the Russia collusion story that has been thoroughly debunked. Yet, Pulitzer did an internal review and decided the reporting held up.

John Miller, Founder and Executive Director of The College Fix and its parent organization, the Student Free Press Association, welcomes the new world of perspective journalism. One of the biggest reasons liberal media bias is so pervasive is because so few conservatives go into the profession. The Left discriminates in hiring for mainstream media, of course, but the bigger problem from Mr. Miller’s perspective is that not enough conservatives want to go into the field. National Review, and then Human Events and others, changed this trend years ago, but as late as the early 1990s, there were few publications for conservative journalists. Now, the legacy media has been totally blown up and there are many places for young conservatives to work for publications that can push back against the elite narrative. The Russian collusion story was nonsense, but we have never been in a better position to push back against it than we are right now.

In a follow up discussion, Mrs. Hemingway highlighted the fact that several elite publications no longer have to make a profit because they’re owned by leftist elites who can afford to lose millions each year. Mr. Hemingway furthered the point with the engineering principle that “a system is what it does.” The elite media should be judged not by what it claims it is doing, but by what it actually does, which is keep the Left in power. All agreed on the urgency of strengthening conservative media and training young journalists to be great reporters.

The Next Generation of Journalism