American politics and the practice of journalism seem to be headed down the same pathway of dangerous irrelevancy when they become obsessed with repeating over and over “gotcha” storiies–two of the most recent focusing on Brian Williams and George Stephanapolis. Which bring up another point: the tendency of media lately to focus on itself rather than the critical issues that the United States and world are confronted with: the widening gap between rich and poor, global warming,and political and religious extremism. Another dangerous trend that deserves focus is the war on science being conducted by right-wing extremists in the United States.
USAT has been relatively good about focusing on these critical issues while maintaining a balanced approach to analysis of issues. I appreciate that. Still, I am deeply concerned about the broader trends I have alluded to above. Also,: responsible journalists need to get out of bed–figuratively–with political operatives on both sides of the ideological divide. Journalists must maintain a healthy distance the between themselves and the political propaganda machines that seem more concerned with winning the next election than doing the next best thing for the people–and not just the rich and powerful people.
Finally, It seems obvious to me that we need more respectful dialogue between opposing parties, more meaningful compromise and, above all, less mud-slinging. I would hope that USAT and the rest of the media would do their part in advancing those objectives.