Will Today Be the Day ‘Solutions Journalism’ Finally Backfires?

Ryan Shucard, Today is Election Day. Numbers rule this day. Intangibles matter not and it’s too late to triage the decades-long decay of America’s news media. Too late to prompt honest questions and reporting. The agenda is set, pundits are ready, questions are predetermined, and the angles are servants to a common narrative. It is intended over time to coerce the public into tacit agreement or flaccid indifference. But it also fuels the still misunderstood and illusive rise of the silent majority.

This group of people, millions strong, have many core things in common: love of country, recognition of individual rights, rule of law, equality of opportunity, economic empowerment, energy independence, better trade, and peace through massive strength. Any political differences within those commonalities will be ironed out through the brilliance of our republic. What’s missing from the unique success formula of America is the once-hailed “Fourth Estate.”

The term’s meaning is likely too far gone from our national consciousness but of the three pillars of government (the legislative, the executive, and the judicial), the press rightly received an exceptional but nebulous pillared position as the nation’s conduit of free expression, news reporting, and opinion.

But let’s not romanticize it. Sure, the Founder’s again proved their exceptional foresight and intuition by establishing the foundations for a free press but its place in our national life has never been pure nor free from the political poisons of campaigns and profit motives.

Today, questioning the insinuations of the mainstream media’s narrative is unacceptable. Headlines are meant to generate clicks. Reporters’ Twitter profiles are meant to have massive followings. Aspiring journalists enter their field only to find it largely overworked, underpaid, and quickly learn to either jump wholeheartedly into the clutches of their brand’s agenda or cultivate their own persona meant to achieve the same outcome: influence and access. The journalistic dance is no longer about truth or even brazen persuasion and salaciousness (see press coverage of the Jefferson vs. Adams presidential campaign), it’s about espousing the ideals of the elite, imposing the will of the few upon the many under the veil of implied journalistic integrity.

It’s called “solutions journalism” and it’s not a new phenomenon, rather one reaching an inflection point. News media and social media giants treat the public as if they don’t thirst for a diversity of ideas and perspectives. The list of grievances grows daily as straight news reporting is routinely infused with opinion, conjecture, speculation, and unverified facts. Whether this is deliberate or just a byproduct of this still-active American experiment, it matters not. We all know what it looks like: blatant bias couched as straight journalism.

This has in part given way to the current social media censorship of the New York Post’s investigative piece and subsequent reporting of Hunter and Joe Biden’s business dealings with China and other countries. News organizations chose to ignore the story citing Twitter’s censorship policies as their aircover.

Coverage of the Bobulinski interviews and evidence should absolutely be a part of news coverage pertaining to Joe Biden’s candidacy for president and the news media has an obligation to present those facts. Dismissing the story by omission or by excuse of “Big Tech’s censorship policies” is counter to everything I was taught in journalism school and shouldn’t pass muster with today’s news writers and voters alike.

Americans inherently know there are multiple viewpoints and/or solutions to any issue. They know they have the power to decide the course of their country and the prosperity of their communities. They know a free press is mandatory as well as sacred – and its very existence is not only another affirmation of what makes America special but an acknowledgment of our control as a people.

Solutions journalism implies the opposite. It ignores the fact that the American people know facts always have their own way of unfolding and truth almost always falls somewhere between the extremes and the agitators fueling our divides.

There’s no one less qualified to tell people what works and what doesn’t than journalists – and there’s no greater tragedy in modern American communications than the brazen and biased alignment of America’s Fourth Estate to bury legitimate news stories carrying verified facts from widely available sources and documentation.

The cure to solutions journalism is not wholly a get-out-the-vote or a vote-with-your-pocketbook fix. And it’s certainly not an outright boycott of the news media either. The proper mixture is the same thing that dumbfounded the mainstream media in 2016. It is the cultivation and mobilization of the silent majority. It’s what today is all about.

You don’t have to disclose your politics or your candidate of preference (especially because you’re ridiculed if you vote Republican), you just have to vote.

 

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