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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - November 2020

COVID, elections, and the problem with an adversarial press

In the press, we have a huge problem because we always choose the adversarial angle.

This is a problem that has existed since the press was invented, but it's getting worse because, with the immediacy and the lack of reflection we see on the internet, this adversarial tone is fueling some of the biggest problems we have in society today ... and we, in the press, are not living up to our responsibility.

Let me explain what I mean by talking about three critical things.

Both sides

As we all know, the press has a strong culture to do what we call 'both sides journalism', where, when you cover a topic, you always interview people who can disagree with each other.

In other words, through our journalism, we are creating conflict and opposition.

A good example of this is climate change. I have talked about this many times, but climate coverage is the perfect example of how an adversarial 'both sides'-style of journalism has directly harmed the world we live in.

Think back to what we have done in the press over the past 15 years. We reached overwhelming scientific consensus (97% consensus) that climate change is real and caused by humans all the way back in 2007. And yet, in articles and on countless TV news shows, we (the press) decided to turn this into a debate between climate deniers on one side, and the scientists on the other.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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