“Today,” writes Jay Rosen, “my case to American journalists is this: You cannot keep from getting swept up in Trump’s agenda without a firm grasp on your own.” This does appear to be the crux of the problem in American journalism: they don’t seem to think they have, or should have, an agenda. Rosen offers a fairly disturbing quote from Peter Baker, who covers the White House for The New York Times.
As reporters, our job is to observe, not participate […].”
The thing is, journalism is a bit like quantum mechanics: you can’t merely observe. Reporting on events necessarily both partakes of those events and impacts those events, and Rosen is especially right that if journalists don’t have (yes) a political agenda of “fighting authoritarianism and the subversion of democracy”, then journalism itself effectively is a pointless and impotent exercise.