First, could we, as Charlie Pierce suggested, turn the presidential debates back over to the League of Women Voters? I think I might be tempted to stay for the entire program under those circumstances. Further, it might free up some reporters to investigate topics which seem to get lost in the muddle. Some examples–>
Saudi Arabia and the whole nuclear thing. There appear to be some story lines converging. There’s a crown Prince of dubious reputation involved with the murder of a journalist for an American newspaper. How much involvement is unresolved. There’s a deal for nuclear technology in which a long time backer of the current president is involved, and reporting of a deal struck with Israeli psy-ops which includes Saudi connections. The deal, the details, and the possibility of interconnections are a bit murky, but they could be part of a more integrated piece. It would seem there is much more reporting gold to be mined from these seams.
Russians. Both FBI Director Wray and DNI Coats mentioned ongoing efforts by the Russians to continue their assaults on our elections, and on our political system in the past several days. Not that we shouldn’t already be aware of this systemic assault. Senate Majority leader McConnell may not like the appellation Moscow Mitch, but as long as story lines entangle him with the likes of Deripaska, and an aluminum plant, and lobbyists seeking preferential treatment for Russian concerns, that appellation may stick. Dots remain to be securely connected.
Add to this the strange tale of sanctions being legislated against Russia (and Saudi Arabia too) only to be left unimplemented or lightly enforced by the administration, or of sanctions being vetoed by the President (Saudi arms deal.)
Did someone get played when Trump launched his trade war with China and see them retaliate with tariffs on soy beans, only to discover later China decided to purchase soy beans from…Russia?
And yet, there’s the President out there for his chopper talk this week with reporters challenging the veracity of reports about ongoing Russian assaults on the US. There’s Senate Majority Leader McConnell blocking election security bills in the 116th Congressional session.
This advice is far from original, but it’s perhaps useful to remind members of the 4th Estate “you ain’t learning anything when you’re talking.” Please, sign off Twitter and other social media, use your telephones the old fashioned way, to contact sources, or to add sources and information to your reporting. You don’t need to be on every pundit panel every hour during the A block. You really don’t need to be on pundit panels at all. Investigate, verify, report. Stop worrying about access.
Access is highly overrated. Access didn’t break open the Tea Pot Dome Scandal, nor did it bring into light the Watergate Scandal. Access gives you information someone wants you to have. Investigation gives us information the rest of us need to have.
Please follow the loose ends, see if the dots connect, uncover what you can, reveal what you can verify. We will be better off for your efforts.