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In-Depth Interview: Columbia Prof. Michael Schudson Tells Why Journalism Still Matters

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Michael Schudson is one of America’s leading scholars on journalism, and we have a lively exchange about the state of journalism today.Schudson’s new book is Why Journalism Still Matters, just published by Polity Books.  It’s a collection of essays covering a range of issues facing the media, as newspaper revenues decline, the internet and social media become primary news sources for many, and Trump’s vicious and sustained attacks on “the enemy of the people”continue.

We open with some history, back to the Nixon-Watergate era, when the press was attacked for challenging the Vietnam war and publishing the Pentagon Papers.  Schudson sees that as a pivot point, and discuss the similarities between Trump’s media attacks and those launched by Nixon and his VP, Spiro Agnew.  We talk about the importance of objectivity, and how that concept has evolved, and about the challenges of reporting the truth in a nation awash with official lies.

Your humble host makes the case for recent media malpractice in mainstream media coverage of the Russiagate scandal.  Schudson acknowledges some shortcomings, but agrees to disagree on PBC’s critique.  He also comments on the recent Facebook purge of independent media sites, and shares his concerns about some indy media outlets.