It’s a common sentiment that journalists are concerned with inadvertently empowering the alt-right through specific types of media coverage. While journalists obviously already embed politics into their reporting, it’s worth considering more of an overt focus on the “political packaging” of articles. This seems like it advocates a deviation from the truth, but journalists might already be perpetuating a type of bias that is already self-harming.
For instance, theguardian has noted that liberal groups fear normalizing the views of the White House administration. But a contrary view from the alt-right suggests that painting the administration as being perfectly aligned with the fractured far right might be empowering them.
It doesn’t seem likely that mainstream liberal media coverage would inadvertently galvanize support for far right ideology among the left, but if the goal is to reduce the fervor of hate groups or individuals inclined to their own warped, isolated versions of hatred, then maybe a slight deviation from traditional types of coverage is warranted. This is not to say that journalists should whitewash the current administration, however I think that painting each and every member of Trump’s political entourage as living under a unified umbrella might be ill-advised. The members of the far right don’t necessarily dismiss the mainstream liberal media, it might simply cherry pick juicy morsels that reinforce narratives of “the current authority agrees with me, and on top of that, there will be no legal consequences to my behavior.”
Amplifying the fractured state of the current administration might reduce the furor of the far right. And sometimes you can amplify by repeatedly reflecting a sense of discord among the administration, or that looming russian cloud that threatens them. Rather than distort the truth, rinse and repeat, heightening repressed narratives that paint a bleak picture for those in charge. Or “potentially bleak.” Give those with violent tendencies a healthy dose of doubt.
In other words, the traditional media still occupies a position of great power, because the warped and heavily right leaning still view it as a part of their “traditional values.” If they are going to cherry-pick, give them truthful cherries that touch upon their fears in a different way.