Public Health Post profiles health policy journalists and the work that they do. Here, Michael Stein spoke with Dan Diamond, the author of POLITICO Pulse and creator of PULSE CHECK, a podcast that features weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care. Michael caught up with Dan in between coming off the air on NPR and interviewing a Congressional leader. Here’s the second half of their conversation.
MDS: What’s your sense from where you’re sitting, how this election has changed the public appetite for journalism? We live in this new media world of lies and misinformation, and since you’re a serious writer, how does this change your job?
DD: That is the question of the moment with all of my colleagues. I read two stories yesterday that are at the poles of this. One written by Margaret Sullivan, the brilliant public editor for the New York Times, now a columnist for the Washington Post. She had a headline that was something like, ‘Journalists are now facing the hellscape of the Trump years where lies are going to be manifold, where attacks on the press are going to be incredibly strong, where people don’t trust these institutions.’ I thought there was a lot of truth to that article.
Then my colleague, and kind of a hero to me, Jack Shafer, the longtime media columnist at Slate and elsewhere and now Politico, wrote a story that said, basically, ‘It’s springtime for journalism.’ There are so many targets, there’s so much need for journalism now. There had been this widespread outpouring of people standing up and saying we need good reporters; in many ways, Trump has been a gift. I think there is truth to both sides.
I have never been as attacked for writing fairly standard, mundane stories about health care and the economy. I was getting horrible comments via email and on social media, but at the same time I’ve never had a moment where I thought my journalism could matter more.
‘It’s springtime for journalism.’ There are so many targets, there’s so much need for journalism now.
And it’s very hard to know what will happen until we get into the actual Trump administration, because we’ve been in this weird inter-regnum. I could see it going in a very good way where journalists are holding the administration to account and being celebrated for it and I can see it going in an awful way where the administration gets angry and locks down on journalists, and Peter Thiel, an ally of the Trump administration, launches some crusade and things kind of go the wrong way. Hard to say for sure right now, but everyone is aware of the opportunity and the potential peril.
Featured image: OPEN DAYS, Roundtable with Journalists, Roundtable with Journalists – 07 October 2013. EU OPEN DAYS 2013 #euopendays Belgium – Brussels – October 2013 © European Union. Photographer : Patrick Mascart. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license/cropped from original.