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As 2024 Election Plans Come to Fruition, There’s Still Shimmer of Hope for Unbiased Journalism

A New York Times editor is saying “It’s not the media’s job to prevent President Trump from winning.” A panel of media outlets (ABC, AP, CBS, CNN) claim they are carefully planning “voter-centric election coverage.” Plus, a Former President and Presidential Candidate is on trial in New York. Yes, these are all signs of another election year where the media’s self-awareness is lacking.

Media outlets that are unable to step out of their own echo chamber and actually create neutral news are not just rare — they typically go unnoticed. This is because those who make the most noise, AKA immoderate and extremist outlets, get the most attention on both social media and national airwaves. While CNN claims they are planning “voter-centric election coverage,” I doubt it’s for all voters.

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Too-bin or not Too-bin, that was the question for CNN. This election cycle is seeing the comeback of Jeffrey Toobin after being ejected from CNN for masturbating while on a Zoom call. I not only question the ethics of whoever made the decision to bring him back, I don’t understand why. Not only does it create an uncomfortable work environment, it shows CNN is not appealing to all voters, just a select group of those on the left.

It also begs to question does CNN find public masturbation acceptable behavior for their employees? During his absence, there have been several legal analysts who have joined CNN hosts and proven their worth, yet the outlet is going with Toobin. This is not a voter-centric decision. It’s an ego-centric one.

Another sign of concern layoffs happening at Allen Media. It’s never a good sign for our industry when layoffs happen, but in an election year, it’s even worse for the people who we serve. Newsroom resources are crucial to fact-checking, additional reporting, and making better news. While their spokesman said this is a “strategic change(s) to better position the company for growth,” you can not grow if you do not have enough resources to make a good product.

Lastly, for those who care about awards (I’m rather indifferent about awards myself) the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. However, it was not noted if the winners used Artificial Intelligence in the creation of their story. Award transparency is critical.

Since applicants are required to say if they used AI in their story, we should be told if the award is going to an AI user. Several lawsuits have been filed by outlets from around the country claiming programs like ChatGPT have infringed on their copyright and stolen their work. If the winner has used these programs we deserve to know because our colleagues’ work has been stolen.

It’s not all bad news bears. Good things are happening all over the place, like at Politico. The outlet, which AllSides Media views as left-leaning, published an article claiming Democrat donors, with names like Soros, Rockefeller, and Pritzker, are backing the Gaza Protests. What was once a conservative conspiracy was just launched into the mainstream media.

While conservatives on X, obliterated the outlet — because duh, they’ve reported on this for years — but should actually be thanking Politico. The outlet proved they are the global authority on the intersection of politics, policy, and power. More importantly, they are out of their echo chamber and giving new life to a story once balked at as a conspiracy.

More good news for the media, Barrett Media is expanding! I personally can attest to how nice it is to work here and love our mission of neutral reporting on the media industry. At a time when a lot of outlets are laying off workers or closing their doors, it’s important places like Barrett Media stay open to keep the media honest during this election cycle.

Americans have 180 days till Election Day 2024, Tuesday, November 5th, and even less time for those who plan on voting early, which varies by state. Trust in the media is at an all-time low yet media consumption is constant, thanks to our devices. The decisions “suits” make this year are crucial not just to our American freedoms but to their outlets’ credibility.

I wouldn’t hang my hat on Toobin helping CNN’s limp ratings. Nor do I think “voter-centric election coverage” means we are going to be journalists. What this statement actually says is “We are appealing to our base.” We saw pandering journalism in 2020 and 2016. It does not work. The good news is some outlets are recognizing this and are doing better journalism in the process.

Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll is a news media columnist and features writer for Barrett Media. She currently freelances at WPIX in New York, and has previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs. Her prior employers have included NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. You can find Krystina on X (formerly twitter) @KrystinaAlaCarr.

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