Today marks our fourth anniversary of reporting on North Jersey politics. We are thankful for all of those who read us, share our stories, commnet and donate so that we can keep providing an independent news site covering the Garden State operating.
For those of us who cherish straight news, something we strive to provide, it has been a disheartening week.
It started with the revelations from the Fox News depositions in regards to the Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. Let us state clearly: we have political ideological differences (as we do with MSNBC and CNN) but at one time it did provide a needed counterbalance from a conservative perspective.
But along the way it became the propaganda machine for what was the far right but has now become the mainstream for the Republicans party. We are not surprised that the Tucker Carlsons, the Sean Hannitys and the Laura Ingrahams of the world went on their shows and promoted a pro-Trump agenda after the 2020 Presidential election that they knew was wrong. They are not news people, they are commenters, opinion broadcasters.
But it is the action that Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch, owner of the channel and other conservative outlets, did in the lead up to the election that forever removes any credibility the channel will have until new ownership and management is in place.
Under oath, Murdoch confirmed that he gave Jared Kushner “confidential information” about then-candidate Joe Biden’s ads “along with debate strategy” in 2020, a filing said, offering Donald Trump’s son-in-law “a preview of Biden’s ads before they were public.” Plus they gave air and encouraged the GOP’s attack on the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election even though they knew it was false.
And Murdoch told Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott to “concentrate on Georgia” when the state was holding a high-stakes special election that would decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, instructing her to be “helping any way we can.”
The revelations about Fox News stains all of journalism and makes it harder for journalists of all types to do their jobs. The trust factor is eroded for many; some will believe this ethical breach is done by everyone and is no big deal. The latter makes the job harder for every journalist and you the informed citizen.
The revelations about how Fox unethically does business with Republicans makes it more stinging that NJ.com/Star Ledger closing its Washington, D.C. bureau and letting go of respected reporter Jonathan D. Salant. NJ.com pulling out of Washington leaves our nation’s capitol without a dedicated reporter covering the New Jersey delegation. That 15 bipartisan person delegation came together, minus Rep. Jeff Van Drew, to denounce the move and explain what a key role journalism and reporting plays in our democracy.
“This action will immediately leave millions of New Jerseyans with no first-hand access to the issues being debated in Congress or to information about how actions taken by federal agencies specifically affect our state,” they wrote. “The authors of this letter have different political ideologies, but this is one issue we agree on – we oppose the decision to close the Washington bureau. Our constituents rely on this coverage to be informed participants in our democracy.”
Journalism today has both a credibility and coverage crisis. They are truly intertwined. We are trying to bridge that gap, writing news stories that attempt to give perspective from both Republicans and Democrats. And we make sure our opinion pieces are clearly notified.
So thank you for supporting us the last three years. We will work harder than ever to provide the news stories that block out extremists and report on those offering centrist solutions. That is our mission and pledge to North Jersey residents.