Voting in Election

Open Letter: Urgent Need For Pro-Democracy 2022 Election Coverage

Dear American Journalists, Editors, Producers and Publishers:      

The United States is in crisis as anti-democratic forces attack our election systems, lie, and make it more difficult for Americans to vote. The Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol has produced damning details of the coup attempted by Trump, members of his staff, and his allies in Congress. Election lies told on the campaign trail by candidates running for elected office are a continuation of the Jan. 6 efforts to undermine our democratic system. Some Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed new laws based on these lies, allowing fair election results to be ignored or contravened. The MAGA wing of the Republican party is openly preparing to overturn elections they do not win.

 

Excellent, brave journalism is required for our nation to overcome the threat. As Prof. Jay Rosen has noted, “[Journalists] have to recognize that the picture of politics on which they base their practices is shattered.” The 2022 midterms are not a traditional election between Democrats and Republicans, but a contest between those willing to uphold our democratic system and those who are telling lies to win at all costs. We are in grave and accelerating danger as a country. We implore you to frame the danger accordingly.


We strongly recommend that you adopt practices that are pro-truth, pro-voting, and pro-democracy. We have drafted these principles that we believe should be followed by all American newsrooms. We are rooting for you.

MAKE  THREATS  TO  DEMOCRACY  CLEAR

 

PROTECT  AMERICANS  FROM  DISINFORMATION

 

COVER ELECTIONS AS IF THEY MATTER MORE THAN SPORTS SCORES 

  • Inform voters by providing substantive coverage of the issues 

  • Stop making predictions and pushing polls at the expense of issues coverage

  • Celebrate and uplift election workers, voters, and the election process

  • Don’t set aside your moral judgment when confronting obvious lies and bigotry

 

We are at a critical juncture. The rights and freedoms that Americans cherish are at risk. As an essential pillar of democracy, journalists have a moral responsibility to warn the public. Will you adhere to outdated paradigms, seeking neutrality for neutrality’s sake, or will you respond to the attack on our country by working to defend it? Reporting the truth, supporting elections, and condemning violence is not partisan political bias, but the pro-democracy bias crucially needed at this moment. We urge you to rise to this moment by implementing these principles when covering the 2022 elections, and for as long as our system is under attack.

The Open Letter will be distributed to the Executives and Publishers of major media organizations.