I am not arguing for a return to some sort of view-from-nowhere style of journalism. I have no problem identifying as both a journalist but also as a progressive and someone who dislikes Trump rather fiercely. There is nothing wrong with having your journalism be driven by a sense of general ideological mission; some of the best journalists covering the working poor care deeply about the working poor, believe they are treated unfairly, and want to see their station improved. They’re still capable of, and produce, honest journalism.
What I am saying is that if you call yourself a journalist, there needs to be some distance, somewhere, between your tribal allegiances and the way you do your job.
Accuracy norms are about, well, accuracy: People who subscribe to accuracy norms are most concerned with spreading true claims, and with debunking false ones. Rightside norms are about being on the right ‘side’ of a given controversy: People who subscribe to rightside norms are more concerned with showing that they are on the right side of a given controversy, and that the people on the other side are morally suspect, than they are with accuracy, at least in a zoomed-in sense. […]
If you’re in a group in which rightside norms prevail, you face a weird set of incentives:
1) It will often harm your group standing to point out that a false claim is false
2) It will often benefit your group standing to pile on a figure who has been unfairly accused of something by broadcasting evidence pertaining not to the claim in question, but to his or her broader (ostensible) moral worthlessness
3) It will often benefit your group standing to punish those who seek to debunk false claims against ‘bad’ figures
Imagine experiencing all this over and over, outrage after outrage.