The best newspapers, we are told, are unbiased. They report the facts, ignore the “alternative facts,” and only express opinions of the op-ed page. The world is changing, though. Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the entire world and at least one newspaper in the world is stepping up to take Trump down.
The Guardian, which is one of Great Britain’s non-tabloid (i.e. actual news) papers, is most famous for their collaborative effort with 400 news organization in breaking the news of the leaked “Panama Papers,” which exposed the financial dealings of politicians and capitalists and their offshore finances.
The Guardian says that they released the Panama Papers and they are ready to do the same with Trump and they are asking for the cooperation of as much of their fellow media sources as possible:
The Panama Papers has showed that a formerly unthinkable project of collaboration can work. When we shared the data of the papers with a team of 400 reporters worldwide, we brought together a vast number of investigative reporters who typically compete which each other. The main reason why our newspaper, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, shared the story with competitors was simply that it was too big and too important to do alone.
Now, once again, we are faced with a story that is too big and too important to handle on our own: Donald Trump’s impact on the democracy of the United States of America.
The Guardian then offered steps to battle the “alternative facts” being offered to the media. Reporters need to work together. If one question is snubbed, reporters need to pick up that baton and repeat the question till it’s answered.
The Guardian is also trying to convince competitors to truly work together and share stories and yes, like with the Panama Papers, collaborate.
The next level of solidarity and cooperation is even more challenging. Let us assume a source approaches a reporter of the Washington Post with important information which is hard for them to corroborate. Why not reach out to a colleague who already did work on this topic, even if at a rival publication – the New York Times, CNN, ProPublica, Fox News or where ever – for help? They might have the missing piece of the puzzle, they might have the vital second source and they might have what it takes to publish the story. So why not collaborate?
Trump, more than any previous president, has a web of financial interests that is going to take multiple sources to untangle.
Trump is now the president of the United States. He is the government. It has always been the noblest job of a journalist to check the power of government, the center of power. This seems even more important as the president acts like one of the oligarchs that journalists like the two of us, who work on international corruption, investigate again and again.
He threatened his Democratic opponent with jail, he is making promises no one can fulfill, he is mixing family and government, he is mixing business and government, he is obstructing control and he is fighting the freedom of press.
This government has decided to go down a new and hostile path. Now, it is time for us to change path, too. That’s not only just fair – it is absolutely necessary.
The Guardian is heading the call, how about other sources? Decades ago, the Washington Post famously exposed the Nixon Administration. They, with the help of their counterparts, can do the same with the Trump administration. The information is out there. It’s time to start gathering it.
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