This week on CounterSpin: An early October survey showed that while 60% of those polled knew that the Build Back Better legislative package was “$3.5 trillion,” only 10% had any sense of what was in it. That is many things, but preeminently a failure of news media—the demonstrably harmful effect of months of reporting that never failed to note the presumed “costs” of a plan to address devastating national crises of healthcare, climate and infrastructure, but that only rarely troubled itself to explain in any detail what those plans would mean. Despite that, polls still show majorities of Americans supporting the plan. We talk about seeing and pushing through anti-democratic disinformation with Karen Dolan, director of the Criminalization of Race and Poverty project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Also on the show: A New York Times column (by an editorial board member) begins: “Facebook has endured one of the most punishing stretches of corporate coverage in recent memory, exposing its immense power and blithe disregard for its deleterious impacts. But none of it really matters.” Headlined, “Face It, Facebook Won’t Change Unless Advertisers Demand It,” the piece is ostensibly meant as a sober assessment of the difficulty of exacting change from a company while it’s making money. But given the role of journalism in telling folks what is possible, the Times espousing the notion that Congress, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and the press are all “but bumps in the road” reads less as a dry-eyed evaluation than a call to throw up our hands in the face of an unwinnable contest. Our guest understands media structure, yet still advocates for policy change. We hear from Tim Karr, senior director of strategy and communications at the group Free Press.
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This content originally appeared on FAIR and was authored by CounterSpin.