You are correct that the Espionage Act of 1917 has been used to punish whistleblowers but not journalists – yet. No member of the press has been prosecuted for publishing leaked classified information, but the 100-year-old law has been called a “loaded gun pointed at newspapers and reporters.”
This is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We are consuming an enormous amount of information on a daily basis but not necessarily more informed.
Wingnuts generate profits, but only if we watch them.
Your question alludes to a dire situation: local news is fast becoming the latest casualty of the covid-19 outbreak.
Social media effectively is the news now. So how do we make sense of this house of mirrors?
It may feel like a constant cascade of news, but the coverage is proportional to what could be the biggest global health crisis in more than a hundred years. And when you consider how much more globally connected we are now than during the flu pandemic of 1918, and how much the world economy relies on precisely that connection, it’s arguable that this crisis could prove to be even worse.
This is a question that journalists confront on a daily basis with potentially profound consequences. It is a balancing act that involves weighing the public’s right to know with an individual’s right to privacy.
It depends entirely on what we mean by “information” and how we use that information. Following outlets known to be overtly biased or propagandistic can be essential for understanding the current debate on vital topics like climate change, the U.S. presidential elections or the #metoo movement. But that does not mean they are reliable sources of actionable information.
People are, by definition, subjective. Each of us has our own lens on the world, filtering experience and information through our own individual psyches. That’s what makes us human, rather than robots.
While public health officials warn of a pandemic, the internet’s frenzied coverage of the coronavirus has already triggered an “infodemic.”