Anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff and correspondents prepare are preparing comprehensive coverage of the midterm elections by collaborations with over 300 member stations. Executive producer Sara just noted, “We don’t want to be the national show that just swoops in for a day or two. We want to work with the staff who know the candidates, who know the area.
Woodruff added, “We can’t be everywhere. We can’t be in all fifty states but we’ve found some people who are really plugged in” with 150 affiliate stations.
New team member national correspondent Amna Nawaz is an example of how PBS Newhour digs deep into stories “that matter to the American people.” She’s been investigating the child separation issue.
Woodruff noted, they “have certainly been a lot busier with the Trump presidency” because he is a president “who has no political experience, who has no experience in government” and “nothing is predictable any more” because Trump can “change policy” or “change people on a moment’s notice.” There’s also his use of social media and that he is “not afraid to make an announcement on his own.”
When questioned about fact-checking the president, Woodruff said, “Our view is that lying is not a term we can use lightly” because it means they “said whatever they said with the intention to mislead or misrepresent.” PBS Newshour is more comfortable saying that it is “something that cannot be borne out by the facts” or “we say it is inaccurate.”
Woodruff admitted that “the first time that the president had said something that was not accurate, I got a lump in my throat.” That was during the inauguration when Trump talked about the size of the crowd. “This is something that journalists are used to doing.”
On 25 July 2018, PBS Newshour did have a special segment called “Trump and the Truth” which included commentary by Peter Wehner who served in the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush; and Lara Brown, director of the Graduate School of Political Management of George Washington University, Domenica Montanara, lead editor for politics and digital audience for NPR.
While Just noted, “This has been a difficult time for journalist, to be called the enemy of the people or fake news is disheartening.” What such statements have done, however, is forced journalists to “be more specific about how many sources” and it has been “pushing journalists to be more clear with their audiences.”
“PBS Newshour” is ongoing, week nights.