12 Steps for Media Sobriety: A Post-Trump Recovery Plan

"Now that you've almost tanked the Republic, here's how to win back the public trust & your own self-respect"

  1. This all started with a discussion with @VgonzalesUSC on the night of the 2nd Presidential Debate, between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Vince is the head of the graduate journalism program at USC-Annenberg (thus the "-USC" at the end of his Twitter handle), and was commenting on why NBC sat on the now-notorious tapes of Trump saying sexist things on Billy Bush's Misogny Party Bus leaving it to the Washington Post to break the story.
  2. My response was that the corporate lawyers at NBC were probably freaking out at Trump's tendency to threaten lawsuits against anyone who dares to criticize him. Meanwhile, over at the WaPo, they've got Jeff Bezos standing behind them, and, well, compared to the bitter suits over patent minutia in Silicon Valley, a plain old libel suit from Trump would be like paddling around in the kiddie pool, rather than swimming with sharks.
  3. It started with a question from Karen Foshay
  4. This was my response:
  5. Vince replied:
  6. So. With the concept of the frightening 2016 presidential campaign being just a symptom of a deeper illness - that of the media being willing to put absolutely ANYTHING on the air in order to push a ratings bump ...
  7. Well, if there's an addiction situation, there should be the familiar 12 steps of recovery to try to get over it. Vince was apparently delighted with the concept.
  8. ...and came up with the name for this Storify.
  9. If you're unfamiliar with the 12 steps, here they are:
  10. Step 1

    We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.

    Step 2

    Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    Step 3

    Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

    Step 4

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    Step 5

    Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    Step 6

    Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

    Step 7

    Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

    Step 8

    Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    Step 9

    Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    Step 10

    Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    Step 11

    Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

    Step 12

    Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
  11. So here are our 12 Steps. Vince leads off with the First Six:

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