U.S. Capitol Building Rotunda George Washington in Washington, DC
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Trends in American journalism tend to mirror those happening in society. Right now is no exception. There is a broad sense of malaise in the electorate at large—a perception that U.S. institutions are unable to adequately address the major problems of the day. That has led to a vague sense of dread, an exhausted helplessness among reality-based citizens about climate change, the seemingly endless coronavirus pandemic, and the fate of democracy itself.

Journalism has been similarly affected. Sometimes, for writers such as myself, staying abreast of the unfolding news and keeping readers informed can feel like a pointless exercise. Politicians often aren’t listening and are too frequently incapable of changing things; news readership is down across the board; and disinformation, fueled by right-wing propaganda, is pervasive on social media and cable news. In turn, the conservative infotainment machine—which feeds its followers with an endless stream of lies and deceit—has undercut the revenue sources of real news organizations and dangerously polarized the electorate.

Simply put, things can feel hopeless. But it is precisely at times like these that our perseverance is most important. Those who survive and thrive in periods of tumult and confusion are not those who never get tired—but those who keep fighting anyway.

We at the Washington Monthly are going to keep up the fight. But we need your help to do it.

The big newspapers do a lot of great work, but they are often forced into a culture of crafting false equivalences that misrepresent and understate the dangers of the far right. And the sea of disinformation is vast. The number of journalism outfits providing good information and telling the unvarnished truth as they see it is shrinking fast. What’s more, the Monthly continues to do what no other media organization does—we not only diagnose the problems that other outlets miss, we also offer solutions to those problems.

If our country is going to pull back from the brink of authoritarianism, become a responsible partner to solve the climate crisis, work to end the pandemic, and help to create a better and more equitable society, we will all need to shake off the doldrums and do it together.

Please join and help us by making a donation during our year-end fund-raising drive to keep the flame alive at times like these.

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Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.