By Damon Linker | 11 June 2020
THE WEEK — When we think about revolutions, we envision acts of violence: the storming and overrunning of barricades, the sharpening of guillotine blades, regicide. But what’s most essential to revolution isn’t the bloodletting. It’s the change in regime — the shift in the orienting principles or ideals of the community or organization. Whether individuals in power hang on to their positions or are deposed matters less than whether the prevailing standards the community or organization looks up to, admires, and reveres fundamentally shift. When such a shift occurs, a revolution has been accomplished.
We’ve living through a revolutionary moment in American journalism right now.
It’s been building slowly over the past few years. A conservative or centrist pundit pens a controversial column — or a news story treats with empathy a person or group expressing views at odds with progressive convictions — and a firestorm ignites on Twitter, with staffers at the news organization that published the offending piece joining with peers at other outlets and ideologically allied readers in expressing fury at the decision to run the article or op-ed.
These storms have become more frequent and more severe as the insults and provocations of the Trump administration have piled up. But only in the past two weeks, as protests against the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer have spread across the country and the president has spoken and acted precipitously in response, have they exploded into outright newsroom rebellions. […]