Martha Raddatz: ‘There Is a Crisis of Faith in This Country, Starting With Us’

By Chris Ariens Comment

MarthaRaddatz

After a day that saw the news media squarely in the crosshairs of President Trump, the National Press Foundation presented its annual awards in Washington, D.C. last night. The Washington Post took home two awards, while the Houston Chronicle took home one. The Sol Taishoff award for Excellence in Broadcasting went to Martha Raddatz, ABC’s intrepid foreign affairs correspondent and co-host of This Week.

In her remarks, Raddatz talked about the “crisis of faith in this country, starting with us.”

Americans don’t trust each other anymore, they don’t trust their government or their institutions, and as many politicians and pundits will tell you, they certainly don’t trust us… when a battle with the press can be used as a distraction, at a time when journalists — and now their sources — are increasingly under threat, one can be justifiably angry at the challenges to the First Amendment. But we cannot and should not take that bait. Instead, we must simply do our jobs.

She concluded, “If I sound pessimistic — I promise: I’m not. This is a great time to be a journalist.”

Here are Raddatz’s remarks, in full:

Thank you very much to the National Press Foundation for this honor — to ABC News, to my family…I am honored to be given this award, but I am accepting this award not just for me, but for all of us, for every reporter, producer, editor, researcher, photographer and fact checker. It has been an unbelievable year of journalism — of courageous, relentless, expositional, deep-diving, nuanced reporting, striving continuously for one thing — the truth.

The truth has become even trickier to track down these days. For what has been called the Information Age, there is so much misinformation — and disinformation — out there, and it is a challenge for so many of us to keep up, let alone for the millions of Americans who have full-time jobs to work and families to take care of. For folks on both sides of the aisle, it’s so easy to be outraged; it’s so much harder to understand the context

But that’s what makes the press that much more important right now. There is a crisis of faith in this country, starting with us. Americans don’t trust each other anymore, they don’t trust their government or their institutions, and as many politicians and pundits will tell you, they certainly don’t trust us. That’s dangerous. If we cannot agree on the facts, we cannot agree on a response — and this country faces enormous challenges that demand a response. It’s on us, the much-maligned media, to win that trust back—-and we do it by doing what we do day in and day out — thorough, honest reporting.

And that’s what is inspiring to me—to see the work of so many fellow reporters this year, doing just that. It seems a different journalist is uncovering a new bombshell revelation every night just as everyone else is trying to finally fall asleep. And every day, I’m sharpened and pushed further by the work of my colleagues at ABC and other networks and outlets. I have to say thank you to ABC’s Jonathan Karl — but also to CNN’s Jake Tapper and Fox’s Chris Wallace — and of course, so many of our colleagues and partners in print — Adam Entous, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post; Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo at the New York Times. This week, it was them; last week, it was many of you; and next week, I’m sure, there will be many more.

We are all in constant competition for the latest scoop, for the next blockbuster report. We are rivals, no doubt. But it is a team of rivals — a fellowship based on that common pursuit of the truth — of informing our fellow citizens about what is happening in this great democracy and around the world and what it means for them. And it’s part of what makes this country great. I’m so proud to be on this team.

I must add that in this global age, when we say around the world, we really mean the whole world — from North Korea to Nigeria; Moscow to Mexico City. The fearlessness of our fiercest White House correspondent pales in comparison to the courage of our overseas colleagues. They bring us the news from around the globe — of a world so swiftly-moving and complex that it defies simple labels like “dangerous” or “scary.” I have joined them many times over the years, but these are the journalists out there every day. We thank them for being our eyes, for risking their lives for this profession — as they bring us powerful stories from the frontlines against ISIS, from behind the Great Firewall in China, from the Ebola hot zones, and more.

So when we think of them, or the journalists in this city on this day when a battle with the press can be used as a distraction, at a time when journalists — and now their sources — are increasingly under threat, one can be justifiably angry at the challenges to the First Amendment. But we cannot and should not take that bait. Instead, we must simply do our jobs. I learned from reporting in conflict zones that you have to focus on the story, no matter the incoming. Because this is not about us; it is about the public and its understanding of the truth.

If I sound pessimistic — I promise: I’m not. This is a great time to be a journalist — and such an important time. Now more than ever, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards — to study every detail, fact check every statement, know every nuance. The stakes are high, the scrutiny is intense, and the margins for error are miniscule.

Thank you again for this great honor. Onwards — there is much more work to do.

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