This is a column from Lever Weekly, our once-a-week review of what happened over the last week, exclusively for our paid subscribers.
When The Lever’s rail safety reporting suddenly dominated the national news cycle, I thought we had found an elusive glitch in the matrix — a story so powerful, so rooted in indisputable evidence, and so widely amplified that its most important facts could not be manipulated or suppressed.
This, I imagined, could be a rare moment in which politicians, corporate media, and people of all political persuasions would have to fess up to all the truths that we reported — the inconvenient truths exposing both political parties’ complicity in the deregulation of America’s railroads.
Two weeks later, I’m gratified that our reporting has successfully shamed and forced regulators into finally promising to improve policy. It will take more pressure to compel them to follow through, but this is a huge achievement — and proof that our subscribers’ support of our work is making a real impact.
However, even after our team landed a full-page New York Times op-ed and our work was featured on major media platforms, my dream of an inflection point of honesty has proven to be wishful thinking.
The partisan ghost still haunts the media machine, compelling it to tell only liberals’ preferred Donald Trump story, and avoid the Barack Obama cautionary tale — one that is just as significant, but might offend liberal audiences conditioned to reward only pro-Democrat, anti-Republican content.