The Atlantic EIC Says Trump’s Attacks on Journalism ‘Go Unanswered’ Because ‘It Puts Us in an Uncomfortable Position’

Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg emphasized that journalists need to “lobby for ourselves” at TCA 2024

Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg attends the 58th annual National Magazine Awards (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for American Society of Magazine Editors)

The largely right-wing criticism of the media has continued because journalists aren’t used to defending themselves and their industry. At least, that’s the theory The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffery Goldberg proposed during the Television Critics Association’s 2024 winter tour.

“With Trump’s campaign and the Trump presidency, we’ve seen a lot of attacks that go unanswered partially because, I think, it puts us in an uncomfortable position,” Goldberg said Monday morning during a panel for PBS’ Washington Week with The Atlantic. “And partially because we’re just not used to telling people, ‘This is how we gather news, this is how we analyze information, this is how we correct our mistakes as we make them, this is why we do it.’”

Goldberg also said that journalists don’t do “a good job” explaining the intricacies of the industry and that younger generations, in particular, “have no understanding.”

“Into that vacuum can come some bad actors who want to dismiss the mainstream media as archaic or dishonest or whatever,” Goldberg said, before adding that there is “no such thing” as “mainstream media.” “There are different publishers that do things different ways.”

The media head also rebuked the idea that The Atlantic has a political bias and discussed the importance of being honest about its coverage of President Joe Biden.

“We’re not in the Resistance. We’re just journalists, and so journalists tend to try to figure out the best way to try and tell people what’s going on,” Goldberg said. “You can’t tell people people that Joe isn’t old. He is. He’s the oldest president we’ve ever had, and so it has to be covered. It has to be covered in a plain-spoken way.”

“Washington Week” has been part of PBS since 1967 and features a roundtable of journalists from publications and news organizations that discuss politics. In August 2023, Goldberg was named the long-running program’s 10th moderator.


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