September 21, 2019 icon depicting Clear weather 55°F

David Zurawik

Sean Spicer, Ray Lewis and the way we let media sanitize, monetize, bad behavior as entertainment

Sean Spicer undermined democracy with White House lies, while Ray Lewis obstructed justice in a murder investigation. And they are what passes for prime-time entertainment on network TV in 2019. Shame on them, shame on us.

Joe Biden holds his own with a little help from some debate rivals. That aid could be the real news here.

Former Vice President Joe Biden held his own in Thursday's debate, but the real story might be the Democratic rivals who chose to shut down an attack on him.

Zurawik: Ken Burns connects once again with the soul of America in ‘Country Music’

Ken Burns remains in a class by himself as a documentary filmmaker with "Country Music," the eight-part, 16-hour films premiering Sunday on PBS.

Brian Williams is making ‘The 11th Hour’ the most important hour of the cable news night

MSNBC's Brian Williams and his production team have made “The 11th Hour” into the “Nightline” of this new media age, the one indispensable news program of the day.

Showtime’s ‘City on a Hill’ gets crime, grime, crooked cops and East Coast, urban life right

Showtime's "City on a Hill" takes place in '90s Boston, but it speaks to our polarized present.

WBAL-TV to launch Saturday night show featuring 98 Rock morning team

WBAL-TV to launch Saturday night show featuring 98 Rock morning team.

MPT rebooting ‘The McLaughlin Group’ with controversial Pat Buchanan as a regular

Maryland Public Television is rebooting “The McLaughlin Group" and it will include Pat Buchanan, a controversial right-wing figure, among its regular panelists.

Zurawik: Trump-inspired attacks on Baltimore continue in Facebook ads. We could be watching this all the way through 2020.

The racist Baltimore-is-hell-and-black-leaders-are-to-blame narrative that Trump lit a fire under with his tweets on July 27 is still very much with us in social media, particularly in Facebook ads and YouTube videos.

David Zurawik: Mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton are one narrative President Trump cannot control

So far, the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have proved to be one narrative that President Donald Trump can’t control or move the media off of with his words or actions.

Zurawik: Trump tweets started a conversation about Baltimore, but it is polarized, social-media nasty and going nowhere

Tracking the discussion in the media about Baltimore since Trump started blasting away at Congressman Elijah Cummings and his 7th Congressional District, which includes a large part of Baltimore, I am distressed and depressed.

Zurawik: Biden holds his own, Harris struggles, Booker, Gillibrand, Gabbard come on strong in Democratic debate

Wednesday’s debate again exposed some of the heavy baggage Joe Biden brings with him, but it also gave Democrats a better sense of how he might fare in a TV confrontation with Donald Trump.

Zurawik: Sanders, Warren bring passion, energy, conviction to first CNN Democratic debate

CNN's first debate provided viewers with a clear look at differences in the Democratic party between progressive like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and more moderates candidates.

As furor over Trump’s Baltimore tweets continues, CNN host asks how the press should cover them

CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter asked how the press should cover President Trump's ugly tweets, David Zurawik writes.

Trump’s Twitter attack on Cummings and Baltimore: undiluted racism and hate

After three years of denouncing President’s Trump’s use of media to attack, denigrate and, yes, spew racist hate, there are days when I think I do not have a drop of vitriol left for what he’s doing to this country. And then comes something like his Twitter attack on Elijah Cummings and Baltimore, which is the congressman’s home and the heart of his district.

HLN revisits murder of Virginia lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love

I am not a fan of true-crime docu-series. They are sometimes exploitative of the violence involved in such cases and they don’t always show the commitment to facts that documentaries and legacy journalism do. But HLN's “Killer on Campus" avoids most of the sins of the genre.

After big buildup, Mueller testimony is another reminder that TV hearings will not save us

The Mueller hearings gave us another reminder that TV hearings will not save us from the confused and angry political space we now inhabit, David Zurawik writes.

HBO’s ‘Unmasking Jihadi John’ takes us inside the dark power of social media for propaganda and evil

As a media critic, what I can’t stop thinking about after screening HBO's "Unmasking Jihadi John" are not so much the grisly murders he committed on camera for the world to see, but rather the way he used social media and transgression to become for a time the most feared terrorist on the planet.

Zurawik: Trump defiantly quadruples down on insulting The Squad on his roadshow of transgression

Watching President Donald Trump drinking in the chants and applause Wednesday night, I thought he not only knows how well transgression works for him, he enjoys it.

‘The Great Hack’ has awful news about our personal data being weaponized against us, democracy

As the 2020 presidential campaign accelerates with Democratic debates and the official launch of Donald Trump’s re-election effort, "The Great Hack" is a must-see documentary for anyone who uses social media and cares about democracy. Is your data being weaponized against you?

Zurawik: Trump’s social media summit was a green light for far-right operatives to let it rip in 2020 race

President Trump's social media summit was a green light for some of the more reckless and dangerous operatives on the far right to let it rip in the 2020 presidential campaign -- doing their worst in spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories, doctored videos and memes that discredit Democrats or any other Trump targets no matter how false or vile the productions might be.

Zurawik: Post-World Cup, the media swells with winning images of women, but let’s not forget who still holds cultural power

Even as we celebrate the triumph of our U.S. women's national soccer team this week, a wall of patriarchy remains from prime time to presidential politics in our popular culture.

ProPublica and NBC show how righteous media serve democracy

One reason ProPublica is doing such great work in documenting hate during the Trump era is found in its embrace of the role of journalism as a "moral force."

Disney Channel sets writing scholarship in memory of Eunetta T. Boone

Funding a scholarship in Eunetta T. Boone’s name to help other writers get the kind of chance she received seems like an especially apt way to memorialize her.

Roger Ailes on Showtime: The ugly legacy of a media monster

How Roger Ailes used Fox News to bend the arc of media toward propaganda and away from news. In a democracy, that's an existential development.

Zurawik: Night 2 of Democrats debate hotter, better than a winning Night 1

It feels like we might have seen the torch of leadership in the 2020 Democratic race seized from Joe Biden on that TV stage in Miami Thursday night.

Zurawik: Democratic debate draws large national and Baltimore audiences on first night

NBC’s telecast of the debate was the top-rated prime-time show in Baltimore Wednesday night doubling the audience for the nearest competition.

Democratic debate, Night 1: Technical glitches aside, this is what a conversation about democracy sounds like

NBC’s first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night was worthy of high praise for its informed and spirited conversation about democracy.

Zurawik: Trump's got Twitter thumbs poised to troll Democratic debates. Will media let him get away with it?

Trump will do his dirty dance of Twitter transgression during this election, that's a given. But we in the media must resist the temptation to dance along.

More criticism for Sinclair over 'code red' weather warnings

Sinclair is facing criticism again — this time over its weather reporting.

Social media, toxic masculinity make big trouble in Ohio town, throughout the culture today

Toxic masculinity taught, learned and writ large under Friday Night lights and in drunken Saturday night parties ending in rape. All social media amplified.