Fresh from being pilloried by President Donald Trump in his first solo press conference, journalists gathered in Washington for a National Press Foundation event that was part awards ceremony, part soul-searching, part solidarity meeting.
The mood was captured by ABC chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, winner of the Sol Taishoff award for excellence in broadcast journalism (the award is named after B&C's co-founder and editor).
Raddatz said there was a "crisis of faith" in the country, and it starts with journalists. Americans don't trust each other anymore. They don't trust their government of their institutions. As many politicians and pundits will tell you, they don't trust us either."
She said that lack of trust was "dangerous," saying: "If we cannot agree on the facts, we cannot agree on a response. And this country faces enormous challenges that demand a response."
She said it was "on us, the much-maligned media, to win that trust back." She said that will come from doing "thorough, honest reporting."
She suggested that effort was already well underway. "That is why it inspiring to me to see the work of so many fellow reporters this year doing just that."
Raddatz pointed out that a new bombshell revelation was being dropped every night. "just as everyone else is finally trying to fall asleep." At about the time she was speaking, some in the room were accessing a new story in the Wall Street Journalthat Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner had met with Time Warner execs in the past few weeks to express the Administration's displeasure with CNN's coverage. Not that the President has made any secret of that, accusing CNN of "fake news," and earlier in the day upping his view to "Very fake news."
Raddatz praised her colleagues and competitors, including Fox's Chris Wallace and CNN's Jake Tapper. She conceded that they were all in constant competition for "the latest scoop or the next blockbuster report." But she suggested it was a "team of rivals in constant pursuit of the truth," adding: "I'm so proud to be on this team."
Former New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt, who received the W.M. Kiplinger Award for distinguished contributions to journalism, said that "in the fact of a concerted effort to undermine their legitimacy, reporters, editors and their companies are standing tall, not as an opposition party but as journalists devoted to the facts."
Saying it was the heart of what journalists do, he urged his audience to "get the truth and print it."