Much has been said about Sean Spicer’s crazy rant about Donald Trump’s hand  inauguration crowd size (aka #spicerfacts).

Kellyanne Conway, newly minted counselor to DJT, defended #spicerfacts by calling them “alternative facts” in an interview on Meet the Press. Like people were seriously going to say to themselves, “Oh I now see! They’re alternative facts! Now I understand and the world is flat.”

Between Saturday’s #spicerfacts and Sunday’s “alternative facts,” journalists had their hands full covering days two and three of the new administration. My husband, Rali, spent some time reading multiple outlets to analyze their coverage, writing:

“Time for a Facebook news feed bubble-check: if you want to know whether your go-to news source is going to turn a truly critical eye on the new administration go lookup their coverage of Press Secretary Spicer’s first briefing and his remarks on the size of the inauguration crowd. Do they calls his words a ‘falsehood,’ which is really just a nice way of calling him a liar? Or do they call his words a ‘misstatement,’ which implies he is wrong but leaves enough room to let him off the hook on the basis of ignorance? Worse still, do they characterize his words as ‘allegations,’ which suggests there is actual space for a debate based on a competing set of facts?

“Pay attention to the courageous false-sayers, be wary of the misstaters and be sure to keep an occasionally rolled-eye on the allegers so that you’re never surprised by the perspective of the 19%.”

Chuck Todd, to his credit, was not letting Conway get away with anything in that interview, immediately responding in that moment, “Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”

But in that same interview, Conway threatened Todd. Responding to Todd asserting that #spicerfacts were “falsehoods,” Conway threatened, “…if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

This is a theme we are seeing and should expect to continue seeing over and over in this administration: if journalists dig too deep and report verifiable facts, they will be threatened and shunned (see CNN’s Jim Acosta at DJT’s shitshow press conference).

And this brings me to our action.

ACTION OF THE DAY, JANUARY 24: Thank or call out your local press.

Journalists are the original watchdogs. We need journalists to stay vigilant and report on the actual facts, not parrot back “alternative facts” or give equal time to both sides when one side is blatantly lying.

Today, take five minutes to write a letter to the editor of your local paper, or radio or television news program.

Letters to the editor often get overlooked because people think of them as something they should write only when they want it to be published. They don’t need to be – they can be just be a quick letter you write in because you care, much like a letter you might dash off to your Member of Congress about a nomination you oppose or the company that made your favorite lotion but recently changed its formula.

Here are two example letters you are welcome to use or borrow as it applies, using Monday’s reception at the White House, in which DJT continued to talk about the elections and how the only reason he lost the popular vote was because of all those illegal votes cast. I wrote each of them in less than five minutes.

Thankful

Dear Editor:

I am a [loyal reader/listener/viewer] [and subscriber/member if applicable].

[Your outlet] has been doing an excellent job of covering the Trump administration. I appreciate that your journalists have been reporting about what the administration has been doing and saying, and clearly explaining what is and is not true. Your headline on Monday evening, “Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote,” is a great example of this.

I know that journalists are being vilified in this new age of “alternative facts,” but please know that there are a lot of people [reading/listening/watching] who support the work that you are doing. Please keep it up.

Sincerely,

Critical

Dear Editor:

I am a [loyal reader/listener/viewer] [and subscriber/member if applicable].

I am concerned about the coverage [your outlet] has been doing of the Trump administration. There are times in which your reporter[s] appear to be parroting what is being said or done by the administration but not offering enough context about the facts.

For example, in Monday’s article about President Trump’s reception for Congressional leadership, [your outlet] reported that Trump made allegations about 3-5 million illegal votes cast that cost him the popular vote. To use Kellyanne Conway’s now infamous phrase, that is an “alternative fact,” better known as a falsehood. There is absolutely no evidence that any illegal votes were cast, let alone 3-5 million. Studies and courts have found virtually no evidence of voter fraud whatsoever in the United States.

Journalists are the original watchdogs of our government. I rely on your coverage to give me honest, verifiable information about what is taking place in Washington, DC. Please report on the facts with context.

Sincerely,

You are of course welcome to call the editor instead, but know that you are often encouraged to just write a letter.

**BONUS ACTION**

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local newspaper and public radio station. For one, your letters to the editor are more powerful coming from a subscriber. Plus, we need journalists around to do their watchdogging!

**BONUS #SPICERFACT**

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