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An imaginary solution to the real problem of rampant media bias

by | Apr 26, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Earlier today we reposted a fine piece of analysis by Tim Graham, who was examining a story that appeared in the very liberal POLITICO journal under the headline, “The Media Bubble is Worse than you Think.”

As good and as plentiful as Graham’s insights are, there is much more to say when POLITICO, a core-member of the liberal media establishment, airs Big Media’s collective dirty laundry. By way of preface the real objective of the POLITICO story written by Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty is not to bemoan Group Think; or even figure out how everybody who is everybody assumed Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, would be the next President.

It’s rather to find a benign way of explaining how the media bubble is worse than ever but without assigning conscious bias.  In other words, Shafer and Doherty want to offer a counter-explanation for how “big media” could “miss the Donald Trump swell ” to the conservatives’ conclusion that the “Democrat-infested press was knowingly in the tank for Clinton all along.”

Their explanation, reduced to a couple of sentences, begins with a truism: the “media landscape” has changed. Newspapers are vanishing and more reporting is done via the Internet, and the hubs where the people who produce the stories is almost entirely in Blue country. “The map at the top of this piece shows how concentrated media jobs have become in the nation’s most Democratic-leaning counties,” they write.

Put another way (my comparison here) just as the leadership of the Democratic Party is almost exclusively from the two coasts and thus dangerously out of touch with the rest of the country, the “media bubble” is “concentrated heavily along the coasts.”

Today, for example,”73 percent of all internet publishing jobs are concentrated in either the Boston-New York-Washington-Richmond corridor or the West Coast crescent that runs from Seattle to San Diego and on to Phoenix.” This is at the expense of newspapers, with their connections to local communities.

Thus, as they put it, “If you’re a working journalist, odds aren’t just that you work in a pro-Clinton county—odds are that you reside in one of the nation’s most pro-Clinton counties.”

Hmmm. Here a couple thoughts. As others have pointed out, it’s not as if (as Shafer and Doherty imply) this bubble just got demonstrably worse since 2008. Anyone who has watched Big Media for decades, like yours truly, knows there was no golden age of media impartiality. “Non-liberals” have been as rare as hens teeth for forever.

The real difference is in attitude. In the “old days,” media liberals (almost all of whom were–as they are today–pro-abortion) would just brush your accusations off. They knew they were “ journalists.”

Nowadays, the occupants of the media bubble get really angry when you point out the obvious–that the hostility to Donald Trump is so overwhelming, it skews everything. Or they will admit as much but tell us they are “saving democracy.” The irony that by making every development fit a predetermined story line, it is they who are the danger to democracy is entirely lost on them.

One other thought. As media jobs “cluster” for almost entirely reasons of economics, they tell us, the result is

“If you look at the maps on the next page, you don’t need to be a Republican campaign strategist to grasp just how far the ‘media bubble’ has drifted from the average American experience. Newspaper jobs are far more evenly scattered across the country, including the deep red parts. But as those vanish, it’s internet jobs that are driving whatever growth there is in media—and those fall almost entirely in places that are dense, blue and right in the bubble.”

So what do you do to counter/expand/deflate the media bubble?

Ah…nothing. Birds of a feather flock together and “reeducation camps or a splurge of diversity hiring” will make little to no difference.

I take that back. There is one solution. “Journalists hate getting beat” and, boy, did they get beat in covering the 2016 presidential election. So “when their vanity is punctured with proof that they blew a story that was right in front of them,” well, that’ll change things.

A real editor, someone whose sensibilities are not conditioned by living in the media bubble, would ask this:

If looking like out-of-touch elitist morons–aka “getting beat”–will make a difference, then you’d expect some evidence that reporters and columnists are no longer “drifting out to sea.” That is, they would cover President Trump with just a smidgeon of objectivity, at least on occasion.

In fact, as hard as they were on Trump in 2016, they are worse–and proudly so–in 2017!

No, Mr. Shafer and Mr. Doherty, your “solution” misses the boat. It doesn’t bother members of the media bubble to “get beat” (that is, entirely misread the electorate).

What matters is beating Donald Trump.

Categories: Media Bias