(Fred Weinberg, Penny Press) I have, in the past, called NBC’s Chuck Todd the Ryan Seacrest of politics. (The difference is that American Idol is a serious talent show and Meet the Press doesn’t have judges.)
After watching the post election Meet the Press, I now actually believe that Seacrest actually is more erudite—at least in understanding real people—than Todd.
It took an editor of Progressive Farmer magazine, Chris Clayton, to explain that rural Americans resent (I’m paraphrasing) being told they’re uneducated because they may not have a college degree.
“Every time you heard about these polls, you had heard that educated white voters were, were going for Clinton, while people, with—without college degrees or had no college, supported Trump. I think they took some of these things that were said over and over throughout the last four, five months of the campaign, also very personally themselves. That rural America is not uneducated, even though maybe there are fewer people with college degrees than there might be in the metropolitan areas.”
In the words of millennials (and paraphrased by Homer Simpson), “Duh!”
Todd played the clip and then said this: “That stung me because I, when we would say these things, it was an academic exercise. But the minute he said it, I was, like, ‘Oh, my, my late father would’ve kicked me in the rear for that.’”
It’s not just Todd.
But he’s symptomatic of most of the mainstream media. It used to be that you got your first job in journalism at the entry level. You were promoted from an internal copywriting or production position to reporter. As a reporter, your job was, exclusively, to ask who, what, when, where and, if you had enough experience, why.
Today, you get a degree in journalism or broadcasting and you’re an instant expert.
There was a time when nobody in the industry gave a crap what anyone under 30 who worked at a media outlet thought because a) they had no life experience to measure against, and, b) they had not yet perfected the art of accurate reporting.
Today, everyone wants to be a pundit the day they get their first paycheck.
So you might wonder where all of this “reporting” at the mainstream media has led us?
The answer is to mainstream journalism’s funeral.
And the just completed election is Exhibit A of the autopsy.
I’d like to tell you how smart I am and how my 51 years in the media taught me what I wrote back in July of 2015 shortly after Donald Trump announced his run. Except that I’m not quite that smart and, even then, it was clearly foreseeable that he had a shot at the nomination and thus the Presidency. At least to someone who grew up in Peoria, Illinois and now practices this trade in Nevada.
But most “journalists” who live in the blue bubble of Washington, New York and Los Angeles openly sneered because most of those folks almost never talk to real people.
They don’t get that folks in most of the nation really resent being told we live in “flyover country” and “flyover country” is composed of “uneducated” white males who do not understand that we need to be told how to live by “journalists” who live in the progressive bubble. Or by their elected friends.
If this is the future of journalism, then you better prepare for life without it.
Because the very thing that each side accuses the other of—getting their news in an echo chamber—is happening on all sides.
You don’t believe it? Let’s look at some examples:
Jeff Bezos—who is a brilliant entrepreneur—bought the Washington Post for $250-million. Not so long ago, that company would have been valued in the Billions.
The New York Times—itself in horrible financial condition—bought the Boston Globe in 1993 for $1.1-Billion. It sold it in 2013 for $70-million.
My gut feeling is that years of left wing preaching by both of these news outlets reduced their value not because of all the technical reasons they immediately spout but because the average reader who just voted for Donald Trump no longer feels he or she needs to listen to punks tell them how “uneducated” they are.
ABC, CBS and NBC are next.
You can only keep feeding feces to folks for so long before the folks discover what’s really in the can. I’m pretty sure this election was the line in the sand for most people.