No Minister

What journalists don’t know

An interesting article on the topic of how increasingly disconnected journalists are from the societies they live in and report on.

It’s from a US perspective but I think the same thing applies in NZ. Sure, there are journalists for Farmers Weekly and the like, but the dominant faces and voices are concentrated in Auckland and Wellington.

This is Charles Cook in National Review; Have Journalists Ever Met the People They Write About?

This isn’t a conservative-vs.-progressive thing. It’s not a Republican-vs.-Democrat thing. It’s not a coastal-elite-vs.-flyover-country thing. It’s not even a Trump thing. It’s a journalists-vs.-normal-people thing. Outside of the narcissistic and incestuous Thunderdome that houses the American media, it remains the case that people simply do not think in the way that the Beltway-media class believes they do.

They are not traumatized by the daily news. They do not make key life decisions based upon the behavior of the president, nor wait for him to leave office before deciding that they are so disturbed that they no longer wish to work. They are not fixated upon the latest congressional MacGuffin or the implications of a given riot or the occasional mistakes of the police. And when they are looking to enjoy a good “cultural drama,” they do not look for it in the same places as the editors of the Washington Post do.

Only journalists and politicians do that. Why? Because they’re freaks. I mean that quite seriously, and I happily include myself in the description.

Cough … freaks … cough. Yes, well the difference is that freaks like moi don’t have a platform reaching vast numbers of people, and I’m well aware of where I sit in society:

People who argue about the national news every day are straight-up oddities — doubly so when they do it from New York or Washington, D.C.; triply so if they do it in pursuit of a comprehensible political ideology; and quadruply so if they do it using the digital funhouse we call Twitter. Don’t mistake me: There’s nothing wrong per se with being a weirdo. It’s a free country.

But there is a lot wrong with being a weirdo who is totally unaware that he is a weirdo. And there’s even more wrong with being a weirdo who spends his days projecting his own interests, obsessions, anxieties, pathologies, and ideologies onto an unwitting and normal population that is nothing at all like him, while claiming that he is giving a voice to that same unwitting and normal population. Increasingly, I see it accepted that “Twitter isn’t real life.” Well, journalism isn’t, either, I’m afraid.

It reminds me much of Englishmen Clive Crook, who wrote a very interesting article in 2015 analysing the rise of Trump by contrasting the area he lived and worked in – Washington D.C – with the area he was going to retire in, West Virginia, Donald Trump, Class Warrior:

I’m a British immigrant, and grew up in a northern English working-class town. Taking my regional accent to Oxford University and then the British civil service, I learned a certain amount about my own class consciousness and other people’s snobbery. But in London or Oxford from the 1970s onwards I never witnessed the naked disdain for the working class that much of America’s metropolitan elite finds permissible in 2016.

That’s a hell of statement coming from a product of the English class system. And the US MSM are right in with those attitudes. Back to Cook’s article:

Once again, I must ask: Has the average member of the press corps ever actually met anyone in America?

Written by Tom Hunter

June 25, 2021 at 1:36 pm

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