Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Birds of a Feather

Writing for Politico, Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty tackle the issue of why most of the media so badly missed predicting who would win the 2016 election. They argue it is the old cliche "where you sit determines where you stand" taking another bite at the apple; in this case "sit" meaning where people work and live.

As media moved from bricks and mortar local newspapers to Internet publishing, the jobs became more and more concentrated along the coasts in the major media markets, places where Clinton won by large margins. It reminds of that famous Pauline Kael quote:
I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They are outside my ken.
Shafer and Doherty point out that same thing is true for nearly all of the national press and Internet media writers. Few who live or work near them vote R, voting D is what one does. And a key insight the authors have:
Journalism tends toward the autobiographical unless reporters and editors make a determined effort to separate themselves from the frame of their own experiences.
The best political writers always made that effort - David Broder, for example. Most do not.

The Shafer and Doherty article makes much sense and is worth your time. Their "solution" to the problem is the only lame part of their piece. To be fair, nobody really knows how to solve the problem since we Rs mostly moved to the country to hang with likeminded folk.

Birds of a feather, flocking together.