No such thing as media bias, eh? On the set of Morning Joe, both Mark Halperin and Joe Scarborough beg to differ after seeing the New York Times’ coverage of the election. Did they headline the results by noting that American voters had rejected the status quo, or issued a rebuke to Democrats who had held the White House for eight years? Acknowledge that the anti-establishment passion had finally coalesced into an electoral outcome? Er … not exactly. It’s almost a realization of the old parody about liberal-media headlines — “WORLD ENDS: WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT.”
As Mika Brzezinski interjects at one point, it’s not just the Gray Lady, either (via NewsAlert):
The actual headline, splashed across all eight columns at the top of the front page, is hilariously indicative of the kind of progressive hysteria on display at media outlets everywhere. “DEMOCRATS, STUDENTS AND FOREIGN ALLIES FACE THE REALITY OF A TRUMP PRESIDENCY.” The subhed is almost as bad: Grief and Glee as an Administration Once Unthinkable Takes Shape.
“This is about them,” Brzezinski declared, rather than about the news itself. That’s always been the case, and it has become clear that voters have gotten fed up with it. The media stopped bothering with subtlety in this election and made it clear to voters that their purpose was to lecture people and shame voters into their groupthink. Attempting to divorce that effort from the reaction to it, or merely limiting it to the media’s inability to recognize the massive rejection of their orthodoxy, is nothing more than a form of the same denial.
Will Rahn offers a forceful argument at CBS about the media’s biases having become toxic, and its practitioners the kind of elitists that voters just rejected:
You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.
This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!
That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.
Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.
That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.
As a direct result,.
Voters certainly got the message from the media elites. Will they get the response? So far, as this Gray Lady headline demonstrates, the prospects don’t look good.