Warren Henry makes a great point in his recent analysis of America’s infamous media bubble. No, there’s no quotes here around the phrase: media bubble. Because it is what it is. A big bi-coastal bubble. Here’s what Henry said in a newsletter a few days back:

It’s worth noting that for many years, journalism was considered a blue-collar job, one that could be done by ink-stained wretches without the artificial barriers of credentialing. It only became a gentrified, white-collar profession around the time people decided the job was more about being a paid left-leaning activist – “making the world a better place” in the post-Watergate argot.

And since journalism became white-collar, these more-educated, often better-paid, white-collar journalists tend to go where the jobs in their industry are, on the two coasts of course. That’s a broad brush to paint an industry with, but it’s not an inaccurate statement when it comes to major, national coverage. Whatever the specific media might be. Maybe talk radio is a notable exception to the centralizing bi-coastal trend in media. But the trend is there nonetheless. And that means, again according to Warren Henry:

The difference between those with a more globalist or nationalist viewpoint, between those with a conservative viewpoint or progressive viewpoint is both substantive and aesthetic, both economic and cultural.

No kidding. The gap is real. People are self-sorting along the above-mentioned cultural and political divides, almost down to the neighborhood level. And perhaps as or even more importantly, they are self-sorting in terms of media consumption. No, I don’t want to follow MSNBC, or, no I don’t want to watch Fox News. I don’t care what they say anymore. But the division gets even more granular than that. In her already near-viral interview, Samantha Bee a few days ago basically admitted that she and her production crew make her shows for themselves and people like themselves. Is that who Obama was complaining about?

Can this trend be modified? Does the general public – divided into cultural tribes – want it to be modified? Consider the NYT. A fricking cautious column by former Wall Street Journal writer Bret Stephens on how a modest, healthy skepticism towards any assertion by science – in this case, climate change – is a good thing, drew hysterical and angry denouncements by readers. Stephens didn’t even come close to saying climate change was fake or junk science. Just that science is not religion. It requires evidence and experiments that can be duplicated in controlled environments. Something hard if not impossible to do with climate. But even this modest column drew furious reactions from NYT subscribers and a movement to unsubscribe. Angry “loyalists” tweeted out how the NYT abandoned them. Scientists to the core, every screeching one of them.

And this was due to the NYT’s editorial intent to reflect the reality of America under a Trump presidency. A reality they have been practically negating and heavily criticizing, until this timid attempt at some balance in their pages.

Their colleagues at the New Yorker have gone the other way it would seem. In a smear job by Evan Osnos, they gleefully quote Never Trumpers, and even sucker NewsMax’s Ruddy into giving a quote or two, and then delve into the 25th amendment and how it could possibly be used to impeach President Trump. Including the fact that Trump is somewhat heavy for his height, according to what they think his weight might be. Yes, that’s right. Osnos speculates, among other things like narcissism, on President Trump’s weight while meditating on how to use the 25th amendment to declare him unfit and thus end his presidency.

NYT’s unsubscribed screechers are surely cheering Osnos’ ridiculous hit piece. Is that what a majority of NYT readers really want? In today’s America, it may very well be. And if that is indeed the case, then can there truly be national media anymore? That is, in a political and cultural sense. Economically, if you have the capital necessary to launch or maintain mainstream media platforms, then you’re national. But you are almost certainly not national in any other sense anymore.

Comments