2016 deja vu … It looks like the media is careening toward a starring role in a “Groundhog Day” sequel. On Election Day 2016, the media was caught off guard as Donald Trump won the presidency. The media reported that Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose — right up to the moment she lost. It was embarrassing, and it looks like we may be on track to see it again. Surely the media can’t be wrong again? Early signs point to “yes.”
What Senate wave? … For months, lefties in the MSM have been telling us about the coming Blue Wave that will give control of the Senate and House to the Democrats. History, of course, is on their side. The president’s party often loses legislative seats in the first midterm election. But as 2016 proved, there is nothing conventional about the Trump presidency. Now there are signs that the media may be wrong once again.
Axios is reporting that in at least five key battleground states, Democratic senators are in tremendous trouble. Trump won the states in 2016 and is polling well. In four out of the five, a generic Republican is polling better than the Democrat.
The problem … National media types continue to live inside their coastal bubbles. The majority of reporters who cover national political news live in the so-called Acela corridor between Boston and the District of Columbia. They may visit strange lands for an assignment, but they don’t share the same life experiences of the average Trump supporter or conservative voter. A few folks like former NPR CEO Ken Stern have made an effort to learn about the rest of America. But they are few and far between. These blind spots are going to continue to weaken media coverage of the midterm election. In November, there could be a lot more searching to find “what went wrong. “
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Sinclair … CNN’s media critic/cheerleader led off his daily newsletter with the screaming headline, “This is so manipulative.” He was referring to a script that a local news anchor for TV broadcaster Sinclair claimed was handed to staff to read on the air. The script supposedly attacked the national media for spreading “biased and false news.” Stelter expanded in a long piece at CNN.com.
This is, of course, an attack on Sinclair’s owners, who have the temerity to be conservatives. Stelter tweeted that the actions of Sinclair management amounted to “yet another corporate infringement on local journalism …” Wait, what? Of course the people signing the checks shape editorial coverage. The notion that they don’t or shouldn’t is ridiculous and of course does not apply at CNN, either. Not only that, it seems that Stelter may intentionally have tried to hide the fact that he based his thesis on wrong information. Here’s Sinclair’s Boris Epshteyn:
Hidden in the middle of this hit piece is an admission by @brianstelter that the original “document” he was “reporting” on was wrong. Sounds like someone’s sources aren’t very reliable. https://t.co/DngyXSnhyi
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) March 8, 2018
“Why does everyone hate the media?” … That’s the question that Nate Silver and his team at 538 tried to answer in an internet chat they published. I was pointed to the piece by Stelter’s email, which, in a way, is hilarious. You see, the 538 folks trace increased distrust of the media by Republicans to the hit jobs done on former President George W. Bush’s military service. The lead offender is one of the chief objects of Stelter’s undying affection: Dan Rather. D’oh.
Back to the piece. It is a good read about the distrust by people of both parties toward the media. One of the key things that struck me is how much Democrats’ trust in the media has skyrocketed after the election of Trump: from just above 50 percent to well over 70 percent today. The media is giving Democrats what they want — non-stop coverage of supposed Trump scandals — and Democrats are lapping it up.
I can’t think of a better gift to give on International Women’s Day than WTF MSM!? Can you? Well, maybe you can, and I’m not even sure this is a day you give gifts on. Though I imagine Hallmark will sell you a card. Giving the gift of WTF MSM!? is easy and free. Just send your favorite woman over to the WTF MSM!? signup page and ask her to fill out the form. Also remember to email me at [email protected] with story ideas and things you’ve seen the MSM do that make you scream WTF!
Robert Eno is the editor of the WTF MSM!? newsletter and director of retention for Blaze Media.