Media and the Millennials

Media and the Millennials

By Steve Hunley

Now that Donald Trump has been elected President, Hollywood celebrities are signing petitions to ask Republican electors to vote for Hillary Clinton, while some millennials are taking to the streets to protest.  One is about as logical as the other.  The day after the election, the New York Times published an over the fold headline lamenting Trump’s election to highlight the grief and mourning of one half of the nation.  The banner headline in the Times screamed:”Democrats, Students And Foreign Allies Face the Reality of a Trump Presidency.”

Had Hillary Clinton been elected do you suppose the New York Times would have published a similar story about the pain of the other half of the nation?  No!  Had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee and lagged far behind in the polls and pulled out a win, do you imagine for a moment we would have seen similar headlines the day after the election?  Indeed not.

Therein lies the problem.   Writer Michael Cieply, who worked for the New York Times, published an interesting story, which quoted Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, as slowly realizing “that New York is not the real world.”  Cieply also quoted Times public editor Liz Spayd as saying, “As the Times begins a period of self – reflection, I hope its editors will think hard about the half of America the paper seldom covers.”  Cieply recalled being shocked when told the Times editors solemnly described  “the paper’s daily Page One meeting” as ‘We set the agenda for the country in that room.’”  Cieply had been stunned to realize working at the New York Times reporters were expected to “match stories with what internally was often called ‘the narrative’.”  Cieply admitted reporters were frequently expected to detail a year’s worth of stories to fit that particular “narrative” set by the editors.

Most folks have realized there is such a thing as journalistic bigotry, which seeps into what is supposed to be news.  Quite obviously, Trump’s election did not fit the narrative of the mainstream media.

The territory between New York City and Los Angeles is vast and used to be referred to as the “Heartland of America.”  Michael Cieply remembered, “I couldn’t even find a copy of the Times on a stop in college town Durham, N. C.  To believe the national agenda was being set in a conference room in a headquarters on Manhattan’s Times Square required a very special mind-set indeed.”

Yet the mind-set of the New York Times editors was shared by a great many others in the mainstream media, whose reportage was less news than narrative.  Too many reporters are less journalists than part of whatever story they are peddling or writing.  There has been little attempt on the part of journalists to understand the other half of America, except to denounce them as ill-educated, racist, deplorables or homophobes.  While Obama worried about who could use which bathroom, Donald Trump talked about jobs and the economy.  Those living in the heartland stared at vacant factories and boarded up buildings along main streets, as Obama and the mainstream media cried we must lift up the least of us, forgetting entirely about the folks who have traditionally worked hard to pay their bills and make a decent life for their families.  Those forgotten folks represent one half of America and they voted, much to the surprise of many millennials.

Quite a few of those millennials are used to having their feelings considered and their dismay over the election of Donald Trump is understandable in light of a society that pushes the notion there are no winners or losers.  These millennials received their participation trophies, where there are no winners or losers, and are now taking to the streets to share their poor little hurt feelings because they lost.  It is a hard reality for many of them, at least half of whom are underemployed or still dependent upon their parents.  In a country where “diversity” and feelings are more important than achievement, it is easy to understand the disappointment of millennials.  School systems catering to that point of view have ill prepared students to succeed and it remains far easier to fail than succeed.

Now the media is blaming the voters.  To vote for Trump one must be sexist, racist, stupid, ad nauseum.  It seems unlikely the press is going to regain its credibility by hectoring one half of the electorate.  Perhaps the mainstream media would do better to try and understand the values and concerns of that half of the electorate, which by and large, are those of good, hardworking people who want the best for their families and country.

If not, let me paraphrase Barack Obama: you lost, get over it.

 

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