From the book — The Elitist Media: They’re Not Listening — How the Elites Created The Nationalist Populist Revolution
The Elitist Media
The media is obsessed with democratic representation. It’s not just in Congress, as was mentioned in the last chapter; it’s in all walks of life. Google the phrase “there aren’t enough women in” or “there aren’t enough people of colour in” and immediately you find over 479 million and 200 million articles and videos on each subject, respectively.
There are countless academic studies, articles in respected publications, and tweets by journalists with blue checkmarks about how various institutions are not proportionally representative of society as a whole. One of the worst offenders of not having proportional representation is the American media, but it’s not just because there aren’t enough women or people of colour.
Salena Zito, a Pennsylvania-based writer who was one of the few journalists to correctly predict Trump would win the 2016 election, said a huge problem with the news industry was the lack of intellectual diversity and journalists of working-class backgrounds. “Another problem with newsrooms is a lack of diversity,” Zito said at the City Club of Cleveland, “I’m not just talking about not enough minorities, because there’s not enough minorities in newsrooms.
There’s also not enough people that come from a state school, there’s not enough people that come from the zip codes in the centre of the country, there’s not enough people that grew up in a blue-collar background, there’s not enough people that go to church on Sunday, there’s not enough people who own a gun, that go hunting, or concealed carry for protection.”78
Zito is right: journalists in America are a pretty homogeneous crowd that aren’t representative of the nation. They’re overly educated (92 percent have a college degree), overwhelmingly registered Democrat (just 7 percent are Republi-can), and are mostly confined to major cities like New York and Washington, D.C. Journalists and Americans that voted for Trump in 2016 are not just segregated by economics, culture, and education.
Journalists also don’t physically live in places that voted for Trump or any Republican for that matter. According to one study, 61 percent of people employed in the publishing industry worked in counties that President Obama won in 2008; 32 percent of them lived in landslide counties where he won them by thirty points or more. By 2016, that number grew to 72 percent of people in the publishing industry lived in Clinton counties and 51 percent lived in counties that Clinton won in a thirty-or-more-point landslide.
Only 11 percent lived in counties Trump won in a landslide. Not much is different overseas, according to a survey conducted by City University London: 98 percent of recent and 86 percent of all British journalists are university-educated. An astounding 36 percent hold master’s degrees; that’s nearly the same amount of the adult population with any university degree. As is the case in America, they disproportionately live in areas that voted to remain in the EU. A whopping 36 percent of all journalists live in London, a city that houses just 13 percent of the British population.
People in the media had the cultural, educational, and political characteristics of cosmopolitan voters. That was the world most of them understood and the viewpoint they represented in their work. Many journalists became ideologically driven to defend globalism and denigrate national populists. In the vote for Brexit, thirty major British newspapers and magazines endorsed the Remain campaign, double the amount of major publications that supported Leave.
During the 2016 US presidential election, the weight of the media was even more one-sided. More than five hundred daily, weekly, college, and international newspapers and magazines endorsed Clinton for president. Trump received just twenty-eight endorsements. It’s not just in endorsements, but also in coverage.
The day after Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron came in the top two positions in the first round of the French presidential election, the French media portrayed Macron’s second-round victory as inevitable.85 The NBC Nightly News announced after Trump’s victory, “deeper concerns tonight that the world’s shining light of democracy has gone dark.” New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman laughed out loud during a cable news show when a prominent Democrat predicted Trump could win the Republican nomination.
When the national populist Coalition Avenir Québec won in 2018, USA Today summed up the political party with the headline, “Anti-Immigrant Party in Canada Thrives with Big Victory in Québec.” Not populist, not nationalist, not conservative, but anti-immigrant, national populists are often defined by what they’re against.
It’s a favourite tactic of journalists, along with declaring they’re far-right and extreme-right. All of the examples above are by journalists, not even opinion writers who use more colourful language to describe national populist candidates and political parties. Given that opinion writers and journalists were too urban, too educated, too liberal, and wrong about both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, you could imagine that the media wanted to expand their intellectual diversity after 2016. You’d be wrong.
Although the major media outlets in the United States who endorsed Clinton in 2016 all added a token Republican or centre-right opinion writer to their payroll, none of them understood the national populist movement or correctly predicted the rise of Trump. For example, The New York Times hired columnist Bret Stephens, a Never Trumper; The Washington Post hired Max Boot, a Never Trumper; The Atlantic hired and then quickly fired Kevin Williamson, a Never Trumper; and The Dallas Morning News hired Jay Caruso, a Never Trumper.
The most sure-fire way to succeed as a conservative opinion columnist in Trump’s America was for all of your insight, predictions, and opinions to have been absolutely wrong about the most significant political trend in the world. Of course, there were a few exceptions to this rule, but they were notably few. For the foreseeable future many parts of the media, both opinion-based and non-opinion-based, are working around the clock against national populism.