On Monday, May 1st Tucker Carlson opened his prime-time show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News by asking for nearly 10 minutes: Why is America not represented in The White House Press Correspondents and in overall media? Politico conducted a poll, which Carlson cited, that the total of registered Republican White House Correspondents amounts to 0. Zero, you read that right. In a nation where Republicans are dominate in elected positions (Presidency, House Senate, Governorships, State Legislatures) and about 58 million people identify as or are registered as Republican, it is a bit worrisome that few within the media feel the same way.
There’s a clear disconnect between the media and the American people. Halsey News highlights that often and will continue to highlight that. Explaining this disconnect is hard because there are so many factors. So I have a theory for issues with many factors. Like a tree, there are many branches of this issue. If you see a disease on some branches, you don’t cut off the branches and hope for the best. The disease in the trunk and roots.
The roots of this issue in journalism stems from a culture within journalism, as far as I can see. Journalists, the days of President Trump, feel they are fighting a war. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, as Sargon of Akkad puts it “Looks like he’s a man who’s literally coming under fire.” Both President Trump and his senior strategist Steve Bannon have declared the media “the enemy.” Bannon was rumored to have said under his breath around reporters that they “are the opposition party.” Now, bias is okay. Opposition is honestly okay. Holding elected officials accountable is more than okay, it is your duty as a journalist. But to consider yourself in a crusade in the name of “Freedom of the Press?” That is a worry and one reason for this disconnect.
Somehow these journalists became convinced to join this crusade. Where did it begin? By reading a fiery op-ed in high school? By passionate college professors? When being a protege to a journalist who thinks the world revolves around them? Where does it begin?
No matter where it starts, even if from multiple angles, the American people simply don’t give a damn about your crusade. They have jobs to get to, homework to do, kids to take care of. Their extent of reading or watching the news is minimal at most. Reading a few stories and headlines while sipping their morning coffee. Few regular Americans will care about your call to war, they just want to see what’s happening around them and the world. And that is one of the main issues, no one is signing on to fight with you in your imaginary battles.
The issue I believe is most key is that journalists think they are too smart to connect with regular Americans. Journalists see their job as filtering and translating the news for the regular folks, instead of simply reporting it. I have a theory for why most journalists find themselves “smarter” than the average American: the competition among journalists. Thousands of students graduate with journalism degrees each year. In the age of the internet, there are even more amateur journalists who get signed on to professional publications as well. Journalism is a saturated job market. How do you get a job in a saturated market? Stand out above the rest.
Instead of focusing on journalistic talent, media executives look for those who will buy into their cult-ish ideas and sign onto their crusade. Most media executives are left-leaning, so under a Republican Trump presidency the effects of this are amplified. Sign onto their ideologies, or be out of work. Your choice.
Another standard many news companies may look at is writing skill. Reporting news is far from the most challenging thing. because of the average reading comprehension of the general population and the desire to get your work spread throughout, journalists should be writing at a 7th grade level when reporting news. Now if writing at a 7th grade level is all you need to be journalist, anyone would be a journalist. the landscape of news is that of one where everyone has a bias. instead of declaring your bias, as is done here at Halsey News, the bias is hidden in the news. In order to keep readers from detecting their bias, the writers must be clever. So in a convoluted fashion, they “report” the news. So now you see that simple news reporters must be skilled writers just to hide their bias. That leads to the opinion sections of news organizations to be filled superior writers. In a nutshell, these opinion correspondents end up writing complicated, long, out-of-touch and pretentious pieces in order to stand out above the rest. They see writing as an art, and writing is all they know how to do. Speaking to the people, regular citizens, is a skill they seem to lack.
Those who consider themselves “intellectuals” or smart, the breed of journalists I just described, cannot wrap their head around President Trump or his supporters. This goes for those on the right and left, they just don’t get it. These journalists and writers don’t understand President Trump’s unorthodox way of doing things: getting them done. Cutting away red tape. Throwing aside theory, and installing action. Those in the media consider themselves academics and elevated thinkers, therefore most of what they speak is in theory. They follow ideologies that spew theory and theory only. Instead of reporting on the previous administrations full of professors and indivuals with ideologies and agendas, the find themselves reporting on an administration under President Trump full of generals and people of action. They can’t wrap their head around their theories being shattered before their very eyes. Whether it’s Ben Shapiro or Buzzfeed, those in the media are ripping their hair our that what they say and print is nearly irrelevant to the action we, regular folks, are able to watch.
So now that we’ve established those on the media, especially in the opinion sections, are above Trump and his voters, the Washington Post has put out an article in their (surprisingly) opinion section which defends newly-hired conservative writer at the New York Times, but also criticizes the New York Times for failing to pick up a pro-Trump conservative. The New York Times boasts 3 conservative opinion columnists, all of whom are anti-Trump, and the former Wall Street Journal editor is no exception. That is far from the majority of conservatives, it is an overwhemingly small majority of conservatives who do not support President Trump. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post writes
So I write today in an unusual position for someone who helps shape The Washington Post’s opinion offerings: in defense of the New York Times’ newest columnist, Bret Stephens. More broadly, I write in defense of the principle that the best way an editorial section can serve its readers is to provide them with a mixed diet of provocative, intelligent opinion, spanning the ideological spectrum….
But I think that Stephens offers a valuable addition to the Times’ columnist lineup. He will, no doubt, anger Times readers on this and other topics — but also push them to consider and, perhaps, to question their assumptions. As Times editorial page editor James Bennet told the Huffington Post, “to pretend like the views of a thinker like Bret, and the millions of people who agree with him on a range of issues, should simply be ignored, that they’re outside the bounds of reasonable debate, is a really dangerous form of delusion.”
Indeed, my criticism of Stephens’s hiring wouldn’t be that he’s too conservative, or wrong on particular issues — it’s that bringing in a third anti-Trump conservative doesn’t add enough diversity.
One comment columnists often hear from readers is: “You put into words just what I was thinking.” That’s nice, but even more gratifying is this: “I disagree with you, but you made me think.” Or, even more rarely, “You changed my mind.”
Donald Trump’s election has posed a challenge for op-ed editors. Some 40 percent of voters supported him. Yet nearly all of our regular columnists — conservatives as well as liberal — oppose him. How, then, to reflect that diversity of opinion? How to help readers who disagree with or even despise Trump understand the concerns of his supporters?
Failing to do so not only presents a misleading snapshot of the national mood, it neglects our responsibility. The best opinion section is one that offers an ideological brawl, not an intellectual cocoon.
Halsey News, while in all honesty leans conservative, boasts a diverse group of writers. Women, men, libertarians, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, intellectuals, straight news reporters, etc. Everyone has a bias, everyone has a opinion. When your publication that claims to be a fair or neutral news organization fails to have even one who represents the opinion of millions of Americans, you are on your way to failure. The media needs to assess their staff, and begin to add ideological diversity, or they will become even more out-of-touch and simply become relics.