There is a lot of truth to the stereotype that the American media is centered in New York City and Washington, D.C., staffed by Democrats, and hostile to Republicans. Like other professionals, journalists run the gamut from hugely talented individuals doing great work to hacks producing crap, but journalism is unusual in its dearth of ideological diversity.
Simply by living 3,000 miles from the East Coast, leaning more libertarian than progressive, and opposing President Obama’s reelection, I am an outlier in my field. And neither my upbringing among Republicans I respect deeply nor my many differences with leftism gives me insight into what daily life is like in the vast swaths of the country where I’ve never lived or the many jobs I’ve never worked. So I get why tens of millions of Americans don’t give a damn what distant network news anchors with seven-figure net worths think about this election, or that the New York Times, which always endorses the Democratic nominee, endorsed Hillary Clinton.
I even get hating “the media.” Oh, I love my colleagues. And each week, I curate a newsletter full of journalism I admire, produced by print and audio journalists who make me jealous. But every time I’m compelled by my job to watch cable news, whether left, right, or center, I nearly always come away, unless I catch one of the very few hosts I respect, thinking that cable news is a wasteland of vapid thought that reflects poorly on most of those who produce it. As a journalist, it is a pet peeve of mine when people say, “I hate the media,” as if TMZ, Penthouse, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, National Review, and NPR are coherently evaluated together. But when I watch TV, I sometimes catch myself thinking, “God, I hate the media.”