If there is any non-Hillary Campaign Member who lost big last night, it’s the contemporary mainstream media. For years, the media saw themselves as the agenda setters. They relied on data and their own beliefs to instruct the people of the United States what the news was supposed to be and how they were supposed to feel about it. If they take any lesson away from last night, I hope it is the following:
Learn to connect with your audience. Don’t just preach to them.
The major outlets – your New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, etc. – have long relied on the data that told us what people think/should think. Polls were used frequently to explain to the American people what they believed. And I readily admit that I (and many of us here at RedState) relied on the same data and came to the same conclusions. I also think we’re not going to be so totally broken of that habit any time soon… nor should we be.
Using data as a piece of evidence backing up a claim is one thing. That is perfectly normal. That’s not what the Media – and, by extension, those of us who consume and report on the Media – were doing. That data was the only evidence used. It did not account for things like human emotion and free will.
Humans are strange creatures. They have emotions and free will and all sorts of things that make them regularly the exceptions to their own rules. Jeffrey Lord, a Trump surrogate and repeatedly an object of scorn among those who opposed Trump, said it best on CNN last night: You have to take these emotions into account.
At some point, these major outlets lost the drive to do that. Why go out and talk to the people who are going to be deciding things like the future direction of the entire nation when there is a handy dandy chart that explains them for you? That’s silly. Dealing with people. Hahaha.
This is why local journalism actually stands a chance of out-living national media. They are dealing with economic struggles just as much, if not more than, the national outlets. But, people tune into them and read them because they actually get out into the community and talk to people. National outlets don’t do that on the level they should. A firm runs a poll that says 54% of Americans feel X. Okay, there’s your story. Maybe find someone on Twitter or on the street that represents that result and get a quote. Find one person who holds the opposite view. Get their quote. Story done.
When it did happen, when a national outlet found someone who supported the contrarian view (i.e. a Trump supporter), did they take what the “man on the street” said seriously? No. They treated him (or her!) like a novelty. Like “This is adorable. You actually support Trump.” was a good way of handling that situation.
They are perceived (perhaps rightly so) as contemptuous of the average American. If you are not someone who lives on the Obviously Superior East or West Coast, your opinion really isn’t worth studying. That matters in an election when the rejection of Washington D.C.’s elitism is the undercurrent of an election.
I said recently that journalism as we know it has to die. Last night was more proof of that. The results of last night’s race were as much a rejection of the media’s status quo as it was a rejection of the Democrats (and especially Hillary Clinton). How many are going to be responsible enough to see the need for change? Or are they simply going to pay lip service, admit they were wrong, and not change at all?
I would suspect the latter, which is to their detriment. The voters just made fools of the Media. If they don’t learn anything from it, they deserve to die.