And now come the Mia Culpas…No one can doubt the polls and the media failed to see the Trump victory. Why? Primarily because reporters sat it out in their offices on the East and West Coasts staring into computer screens scanning what other news sources reported as the pulse of the people. Never getting out to the southern and rust belt neighborhoods, where the voters were disgruntled with political business as usual, perpetuated the views of the echo chambers the national press finds itself in. The failure of the journalists to go where the story was makes them “repeaters”, not “reporters”, of the news. In 1831, the famous historian, statesman and social philosopher, Alexis deTocqueville, toured the country of America. His purpose was to observe the American people and their institutions. In search of what made America great, he went into “her fertile fields, boundless forest, rich mines, public schools… I sought it in her democratic congress and in her matchless Constitution.” But then he wrote: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
If the members of the “Fourth Estate” really want to know what’s going on between the big populations on either coastline, it’s time they put away their preconceived ideas, biases and indifference and go among the “others”, i.e. “Middle America”. The people don’t trust the media to convey the truth in part because when and if they go out after a story in Middle America they behave more like inquisitors than inquirers.
Failing to objectively analyze the various indicators that showed an impending political revolution, the media, pollsters, pundits and powerful missed the story. The reporting took us down a series of rabbit holes about she said, he said, etc. having nothing to do with a hurting middle class crying out for “help and change”.
Jesus said: “the truth shall set you free”. Let’s try that for the guiding principle for journalists as opposed to “all news that’s fit to print”. Then, maybe, we won’t miss the real story next time.