Will Rahn, political correspondent and managing director, politics, for CBS News Digital, issues an unusually frank mea culpa here that middle America was correct about the media bias, arrogance and hubris.
More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.
... The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.
And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.
... Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.
... Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.
What’s worse, we don’t make much of an effort to really understand, and with too few exceptions, treat the economic grievances of Middle America like they’re some sort of punchline. Sometimes quite literally so, such as when reporters tweet out a photo of racist-looking Trump supporters and jokingly suggest that they must be upset about free trade or low wages.
We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it.
Meanwhile, the publisher of The New York Times penned a letter to readers Friday promising that the paper would “reflect” on its coverage of this year’s election while rededicating itself to reporting on “America and the world” honestly. But the real reason is not regret over their obvious bias and actions to "create" news rather than report news (the same letter bizarrely asserts that they covered both candidates "fairly"), but a rising fear they will go bankrupt. Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s embattled publisher, appealed to Times readers for their continued support. (Income for the Times has been dropping precipitously as more people realize there are other truly-independent avenues of news available.)
“We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our subscribers,” the letter states.
Will is refreshingly honest and I appreciate his humility. The New York Times is acting out of hypocrisy to save its existence. Actions speak louder than words. Time will tell if other journalists come to the same conclusion. But I won't be holding my breath - the allure of power is just too tempting. As I wrote earlier here, wise people tune out the media and spend their time in productive pursuits.