NY Times Vet Recounts His Insular World: Didn't Meet Any Republicans Until Well Into Adulthood

Recalling how he was raised in “heavily Democratic Providence, R.I.,” New York Times columnist Joe Nocera revealed: “It wasn’t until I moved to Washington after college that I got to know any Republicans. Not until I was nearing 30, and living in Texas, did I see how conservative most of the country truly is.”

One wonders how many others inside the New York Times were so sheltered from views contrary to the liberal world view.

Nocera’s admission of his insular upbringing in a cocoon of left-wing Democratic culture came in his column this past Saturday in which he apologized for having viciously attacked the Tea Party as “terrorists” who wear “suicide vests” and “have waged jihad on the American people.”

(On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, the source of the screen capture, Nocera declared: “The George Bush tax cuts have been fundamentally ruinous to this country.”)

In his Monday “Best of the Web Today” compilation, for wsj.com, James Taranto highlighted Nocera’s confession.

From the top of “The Tea Party, Take Two,” Nocera’s August 6 column:

In the four months since I began writing an Op-Ed column, the thing that has most surprised me is how darned liberal I sound sometimes. I know that seems like a strange thing to say, so let me explain.

Growing up in heavily Democratic Providence, R.I., in the 1950s, it was hard not to absorb the values of the Democratic Party — the party of Roosevelt, as my parents often reminded me, who had gotten the country through the Great Depression. My parents and their friends believed in a progressive income tax, in the importance of unions (my parents were public schoolteachers), and in a government that helped those who couldn’t help themselves. It wasn’t until I moved to Washington after college that I got to know any Republicans. Not until I was nearing 30, and living in Texas, did I see how conservative most of the country truly is....

Of course, just being in a liberal city is hardly excuse for such a lack of interest any political diversity. I grew up near Providence, in the Boston area, and yet found plenty of access to conservative and libertarian views on the radio and in the Boston Herald American’s op-ed page.

Nocera’s bio recites his roles at the New York Times, NPR and running Fortune magazine:

Joe Nocera is an Op-Ed columnist. Before joining The Opinion Pages in April 2011, he wrote the Talking Business column for the New York Times each Saturday and was a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. In addition to his work at The Times, he serves as a regular business commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Before joining The Times in 2005, Mr. Nocera spent 10 years at Fortune Magazine, where he held a variety of positions, including contributing writer, editor-at-large and executive editor. His last position at Fortune was editorial director....

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center