Jim VandeHei, the co-founder and CEO of Axios.com entered a secular confessional on Friday morning to admit "the media remains fairly clueless" about a few things, based on the election returns. These introspective rituals sound good, but the idea that anyone will change their actual reporting going forward is probably not something you'd bet a Big Mac on.
Journalists seem to find it easy to confess they're sophisticated urbanites who mostly talk to each other:
The media remains fairly clueless about the America that exists outside of the big cities, where most political writers and editors live. The coverage missed badly the surge in Trump voters in places obvious (rural America) and less obvious (Hispanic-heavy border towns in Texas).
- Let’s be honest: Many of us under-appreciated the appeal of Trump’s anti-socialism message and the backlash against the defund-the-police rhetoric on the left.
Interesting! In mid-February, before the pandemic kicked in, VandeHei insisted to Joe Scarborough that the socialism of Bernie Sanders wasn't poison at the polls (the video maker here is a Bernie bro):
If you think the media will scold the Squad and others for "defund the police" rhetoric in the coming months, you should prepare to be disappointed. VandeHei added:
The media (and many Democrats) are fairly clueless about the needs, wants and trends of Hispanic voters. Top Latinos warned about overlooking and misreading the fastest-growing population in America — but most didn’t listen. Hispanics will shape huge chunks of America’s political future, so a course correction is in order.
Fascinating. In February, VandeHei and his co-founder Mike Allen recycled all the spin about how the GOP would suffer from just seeking out angry white voters. Ooooops. VandeHei boasted 2020 was maybe the last time Republicans could ignore minority voters and play the "White card." (As if that was the actual Trump strategy.)
The political elites are worrying out loud about confusing evidence that ruins their arrogant Demography Is Destiny boasting. We can guess that in their minds, they really believe Latinos couldn't possibly vote for Trump considering his 2016 rhetoric and his immigration policies. They can't concede the idea that a strong economy could score -- as well as that underappreciated damage from the socialism/defund the police/end fossil fuels stuff.
VandeHei admitted the most obvious verdict:
The polls too often sucked. Stop justifying or spinning the reality that public and private polls blew it in too many places, from Wisconsin to individual House races. Yes, some were better than others, but many were off by a very distorting margin.
All of their "conventional wisdom" revolved around what appear to be Fake Polls, which weren't used to measure public opinion, but to shape it.
Then, to put a spoonful of sugar with the medicine, VandeHei worried about the crazy kooky conservatives and their bubbles.
The media filter bubble is getting worse, not better. Look at what’s unfolding in real-time: Trump supporters feel like Fox isn’t pro-Trump enough, while reporters and columnists bolted The New York Times, Vox Media and others because they were not “woke” enough....
Twitter is a mass-reality-distortion field for liberals and reporters. The group-think and liberal high-fiving was as bad as ever and continues to be a massive trap and distraction for journalists.
Facebook is a mass-reality-distortion field for conservatives. Look at the content pages that get the most daily interaction (shares, likes, etc.) and it's all right-wing catnip. It’s not all fake or conspiratorial, but a lot of it sure is. This is a huge problem.
That "right-wing catnip" includes major sites like Fox News, the Daily Caller, and the Daily Wire. Again, no one should expect the "groupthink and high-fiving" of liberal-media Twitter is going to change.
PS: Redsteeze had thoughts about VandeHei's message: