If you cut out all the noise, it seems to me that the media is starting to get mad at voters.
There’s a growing disconnect between the harsh statements in the press and the things people say to pollsters that concern them, which are mostly issues that favor Republicans.
In the stories, in the segments, in the columns, in the tweets, you can feel the frustration that voters aren’t paying enough attention to what the mainstream media sees as imminent threats.
What about the right to abortion? What about Holocaust deniers? And on January 6? What about Donald Trump? What about the danger to democracy??
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Not to mention, what about President Biden’s record of accomplishments? Why doesn’t that help??
I’m not saying it’s unfair for journalists and commentators to raise any of these things. But they also need to recognize that many voters aren’t buying into their platform – and media people have been trapped in a kind of bubble.
With 44% in a recent New York Times poll naming inflation or the economy as their top issue — and abortion at just 5% — it’s clear why the election is crashing in the GOP leadership. And by the way, this is hardly unusual in a midterm election, where resentment towards the ruling party would lead to a significant loss of seats. (Keep in mind that Kevin McCarthy only needs a net gain of five to become the next speaker, and Mitch McConnell only needs one seat to take over as Majority Leader. )
As Steve Krakauer, citing a Monmouth poll, puts it in his Fourth Watch newsletter:
“Only 8% of Americans say their views on this day have been changed by committee hearings – exactly the same as in August and down from 6% in June. 44% say they don’t believe the committee can hold a fair hearing – the highest number yet, up 8% since August But crucially, just 36% of Americans say Donald Trump is “directly responsible” for what happened this day, a percentage that gradually decreased. decline since the start of the hearings. Acela Media is more offline than ever.”
Case in point: Tom Nichols of the Atlantic tweeted: “The United States has faced the greatest danger to its constitutional system since at least the 1950s, if not the 18*50s, and millions of people are saying: yes , but gasoline, man.”
Of course, there has been a grudging acknowledgment that Republicans have the momentum. But with that comes a feeling of disbelief.
One example: It was big news when the House committee on Jan. 6, in its mostly reshuffled final hearing, agreed to subpoena Trump. But then CNN and MSNBC clashed when the panel formally approved the subpoena, though nothing changed. Most voters don’t cling to every procedural development (and everyone knows Trump isn’t running anyway).
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On Biden’s legislative record, it’s true that he pushed through many bipartisan laws: on infrastructure, on gun safety, on computer chips, on helping sick veterans. And that pushed his approval rating into the mid-1940s. But much of that seems abstract when gas and grocery prices rise, and few Democrats ask for his campaign help.
On the economy, the president speaks naturally of what he thinks has worked well, saying yesterday that it would help create 10 million new jobs and minimize the risks of recession. But that may come across as a lack of focus on inflation, which he once called “transitional.”
But Trump remains clickbait gold for news outlets whose traffic has increased during his presidency. On the front page of The Washington Post yesterday, the most popular story was Bob Woodward’s essay on why he’s publishing an audiobook of Trump tapes (he now considers the former president a ” unprecedented danger”). #4 was a column about Liz Cheney tearing up Trump and his cronies on “Meet the Press.”
When Biden gave an exclusive interview to MSNBC, host Jonathan Capehart spent almost all of it calling on the president to criticize Trump and MAGA Republicans as a danger to democracy. No media critic flinched.
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It’s not that journalists and commentators are openly blaming voters for not seeing the light. There is just a sense of confusion that they are not sufficiently exercised in the face of the clear and present danger to democracy: how can this happen? Don’t you realize what’s at stake?
Keep in mind that most Republicans believe Trump’s totally unproven argument that the election was illegitimate and that the other side is telling the big lie.
An NBC News poll over the weekend found that 80% of Democrats and Republicans said they believed the political opposition posed a threat that, if left unchecked, would destroy America as it stands. we know her.
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It’s really no mystery: a lot of voters will vote midterm based on inflation and fear of crime. The media mindset is elsewhere, and rightly or wrongly, it seems increasingly disconnected.