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The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America


The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

Neal Gabler

To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.


More than reporters got it wrong. How many Republican politicians took Trump seriously last year. And how many Democratic politicians took Sanders seriously. Both Trump and Sanders bring out the anger in voters. Trump also brings our the worst in voters, hate of various ethnic groups and religions, but Sanders brings out the best, more economic equality. But can you really blame the reporters for missing it. After all, Trump has not been a politician, he has been a real estate developer and reality TV show star. Those are hardly the credentials for a president. And Sanders has been a long time member of Congress who had not been a Democrat but an independent, and unknown to most people outside of Vermont except for political junkies. Could someone like that really challenge Hillary Clinton?


“So here is the situation: A country that is increasingly younger, darker and half female is being reported on by a press corps that is older, whiter and more male.”

And taking it a step further, the voice of this journalistic white male chorus, sung in the key of WE represents THEIR interests. However, just as this small substrate is taken to constitute the whole of the nation in all of its diversity, its narrow interest bandwidth celebrates the premise of WE while always exclusively referring back to its own particular demographic group… continuing the canard that white males speak for all (and that their voice is the ONE definitive voice presenting the most reliably true context).

As if.


I’ve always enjoyed how one can make numbers say whatever they want.
While working in demographics I’ve always been told to never consider average household income as a legitimate stat. The most stunning stats can be found in you eliminate the abhorrent numbers on both ends, like any standard statistical sample. When we take the top five percent of earners and the bottom five out of the equation, what we see is that the majority of American households now live either below the poverty mark, or within ten percent of it. And that number grows every year.
The stark differences between the top ten percent of household earnings and the rest are shocking. While politicians have spent yet another election season decrying the plight of the middle class, they once again do a disservice to the fastest growing socio-economic group in the nation, the poor.
The more time goes by, the more the USA resembles Dickensian England. A nation not of upper, upper middle, middle, lower middle and lower classes. No, we are now a nation of haves, and have nots.


Apparently only 6% of the people trust the MSM as credible. The pundits are commenting on propaganda illusions which 94% are ignoring. That’s why they can be consistently wrong. Nobody cares about their hot air.


I don’t agree that reporters got it wrong. Instead I believe that reporters know what their editors will approve and what they will reject. Also reporters are only hired if they buy into the right wing MSM way doing things. There is no room in a MSM newsroom for enlightened, educated, investigative journalists. You must reinforce the status quo or else look for another line of work. I’m sure some journalists would have loved to say that Bernie Sanders is the biggest story of the year or to report on how the United States would fundamentally change with the introduction of universal healthcare and free college tuition. Instead we have journalists focusing on anything EXCEPT Bernie Sanders and as usual all of the coverage is “issue free” so as to direct the public to more important characteristics like a candidates hair color or gender. This is by design and not some ‘out-of-touch’ excuse that no one noticed.


The average reporter or correspondent doesn’t make very much money, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015 – a little less than $50,000. By comparison, the mean household income in the US generally is just about $52,000.

He’s comparing individual income to household income?? No. Taking into account the spouse, the household income of these reporters may well be $100K. The proper comparison is to individual income. The median is ~28K as opposed to, apparently, ~50K for the reporters.


The media are owned by the .01%. That’s the main story here …


Yeah, but is $52,000 all that much for individual income? Most union union construction trades or union transit bus drivers make that much or more in my area. And if more USAns would get off their asses and organize a union every wage earner owuld be making that much.


Neal did so much better doing movie reviews with Jeffrey Lyons.


Your point is true and obvious, but it doesn’t speak to why it is that WHITE MALES dominate journalism. And of course, that fact is the item always ignored or treated as invisible by this forum’s posters. They are comfortable with the status quo as far as it favors the white male as the barometer against which “reality” is measured.


The MSM gets in subtle or not so subtle digs on unions whenever it can–at least it did when i stopped watching/reading it. You know, they’re selfish, they’re greedy, why should they get a pension, oh those breaks are so annoying. ugh.

Agree that unions needs a comeback. Bernie would. :O)


My point was that no matter whom the media hires as journalists, they will be culled to winnow out the rebels, and result in journalists loyal to the .01%. I understand your concern, but I think the media will just produce a “diverse” crop of loyalists to try to answer that criticism, changing little. We’ve already seen that in the production of politicians like Obama and HRC. Of course, that’s no reason not to seek diversity …


Seems to me that Neal gets it all right. Although I never traveled with Big Feet reporters, I also never worked in a news room where my views didn’t conflict with the management. But I was able, and frequently, to write what I wished and got away with some good stuff on occasion. When I watch telly news these days, it’s actually horrifying to see the careless smears and lack of basic fact checking. There’s an almost total ban in my house on cable news and I skip channels when the junk journalism starts. If I had a gun I’d shoot my TV for some of the stuff they do.
But hell, I’m 82 and out and don’t think my maverick outlook would sit well in the elite markets I never worked in. Maybe the writer can come up with some ways to solve the problem because these reporters are really, really screwed up!



They get it all right. There’s a lizard slithering around every big newsroom: From Operation Mockingbird!

You do any real reporting and you won’t pass your next shoe-shine inspection!


Just watch people like Chris Hayes,Joy Reed,and Rachel Maddow—are they worried about keeping their jobs???

Whats amazing is that the democrat race could have been exciting and a ratings bonanza.Show Sanders speeches-challenge Clinton on the issues----have a real discussion on healthcare,social security,racism and discrimination,campaign finance reform,and heaven forbid the military. Instead its a 24hr thing about delegates—tonight Sanders looked exasperated in a town hall as Chris Hayes asked question after question about when are you dropping out???

Chris Hayes also seemed very upset that Sanders stated poor people don’t vote. Hayes perspective was how dare you put down poor people???

Rachel Maddow did her usual softball crap with Clinton. What was amazing was when Maddow asked Clinton if she would offer anything to win over Sanders voters. Clinton said I am winning why should I be offering Sanders voters anything. Democrats better wake up! Clinton is a disaster! She continued talking about why $12 is better than $15,and we just need to fix the ACA.

How about a question on the European trade deal in the news?

How about a question on the NY police officer who got probation after shooting a guy in a stairwell?


This puerile missive reads like a middle school term paper. Simply listing off, in the absence of any further analysis, race, age, sex, and income as determinants of journalists’ (or anyone’s) views, is simply an elaborate ad hominem-circumstantial fallacy. Add to that the anecdotal “I feel your pain because I’ve been there” nonsense, denying in essence our species capacity for thoughtfulness, empathy, and understanding in the absence of any particular experience. No one needs to be abused to decry abuse. No one needs to engage in warfare to be a pacifist. In general, no one needs to suffer the oppression of X to work to end all suffering related to X.