If you remove all the noise, it seems to me that the media is starting to get angry with the voters.
There is a widening gap between the pronouncements of the press and the things that people tell pollsters that they care about, which are mainly 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 concerned enough about what the mainstream media sees as imminent threats.
What about the right to abortion? What about the election deniers? What about January 6? What about donald trump? What about the danger to democracy?
Not to mention, what about President Biden’s track record of achievement? Why doesn’t that help?
I’m not saying it’s unfair for journalists and commentators to bring up any of these things. But they also have to recognize that many voters are not shopping in your diary – and that the media people have been trapped in a kind of bubble.
With 44% in a recent New York Times poll citing inflation or the economy as their top issue, and abortion at just 5%, it’s clear why the election is tilting in the GOP direction. And by the way, this is not unusual in a midterm election, when resentment towards the party in power would cause a significant loss of seats. (Note that Kevin McCarthy only needs a net win of five to become the next speaker, and Mitch McConnell just needs a recovery of one seat to regain the position of Majority Leader).
As Steve Krakauer puts it, citing a Monmouth survey, in his Fourth Watch newsletter:
“Only 8 percent of Americans say their views on that day have been changed by committee hearings, exactly the same as in August and more than 6 percent in June. 44 percent say they have no faith in that the committee can hold a fair hearing — that’s the highest number yet, up 8 percent since August — but more importantly, only 36 percent of Americans say Donald Trump is ‘directly responsible.’ of what happened that day, a percentage that has been progressively reduced. declining since the hearings began. Acela Media is more disconnected than ever.”
Case in point: Atlantic’s Tom Nichols tweeted: “America faces the greatest danger to its constitutional system since at least the 1950s, if not the *18*50s, and millions of people say, Yeah, but gas, man.”
Sure, there has been a grudging acknowledgment that Republicans have the momentum. But that is accompanied by a sense of disbelief.
Case in point: It was big news when the House committee on Jan. 6, in its final, mostly replay hearing, agreed to subpoena Trump. But then CNN and MSNBC clashed when the panel formally approved the subpoena, even though nothing had changed. Most voters aren’t watching every procedural development (and they all know Trump won’t show up anyway).
On Biden’s legislative record, it’s true that he has pushed through a lot of bipartisan legislation: on infrastructure, on gun safety, on computer chips, on helping sick veterans. And that has pushed his approval rating into the mid-40s. But much of that seems abstract when gas and grocery prices are rising, and few Democrats are asking for campaign help.
As for the economy, the president is naturally talking about what he thinks has gone well, saying yesterday that it would help create 10 million new jobs and minimize the chances of a recession. But this may seem like a lack of concern for inflation, which he once dismissed as “transient”.
But Trump remains clickbait gold for media outlets whose traffic increased during his presidency. On the front page of yesterday’s Washington Post, the most popular story was Bob Woodward’s essay on why he’s releasing an audiobook of Trump tapes (he now considers the former president an “unmatched danger”). Number 4 was a column about Liz Cheney criticizing Trump and his acolytes on “Meet the Press.”
When Biden gave an exclusive interview to MSNBC, host Jonathan Capehart spent most of his time inviting the president to criticize Trump and the MAGA Republicans as a danger to democracy. No media critic batted an eyelid.
Not that journalists and commentators are openly berating voters for not seeing the light. There is only a sense of bewilderment that they are not sufficiently exercised in the face of the clear and present danger to democracy: How can this be happening? Don’t they realize what is at stake?
Note that most Republicans believe Trump’s totally unproven argument that the election was illegitimate and it is the other side that tells the Big Lie.
An NBC News poll over the weekend, 80% of Democrats and Republicans said they believe political opposition poses a threat that, if left unchecked, will destroy America as we know it.
It’s really no mystery: A large number of voters will vote mid-term based on inflation and fear of crime. The media mentality is elsewhere, and fair or unfair, that seems increasingly out of place.