The Unbearable Smugness Of The American Media

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Will Rahn via CBS News

The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’s be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There’s been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from “heroin country” that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?

We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!



That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.

Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.

That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.

As a direct result, we get it wrong with greater frequency. Out on the road, we forget to ask the right questions. We can’t even imagine the right question. We go into assignments too certain that what we find will serve to justify our biases. The public’s estimation of the press declines even further -- fewer than one-in-three Americans trust the press, per Gallup -- which starts the cycle anew.

There’s a place for opinionated journalism; in fact, it’s vital. But our causal, profession-wide smugness and protestations of superiority are making us unable to do it well.

Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.

What’s worse, we don’t make much of an effort to really understand, and with too few exceptions, treat the economic grievances of Middle America like they’re some sort of punchline. Sometimes quite literally so, such as when reporters tweet out a photo of racist-looking Trump supporters and jokingly suggest that they must be upset about free trade or low wages.

We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it. There’s a fleeting fun to gang-ups and groupthink. But it’s not worth what we are losing in the process.

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1980XLS's picture

Harwood for Prison

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) 1980XLS Nov 10, 2016 8:39 PM

Heywood Jablowme for prison.

The author makes good points. The "news" corporation employees are a$$hole SJWs. But, that's never going to change.

This was a good read linked to by Drudge nine hours ago, BTW.

philipat's picture

All true, except that the percentage of Americans that trust the media is far lower than the stated "one in three" according to multiple sources. This recognition of reality, therefore, probably comes too late to salvage the MSM and, IMHO, they will continue to wither into oblivion. There are too many other (many free) sources of real, truthful information available on the internet. Journalism is yet the latest example of an "industry" (remember Stockbrokers and Travel Agents?) being disintermediated by technology impacting on costs in the supply chain?

But there are several other important aspects of the situation which are not touched on in the article.

First, the MSM is too concentrated into the hands of 6 Mega-Corporations, all under the control of oligarchs who are part of the fascist system and so pre-disposed to catering to Government's requirement for channels to disseminate its propoganda. In short, the MSM have willingly become the propoganda arm of Government and, within such a system, there is no requirement for critical journalism. And that is self-evident. What you see and read is the product of this fascist system.

Second, which also reinforces the above, those who have been on the inside, such as Greg Hunter, inform that NO journalist can report anything without multiple levels of approvals by legal, editorial departments etc. So what you read is a product of this system and even if there were real journalists out there, they would not be allowed to report anything which was not in line with the Corporate policies. So despite what this article would wish you to believe, very little reported content is actually within the discretion of the journalist. That journalists as a whole have chosen willingly to accept this situation in exchange for a paycheck serves to illustrate why the moniker "presstitutes" is well-deserved.

In summary, this article touches on one aspect of the problem, very validly so; but the problems go far deeper.

Joe Davola's picture

Too late dude (not you Phil), gonna take more than that to bring back an audience.

Delving Eye's picture

No journalist worth his salt would ever say: "more importantly." It's more important, dude, you loser.

CheapBastard's picture
Hillary Clinton Too Drunk To Give Concession Speech?

A source within the Clinton camp reports that Hillary had her concession speech prepared, but when the time came she was “unable” to read it out loud.

The devastated Democratic candidate remained locked in her New York hotel room “drinking a bit heavily” as she watched her dreams of the White House slip away. By the time she needed to speak publicly, she was “visibly impaired”.

While Hillary was hitting the sauce, Donald Trump was celebrating his triumph on stage at another hotel just two miles across Manhattan.


I wonder how much booze she'll be allowed in jail?

Arnold's picture

Here's a supplement.

Can't give proper credit to the original poster, sorry.

Citxmech's picture

I was wondering about what was going on behind the scenes.  I figured either crying, screaming, or both.  Didn't even consider shit-faced.

Nekoti's picture

I am so glad I do not have tv in my house.

Nekoti's picture

I am so glad I do not have tv in my house.

Folkvar's picture

There are no journalists just Zionists/communists propagandists. They will never learn, they're not capable of such, so they will keep on losing. The worm has turned and they won't be able to stop it.

Evil Peanut's picture

They are all simply performers reading their lines. The people on television do not think for themselves, they follow a script designed for their character on television. Take "The View" for example, what a vile pit of trash this show is. They are so out of touch with reality and so full of their own shit. All of it, all of the media are simply a tool to pacify or enrage and sway the opinion of the public.


Here is a classic video courtesy of CNN from the first Gulf War (Bush Sr)

That Charles Jaco... I tell ya, what a guy...

Citxmech's picture

Yeah - and apparently, they can't even do multiple scripts for different shows:  "Looks like we have a top tier" - remember that bullshit?  Best thing John Stewart ever did.


Oldwood's picture

If a progressive or liberal had any humility, they really wouldn't be progressive OR liberal, now would they? Theirs is a religion of audacity, of NEVER having to say "I'm sorry" because they claim to love us SO much, even while they are kicking the slats out of us and cleaning out our pockets.

MR166's picture

The points that you have raised are in many ways more important than the article itself.

StychoKiller's picture

Way past time to resurrect Teddy's "Trust Busters!"

The Wizard's picture

Good comment. Both points are interrelated in that it points out the centralization of journalism and how the educational system has dumbed them down. The Internet, with all of its flaws, will grow and hopefully the educational system will do a better job in teaching their students how to achieve critical thinking so they will be able to discern and filter information. God save the freedom of the Internet.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?"

They false god is GOVERNMENT!!! QUIT WORSHIPPING IT!!  We went to war against the British monarchy over 200 years ago BECAUSE of overbearing government!!  Freedom, Liberty, and the RULE OF LAW(Hillary), our GOD GIVEN RIGHTS should not be trampled upon!!

nmewn's picture

A couple of the quietest sons-of-bitches on the planet right now are George Will and David Brooks.

Because they've made the list...again ;-)

BabaLooey's picture

George Bow Tie Will is the smegma that floats on the gaseous sections of the SWAMP itself.

He needs to be eradicated from Washington with scouring cleanser.

StychoKiller's picture

One of the last, brilliant conservative minds died with Bill Buckley Jr.!

Oldwood's picture

The ONE true GOD....guberment. They will attach deities to it like Obama and Hillary, but in reality they perceive government as an entity unto itself and treat their leaders like Muslims would Mohammed, the right hand of ALLAH. They bestow this otherworldly status to government as though it were GOD and their failings are not of their GOD but of its human servants....all sinners, but answering their "calling".

We have to shut this shit down by NEVER allowing this religious fervor to hold. They will claim that they are of science, yet they create science to fit their agenda, and the number one agenda is that the sinner, MAN, is to be controlled and subdued to fulfill the will of their GOD. 

Never believe that progressives are against religion, much less government ensconced religion. They simply are disparaging and destroying all other religions that compete with their own. We have seen various "religions" seek to dominate societies many times before, and always seemed to fail the task eventually. This statist religious is seen as different, like it WILL be the ONE, and like most other religions, those at the top are seldom as much a true believer as a user of the true believers who do all their dirty work. Progressives have much in common in this regard with the Muslims, as they too use religion to dominate, and in a very undemocratic and forceful way. Islam and statism are the two GREAT religions set out for our future...if we fail to stop them.

Draybin Deffercon III's picture
Draybin Deffercon III (not verified) 1980XLS Nov 10, 2016 8:39 PM

Here in Canaduh our idiot CBC journalist Neil MacDonald suggested that politicians should not be subject to the trifles of laws or investigations during an election. Said that the risks outweighed any possible benefits. He actually looked like he was going pee his pants when he got to sit down and interview Billary.

When the news came in that she was going to lose, they were literally fighting back tears on air!

mofreedom's picture

Why the hell won't you re-export beer to the US. Damn LCBO. I am seeking Kaiser of Austrian descent.

Make this part of NAFTA renegotiations.

Trump Won!!!

Stuck on Zero's picture

Backed by the deep state illuminati controllers the press is smug, academics are smug, progressives are smug, big business is smug, illegal aliens, welfare recipients, and the whole rest of the disgusting apparatus.

mofreedom's picture

Who would have thought a snowflake could be smug.

I think we need a different term.

Get your thinkin caps on and report back by midnight tonight.


BabaLooey's picture

Just had this very conversation with some mates here at the cave....




The American PUBLIC BY-PASSED the media fucks and voted for Trump.

If he is as astute as people give him credit for, he should FAVOR the alt-right media and SHUN/BACK of the BUS lame streamers.

The Jewmedia pricks need to hit right in the fucking pussies. They already have shit ratings, and now - let them eat shit off the caboose of the Trump Train.


otherwise...Trump is going to get scholonged by evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveryone.



new game's picture

the enemies within are regrouping. they have went nowhere and are ever present.

it is a never ending battle.

50 percent of everyone you see, talk to, engage with are a potential enemy.

the way it is...

takers vs givers

who are you?

shovelhead's picture

Kill em all and let God sort them out.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Is that because Canadians get their pussies squeezed too much, or too little?

Raffie's picture

Hope President Trump fixes the media.

Fix them up real good.

Ignatius's picture

I called it for Trump a week before the election.  Friends who read and watched the "MSM" didn't see it coming.  "No way," they said.  Do you think they contacted me afterword and said, "Hey, good call.  How were you able to do that?"  Not one word nor congratulations.  It's more like, "The democrats could have done this, and Hillary should have done that."  It's typically hard for people to look at themselves and what they're reading to see where they were misled.

Trump has an openning to re-institute the common sense rules to prevent concentrated media ownership.

D Boon's picture

I did, too. The only one who gave me props was my mom... Even though I feel like a badass, I still have to recognize that it is still my mom...


Praise Kek!!!

JuliaS's picture

It's pronounced "Jewrnalism".

Oliver Klozoff's picture

Some people have no apparent saving grace, harwood is one.

These protesters need to be punished when they chimp out.

Let's make little obummas of them; sentence them to varying times of community service for crimes against property.

Let's instill the altruism they claim they have.

Jim in MN's picture


Oliver Klozoff's picture


Very appropriate and funny, never heard that one before.


Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Your theme now should be humility?  Fuck that, won't buy that.

Your theme now should be to find a new profession - you've damn near all been exposed as not being fit for real journalism.

Ignatius's picture

I used to think that way, too, till I realized that accusing a journalist of spinning a story to advance their careers is akin to accusing a whore of fucking men for money.  With rare exceptions, the truth comes from varied sources and analysis.

shovelhead's picture

A bit like history writers. You may not be able to change the facts but you sure can bend them to fit your story line.

One-Eyed-Thong's picture
One-Eyed-Thong (not verified) Nov 10, 2016 8:37 PM

stupid people on tv keep saying that trump is racist

but unless you've been pulled over at gun point for the crime of going to the movies in a white neighborhood, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about


King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) One-Eyed-Thong Nov 10, 2016 8:58 PM

So stay the fuck out of white neighborhoods- nobody wants you there anyways

hxc's picture

OET is a good poster, makes insightful comments of a right-libertarian bent. Otherwise i'd upvote you.

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) hxc Nov 10, 2016 9:36 PM


King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) hxc Nov 10, 2016 9:39 PM

How about this- I stay out of their neighborhoods and they stay out of mine. So he's libertarian and yet defends a group of people that more than any other siphons off a massive amount of this country's capital and resources? 

Ponk's picture

It's about 'liberty', not your colour coded moronic us and them shit. If you want liberty don't mistake the race psy-op for reality. It's the central bankers, the statist despots and corporate oligarchs that have enslaved you and the 'skin colour teams' that keep you enslaved.

Dr. Spin's picture

What they take is peanuts compared to the guys with briefcases. In the immortal words of the Godfather: One man with a briefcase can steal more money than a hundred men with guns.

Take that to the crapper with you,,,