Politics

Media Labors to Understand Conservatives

Caught unawares by election, reporters launch zoological studies to understand conservative media

The liberal mainstream media are still reeling from Nov. 8, and it’s evident from their newest quest: To understand the conservative species.

And not just the species, but conservative media.

“Much of the coverage on [Nov. 9] focused not on the Trump triumph, but on the delicious pain felt by the Clintons and their institutional supporters.”

Recently, Vanity Fair let one of their writers consume nothing but conservative media for seven days.

Much as liberal documentary producer Morgan Spurlock ate only McDonald’s food for 30 days in “SuperSize Me,” writer Ken Stern consumed only “conservative media” for a week.

Spurlock gained more than 20 pounds (mostly because he engaged in an exaggerated fast-food regimen that few McDonald’s devotees take part in). Like Spurlock, Stern had side effects very similar to what has vexed the media for weeks.

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Stern began his week-long diet on Election Day. Like Spurlock, he documented his journey and the side effects. Stern had to learn about “snowflakes” and the meaning; endure hatred of celebrities; endure radio talk-show host Mark Levin’s negativity; and sit through celebrations of Trump’s victory.

Trump’s victory on the first day was indeed a learning experience for Stern, but he didn’t take the right thing away from it. Stern admits he began the assignment expecting to watch the right engage in the “agony of defeat.”

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But on Nov. 8, he says, “Much of the coverage on this day focused not on the Trump triumph, but on the delicious pain felt by the Clintons and their institutional supporters.”

Stern comes closer to enlightenment about his fellow Americans when he writes, “I was not real surprised that they view Trump’s victory as a big middle finger to the establishment.” But Stern’s remark is not particularly insightful; Michael Moore made the same comment about moderate and conservative voters months before the election.

And the same was likely true about the backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who sat out the election.

Meanwhile, at the Los Angeles Times, reporter Jessica Roy decided not to examine conservatives, but the conservative fringe, the Alt-Right.

But as usual, the reporter confuses much of the conservative culture with a preconceived notion of what the Alt-Right is.

Roy lays down a glossary of terms used by these new creatures of the Right who, she alleges, have a voice in the White House in Breitbart’s former CEO, Steve Bannon.

The resulting attempt at a dictionary of the Alt-Right is hilariously misinformed.

Roy claims such words as “multiculturalism” (as a criticism); “political correctness”; “snowflake”; and “SJW” (social justice warrior) are Alt-Right terms.

Forget for a moment that political correctness dates back to at least 1990 as a criticized cultural phenomenon, Roy explains PC as, “Anything that challenges an Alt-Right person’s right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in any way they want to say it. According to the Alt-Right, political correctness is responsible for most of society’s ills, including feminism, Islamic terrorism and overly liberal college campuses.”

And snowflake: “Short for ‘special snowflake,’ a pejorative for an entitled person. Most people protesting Trump are ‘snowflakes,’ according to the Alt-Right, as are anti-Trump celebrities and most liberals.”

Except those are terms used by conservatives. Snowflake is indeed a favorite term, but it wouldn’t be used so much if the Left didn’t have so many soft, entitled children among its ranks.

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“The liberal mainstream media doesn’t get conservatives,” said Adriana Cohen, a columnist for the Boston Herald (a longtime right-leaning newspaper in Massachusetts). “They falsely try to label any Trump supporter as Alt-Right … They’re not ‘deplorables’ or racist, white nationalists, as the Left says. But no matter who the Republican Party nominates to lead its party, liberals engage in character assassination.”

As for Stern, the lesson he seemed to learn was not what conservatives and their media are — but that the Left needs more cannons like Bannon’s.

“Progressives need an effective counterweight in media to the Breitbarts of the world,” Stern wrote. “Right now, the counterpunching is entirely around trying to discredit conservative, alt-right media. That may be fine for today but in the long run, the left wing will need to find its own voices of passion, authenticity, and, apparently, a certain amount of outrage.”

But even if the Left doubles the number of sites like Mother Jones, Vox, and Slate, will they understand conservative Americans by 2020? Likely, no.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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