HORIST: What happens when a Washington Post reporter writes from outside the bubble?
Many media critics – me included – often write about the corruption quality of the news media that exists within the incestuous New York City/Washington D.C. bubble. I often refer to it as a one-way glass which allows America to see in but allows those within the bubble only to see the narcissistic reflections of themselves.
It is also referred to as an echo chamber in which the media hears only the reaffirming echo of their own transmissions. They do not understand the rest of America because they do not or cannot hear our voices, our opinions and our beliefs. Because they do not understand the greater range of voices of the people, they arrogantly mischaracterize the rest of America as stupid, gullible and even evil.
One cannot help but wonder what might happen if one of those reporters working for a bubble-encased publication were to leave the bubble – to find out first hand who all those “stupid, gullible and evil” people really are. We do not have to wonder any longer. One of the Big Seven elitist news outlets actually posted a reported in fly-over America.
The anti-Trump, anti-Republican and anti-conservative Washington Post has columnist David Von Drehle located beyond the oppression of the bubble where, as his column biography states, “he writes about national affairs and politics from his home base in the Midwest.”
Rather than paraphrase his recent column explaining those folks who remain supporters of the conservative Trump agenda as opposed to the same old big government liberalism embraced by most of the east coast media elite, I have chosen to reprint his writing in its entirety.
Von Drehle seems to understand the mindset of both Trump and the millions of Americans who value what he is doing in Washington. He seems to be free of the socio-political preconceptions and collective opinions of the NY/DC media class that anything to do with Trump is bad and anyone who thinks otherwise is equally bad. Von Drehle explains the flyover America mindset without the derisions and condescension that dominates the reporting from within the bubble – although the column does have a slight undercurrent suggesting that flyover America is being flimflammed. Many in mid-America credit Trump with real accomplishments (largely ignored by the elitist media). They see positive potential in many of the pending actions (largely refuted by those #neverTrump news panelists). They see the nation finally moving in the right direction (totally rejected by the anti-Trump media). And, they believe the personality issues and scandals (which the media obsessively dwells upon) are not all that important in the big picture.
So, now for something completely different. Here is what Von Drehle recently penned – and before you Trump fans become too critical, remember this is coming from the Washington Post.
Many Democrats still wonder how folks in the Midwest can believe what they hear from Donald Trump. The answer: Often, they don’t.
In Trump country, people have learned to take a wait-and-see approach to the president’s extreme and categorical statements, and they keep the salt shaker handy when reading the tweets of @realDonaldTrump. They’ve noticed that the United States has not quit NATO: that NAFTA was not torn up on Day One (or any other day); that Jeff Sessions is still the attorney general; that North Korea has been visited with neither fire nor fury; that the government has not been eviscerated. In fact, spending is going up, up, up.
That Trump also causes blood pressures to spike on “Morning Joe” and CNN only adds to the amusement in the flyover states as Trump exaggerates, fulminates and blusters. My Midwest neighbors have figured out that these are the tools of a huckster salesman. And a lot of them like what the huckster is selling.
I believe this explains the low-key response so far to the threat of a trade war with China among the farmers who stand to lose the most. Tit-for-tat tariffs would be a disaster for American agriculture, which finds hungry markets in China. Yet on the prairie, the presidential salvos elite little more than arched eyebrows. “Potentially calamitous,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst of China’s threat to retaliate by jacking up levies on soybeans, hogs and cattle. But the key word was “potentially.” Hurst hastened to add: “It is important to remember that the actions announced by both China and the U.S. don’t take effect immediately.” There is still time for “a negotiated peace,” he said, “one that can bring great benefits to our citizens, but one that is fraught with danger.”
This distinction between the president’s words and his deeds might seem to cut against the Midwestern mythos of straight-talking folks who say what they mean and mean what they say. But there is another kind of mythical Midwesterner, the sort that Meredith Wilson celebrated in “The Music Man,” whose flinty exteriors cloak a soft spot for the fast-talking flimflammers. Trump entertains them and, besides, they never really expected a marching band.
Trump’s overstated opening gambits create a lot of room for him to maneuver in search of his self-proclaimed victories. Perhaps you remember his big, beautiful wall, for instance, the transparent marvel covered with solar panels and paid for by Mexico. The other day he proclaimed the construction has begun – “we’ve started building the wall,” he tweeted – and offered as proof pictures from an ongoing fence-building project that began more than a decade ago. It’s called winning, in Trump’s vernacular: whoever names it, claims it.
There is every reason to believe that China will tweak its trade policies in some way or another before Trump’s threatened tariffs take effect, which will allow the president to claim credit without triggering a mercantile Armageddon. Beijing doesn’t want Trump to fail – not quickly, anyway. The disruptive mayhem at the top of the Western alliance plays nicely into China’s long game.
And it won’t take much to satisfy this president. He could net a minnow and declare himself captain of the whaling fleet.
But Trump is hardly the first leader to deploy hype as a political instrument. Woodrow Wilson did not make the world safe for democracy, nor did Herbert Hoover put a chicken in every pot. Or a more recent example: News that the current administration is easing Obama-era fuel efficiency targets for the auto industry recalled just how pie-in-the-sky those targets were. In 2012 – not coincidentally an election year – the Obama White House posted a goal of 54.5 miles per gallon for the average array of cars and light trucks in 2025.
As it happened, when the rollback was made public, I had just finished driving a rented Toyota Prius 900 miles in California and Arizona, purchasing 20 gallons of gasoline along the way. I was impressed by the efficiency of the beautifully engineered marvel. Forty-five mpg! Did Barack Obama truly believe that the average new vehicle in 2025 will be 20 percent more fuel efficient than a Prius?
Probably not. More likely, Obama was signaling his ambitions, gesturing to his base and pointing the way to the electric-car future, all at the same time. Or exaggerating, fulminating and blustering, if you prefer. Sometimes overstatement is precisely what leadership requires. Call for 54.6, and maybe you get 40. That’s a win.
Seen through that lens, the difference between Trump and more conventional leaders boils down to style. Forget finesse. He’s as subtle as an airhorn at an opera house; impulsive as a 4-year-old at the fair. But nearly 15 months into his presidency, a significant portion of America is fine with that, and polls suggest that this portion is holding steady in size – maybe even growing.
We should ponder Von Drehle’s last sentence (highlighted). The suggestion that Trump’s popularity just might be growing – and the latest polls give evidence of that – has deranged many of the media personalities and panelists who are hell-bent to destroy the Trump presidency and have him removed from office as soon as possible.
After spending almost two years in a full-blown effort to undermine any and all support Trump has among the public and within the Republican Party, the frustration has caused CNN, MSNBC and those ubiquitous “contributors” from the New York Times and Washington Post to take on a strident, crude and pugnacious name-calling and accusatory style that they so pompously and hypocritically deride in Trump.