The mainstream print media handwringing surrounding their supposed role in the recent ascension of a certain safety-orange populist with a dead badger strapped to his pate is really starting to get to me. The sin of us coastal elites is supposed to be coastal elitism, of which the Platonic bloody ideal has got to be this condescending notion that the heartland is full of a bunch of goofy hicks who voted for the bombastic day-glo nationalist because they just didn’t know any better and journalists failed them. This nonsense is so vastly more infantilizing than any one of the thinkpieces about diversity or Obamasplaining White House press conferences that sad, self-important urban journalists like to point to as the cause of the populist backlash that it honestly boggles the mind. It’s not some backward wasteland, for fuck’s sake: they’re 21st century Americans. They have smart phones and the same access to fact-checking resources as the rest of us. Do not try to deny them agency and responsibility. They chose the Yam despite everything, and if they were underinformed about him, it was because they chose to be underinformed. The People are just the People: the greatest risk of democracy is that sometimes they are catastrophically wrong.
The one point on which the press has legitimate grounds for self-flagellation is insufficient attention to mob involvement, the Russia situation, the Bondi bribery case, the repeat bankruptcies, and other shady tentacles of the Trump business octopus. But to have been mislead by that, one would have to be reading print journalism in the first place.