A recent article on conservative trolls among the roiling White House press corps in The New Yorker can stand for a general ferment of fear and confusion among the Mainstream Media (MSM) in this era of Trumpian turmoil. What has happened to the good old ways, the hierarchies, the traditions that privileged the broadly liberal, progressive outlook of the bien pensant?
When one looks past the article’s foreground of outrageous provocateurs, one can spot no less outlandish figures: reporters from conservative media heretofore relegated to the back seats or aisles of the press room by the ancien régime. Someone from Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, for example.
One does not, however, get a glimpse of a considerable swathe of the American people, namely, orthodox Christians who are not rabidly conservative. Even Hillary Clinton herself was willing to allow that only half of Donald Trump’s supporters were “deplorables.”
The MSM continue to flounder to understand the Trump phenomenon, and particularly the voting by four-fifths of white evangelicals in his favor. But this unintelligibility has a basic epistemological source: few in the MSM are members of the group under scrutiny.
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