Admission time for the politically correct: The unbearable smugness of the press, by Brian Snyder at 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. …
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. …
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.
The media are never wrong — it was just worse than they thought! It is important to understand how the media think:
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. …
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. …
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.