This year has revealed shocking and (in my opinion) unprecedented clashes between liberals and conservatives. In the wake of Donald Trump’s success, it appears liberals have been pushed to a breaking point.
From month to month we’ve seen clashes between pro-Trump supporters and radical leftist groups. Liberals have branded all conservatives as Nazi’s, justifying violence towards them. We’ve even seen an unstable man open fire on a group of Republican Congressmen.
Where has all the violence and hatred come from? Why does it seem like liberals view their fellow Americans so oddly, like foreign invaders who aim to wipe them from the land?
It could be because the mainstream media, by and large, has misrepresented conservatives. Most conservatives have long ago abandoned the media. They learned that outlets like CNN and the New York Times do not reflect their values and worldviews. But is it because of some kind of conspiracy, cooked up by evil, mustache-twirling villains? Or is it because, perhaps, liberal journalists live in a bubble? So cut off from many Americans, they do not even understand their perspectives, or why they would cling to conservative values.
That’s just what we are discovering to be true. While many conservatives already knew this, being forced to confront liberal dogma on a daily basis, only now are liberals coming to this realization. They are learning that perhaps they don’t understand conservatives at all. Their internal bias has caused them to misrepresent millions of Americans. The truth is, we aren’t the narrow-minded, slack-jawed, gun-humping inbreeds they make us out to be.
At least one liberal has discovered this. Former NPR CEO Ken Stern stepped down from his post and spent a year among regular Americans. His recollections on the experience reveal just how out-of-touch the liberal elite really are.
Spurred by a fear that red and blue America were drifting irrevocably apart, I decided to venture out from my overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood and engage Republicans where they live, work and pray. For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (“cling to guns or religion”) and presidential candidates (“basket of deplorables”) alike. (New York Post)
Stern’s story is shockingly eye-opening to me. Not the revelations he makes about conservative teens at a Christian conference (I attended plenty of those in my youth) or the other things he learned about Republicans. What’s shocking is his admission that liberals, particularly well-educated, elitist liberals in the media, really have no clue about conservatives or why we think the way we do.
When you are liberal, and everyone else around you is as well, it is easy to fall into groupthink on what stories are important, what sources are legitimate and what the narrative of the day will be. (New York Post)
The liberal media has become so close-minded, so entrenched in the same narrow, undiverse opinion, that it never occurs to them that they might be misrepresenting an issue. This goes beyond politics or specific issues. It seems like the people making decisions at major news outlets don’t even understand the basics of American culture and life. Stern himself admits he had a very warped view of evangelical Christians. It all changed after spending time with 15,000 young people.
It left me with a very different impression of a community that was previously known to me only through Jerry Falwell and the movie “Footloose.” (New York Post)
Christians reading this: that should tell you how distorted the media’s views on you are. If the head of NPR only knew about Christians based on one old televangelist and a movie from the 80’s, they surely aren’t giving you a fair shake in their news stories. Thankfully for Stern, his time with those young Christians made him realize the error of his old view.
Perhaps the most telling change came with his view of gun owners. Like most in the liberal media, Stern seemed to have a negative view of them. But as we can see from his experience hunting in the South, the negative coverage of guns in the media is simply based on their ignorance of real gun owners. After spending the day with a diverse group of people (“a Hispanic ex-soldier, a young black family man, a Serbian immigrant and a Jew from DC”), his stereotypes had no choice but to be rejected.
None of my new hunting partners fit the lazy caricature of the angry NRA member. Rather, they saw guns as both a shared sport and as a necessary means to protect their families during uncertain times. In truth, the only one who was even modestly angry was me, and that only had to do with my terrible ineptness as a hunter. (New York Post)
By no means did this experience transform a liberal newsman into a conservative. But from what he expressed, the experiences of that year changed his opinion on conservative Americans. He was willing to acknowledge how wrong liberal journalists have it. And it explains our ongoing conflicts.
For years conservatives have railed against outlets like CNN. They’ve called them fake news and other names. CNN, refusing to acquiesce to a group they know little about, only doubles down on their approach, even going as far as attacking their critics. Neither side gives the other the benefit of the doubt. The trenches are only dug deeper.
Conservatives are frustrated with how liberal outlets cover them, chalking it up to a conspiracy. Liberal journalists, with their warped view of the right, simply think this group has it out for them. But now we see where the problem lies: simple ignorance.
Liberal journalists are in such a bubble that they don’t even understand the people they are attacking. If they only spent a little bit of time around them, their opinions would change. Would that make them conservative? Probably not. But it might change the way these companies approach their news and coverage.
Stern ends his story lamenting the right’s ongoing attacks on liberal media. He criticizes the President and others for crying fake news. He fears the future of our country and democracy, with so many people not trusting the media.
But in all honesty, he is still ignorant. Ignorant of the growing alternative news. Ignorant of the fact that if the liberal media crashes and burns, other groups with more diverse views will take their place.
In the end, though, he’s taking steps in the right direction by trying to understand and respect conservatives. Now if only the rest of his colleagues would do the same.