Fred Weinberg: Media Figures Still Don't Understand Everyday Americans


I’m 68 years old, a lifelong citizen of the United States of America — the world’s greatest nation.

So I turned on my TV Sunday afternoon and Fox Report was on. Jon Scott was asking Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: “As you go through this reopening process, you are relying on Texans to simply be smart about how they get out and about, is that right?”

That immediately brought to mind one of the best lines in a favorite movie of many Americans coming from the late John Belushi:

“What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

Of course, Mr. Scott. You bet we can count on Texans.

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After all, they are also Americans, right?

This is a common problem with big media — no matter which side of the political spectrum. They love to think of America as “them” (you and me) versus “us” (by which they mean them).

Big media’s faces get paid well. They live in a world of ratings and political correctness.

You will rarely see them at a Walmart supercenter.

Do you think talking heads in the media don't understand the lives of everyday Americans?

We are the unwashed masses. You know, the ones Harry Reid could smell in Washington during the summer.

Now in fairness, I have never met Mr. Scott and he could have just been having a bad day — or talking in his media bubble without thinking. I have met a lot of his colleagues and there is, among many of them, a palpable disdain for mere “American people.” It’s the same kind of disdain you hear from Nancy Pelosi.

Whenever you hear about what the “American people” want on a talk panel, in an interview or in a speech, you have to wonder where these modern-day masters of the universe are getting their information.

I live in rural America and talk with my neighbors.

If you live in New York City or a wealthy suburb and take a car to work, whom do you actually talk with?

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If you live in Georgetown and you talk with your neighbors every day, it’s not like you don’t live in a company town.

A question like the one Mr. Scott asked brings to mind a disaster I covered this month 25 years ago in Oklahoma City when Tim McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building.

CBS News promptly dispatched Connie Chung, who asked an Oklahoma City assistant fire chief, “Can you handle this? Can this fire department handle this?” as if only a CBS-approved big-city fire department could handle such an event.

In point of fact, the Murrah Building bombing was the only disaster in the last 30 years that the feds didn’t come in and take over because they believed that the locals could handle it. And they were right.

This is America — 330,000,000 people live here. It is a huge country. We have disasters and challenges every day.

I remember a Friday evening when I was 11 years old after my late father came home and told me that it would be OK. Yes, President Kennedy had been assassinated, and, yes, that was a national tragedy, but this is the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and it was way bigger than even the president. We would be OK. And we were.

I remember a year before that when we found the Russians were placing missiles in Cuba and President Kennedy stared them down.

I remember looking at the map and realizing that we really were a soft target if the Soviets could put nuclear tipped missiles 90 miles off the tip of Florida — until my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Evans, pointed out that our military could simply level Cuba, which is why the Russians would back off. They did, and we were OK.

And that was 39 years before 9/11.

This is much more the country of John Blutarsky than of those who bring you the news — or what they think the news is that day, or those who get themselves elected to political office and all of a sudden are smarter than we are.

If this ceases to be Bluto’s country and starts being the nation of Nancy Pelosi and the legacy media, then we have big problems.

Until then, relax. We’ll be OK.

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Fred Weinberg is the publisher of the Penny Press, an online publication based in Reno, Nevada ( He also is the CEO of the USA Radio Networks and several companies which own or operate radio stations throughout the United States. He has spent 53 years in journalism at every level from small town weekly newspapers to television networks. He can be reached at You can subscribe, free, to the Penny Press weekly email on the website.