It was a study that the left was touting with a combination of self-righteousness and glee: News subscriptions were markedly lower in counties that voted for President Trump.
Of course, what this meant for the liberal media was vindication. You could almost hear the jeers: “See, those Trump voters really are stupid! They don’t even read the news!”
However, one notable Twitter user came up with the perfect explanation of the phenomenon after Politico reported it — and it ought to have the left panicking instead of running a sneering victory lap over the study.
The tweet came in response to a Sunday article in Politico announcing the results of the study.
“President Donald Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media may be rooted in statistical reality: An extensive review of subscription data and election results shows that Trump outperformed the previous Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, in counties with the lowest numbers of news subscribers, but didn’t do nearly as well in areas with heavier circulation,” the story, written by Shawn Musgrave and Matthew Nussbaum, read.
“Politico’s findings — which put Trump’s escalating attacks on the media in a new context — were drawn from a comparison of election results and subscription information from the Alliance for Audited Media, an industry group that verifies print and digital circulation for advertisers,” it continued.
“The findings cover more than 1,000 mainstream news publications in more than 2,900 counties out of 3,100 nationwide from every state except Alaska, which does not hold elections at the county level.”
Politico claimed that the findings give “new force to the widely voiced concerns of news-industry professionals and academicians about Trump’s ability to make bold assertions about crime rates, unemployment and other verifiable facts without any independent checks.
“Those concerns, which initially were raised during the campaign, were largely based on anecdotes and observations. Politico’s analysis suggests that Trump did, indeed, do worse overall in places where independent media could check his claims.”
Can you point out the erroneous assumption here? Jeff Poor, editor of Breitbart TV, certainly did:
So, Trump did well in counties where people have discovered the Internet and moved on from the dead-tree edition of the news… https://t.co/VfpuF5ThI5
— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) April 9, 2018
Exactly. The whole concept of “news deserts” relies on the erroneous assumption that subscription news services — typically those of the legacy media — are providing these “verifiable facts” and “independent checks” in their entirety without any omissions or bias.
As someone who hesitantly subscribes to The New York Times because I use it for work and can write it off of my taxes, I can speak firsthand to the fact that’s decidedly not the case.
This is a paper that just last week published a lengthy bio of new Robert Mueller witness George Nader — an “international fixer” who has had meetings separately with both Trump administration officials and Russian officials close to Vladimir Putin, in addition to many, many other world leaders — while conveniently leaving out the fact, discovered by The Associated Press last month, that he had been convicted of 10 counts of pedophilia in the Czech Republic in the early 2000s and had pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in the early 1990s in the U.S.
One might think that, given that his conviction was a “verifiable fact,” this would have provided an “independent check” on the witness’ credibility and possible motives for seeking immunity from prosecution. Even Politico reported on this.
Now, Politico is a non-subscription website with a noted liberal bias. The New York Times is supposedly the nation’s paper of record, peddling “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” purportedly without bias. While users can access 10 articles a month for free, a subscription is required to really read The Times in depth.
Perhaps the subscriptions aren’t the problem. Nothing in this study concludes that these “news deserts” are fallow for every form of news, simply those that require a subscription to access. What it says is simply that people in the most conservative counties don’t feel they need access to an overwhelmingly liberal mainstream media.
For most conservatives, the mainstream media abandoned them long before they abandoned the mainstream media. If that’s a scary fact to the media, perhaps its members ought into look how it reflects upon them as opposed to President Trump’s supporters.
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