Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yes, the media IS all the same.

You are not imagining it, the media really is a solid, unified, monolithic lump.

But journalistic groupthink is a symptom, not a cause. And when it comes to the cause, there's another, blunter way to think about the question than screaming "bias" and "conspiracy," or counting D's and R's. That's to ask a simple question about the map. Where do journalists work, and how much has that changed in recent years? To determine this, my colleague Tucker Doherty excavated labor statistics and cross-referenced them against voting patterns and Census data to figure out just what the American media landscape looks like, and how much it has changed.

The results read like a revelation. The national media really does work in a bubble, something that wasn't true as recently as 2008. And the bubble is growing more extreme. Concentrated heavily along the coasts, the bubble is both geographic and political. If you're a working journalist, odds aren't just that you work in a pro-Clinton county—odds are that you reside in one of the nation's most pro-Clinton counties. And you've got company: If you're a typical reader of Politico, chances are you're a citizen of bubbleville, too.

Publishing of books particularly is centered in New York City and Chicago. Mostly NY. So if you want to get your book published, you have to write to a New Yorker sensibility. That means Liberal, irreverent and snarky, pretty much. Lots of conservative sacred cows getting gored, a little creative religion bashing, and of course the pieties of Social Justice must be observed.

Which is exactly what all the Science Fiction and Fantasy books on the shelf at the bookstore look like. That's why we had Sad Puppies 1-4, because a whole huge section of the population has nothing fun to read. We don't share the tastes of the TOR editorial board, or the Random Penguin, and so forth.

There is one place I disagree with the article:

Resist—if you can—the conservative reflex to absorb this data and conclude that the media deliberately twists the news in favor of Democrats. Instead, take it the way a social scientist would take it: The people who report, edit, produce and publish news can't help being affected—deeply affected—by the environment around them.

This is known by the social sciences as Ethnocentrism, and it does account for a lot of the cluelessness of modern reporting. The stuff where they're tone-deaf, or they don't bother telling you things, or they deliberately conceal certain details because they think its rude to mention. That's all down to them not noticing the cultural water they're swimming in.

But we have all seen the NY Times lie, deny and "squirrel!!!" too many times in the last few years to discount corruption as part of the picture. Hillary got the debate questions ahead of time, the Obama administration had a say in stories being published at the NY Times, Google execs visited the White House every day, Facebook caught red-handed cooking their news feed... that kind of evidence can't be ignored.

So yes it is a bubble, AND they're deliberately propagandizing the nation on top of that.

Canada of course is a small town in comparison. We barely have a publishing industry to begin with, and ALL of it is in Toronto for English and Montreal for French. You write to the Canadian Urbanite taste here, or you don't get picked up.

The Phantom


Alyric said...

Fortunately, there's independent publishing - or just sheer determination.

I love Larry Correia's story, how publishers ignored Monster Hunter International, so he shopped it around gun forums, etc., until it became popular enough that a publisher was willing to pick it up.

In the end, very little beats self-reliance and determination.

The Phantom said...

Hey, Alyric.

The publishing thing is a very real problem that I'm facing myself. I've written a bunch of books the last couple of years, and there's really no way any of it is going to ever see the light of day if I don't go indy.

I'm not going to compare myself to Larry, he's one of a kind, that guy. But, maybe I can sell some books, you know? The problem of course is that with Publishing consolidated to five blocks in NYC, there's insufficient -variety- of taste at work to fit somebody like me in.

Thank God for Amazon, is all I can say.

Alyric said...

Well, if you ever self-publish, be sure to give us a link here ;)