Today’s reporter chat on the Washington Post was quite interesting. I got Perry Bacon to take the following question:
Re: more “class warfare”: Since you’re bravely taking a lot of tough questions today, how about this one: is it fair to conclude that most in the national media identify with elites — political elites and business elites — and not with the great unwashed masses in flyover territory? Is that why we’re constantly told that the middle class needs to sacrifice more, that attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy are “class warfare”, that people don’t need goverment-sponsored health care and so on?
Do you think coverage would be different if national reporters made less money and lived in places like Detroit and Cleveland?
Perry Bacon Jr.: I have to confess having trouble with these “national media” questions. I really don’t have time to track everything said on CNN and every other network, read every publication that does national news and still report news on my own, so I don’t know if “class warfare” is being used every 10 seconds on tv. I suspect not, as it’s a loaded term. Would coverage be different if more reporters lived in Cleveland and made less money? I don’t know. I read the paper in Louisville fairly often and the stories they run about national politics aren’t terribly different from the ones in the Post, they are just fewer articles about political strategy/tactics that some of our readers really like. Let me ask a few more questions in this vein though. Would Congress handle military policy differently if more members had kids in the services? Would the Obama administration handle economy policy differently if had more people who attended public colleges instead of private ones?
I don’t think his answer makes much sense. Congressmen and advisers are by definition powerful and to some extent comfortable. It is the media that purports to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
But I’m impressed that Bacon took this one.