By failing to provide perspective, the media creates a sense of outrage when none is justified and inoculates the public against injustice when injustice is real.
In the piece French is arguing that the media exaggerates administration differences and in so doing intensifies the ideological gap that appears to be rending the nation. The truth of his idea seemed transparent when this morning I ran into this piece in The Hill:
Voters who have attained a bachelor’s degree favored Democrats by a 20-point margin in this year’s midterm elections, according to exit surveys. Those without a bachelor’s degree told pollsters they split their ballots evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
The piece goes on to look at education differences among ethnic groups, yada, yada, yada. The piece seems tailor-made to illustrate French’s point. Frankly, I found the Hill piece a bit offensive. The implication is that “smart” people increasingly vote Democrat.
Here’s the thing, educated does not equal smart.
This is a hard lesson for any young person of education to learn and our society is increasingly making it harder for them to learn. When I first finished school I went to work in factory, a big factory, about 2000 people. I had more education, and subsequently thought I was smarter than, 1800 of them. I walked around that plant trying to tell people that had been doing their very complex and technical jobs for 20+ years that they were doing it wrong. I pissed a lot of people off.
Finally one day one of them took me aside and showed me the intimate details of what he did, things not in the book and that you would only learn having done it for all those years. By the time he was done this man that did not even finish high school had made me feel very, very stupid.
Did I have an attitude problem, yes, yes I did. But I also learned something very important. This guy could not do the math or tell me “the operating principles” of how that machine worked – but he knew more about that machine than I ever would. He made it very plain that despite all my education I was far from smart. That’s one of the reasons I am so passionate about my woodworking hobby today – there are things that can only be learned by doing.
The statistical correlation Reid Wilson at The Hill has come upon says more about our educational system than it does about how smart voters are. The fact of the matter is that the more educated one is, the less one is connected to day-t0-day stuff of life. It is in fact that lack of understanding of the stuff of normal life that got America angry enough to vote for the president to begin with.
And you want to talk about things that intensify the growing gaps in the nation, it is definitely things like the implication that Trump voters are somehow not as smart as other voters. That’s just insulting. Definitely some perspective needed here.