There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble
By Nate Silver
Filed under The Real Story Of 2016
Published Mar. 10, 2017
The U.S. presidential election, as I’ve argued, was something of a similar case. No, the polls didn’t show a toss-up, as they had in Brexit. But the reporting was much more certain of Clinton’s chances than it should have been based on the polls. Much of The New York Times’s coverage, for instance, implied that Clinton’s odds were close to 100 percent. In an article on Oct. 17 — more than three weeks before Election Day — they portrayed the race as being effectively over, the only question being whether Clinton should seek a landslide or instead assist down-ballot Democrats:
This is not to say the election was a toss-up in mid-October, which was one of the high-water marks of the campaign for Clinton. But while a Trump win was unlikely, it should hardly have been unthinkable. And yet the Times, famous for its “to be sure” equivocations, wasn’t even contemplating the possibility of a Trump victory.
So did journalists in Washington and London make the apocryphal Pauline Kael mistake, refusing to believe that Trump or Brexit could win because nobody they knew was voting for them? That’s not quite what Trende was arguing. Instead, it’s that political experts aren’t a very diverse group and tend to place a lot of faith in the opinions of other experts and other members of the political establishment. Once a consensus view is established, it tends to reinforce itself until and unless there’s very compelling evidence for the contrary position. Social media, especially Twitter, can amplify the groupthink further. It can be an echo chamber.
I suppose post-mortems of 2016 are going to be common fare until at least summer 2018, if not fall 2019. This article is part of a series, the only one I’ve read so far. It looks at some of the underlying roots of MSM groupthink and considers some of the issues in trying to correct them.
IMO, one of the biggest root systems is the lack of viewpoint diversity. It’s partly choices of, through the decades, 10s of millions of conservatives. It’s also partly due to liberals having seen to it that conservatives are frozen out or blocked from entering. And these two factors are pretty much self-reinforcing, and the latter self-perpetuating.