Being a loyal reader of the NYTimes (and the Washington Post and a few other publications) I sometimes overlook (forget) the fact that the readership of which I am a part represents but a tiny part of the what, the electorate? no that’s not the right word, because most of the eligible voters don’t vote (do they read?), a tiny part of the adult population of the country. In that regard how big is the readership of the Times?
A few numbers might help us in that regard. The adult population of the United States (2018) is some 250 million (total population 320 million). The Times daily reader circulation (including digital distribution) is some 1.9 million (less than that if we take into account the probably substantial foreign readership of the Times bring the total down to some 1.5 million Americans who read the Times). I’d love to see the Times own numbers for this one.
The Times readership is not in first place, the largest of any US publication. That place belongs to the WSJ with 2.4 million readers, with USA Today in third. Assuming, grossly inaccurately of course, that about a quarter of the Times readership may get to the opinion pages, that which I almost never miss, doesn’t that then make me one of some half a million American readers with whom I probably do share a good number of ideas and opinions. But there are some 250 million other Americans who probably don’t read the Times. So on this basis what right do I ever have to say, that what I’m reading at all reflects my country let alone the people of my country? No right at all, the largest number of my fellow citizens not being readers of the NYTimes.
If there is any meaning to the term “fake news” perhaps this may be it. What’s written in the so-called mostly liberal global media says nothing at all to and about most Americans. For the most part they never read it. For them the liberal and global media is therefore “fake” in that while appearing to speak to and for Americans it’s not. It’s only speaking to the few Americans who may read it (and as in my case to the even fewer who live by it). Only for us is it “real” news, not fake.
Now this is probably the way things have always been. The literate classes, by and large are speaking and reading the Times, the Post, the WSJ and the other elitist media, as in other times a very similar literate and liberal class were reading similar publications, And when these readers write and speak to one another, in regard to what they’ve read, they are, as they might say, preaching to the choir, the preaching to the choir, meaning, as a quick Google look tells me, that when you do this you are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced. That’s me when I send articles and opinions I like to my friends and family. I send nothing to the other and much larger America, that America that is now supporting Donald Trump.
An example might help to make clear what I’m talking about, about the two Americas, about two kinds of fake news, and two kinds of real news. Hardly a day goes by without my reading in the Times or Post or other such publication that the President’s electoral base, the registered Republicans, have never stopped supporting him, and at high levels, usually at 80% or 90%. That was the percentage Republicans who, being asked about the President’s recent meeting with Putin in Helsinki, supported their president no less after he spoke his bungled sentences words to Putin than before. While for the Times/Post readership the President’s words were a disaster, suggesting for some even a betrayal by the President of his own country.
So, to say the very least there’s another America out there, much bigger than the one I’m more comfortable and familiar with. And I and the Times/Post readership are not a part of that America. That used to be OK, there being an elitist liberal and global minority in charge, but that’s not the case any more. Why? Because, and this is what’s different today, the other America, the one that doesn’t share my mostly liberal and global points of view, is now in charge, in charge of the presidency, of the Congress, and is making a grab right now to take charge of the Supreme Court. While the Congress and the Supreme Court (not the president because he doesn’t read) may read the Times/Post media they are listening much more carefully to the other America, those who would if they didn’t listen vote them out of office.
If you don’t agree that there’s another America out there, and an America for some of us anyway, that is big and ugly, read the article below by Chris Mathias about some of the ugliest of the ugly Americans, one of them being the white supremacist, Steve King. I have no idea what Steve reads, but probably not the liberal media at all. And I’d ask, does Steve’s highly visible presence in our country’s heartland mark the return of another and uglier America from that earlier one of the 1950s?
The Ugly American of the fifties resulted in John Kennedy’s Peace Corps. Is it about time for sending what we might call a “Truth Corps” into the Republican lands that at this time blindly support, incomprehensibly to me and probably to all of the Times readership, a racist and white supremicist president?
(Among other white supremacist views, congressman King refused to apologize for promoting a neo-Nazi on Twitter. Republicans continue to look the other way.)
By Christopher Mathias, The Huffington Post, 7/19/18
What is surprising, and concerning, is that a sitting U.S. congressman can unapologetically promote a neo-Nazi’s propaganda on Twitter without real political consequence. Over the past month, none of King’s fellow Republicans have pushed to censure him or expel him from Congress. None have called for him to resign. Mostly, they have stayed quiet….
King is still chair of the House subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice. He still sits in the subcommittee on immigration and border security. Over the past month, he’s received thousands of dollars in campaign donations, including from Koch Industries PAC. And come time for the 2020 presidential election, Republican candidates will likely come begging for his endorsement, just as they did in the last election….
King is obsessed, for example, with demographics — and the perceived threat Muslim and Latino immigrants pose to the white, Christian majority. For this reason, King has taken particular interest in Geert Wilders, a noxiously Islamophobic Dutch politician who has advocated for fascist anti-Muslim policies, including a ban on Muslim immigration, and a ban on all mosques and Qurans in the Netherlands.
King visited Wilders in the Netherlands earlier this month, posing with him in a photo outside the U.S. embassy. Last year, King tweeted a photo of himself standing proudly with Wilders. “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end,” the tweet said. “We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed.”
King himself has a history of making his own wildly anti-Muslim proclamations. Just last month, speaking on Breitbart radio, King said that he didn’t want Somali Muslims working in Iowa’s meatpacking plants. Muslims often don’t eat pork, and in King’s twisted interpretation of Islam, the only reason Muslims would want to handle pork at meatpacking plants is to send non-Muslims “to Hell” and “make Allah happy.”
King has made the wildly false claim that over a quarter of violent crimes in the U.S. are committed by undocumented immigrants, and has referred to illegal immigration as a “slow-motion terrorist attack in the United States” and a “slow-motion holocaust.” (Undocumented immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans.) He once, while proposing an electrified fence along the Mexican border, compared immigrants to “livestock….
King also uses white supremacist slogans. “Diversity is not our strength,” he tweeted in December 2017, linking to an article on the website Voice of Europe about Hungary’s far-right prime minister saying that “mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”King did not come up with the phrase “diversity is not our strength.” As HuffPost has reported, white supremacists have been saying it for years.
“The idea of multiculturalism and that every culture is equal — that’s not objectively true,” King told The Washington Post. “And we’ve been fed that information for the last 25 years in this country. And we’re not going to continue to become a greater nation if we don’t look at this objectively.”
“King has also paid homage to more traditional forms of American white supremacy. He has said the U.S. should not apologize for centuries of enslaving, murdering and raping millions of black Americans. He came out against putting a picture of emancipator Harriet Tubman — a conductor of the Underground Railroad — on the $20 bill.
And he once kept a Confederate flag on his desk even though his home state of Iowa was not part of the Confederacy. In fact, Iowa sent thousands of soldiers to fight for the Union against the Confederacy — a treasonous army fighting explicitly to protect the institution of slavery in the South.”
Last month, King won the Republican primary in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, ensuring he’ll be on the ballot this November in the general election against Democrat J.D. Scholten.
King represents an other America, an America that I would like to keep very other!
And now we have,
Steve Bannon, or the Ugly American in Europe.