Reprinted from Media Matters
This week's issue of The New Yorker offers up an epic, 8,000-word look at Donald Trump voters in West Virginia, and why the state has switched from blue to red over the last two decades. An anthropological dig into cultural and political shifts that have benefited Republicans in the Appalachian State (W.V. voter: "Political correctness is destroying the country"). The New Yorker feature arrives on the heels of the magazine's previous 10,000-word look at Trump voters in the July 18 issue. That equally detailed feature examined the rise of Trump rallies and what the raucous affairs, teeming with fanatical supporters ("Where did my country go?") say about the state of American politics.
So that's 18,000 words in the span of two New Yorker articles published just three months apart dissecting Trump supporters and what makes them tick; what fuels their rage and passion. Do you get a sense of where the magazine's focus has been this campaign?
The esteemed weekly has hardly been alone in that regard this year. As the presidential campaign heads toward its final month and Hillary Clinton stands poised to become the first woman president in American history, the press continues to be strangely obsessed with profiling the supporters of the losing candidate, while often gazing uninterestedly at Clinton voters.
Despite the fact that the Clinton campaign has put together a voting coalition that is in several ways historic, more and more media attention seems to be showered on the supporters of the candidate who's trailing badly in the polls. (See here, here, here, here and here.)
Obviously, both general election candidates have been the subject of never-ending campaign coverage. But when it comes to spotlighting and understanding their supporters, journalists seem far more keyed in on Republicans in terms of time and attention.
In general, I understand the media's desire to try to explain what's driving the support for Trump, who's obviously running a highly unusual campaign and marketing his run in openly bigoted language. For a lot of people that's deeply troubling, so understanding the dynamic behind Trump represents an obvious story of interest.