It is not everyday that I say, "Hey, listen up to what Carl Bernstein is saying."
However, the CNN political pundit made an important observation Sunday about the media’s lack of knowledge of Trump voters.
It came with a heavy dose of condescension, but it nevertheless made a good point.
Here is what he said on CNN’s Reliable Sources program on Sunday:
“No President in the history of the United States — in 246 years [sic] — has expressed the kinds of ideas and thoughts and undemocratic notions and authoritarian notions that he has. We need to start connecting these dots. What do people in the country think of this and why do they think and support him, no matter what we do, no matter how outrageous seemingly his conduct is," he said.
"We've got some real reporting to do. We need to make our table bigger in terms of our reportorial landscape and get out there in the political weeds," he said.
Reporting from out here the weeds, I am not surprised to find Mr. Bernstein spouting cliches about an authoritarian, undemocratic president. He obviously doesn't have much use for Trump voters who can be led by somebody whom Bernstein disdains.
But Bernstein is right: there is some real reporting to be done.
Bernstein and his ilk have absolutely no idea why some people vote for Trump.
But here’s the rub: real reporting requires a level of curiosity and objectivity that is now alien to vast segments of the media.
In a way, the media tried to do Mr. Bernstein’s “real reporting” on Trump voters shortly after the 2016 election, but inevitably their own prejudices got in the way. Most of the reports marveled at what the reporters regarded as ignorance and exotic characteristics of the Trump voters.
Even Rep. Debbie Dingell in perceptively telling Hillary Clinton to court ordinary Midwesterners seemed to on some level realize that these voters are exotic to most Democrats.
F. H. Buckley captured the disdain of the New York Times and Washington Post for the regular folks Trump voters by coining the term “red neck porn.”
Buckley described one Pulitzer Prize winning reporter’s trip into Trump country as “one long sneer at his inferiors.”
Mr. Bernstein is right, legacy media, you do have some real reporting to do.
But if you can leave behind your attitudes, you just might find that Trump voters have some interesting points to make about politics and the world in general.
You might also find that they are not likely to support somebody who is authoritarian and undemocratic.
Mr. Bernstein is right: he and his friends need to get out more.