The New Yorker goes to Trump rallies

Writer George Saunders attempts thoughtfulness:

In the old days, a liberal and a conservative (a “dove” and a “hawk,” say) got their data from one of three nightly news programs, a local paper, and a handful of national magazines, and were thus starting with the same basic facts (even if those facts were questionable, limited, or erroneous). Now each of us constructs a custom informational universe, wittingly (we choose to go to the sources that uphold our existing beliefs and thus flatter us) or unwittingly (our app algorithms do the driving for us). The data we get this way, pre-imprinted with spin and mythos, are intensely one-dimensional.

That’s true, George. The internet is way better news for traditionalists than it is for persons like you.

Award-winning line:

So the couple’s assertion was true but not complexly true.

So you now have to resort to “complexly” to defend progressivism?

And get this:

I didn’t meet many people who were unreservedly for Trump. There is, in the quiver containing his ideas, something for nearly everyone to dislike. But there is also something for nearly everyone to like. What allows a person not crazy about Trump to vote for him is a certain prioritization: a person might, for example, like Trump’s ideas about trade, or his immigration policies, or the fact that Trump is, as one supporter told me, “a successful businessman,” who has “actually done something,” unlike Obama, who has “never done anything his entire life.”

The Trump supporters I spoke with were friendly, generous with their time, flattered to be asked their opinion, willing to give it, even when they knew I was a liberal writer likely to throw them under the bus. More.

Reality check: If so, the Trumpies are nicer than many Canadians (a first!).

Many of us would say: Under the bus, George? You first. Still Clueless in Cocktail Land.

The New Yorker types, like the Washington Posties (now Jeff Bezos’ charity), don’t get how much the internet has changed social and power relations in a few short years.

It’s comparable to the printing press in the 15th century. Suddenly, people who were previously sneered at as ignorant peasants had access to information. And they didn’t need the former providers either. They could buy and read printed books instead of hiring someone at huge expense to copy a book out for them.

True, governments tried cracking down and upheavals and revolutions followed, but those types of events usually do follow such changes. And the changes stuck.

Maybe the New Yorker will drown in the New York A-crock-a-lypse currently promoted by Rolling Stone. Will anyone notice?

See also: Data basic: A primer on information theory and why it matters today


CNN CEO admits network too liberal. Thanks for playing, Zucker. The rest of us want to live and that means responding to the real world around us, not your progressive fantasy.

  • john700

    One problem with the comparison with the era when the printing press took over: people gained access to ideas, but most of them were communist and this resulted in the French Revolution. The lies spread by the press and read by gullible masses led to the decapitation of King Louis and Queen Marie-Antoinette. Even the French media admits that now.

    • My point isn’t so much that it was good but that it made a huge difference and could not just be suppressed, whatever the outcome.

      • john700

        It could have been suppressed very easily. King Louis was weak and he did not bother to arrest all the communist opinion-makers, confiscate the presses, kill the liars. It would have given him time to find long-term solutions. Allowing the communist seeds to grow has irreparable consequences in any society. It’s been happening in North America for the last 50 years and there will be a big price to pay.

  • Clausewitz

    The NY Times goes to Trump rallies for the same reason they sent reporters to Alaska to go through Sarah Palin’s garbage.

  • B__2

    Noah’s implicit assumption that it was always about Narratives, instead of a search for the truth. And because they are just Narratives and not a search nor a exposition of truth and reality, then he assesses the liberals and conservatives points of view as previously equally worthy and equally valid. These days, not even facts that might have previously been agreed on by both sides are allowed to get in the way of Narratives.

    I notice also that he sees conservatives as nuanced without the group politics of the liberals who are allowed no shades of grey. The liberal group seems to have no dissenters like the Trump supporters he interviewed.

    I see conservatives more willing to discuss issues with Noah, compared to the modern trend of liberals who demand censorship and safe spaces to protect their “custom informational universe”. Of course this is not necessarily by choice, as most media sources are left-leaning liberal sources: conservatives are exposed to their opponents’ point of view all the time. Liberals are not, and so demand that the opposing points of view be silenced as they have never had to defend their points of view and in the main do not know to do so.