Politico has a must-read story up on how the Media Bubble is Worse than You Think. Politico looked at where journalists work and how fast it is changing. The executive summary is that the ascendancy of digital publishing and the decline of print journalism has created a concentration of journalists in the North East Corridor and on the West Coast. Newspaper jobs were more evenly distributed across the country, but newspapers have been shedding jobs fast. There are now fewer newspaper publishing jobs in America than internet publishing and broadcasting jobs.
The Politico article is focused on politics, but this has broad implications for markets. Both because the consensus clearly missed a Trump victory which has helped power the stock market higher and because you could say similar things about the business press.
The answer to the press’ myopia lies elsewhere, and nobody has produced a better argument for how the national media missed the Trump story than FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who pointed out that the ideological clustering in top newsrooms led to groupthink. “As of 2013, only 7 percent of [journalists] identified as Republicans,” Silver wrote in March, chiding the press for its political homogeneity. Just after the election, presidential strategist Steve Bannon savaged the press on the same point but with a heartier vocabulary. “The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what’s wrong with this country,” Bannon said. “It’s just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no fucking idea what’s going on.”
But journalistic groupthink is a symptom, not a cause. And when it comes to the cause, there’s another, blunter way to think about the question than screaming “bias” and “conspiracy,” or counting D’s and R’s. That’s to ask a simple question about the map. Where do journalists work, and how much has that changed in recent years? To determine this, my colleague Tucker Doherty excavated labor statistics and cross-referenced them against voting patterns and Census data to figure out just what the American media landscape looks like, and how much it has changed.
The results read like a revelation. The national media really does work in a bubble, something that wasn’t true as recently as 2008. And the bubble is growing more extreme. Concentrated heavily along the coasts, the bubble is both geographic and political. If you’re a working journalist, odds aren’t just that you work in a pro-Clinton county—odds are that you reside in one of the nation’s most pro-Clinton counties. And you’ve got company: If you’re a typical reader of POLITICO, chances are you’re a citizen of bubbleville, too.
Read more here
Jeremy Jones, CFA
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