Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Election Update | Lefsetz Letter

Maybe it’s not about the horse race but the underpinnings, maybe it’s not about whether the Democrats failed to take over the Senate as much as who got elected.

Like Kyrsten Sinema. An atheist bisexual from the land of Goldwater. My, how Arizona has changed. My, how the PUBLIC has changed.

With two years to adjust to the new landscape, the media continues to get it wrong.

As for Fox News, it’s lost all credibility since Hannity appeared on stage with Trump. It’s no longer a news outlet, but a cheering section. Of course we knew this, but Hannity proved this. They say Roger Ailes would have never allowed this, had held back Hannity previously. All I know is I regularly listened to Fox on Sirius XM, but I won’t anymore, now it’s no more than an appendage of Trump, it’s not worth listening for perspective, there is none.

As for the “New York Times”… What is going on there? So busy trying to appear fair and balanced, female and male, up-to-date, somehow the Gray Lady continues to miss the memo. The reporters are aggrieved at Trump’s actions, but seem categorically unable to decipher the essence, the texture, the meaning. They offed Margaret Sullivan and now she’s functioning as the ombudsman for the WaPo, she took the media to task for blowing the election, turns out maybe you’re better off reading the WaPo than the NYT, that’s what the money of a billionaire and the editorship of Marty Baron will do for you. As for the WSJ, its editorial page is so biased and often uninformed as to be laughable.

So where does this leave us?

With no direction home, in the great unknown.

Trump won and he hijacked the narrative. Last week’s election taught us that some people are still biased, uninformed, voting against their own interests, fearful of change. While others will vote their pocketbook. But that’s not the story of 2018. The story of 2018 is the American experiment is working. Muslim women got elected in Michigan and Minnesota, turns out most of the public has no problem with immigrants, females or gay people.

But the media doesn’t know this. The same way the old Dems wouldn’t come out for gay marriage, afraid of the consequences.

What are the consequences? How should you run in 2020?

Well one thing we know is those who triangulate, play on the old board, are history. They may not know it yet, but if they control the Democratic party’s election they will lose next time. Discounting the progressives and running to the center is anathema. Turns out the public is hipper than the politicians, people want someone honest, who understands their problems. So it’ll be interesting who runs. A new face might take charge just like in ’76 with Carter, who had the musicians in his pocket. That man this time is John Hickenlooper, who told me he can win because he’s lost his job and had to pivot and he specializes in listening in a state (Colorado if you’re out of the loop) where there are divergent interests. You see where you came from counts. Who you are counts. That’s why Bernie did so well. We want to believe you have a backbone, suddenly it’s about character.

But the media keeps falling for the Trump bait. If the man lies and makes up false crises like the “caravan,” maybe the media should downplay his antics. We’ve seen this paradigm in music forever. Alice Cooper specialized in it. Just get them talking, no matter what they say. That doesn’t play in 2018. We need more analysis, and greater distance from the machine. Really, the problem isn’t CNN’s reporter being banned, it’s that there’s little reporting done by CNN to begin with, they specialize in the train-wreck, it’s reality television for those with a bit more brains.

So in case you’ve been under a rock, as the ballots continue to be counted, Democrats are winning again and again, in many races where they were counted out. This is a blue wave of sentiment, if not numbers. And as we learned in Vietnam, it’s all about hearts and minds.

What has the media done to adjust in the internet era?

Forget TV, it’s just talking heads, but print media…NOTHING! The papers’ idea of innovation is soft paywalls. They’re all like ancient rockers, bitching about the new paradigm. But at least the rockers who’ve survived got the memo to go on the road, that they couldn’t count on record revenue. The papers may be switching from physical to virtual, holding on to print for the same people who like CDs, but just like the ancient rockers, they’re playing the same old hits.

Let’s see… Two pages for op-ed. How about four pages for op-ed? How about someone who can analyze what’s going on, really take the temperature of America. Because if the papers are wrong about the election, and they are, the question arises…

What else are they wrong about?

Note: I’ll tell you one thing the media’s wrong about, that the major labels are wrong about, WE DON’T LIVE IN A HIP-HOP NATION! At best we live in a cacophonous nation, where a great swath of the public is being ignored, he or she who addresses it will triumph in the future, that’s the disruption in the offing, not one of distribution but content. If the labels were smart, and they’re not, they’d be developing alternate sounds for the rest of America, these same people who’ve tuned out except for going to the shows of the aged acts referenced above. They want new music that appeals to them, but they don’t know where to find it. None of it is consistently hyped. Funny how yacht rock is successful enough to not only be a term, but a Sirius XM channel, and the labels refuse to make ear-pleasing music by people who can play and sing. You read about acts in the paper and you need a decoder ring to understand them. They oftentimes have imperfect voices, the instrumentation is rough, but if this music turns you off, where are you supposed to go? The dungeon of Active Rock, the backwater of AAA? We need stuff that appeals to many that can gain traction, this is not rocket science, then again, the music business is not famous for being populated by rocket scientists.

Margaret Sullivan “The media’s eagerness to discount the ‘blue wave’ feeds a dangerous problem”


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