During his public relations tour before his inaugural Meet The Press on Sunday, new host Chuck Todd admitted that the mainstream press and the Washington establishment have lost touch with regular Americans and vowed that his show would do its part to rectify that.
In his “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit on Friday, Todd seemed to realize the disconnect between Boomtown and the rest of the America.
“I certainly believe washington journalists have the same problem washington politicians have… we’ve collectively lost touch and credibility with the rest of America, outside the coasts (or as I like to say, the Acela Corridor of DC to Boston),” he said in a chat session a day before the insular Obama, who completely misread where the country stood on amnesty, decided not to enact executive amnesty until after the midterm elections. “I think it’s about getting back out in the America between the coasts… reporting on the struggles to dig out from the Great Recession. The coasts have dug out, other small cities and big towns have not.”
Todd interviewed Obama the next day. And on illegal immigration, which is the issue that represents the biggest divide between the permanent political class and the rest of America, Todd went all-in for Team Acela Corridor. He expressed more concern for illegal immigrants in his questions to President Barack Obama than American workers. And his inaugural panel did not discuss the impact of executive amnesty and unchecked immigration on the very workers that Todd said have been struggling to dig out of the Great Recession.
No issue represents the divide between the bipartisan permanent political class and the broader American public than illegal immigration. The mainstream media only started to cover the issue after Breitbart Texas exclusively released photos of illegal immigrant juveniles, nearly 90 percent of whom are teenagers, being warehoused in Texas. The press won’t admit it, but they thought the photos would shift public opinion in favor of more amnesty. To their shock, they were blindsided, as support for amnesty plummeted (Todd is a poll guy, and that is what the polls said) along with Obama’s approval ratings on illegal immigration after the Breitbart Texas published one of the scoops of the year.
In Todd’s Boomtown, Republicans who want cheap labor, Democrats who think they can get free votes, and well-to-do independents who love their “help” and “compromise” for the sake of compromise all see no downside at all with amnesty policies. They and their economies are insulated from the pressures and struggles working Americans of all backgrounds and races — who do not live in enclaves dotted with trendy fusion restaurants — must deal with on a daily basis.
But hours after President Barack Obama decided to delay his executive amnesty because American workers–especially in red states in which Democrats are in competitive Senate races–were revolting, Todd could have been a voice for those workers. Instead, his first question to Obama was about illegal immigrants who are about to be deported for breaking the nation’s laws.
“What do you tell the person that’s going to get deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a democratic Senate?” Todd asked Obama.
When Obama rambled and eventually said that the number of illegal immigrant juveniles who have been detained at the border has decreased in recent months, Todd did not ask what will happen when the temperatures cool. Obama’s own White House has said the number of illegal immigrant juveniles may increase in the coming months when the temperatures get cooler. Todd did not ask whether Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program enticed more illegal immigrant juveniles to make the harrowing journey north, risking life and limb. Had Obama spun that DACA did not lure more illegal immigrants because recent illegal immigrants would not qualify for it, Todd could have asked how migrants who are not even fluent in their own language can know the complexities of immigration law. He did not ask Obama, in light of the most recent jobs report showing that a record number of Americans were out of work and the black unemployment rate was 11.4%, if he understood why American workers may be against illegal immigrants getting work permits.
Todd talked to Obama about “election year politics” and pointed out that the public was not behind Obama on executive amnesty. But Todd never asked Obama why the public was not behind him or whether Obama, like much of the mainstream media, completely misread where the American public stood on the issue.
There’s a lot about “Boomtown” echo chamber that Todd will have to unlearn to find his stride.
In a recent After Words interview with Ben Carson on CSPAN, Todd displayed some bad habits — presuming what someone else’s words were based on the Boomtown lexicon and not understanding that the “Acela Corridor” is more a state of mind — common among those in the D.C. echo chamber.
Nothing gets more of a thrill for the “Boomtown” media than “compromise” or “bipartisanship,” and Todd was so giddy that Carson used “compromise” (or, in Todd’s parlance, the “C-word”) in his book that Todd presumed to define the word for him. He said Republicans often want to use “common ground” instead of “compromise” and did not even bother to ask Carson what his definition of the word mean.
Not so fast.
“I’m talking about compromise in method, not necessarily compromise in values in principles,” Carson had to explain Todd after finally getting a chance to speak.
Todd was also perplexed that someone like Carson who “went to the best schools” and “taught at the best schools” could be “concerned about elitism.”
“The reason I’m concerned about elitists is because there are a class of people, for instance, you see it in a lot of our universities right now who believe that they are sort of the beacon of light for everything. And anybody who doesn’t agree with them not only do they not want to hear them, they don’t want you to hear them,” Carson explained. “They don’t want anybody to hear them. If they have a business, they want to shut it down. If they have a reputation, they want to destroy it. Where does that come from unless you just believe that you are the cat’s meow?”
What many in the mainstream press do not understand is that “Boomtown” is more of a state of mind in the digital age. That is why someone like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was educated at Princeton and Harvard, can be a consummate outsider. And someone who lives in Texas, Florida, California, or Nevada can be the ultimate “insider” no different from the elites who populate the “Acela Corridor.”
Todd can travel outside the Beltway all he wants. But until he rids himself of the Acela Corridor state of mind, he will still be seen as part of the problem. On immigration, his inaugural show clearly had a Boomtown blind spot that made American workers invisible. That should be a wake-up call for Todd and the program he is trying to revive.