Ken Stern, a former CEO of National Public Radio (NPR), begins an op-ed in the New York Post with an assertion that many conservatives will find easily believable: “Most reporters and editors are liberal—a now-dated Pew Research Center poll found that liberals outnumber conservatives in the media by some 5 to 1, and that comports with my own anecdotal experience at National Public Radio. When you are liberal, and everyone else around you is as well, it is easy to fall into groupthink on what stories are important, what sources are legitimate and what the narrative of the day will be.”
NPR has an audience of over 30 million people for their radio programming alone. That’s roughly 10% of the U.S. population.
But Stern was interested in learning about an equally large group of Americans—those who would not readily call themselves liberal or progressive. He spent a year interacting with conservatives in different parts of the U.S. in an effort to better understand what he considers dangerously deepening political divisions in the U.S. today, focusing especially on trust (or lack thereof) in the mainstream media:
“Spurred by a fear that red and blue America were drifting irrevocably apart, I decided to venture out from my overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood and engage Republicans where they live, work and pray,” Stern writes. “For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (‘cling to guns or religion’) and presidential candidates (‘basket of deplorables’) alike.”
Stern’s full op-ed can be read here.