Film screenwriter William Goldman once wrote of Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” What is often true of movie-makers — due largely to the all-too human inability to predict what the public will like — is all the more accurate of mainstream media pundits. For all their years of experience and their supposed grasp of the fine points of politics, it seems most of them were caught flat-footed, just like the White House, when it came to the unraveling of ObamaCare.
David Broder, the dean of Washington insider-ism, concedes:
I badly misjudged the broad public reaction to the angry August congressional town meetings. Instead of provoking a pro-Obama backlash, as I had expected, the town halls, amplified on sometimes hostile cable channels and talk radio, spread disquiet about what the president has in mind. And Obama’s patient, didactic responses have not quieted the reaction, let alone built fresh support for a vitally needed overhaul of our expensive, dysfunctional health system.
Who knew all those people would be upset with a big government power grab? You’d have had to be a mind reader to see that ordinary citizens, who never show up for their congressmen’s in-district chats, would show up in throngs, right? Well, if you ignored the tea party movement, you might have missed the groundswell of popular opinion and the rising activism among libertarians and conservatives. But then, come to think of it, the mainstream media did ignore or ridicule the tea parties. The hundreds of thousands who showed up on April 15 and the tens of thousands who showed up since then were the nucleus of a populist, small-government movement. It’s been out there for months now, but you wouldn’t have heard about it from mainstream media — or taken it seriously if that was your only source of news.