Friday, November 19, 2004

Truly asymmetrical information

Cathy Seipp makes a point that deserves serious attention:
One of the election lessons for Democrats is that while the Left doesn't understand the Right, the Right can't help but understand the Left, because the Left is in charge of pop culture. Urban blue staters can go their entire lives happily innocent of the world of church socials and duck hunting and Boy Scout meetings, but small-town red staters are exposed to big-city blue-state values every time they turn on the TV.
Mystery writer Harry Kemelman put it another way:
Ask anyone in the city how far out Farmer Brown lives, and if he knows him, he will say, 'Three or four miles.' But ask Farmer Brown how far he lives from the city and he will tell you, 'three and six-tenths miles-measured it on my speedometer many a time.
["The Nine-mile Walk"]
But Seipp is wrong to limit this only to pop culture and values. The same is true about day-to-day news and this hurts the Democrats. Those of us who live in the exurbs and rural areas still get a healthy dose of information about city life. Our local radio and television stations are based in cities. Tune in for highlights of the Eagles or Steelers and you hear about the latest corruption scandal in Philadelphia or the abject failure of the Harrisburg schools or the disastrous fiscal situation in Pittsburgh. By and large, Democrats govern the cities and many of those cities are governed poorly by our lights.

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