It is profession without patience, and when you are not patient, you are vulnerable to a confirmation bias: you react, hoping that you can stave off evidence that will prove your theory wrong.
A column in the Globe and Mail is a prime example of jumping the gun. Roy Moore lost, and to the journalists, it means that Trump’s influence is over.
Now, where did we hear that line of logic before?
Oh yes, during the 2016 US Election.
And Spy Magazine before that somewhere in the 80s.
One election does not mean anything.
Roy Moore lost by a little over 1 percent of the vote.
It was not a landslide, and considering the number of women who voted for him, despite everything he has ever said and done, there is very little comfort.
Besides, Moore was Steve Bannon’s man, not Trump’s. Bannon’s image of being a king-maker flew out of the window, but he is not the only game in town.
Journalists have, as usual, over-interpreted an event that has more concerning elements than comforting ones.
Had Moore been replaced with someone less tainted, it would have been an easy Republican victory. There is no doubt. Some voters stayed away because they weren’t going to vote for someone on the #MeToo hit list.
But it does not mean that, (a) they will not vote or vote GOP again, and (b) that they are swayed by the news media.
Steve Bannon merely pressed his luck too hard, and bought his own hype.
As did journalists.
But Bannon knew the journalistic code: market yourself as a Great Man, and the press will build you up.
But most of all, voting patterns are pretty set in the US: president comes in first term with a senate and congress aligned politically with them, president does not manage to be Santa Claus, and people get ticked; come mid-terms, one or both the House and the Senate swings the other way…and the president still wins a second term, but now has a perfect excuse why things don’t get done.
Journalists do not know the waves of the oceans they swim in.
And it is truly a phenomenon: how do you not know your own environment when observing is your livelihood?
It is the reason data journalism seems so alluring: they can skip knowing the world because data will reveal all.
Just as it told them who was going to take it home in November 2016.
And journalists are still losing their jobs in droves.
If Trump went away right now, they would still be a dead profession.
They are still as powerless and irrelevant as ever.