Why is Donald Trump winning? It is not because he has some a warm, charming personality. Nope. He understands the 21st Century media reality. That also explains why the Democrats and so many pundits who opine on politics are getting things wrong. The Dems and their pundit lackeys are living with a 1970s view of the media. They do not understand that ship has sailed.
Look first at the numbers of viewers for last night's State of the Union speech. This tells part of the story:
That's a total of 40,300,000 viewers. Sounds like a lot. But when you consider the fact that the population in America is approaching 330 million, that's only 12 percent of the population.
Let's take this to the level of who watches news. There is the assumption among those who turn on FOX or CNN or MSNBC that these outlets are influential in helping set policy and inform political opinion. That may have been true 30 years ago, but it is no longer the case.
Consider these facts.
Twenty-seven million to 29 million viewers, on average, tuned in every night [in the 1970s) to hear Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News. Today, though, the viewership of evening news programs on CBS, NBC and ABC combined is smaller than CBS' when Cronkite sat in the anchor's chair. The total numbers for CBS, NBC and ABC approached 49 million.
During the hottest days of the 2016 Presidential campaign, the number of viewers was dramatically lower:
Let those numbers sink in. In 1972, when the US population was approaching 210 million, almost 23% of the population watched the evening news. Today the number of people watching news shows has dropped to 8.5% of the population.
Here's another curveball. Rush Limbaugh. According to his latest ratings, 26 million people are listening to him on a daily basis.
Ponder that for a moment. Rush Limbaugh has almost as many listeners as all of the the Cable News and Network news broadcasts combined.
I think this is what Donald Trump understands. He realizes that the talking head media and panels of ignorant pundits are really an anachronism. No longer relevant to a world where most people do not read books. Instead, their heads are bent over scanning the latest headline to flash across the screen of their ironically named "smart phone." Yes, the phones are far smarter than the average citizen strolling the streets of any community in America.
I suspect that many of you that read this blog are the shrinking minority of those who tune in to watch cable news shoes. Some of you may even double up and watch something on one of the old network news slots. But please understand that you are an oddity. You do not represent the average voter nor the average citizen.
This is the danger we face–there is no longer an authoritative source of news that enjoys the confidence much less awareness of a significant plurality of voters. Ignorance and disinformation prevail. That's why, in part I believe, Trump continues to be more effective and to run circles around the conventional media.