Former NPR president leaves the blue bubble and is shocked by what he learns about non-elite Americans
I must give Ken Stern, the former CEO of National Public Radio, great credit for having the courage to leave the comforting company of fellow urban elite liberals, and engaging in an odyssey through red America. Writing in the New York Post (where the people who really need to read him won’t be found – they are reading the Times), he lays out his research:
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. 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.
I spent many Sundays in evangelical churches and hung out with 15,000 evangelical youth at the Urbana conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect among thousands of college-age evangelicals, but I certainly didn’t expect the intense discussion of racial equity and refugee issues — how to help them, not how to keep them out — but that is what I got.
To the surprise of very few AT readers, he discovered that the caricatures common on newsrooms throughout the media is utterly false. His long essay drips with sincerity.
But I don’t know how all the angry leftists he left behind will be able to listen to him, for he is far too threatening to their self-esteem, based as it is on sneering down on others.