It has long been obvious that coastal media elites (and establishment politicians in Washington, D.C., for that matter) don’t pay much attention to those in “flyover country.” In fact, they tend to view members of the nation’s bread-basket-- or “heartland”-- as God-fearing, gun-toting, rube-like “deplorables” unworthy of their consideration.
This was recently, memorably, and hilariously, proven yet again by an “infographic” in USA TODAY intending to show how the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has led to illegal shipments of the drug to other states. The May 13 graphic originally highlighted Wyoming, with arrows emanating from that state to various others. The Gannett owned paper is the third most circulated in the United States. One wonders how no one caught such an obvious blunder.
The graphic was soon corrected, but not before many had great fun with it, suggesting that perhaps the mapmaker(s), editors and proofreaders were under the influence of the product on which they were reporting. It is ironic that this occurred in a paper explicitly named for the United States of America, but, again, should not be surprising given that nearly all mainstream media is based on the two coasts.
Speaking of the elite intelligentsia, this is somewhat mindful of 2008 when then candidate Barack Obama remarked “it was just wonderful to be back in Oregon,” proudly noting that, over the past 15 months, he had “…now been in 57 states…I think one left to go.” These are clearly cases rooted in the lack of either rote or meaningful learning, yet both were considered as nothing more than meaningless trivia by the “educated” coastal establishment elitists, perhaps good for a yuck or two, but as unimportant as those residing in the hinterlands.
It is unthinkable that, say, Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt would be unable to quickly and positively pick out Kansas on a map of the U.S. at the time of their presidencies…or be similarly ignorant of the number of states in their union. It would be utterly unsurprising, on the other hand, if many of those working for Salon, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN or MSNBC failed to identify Kansas on a map of the United States…given three chances.
Obama and The USA TODAY have given new meaning to the term “misstatement.” That they are both still considered credible sources of information is a sad reflection on the state of the union…or states of the union. Even Colorado—or Wyoming-- I get them confused. Those really big Western states all look alike, don’t they?