John Ekdahl asked a simple question Tuesday night:
The top 3 best selling vehicles in America are pick-ups. Question to reporters: do you personally know someone that owns one?
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) January 4, 2017
This not at all complicated query should generate one of two answers: yes or no. Instead, Ekdahl got hours of contempt, confusion, and rage.
This is very silly question. To wit: The top 3 population centers in America are liberal strongholds. DO YOU PERSONALLY KNOW SOMEONE THERE? https://t.co/UJMccGjg40
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) January 4, 2017
@JohnEkdahl Q: How many of those truck owners use them for the intended purpose? A: Not many unless you count immigrant laborers.
— Bob (@lytestreet) January 4, 2017
@JohnEkdahl I live in a city. I wouldn’t want to know people who felt they needed to own a pick up in the city (unless they haul bricks)
— John Corbett (@CorComm) January 4, 2017
Today in McCarthyism for Idiots: If you don’t know someone who owns a truck, you’re not a real ‘Murican! Bonus freedom points for TruckNutz! https://t.co/Jm3fQNjH79
— Desdakon (@Desdakon) January 4, 2017
Can we please move off the idea that truck-owning, country music-listening, gun enthusiasts are the “real” Americans https://t.co/R601jNKWvi
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) January 4, 2017
1) this is wrong, 2) many of these are fleet vehicles, 3) they’re geographically concentrated bc duh, 4) this is a dumb question for stupids https://t.co/6kulkdzStO
— Danny Concannon (@Danny_Concannon) January 4, 2017
Owning a pickup makes you more Real American than taking the subway and two buses to your job?
— Donna Gratehouse (@DonnaDiva) January 4, 2017
.@JohnEkdahl plenty of heartlanders are opioid addicts. Does that mean to report on real Amerikkka you need an oxy habit?
— Jonathan Gitlin (@drgitlin) January 4, 2017
reporters continually signalling to cons that theyre “real americans and not those awful liberals” produces a lot of the ‘both sides” bs https://t.co/6Y2tiPWV92
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) January 4, 2017
It was a bad faith, rhetorical question that retrenchs disillusionment, suspicion and obscures the truth https://t.co/LQKwXn2B3j
— Matt Heimiller (@MattHeimiller) January 4, 2017
Ekdahl never mentioned guns, immigration, country music, race, or “real Americans,” yet a flurry of journalists and other progressives tried to shame him with each for daring to ask this non-political question. All because they didn’t want to admit that they live in a bubble.
Many Americans, left and right, live in monochrome cultural enclaves. Many of my friends at DC think tanks and my relatives on the farm don’t interact with many people who live different lives than themselves. Admitting this isn’t a black mark on either group; it merely helps us understand our limited perspective.
Since I live in the Phoenix suburbs, I know plenty of people in both groups. The economist PhDs make me feel dumb and the ranchers make me feel wimpy, so I learn a lot from both. Humility is a requirement if you want to learn or write about the many subjects outside your ken. Journalism would be a lot better if our media accepted this truth.
A longer version of Ekdahl’s question was posed by Charles Murray in his now-famous Bubble Quiz (which includes a question about pickup trucks, natch). I was in the middle of the pack with a score of 58 out of 100. Let me know what you get in the comments.