I highly recommend reading this interview, in which The Athletic‘s Ethan Strauss tries mightily to puncture the intellectual bubble in which Slate‘s Josh Levin quite obviously lives, and yet ends up entirely failing to do so. Strauss’s core contention is that sports fans do not much like woke politics — or the hypocrisy that accompanies them — and that the injection of those politics into sports helps to explain both the NBA’s astonishing ratings decline and the temporarily decline that the NFL experienced when Colin Kaepernick starting doing his thing. Levin’s contention is that this cannot possibly be true because . . . well, it just can’t. It’s “really challenging” to draw conclusions, Levin insists. And anyway, what about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz?
Strauss is gentle throughout, but his frustration is palpable. At various points, he suggests that his observation is “completely obvious to people who aren’t in the bubble,” asks Levin “why would it be so hard to believe that?” and confesses that he has been “put in the position in a way of just explaining the obvious, that gravity exists.”
Over the last few years, I have come gradually to the conclusion that the majority of people who work in journalism at the national level do not have a particularly solid grip on reality. By that I do not mean that that they are insane or that they are stupid — they’re not — but rather that they have a conception of the country in which they live that is almost entirely at odds with the reality, and that they believe an enormous number of things that are simply not true. This interview is a lovely little example of just that.