Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei has offered some “blunt 2020 lessons” for the media and called for “some clear-eyed, humble self-reflection” amid the fallout from the presidential election.

“The media remains fairly clueless about the America that exists outside of the big cities, where most political writers and editors live,” VandeHei wrote Friday. “The coverage missed badly the surge in Trump voters in places obvious (rural America) and less obvious (Hispanic-heavy border towns in Texas). Let’s be honest: Many of us under-appreciated the appeal of Trump’s anti-socialism message and the backlash against the defund-the-police rhetoric on the left.”

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Vandehei also said the media, as well as “many Democrats,” are “fairly clueless” about “the needs, wants and trends of Hispanic voters,” noting that Hispanics “will shape huge chunks of America’s political future, so a course correction is in order.”

He then turned to the polls, admitting that they “too often sucked” by showing President-elect Joe Biden leading President Trump by much wider margins in key swing states than the final result indicated. In addition, several GOP lawmakers polled way behind their Democratic challengers throughout the campaign, only for many of them to handily win reelection. 

“Stop justifying or spinning the reality that public and private polls blew it in too many places, from Wisconsin to individual House races,” VandeHei said. “Yes, some were better than others, but many were off by a very distorting margin.”

He then warned that the “media filter bubble is getting worse” on both the left and the right.

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“This is an urgent sign that we are collectively losing the battle for truth and open debate,” VandeHei explained. “This could still get much worse if Trump supporters choose not just networks but social platforms like Parler and Rumble for consuming and sharing their reality and liberals simply do the same in more traditional places.”

VandeHei went on to call Twitter a “mass-reality-distortion field for liberals and reporters” and argued that “group-think and liberal high-fiving” continue to be a “massive trap and distraction for journalists.” He added that Facebook plays a similar role for conservatives, while YouTube is a problem “for people of all stripes.” 

“Look at the [Facebook] content pages that get the most daily interaction (shares, likes, etc.) and it’s all right-wing catnip,” he wrote. “It’s not all fake or conspiratorial, but a lot of it sure is. This is a huge problem.”

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“The bottom line: We are losing the war for truth,” VandeHei concluded. “There is no bigger crisis for media, politics and society than the growing number of people who do not believe facts and verifiable figures. If we do not collectively solve this, we are all screwed.”

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