Classic Media Insights: The Unbearable Smugness of the Mainstream Media By Will Rahn

The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There’s been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from “heroin country” that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?

We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!

That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.

Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.

That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.

As a direct result, we get it wrong with greater frequency. Out on the road, we forget to ask the right questions. We can’t even imagine the right question. We go into assignments too certain that what we find will serve to justify our biases. The public’s estimation of the press declines even further — fewer than one-in-three Americans trust the press, per Gallup — which starts the cycle anew.

There’s a place for opinionated journalism; in fact, it’s vital. But our causal, profession-wide smugness and protestations of superiority are making us unable to do it well.

Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.

What’s worse, we don’t make much of an effort to really understand, and with too few exceptions, treat the economic grievances of Middle America like they’re some sort of punchline. Sometimes quite literally so, such as when reporters tweet out a photo of racist-looking Trump supporters and jokingly suggest that they must be upset about free trade or low wages.

We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it. There’s a fleeting fun to gang-ups and groupthink. But it’s not worth what we are losing in the process.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Will Rahn is a political correspondent and managing director, politics, for CBS News Digital.

StateWide Windows Launching Clydesdale Series of Heavy-Duty Feed and Manger Doors for Horse and Pig Trailers at 2016 NATDA Nashville Show


Elkhart, Ind. — StateWide Windows of Elkhart, Ind. has announced the introduction of a newly named category of feed and manger access doors for horse and pig trailers that will be showcased at this year’s North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) annual show. The doors are part of their well respected heavy-duty line of feed and manger doors, and are being re-launched as the “Clydesdale Series” at the show, which takes place in Nashville, Tenn. from Sept. 8-10. OEMs and dealers can check out StateWide’s products at booth #708 at the show.

“We’re one of only two feed door window manufacturers producing this heavy-duty door,” says StateWide Product Manager Jason Barhydt—who not only sells the doors, but engineered them as well. “It’s a mill extrusion with a longer flange, graphite pins and a heavy-duty look.” Part of this look comes from strong hinges that are welded to the frame rather than riveted. “Our hinge pins are graphite coated and are ½-inch in diameter. Others use ¼-inch stainless steel. Their doors are painted extrusions, with maybe .060” walls. Ours are .100” walls in a heavy-duty design. Another innovation is that our inner frame has a hollow flange, which gives it a lot of strength.”

The key component to each of these Clydesdale doors is StateWide’s heavy-duty hinge system. The newly named Clydesdale Line includes three types of feed and manger doors:

  • Radius—Can commonly be seen on several brands of horse and pig trailers on the market today and features a very popular rounded frame, giving it a sleek, modern look
  • Mitered—Square and fully welded for a style that is as rugged as it is functional and durable
  • Panel— Similar to doors or windows that OEMs are building themselves, with the ability to color match any OEM’s trailer designs with custom skins

StateWide National Sales Manager Dan Wright breaks down the offerings in this newly named series of feed and manger doors: “The Clydesdale Series includes the Radius HD (Heavy-Duty) Feed Door, Radius HD Manger Door, Miter HD Feed Door, Miter HD Manger Door and Miter Panel HD Feed Door. This is our ‘best’ option in feed and manger doors. Most companies offer ‘good,’ ‘better,’ and ‘best.’ We only offer ‘better’ and ‘best.’ After the Clydesdale Series, our ‘better’ line is now going to be called the Mustang Series.” This series of doors includes StateWide’s 425 Feed Door and 425 Manger Door, according to Wright.

Barhydt explains that the development of this heavy-duty line six years ago came about after polling manufacturers and dealers out in the field and being told there needed to be a sturdier, more durable door on the market. “When retail customers look at buying a trailer, the first thing they do is open the door and try to rack it,” he says. He is referring to how people test the stiffness and integrity of a door by rocking it back and forth with their hands.

“The least amount of racking will tell you whether it’s a good door or not,” says Barhydt. “StateWide eliminates racking issues by designing a hinge assembly that utilizes higher tolerances than the industry standard to make the pin fit tighter. As a result, the doors are much sturdier. A stiffer, more ‘un-rackable’ door is what we created and why we have such a great hinge system in the Clydesdale Series. We can’t wait to show off this successful line of doors to new dealers and OEMs at this year’s NATDA show.”

About StateWide

StateWide Windows has been a manufacturer of windows and doors for over 70 years. In 1995, the company expanded its product line to include windows and doors for the livestock trailer industry. StateWide Windows is located in Elkhart, Indiana, employs more than 120 people, and supplies more than 400 customers worldwide.

To learn more about StateWide Windows, visit

Phone: 800-860-2594


Michigan Based Classic Communications Now an Exclusive Midwest Provider of Clear Vision Media Virtual Aerial and 360-Degree VR Tours for Business and Industry

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Niles, Mich. – Marketing and communications firm Classic Communications has teamed up with technology partner Clear Vision Media (CVM) to provide FAA-sanctioned commercial aerial drone photography and 360-degree panoramic virtual tours of municipalities and businesses across the Midwest. Classic Communications’ new technology partner has an FAA Exemption 333, the designation required to offer legal, commercially piloted, aerial photography using cost-effective, multi-rotor aircraft, commonly known as drones. Clear Vision Media is also a certified Google Agency allowing Classic Communications to provide 360 Google tours to both Google Street View and business websites.

The Virtual Reality Tour is an Essential Marketing Tool

“With more and more people researching their destinations online before they travel, cities, downtown development authorities, economic development organizations, airports, hotels, resorts, golf courses, wineries and various other companies need to embrace 360-degree virtual tours as an essential part of their internet content,” said Classic Communications President, Ron Barger. “When we were asked to partner with Clear Vision Media, we immediately recognized the value and unique set of virtual reality tools they bring to the marketplace.”

Barger went on to explain how Classic Communications and Clear Vision Media is offering something completely different from conventional real estate tours or aerial photography. “With this new technology we can create Immersive VR that is only limited by the imaginations of our customers,” he said. “Imagine flying over a city and simply clicking on a restaurant logo below which takes you to an interior view of that restaurant where you can look through all its rooms, pick a table, view the menu, the hours it’s open, click on a hot link to make a reservation, all on your mobile device from two states away.”

A Google Certified Agency

Cean Burgeson, project manager for Classic Communications, pointed out the importance of virtual tours as Google has adopted the 360-tours onto its Google Street View platform. “Because Google added 360 functionality to its Google business listings and Google Street View offerings, our new strategic partnership with Clear Vision, a certified Google agency, covers this base with our customers. There are only a handful of these agencies in the Midwest who can offer complete integration with Google’s search and business tools.”

Being a Google Certified Agency makes the CVM and Classic Communications team the best choice in the region for providing interactive tours of local businesses. But Burgeson explained that Google formatted tours are more basic than the enhanced tours Classic and Clear Vision are offering customers for their own websites. “As part of our service, we program and upload the Google 360 tours to Google, but the higher-end virtual tours with navigation, drop-down menus, video, aerials and other enhanced features are provided to our clients as an actual link on their websites,” he stated.

Experts in a Wide Range of Virtual Reality Offerings

360-degree panoramic virtual and Google tours are only the beginning of what Classic Communications and CVM are offering. Aerial drone photography and video can be integrated with 360 tours to provide stunning and dynamic calling cards for businesses and municipalities via websites, social media and handheld presentations.

With 25-years of experience in community branding and economic development, Classic Communications works with Municipal and Business Development Organizations, City Planners, Local and Regional Economic Development, Tourism Bureaus, City and Regional Chambers of Commerce and business and industry to create highly effective and engaging visual content that is fresh and affordable.

  • Travel and Hospitality—Classic and CVM 360 virtual productions are an engaging way to showcase guest rooms, property amenities, and meeting and event spaces to pre-sell a hotel or resort prior to the reservation or booking.
  • Destination Marketing—Dramatic aerial photography combined with virtual street-level entrance and navigation of public parks, downtown attractions, local businesses, restaurants and bars pull visitors to the site.
  • Economic Development—Site Selectors no longer need to pay for expensive surveying teams or airplane flyovers to determine exact costs for earth moving, utility location and site preparations to reach shovel-ready status.
  • Industrial Space and Plant Tours—Virtual 360 plant tours and videos allow customers a unique perspective of interior and exterior of industrial facilities to better understand manufacturing processes and machinery.

About Classic Communications

Classic Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing, advertising and communications firm specializing in business-to-business industrial, outdoor recreational products, educational and civic promotions, and community and economic development. Classic Communications has been serving businesses for 22 years with a unique approach to campaign-based strategic marketing.

Classic Communications Website Now Showcasing Sustainable Energy Marketing Case Studies of its ‘Green’ Clients Served Over 22 Years


Niles, Mich.— Southwest Michigan-based strategic marketing and public relations firm Classic Communications has launched a completely new website that showcases its sustainable energy marketing capabilities along with many other marketing services it has provided to clients over 22-years of service. The new website continues the company’s tradition of serving its client partners with a media room for journalists looking for photos and product information on their clients’ products and services. The staff of Classic are writers themselves and much of their free-lance journalism is featured on the new site.

“We pride ourselves in being a service-based marketing firm serving the sustainable and renewable energy niche,” said Classic Communications Founder and President Ron Barger.

He went on to explain that PR and media relations is the foundation of Classic’s promotional approach to marketing but the company has evolved into other mediums such as turnkey website development, social media content coordination, direct digital marketing, and video production.

“We take special pride in our specialty of serving the many renewable and sustainable energy clients we marketed over the years,” said Barger. “From solar power companies and projects, to passive solar, to green home building, and even the Smart Home Green and Wired exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, these are all forward thinking promotions we enjoyed.”

Michigan Based Classic Communications Re-launches its Website

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Niles, Mich.— Southwest Michigan-based strategic marketing and public relations firm Classic Communications has launched a completely new website that showcases its capabilities and highlights the wealth of services they have provided for clients during their 21-years of service. The new website continues the company’s tradition of serving its client partners with a media room for journalists looking for photos and product information on their products and services. The staff of Classic are also writers themselves and much of their free-lance journalism is featured on the new site.

“We pride ourselves in being a service based company,” said Classic Communications founder and President Ron Barger. “From the launch of the first we wanted to serve our clients with a forum where journalists could visit and gather assets to support stories about our client partners—thus the name.”

He went on to explain that PR and media relations is the foundation of Classic’s promotional approach to marketing and this new site continues to promote its clients and Classic with a re-designed media room as well as case studies of the many promotional successes the company has achieved over 20-plus years.

“Our goal was to not only serve our current clients but create a new site that was more dynamic, easier to navigate and packed with case studies providing valuable information to potential clients. This site will help new clients understand the unique services we provide,” said Barger. “It’s also a showcase of all the great clients we’ve served over the years. Without their dedication and investment, we could have never passed this 20-year mark,” he concluded.

 About Classic Communications

Founded in 1994, Classic Communications is a privately held, debt-free corporation specializing in campaign based, public relations, marketing, advertising and digital media. Classic’s expertise includes promoting business-to-business industrial firms, outdoor recreational products, marine and boating products, casino and gaming, economic development and civic promotions and renewable energy firms with campaign-based strategic marketing.

 To learn more Classic Communications, visit

Phone: 269-687-9128 Fax: 269-687-9130


Classic Communications Welcomes Cean Burgeson as Senior Project Manager

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Niles, Mich.—Southwest Michigan-based marketing and public relations firm Classic Communications announced today that they have added communications professional Cean Burgeson to its team as senior project manager.

Burgeson has a history of working as a creative and account manager with national brands such as Whirlpool®, Maytag®, Gladiator® GarageWorks, United Federal Credit Union and Stryker® Flex Financial. As a writer he has been published in multiple print and online journalistic sites as well as serving as an Editor for daily newspapers and consumer magazine publications.

He’s also worked as an in-house communications manager or consultant for opening and promoting several casino properties, including Little River Casino Resort in Michigan, and more recently, Cache Creek Casino Resort. As part of the Classic Communications Team Burgeson promoted and supported the opening of Running Creek Casino in California two years ago.

No stranger to Classic Communication’s client list, Burgeson focused his talents on outdoor recreational brands and business-to-business industrial clients two years ago before leaving the firm to work closer to his home for ARS Advertising in St. Joseph, Michigan.

“We’re thrilled to have Cean Burgeson back on our team,” said Classic Communications President and Founder Ron Barger. “His account management and creative skills, as well as his experience writing advertising and public relations copy and managing social media for large, well-known brands will help us to enhance our skill-set at Classic and better serve our current and future clients.”

Classic Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing, advertising and communications firm specializing in business-to-business industrial product promotions, outdoor recreational product promotion, consumer product rollout, educational and civic promotions and community and economic development. Michiana-based Classic Communications has been serving businesses for 22 years with a unique approach to Campaign-Based Strategic Marketing.

 To learn more about Classic Communications, visit

Phone: 269-687-9128 Fax: 269-687-9130