Margaret Sullivan is The Washington Post’s media columnist. Previously, she was The New York Times public editor, and the chief editor of The Buffalo News, her hometown paper.
After a surge of hostile email about the press,he decided to ask her neighbors in upstate new York What they thought.
As the media columnist for The Washington Post, I had long ago become used to hostile mail and phone calls from some readers, mostly those supporting Trump, and to trolling on social media. While I have received a lot of appreciative feedback that practically demands to be printed and displayed on the fridge, I have also heard from someone who suggested that my breasts should be cut off with a butcher knife, and from someone who told me that he had a gun and people like me would soon be eliminated. I’ve often been called the “c-word,” a slut and a bitch. Some writers even signed their names to these venomous notes. One reader, John Hanna, was perfectly civil, but told me by phone that he and his wife — both Washington-area physicians — had voted for Trump (whom he nevertheless called “a buffoon”) because of the candidate’s opposition to the “terribly biased” media, particularly the New York Times and The Washington Post.
This summer”interviewed 35 people and chatted with dozens of others. I found very little of what I feared most. And I discovered that some stereotypes about the way heartland Americans view the media don’t quite hold up.”