Are newspaper editors out of touch with their mass readership? Hillary Clinton's strategic advisory, Mark J. Penn thinks they may be. Penn was TV talk host Charlie Rose's guest on Oct. 16, 1997. He was pitching his book, published Sept. 5: "MicroTrends: The Small Forces Behinds Tomorrow's Big Changes" (published Sept. 5, 2007 by Twelve) It lists 75 trends.
In the book, Penn told Rose, he writes about the class of Americans called the "impressionable elites." He says these elites are more impressed by the personality of a candidate than the candidates views on issues. The impessionable elite, "today is more likely to be the Ph.D. The elites are becoming more fascinated with personality while working class voters are more educated than ever before, they face everyday life problems . . . [they want to know] what the proposal means, how it is structured for them. The elites don't have the same connection to the everyday problems."
He also talks about the "long-attention spanners."
"It's very surprising that one of the biggest events of the year, is in fact the State of the Union that lasts like an hour, you'd think Americans wouldn't be interested in it, you'd think they'd want to watch the Super Bowl or the World Series. But they love to watch the State of the Union. Because average voters are into the issues. They're into being serious."
Rose: "[I]f they're into it -- why don't we see more of it on television?"
Penn: "Well, that's because the elites have gotten more interested in the opposite. The big newspapers are hiring more style and personality reporters. A lot of the average working-class citizens are moving to the Internet, they are getting a lot more information on the issues and proposals than ever before. They are consuming tons of information . . . part of the point of the book is that you've got to treat these voters with respect because they know so much more and they are so much more issue oriented than people have been giving them credit for."
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW: http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2007/10/16/2/a-conversation-with-mark-penn-chief-strategist-for-hillary-clinton