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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Rural areas are losing impact

Sunday, February 14, 2010

As I watched one of the dozens of "political" talk shows on television this week, the host jokingly said that the record snowfall and wintry weather was not a news story until it struck New York City.

His point was that the media center of the universe was not interested in the winter storm story or anything else until it hit their own backdoor. And though he said it in a somewhat humorous tone, he clearly made his point.

For years now I have argued that the great divide in this country is not Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative or black vs. white. The divide is urban vs. rural.

When it comes to the media center of the world, we rural folk simply don't count. If you don't think this is true then you're not paying attention.

The population of this country is just about evenly split between rural and urban dwellers. And following population trends, soon more people will live in urban centers than in rural areas. By definition, all of Missouri is rural with the exception of St. Louis and Kansas City.

Politicians know this population trend more than others. They know in Missouri, for example, you can win statewide election with strong results in the two urban centers while losing every single out-state county.

That does not bode well for those of us who choose to live in the rural settings. And it will only get worse.

Rural areas tend to be conservative and urban areas liberal. The dependent population is much more concentrated in the urban centers and they want to maintain or expand the government which is the source of their livelihood. You can take that to the bank.

When the talk show host talked about the weather, he was explaining in his own fashion how news wasn't news until it impacted New York or Washington, D.C. By paying attention, you know he was right from the standpoint of the national media. Those who control the national media are virtually exclusively urban residents. It's easy to see their disdain for we rural folk.

It won't occur in my lifetime but someday the population will be heavily tilted toward the urban centers. When that day arrives - and it will arrive believe me - the voices of rural American will be whispers on the national stage.

We're close to that point already. Just pay attention.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen