I was speaking to two white Republican men who were discussing the lamentable position they were in with regard to this election. One had long been planning to vote for Johnson, the other was planning to vote against Clinton by way of voting for Trump. The would-be Johnson voter, however, had recently come across a piece about how Michael Moore warned that people will vote for Trump as a giant fuck you. He asked the other guy if he had read it, to which the other guy responded, “I don’t read anything by him.”
The would-be Johnson voter, however, did read it, and, to him, it seemed like a great idea to vote for Trump as a fuck you. So, after reading Michael Moore’s prediction, he decided to vote Trump. I sincerely doubt it was Moore’s intention to persuade Johnson voters to vote for Trump, but it just goes to show that you cannot predict who is going to read what, or what they’re going to take from it.
These days, you can find racist white guys trolling the comments section of Michelle Phan makeup tutorials, FFS. It stands to reason, then, that you can find racist white guys consuming media anywhere and everywhere on the internet, and there’s no explanation for how they got there.
While I agree with you in principle about the overall wackness of the assumptions writers of New York Times Op-Ed pieces seem to make about their readership (and of the New York Times in general), I don’t think things are as black and white as logic would suggest. The entire internet is well within reach of every type of information consumer, and you never know who is going to read what you write.