Stop This Meme! [Stephen Spruiell]
It's no secret that left-wingers hate conservative press critics. So now that left-wing blogs devoted to press criticism are popping up everywhere, lefties have had to concoct a rationalization for the fact that they now choose to engage in the same kind of activism in which conservatives have engaged for years. It boils down to this: "We lefties just want to improve the news media," they say. "Conservatives want to destroy it."
This is, of course, pure folderol. Conservatives want the media to reflect a more conservative perspective. Lefties want the media to reflect a more left-wing perspective. Both say they just want the press to be "objective," even though each side has wildly different convictions about what constitutes objective reality. (I should note that it is a sign of just how far the online left has drifted that they should want the media to reflect a more liberal viewpoint... but I digress).
It's frustrating enough when a lefty media blogger tries to assert this nonsense. But in an article posted yesterday afternoon, Slate's political correspondent John Dickerson regurgitated it as if it was some commonly held political truth, rather than some baloney left-wingers made up:
One of the healthiest things about the left-wing blogosphere is its confrontational dislike of the mainstream media. There's a distinction here with the media's critics on the right. At some level, the right doesn't much like that the press exists. They don't want to fix it, they want to drive a stake through its heart. The left, on the other hand, just wishes the establishment press would do a better job. The Kos-type critique of the media is intertwined with its passion about politics. When the press gets it wrong, left-wing bloggers believe, the people are ill-informed and democracy suffers.
I've never seen a more perfect formulation of this disingenuous garbage — and I've read Eric Boehlert's book, in which he devotes an entire chapter to its advancement. All I can say in response is this:
Different conservatives advance different goals when they criticize the press. Some would like the major news organizations that dominate the media landscape to reflect their values, or at least to refrain from treating them with contempt. Others stick to the objectivity argument — they just want the media to treat all sides fairly, and they don't think conservative arguments are given equal time. Still others argue that journalists should just disclose their biases and write with a point of view, instead of presenting one version of a story — usually the liberal version — and calling it "objective."
No reasonable conservative wishes the press didn't exist. Like our liberal counterparts, we want the press to "get it right," so that people are well-informed and democracy prospers. The accusation that all conservatives who criticize the media actually want to eliminate the free press in this country is not just offensive, it is preposterous — the territory of the loony left. Does Dickerson really wish to inhabit such terrain?
06/13 03:49 AMShare