Friday, April 21, 2006

OT: Why The Media Isn't Liberal, Exhibit B

Digby's Hullabaloo has these excerpts of a particularly hackish conservative Republican interviewing Joe Klein, who is considered Time Magazine's only left-of-centre columnist. (More analysis here.)

The interview is utterly fascinating. The host says all sorts of things about liberals and Democrats that are either untrue or slanderous or both -- and Klein agrees with every one of them. He adds some calumnies of his own, directed at what is supposed to be his own side; proudly talks of being nicknamed "Mr. Faith Based" by the President; boasts of his friendship with a man who advocates throwing reporters in prison. And this guy, remember, is the most liberal columnist at one of the most widely-read magazines.

I'm sure Klein thinks of himself as a liberal. But, like many nominally liberal journalists, he doesn't want to seem "partisan," and therefore goes out of his way to agree with the other side on almost everything while constantly bashing what is supposed to be his own side. And that's why the media isn't liberal -- because it's divided into openly partisan conservatives, and liberals trying to act more conservative for "balance."

Addendum: I should note that there's nothing wrong with being a partisan conservative. That's just the point: in journalism, for some reason, conservatives are comfortable being conservatives, while liberals seem somehow abashed and feel a need to pummel their own side constantly. As Ezra Klein points out, "you never see Charles Krauthammer on the Rhandi Rhodes show prostrating himself for her approval and slamming his party."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should have numbered your exhibits instead of assigning letters to them because at this rate you are going to need a lot more than 26 exhibits before you come up with any real evidence to back up your convictions.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

Touché, but don't you think it qualifies as "real evidence" that the only liberal columnist at Time magazine is a guy who basically hates liberals? I mean, wouldn't a "liberal" magazine actually have a partisan liberal on its roster?

There's no way to prove the media leans one way or other, but examples like this are, at any rate, much more relevant than those charts of how reporters vote (since how they vote has nothing to do with how they write, as we see with Klein: votes Democratic, but hates Democrats and liberals).

Christopher said...

I'm reminded of Robert Frost's statement that "A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel."