For the longest time I’ve puzzled over this conundrum: if liberal intellectuals are so smart and so well-read, why so some have so much trouble with the mere expression of conservative views.
Now, to be sure, there are many (many, many) pundits, politicians and academics on the left who welcome spirited discourse and engage regularly in exchanges with their ideological adversaries (on the right). But, there is a significant mass of supposedly very smart liberals who regularly disdain a philosophy they show no evidence of understanding who regular seek to discredit its advocates with mean-spirited (and frequently) slanderous slurs, accusing their adversaries of sinister motives while working energetically to prevent the public expression of their ideas.
They don’t just see conservatives as wrong-headed, but as evil. Having perused the archives of the Journolist, Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller provides evidence of this narrow-minded animus:
On Journolist, there was rarely such thing as an honorable political disagreement between the left and right, though there were many disagreements on the left. In the view of many who’ve posted to the list-serv, conservatives aren’t simply wrong, they are evil. And while journalists are trained never to presume motive, Journolist members tend to assume that the other side is acting out of the darkest and most dishonorable motives.
Assuming the worst of conservatives, no wonder they regularly criticize FoxNews which regularly airs those views. In his piece, Strong provides yet another piece of evidence that rather than confront the conservative ideas which Fox covers more thoroughly than do its broadcast rivals and cable counterparts, a fair number of supposedly broad-minded liberal journalists wish to have the FCC shut the news network down:
The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down.
“I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised. In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.” Davies, a Brit, frequently argued the United States needed stricter libel laws.
“I agree,” said Michael Scherer of Time Magazine. Roger “Ailes understands that his job is to build a tribal identity, not a news organization. You can’t hurt Fox by saying it gets it wrong, if Ailes just uses the criticism to deepen the tribal identity.”
Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”
But Zasloff stuck to his position. “I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”
Scherer, to his credit, objected to shuttering FoxNews. But, yet his ideological confrères prefer to censor a news network they find objectionable. If they’re so confident in their ideas, how come they’re so unwilling to tolerate opposing viewpoints?
Not just that, at least two members of the list Bloomberg’s Ryan Donmoyer and Richard Yeselson, “a researcher for an organized labor group who also writes for liberal magazines,” compared Tea Party protesters to Nazis.
So broad-minded these folks, so understanding of the ideas of their ideological adversaries.
*Briefly considered titling this, “The Latest from the Journolist Archives:/Some left-of-center journalists favor shuttering FoxNews.”