The Corner

Blame It On Brokaw

I think one of the more remarkable forms of self-delusion is the tendency of mainstream media figures to think they have no culpability for the political culture they complain about. They see conservative “extremism” and think it’s directly the result of the right-wing media fomenting unjustified anger. What they don’t seem to grasp is that a lot of conservative anger is a response to the mainstream media’s tendency to call every conservative idea “extreme.”

The perception that the MSM is rigged and biased against conservative views is entirely justified, in my opinion. But even if it weren’t, it exists nonetheless. And yet, after decades of watching elite journalists debate elite journalism, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a serious discussion grappling with the MSM’s responsibility for creating that impression. When it comes to blacks, women, gays et al., the Newseum jawboners constantly talk about their responsibilities to be more inclusive, sensitive, and careful. When it comes to the complaints of conservatives, the response is an immediate eye-roll followed by defensive prattle about being “objective” and the tendency of conservatives to embrace victimhood. I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge that conservatives can sometimes whine too much about the mainstream media. I’d just like to see a little acknowledgment from the mainstream media that they deserve some of the blame.

 

Anyway, that’s what my column today is about, more or less.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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