The Corner

Echo Chamber, Freak Show, Whatever

Greetings from western Pennsylvania, where Hillary Clinton drew a good-sized but not capacity crowd in a gymnasium on the campus of California University of Pennsylvania. There were some interesting views being expressed in the crowd tonight, and I’ll have a report Monday morning.

Mark: On the John Harris and Jim VandeHei piece, yes, it is interesting that they discuss pro-Obama bias. “Some reporters come back and need to go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama’s political skill,” Harris writes. But I found their discussion of the new media atmosphere more striking, particularly on:

The rise of the liberal echo chamber. It used to be that if a reporter received a letter that started, “You biased S.O.B.,” it was almost certainly coming from someone on the right. In 1998 — the year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment — those notes began coming in equal measure from the left. During the Bush era — when the media stumbled in coverage of the march to war in Iraq — complaints are much more likely to come from liberals.

But it has only been in this campaign cycle that we have seen the liberal echo chamber — from websites like The Huffington Post and cable commentators like Keith Olbermann — be able consistently to drive a campaign story line. In the past, it was only the conservative echo chamber — Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh — who regularly drove stories in new media and old media alike. This is a huge shift.

I have no problem with the term “echo chamber.” I use it myself. But I believe this is the same phenomenon which, when it was dominated by the right, Harris referred to as “the freak show.”

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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