I agree with near everything Ramesh and Jonah said about some social-cons’ criticisms. And I would add one more thought for now, aided by an e-mailer:
The reason I am a regular reader of NRO *and* now a subscriber to NRO Digital is precisely because at NRO more diversity of thought and argument is presented on your website than any other political website I know, far more than any liberal website I’ve found.
If I had to pin myself on a line, I’d probably put myself down as something of a moderate, just to left of center. But the Clinton Years ruined my faith in my tendency to give the benefit of the doubt to the left, the bad behavior of Gore & Co. during the 2000 elections sealed it. The fact that conservative web sites such as yours allow actual arguments to take place, instead of just preaching to the choir, has me seriously considering voting Republican in 2004.
If you think you guys should apologize to your more conservative readers for all this, well, that’s up to you, but be careful what you wish for.
As Jonah got into a bit, I think that it is important that NRO be a bit different. We have more space and, in many senses, more reach. Anyone can get our stuff, for free, from just about anywhere. That gives us a particular responsibility to make sure some of our most-important editorial messages get out—we’ll often post our lead editorial from the magazine to maximize its exposure (we have recently on the war, on gay marriage, among other issues, for instance). But it also, I think, challenges us a to take into account diverse opinion on the right more than scarce space might allow in Dead Tree, and, even, at times, to print something like that Siepp piece, which I don’t agree with—Playboy has contributed to a whole host of evils—because it does attract some new readers. I don’t think that’s necessarily selling out. As Jonah noted, we also joke and link to dancing squirrels and complain about shoveling, too. We run some fun columns on parenting that is not some readers cup of tea and we have even let writers be nice to France once or twice—doesn’t mean we have become Ladies Home Journal or Le Monde, either.
NR/NRO is not saying NR corporately supports Playboy or gay marriage, etc. by a single piece (even if a dissenting piece comes from a masthead person, like Frum on abortion or Murdock on marriage)—but we’re being honest about different attitudes on the right (and we have the wonderful luxury of features like The Corner to take issue) and by doing so we might be bringing in people who might have never logged onto NRO or picked up NRODT otherwise. Presumably—and, again, I’ve read e-mails to support this—those folks come back and get to hear our arguments on cloning and abortion and the family, the Iraq war, the idiocy of Howard Dean, the holes in the Clark record, etc. And sometimes they’ll hate our arguments, but often they’ll let us know. And, in the end, we’re all often better for it.
I wanna make sure we educate the choir, but I also want to evangelize. We might have to show a little leg sometimes to do that.