Donald Trump

Some Conservative Spaces Are Tribal and Toxic. Here's Why the Left Is Partly to Blame.

Vox argues that right-wing distortions paved the way for Trump. But the problem is bigger than that.

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Trump
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA/Newscom

We are not living in a time of left-wing intellectual spaces and right-wing intellectual spaces. We are living in a time of neutral-presenting intellectual spaces (The New York Times, CNN, Vox) and explicitly right-wing intellectual spaces (Fox News, talk radio, Breitbart).

That's according to a lengthy piece at one of the neutral-presenting outlets, Vox, about how media polarization fueled Donald Trump's rise and threatens the future of democracy. The piece isn't wrong—in fact, there's much it gets right about the right-wing echo chamber—but it glosses over the left's culpability in this assault on objective truth, and ignores entirely the toxic tribalism that exists within the left's most zealously guarded sacred space.

Vox's David Roberts thinks conservatives who made the conscious decision to vacate the neutral-presenting intellectual spaces are mostly to blame for the current situation.

"What the right wants is not better, fairer, more scrupulous information referees," he writes. "It wants tribal information."

The proof is in the pudding: the right invented Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Breitbart, and Alex Jones in order to spin a constant web of alternative facts. These institutions pushed their listeners rightward, poisoned them against flawed but typically reliable purveyors of truth, conditioned them to never accept compromise, and brainwashed them into believing numerous conspiracy theories. As a result, a pathologically dishonest strongman who bears no resemblance whatsoever to the conservatism of decades' past captured their attention, and ultimately, their votes.

Or, as someone on Twitter once put it, "Fox News has done to our grandparents who our grandparents thought violent video games would do to us."

This line-of-thinking ignores that right-leaning alternative media has always existed, to some degree, but correctly states that there appears to have been an explosion in the number of options. Their voice has certainly grown louder.

Some readers are no doubt shouting "good!" at their screens as they read this—liberalism is bad, and anything that moves people away from liberalism is good, they might say. From a libertarian standpoint, this is obviously wrong, and what's happened over the last few years proves how wrong it is. The right has grown more extreme, but it is difficult to find a lot of evidence that it has grown more extreme in any discernibly libertarian direction. As an interest group, it has become more hostile to immigrants, more skeptical of free trade, and arguably more tolerant of big government welfare schemes (as long as these schemes are benefitting white people)—or at least, its contempt for the libertarian position on these issues has become more obvious. In the age of Trump, even the bipartisan consensus around criminal justice reform is threatened.

So Vox is correct, broadly speaking, that conservatives deserting traditional media institutions and forming their own has made the right more toxic, more tribal—and, I would add, in some sense less friendly to libertarian ideas. This is a bad thing.

But Roberts is missing something really important: the sequence of events does not begin with conservatives' defection. It begins, at least in part, with their mistreatment at the hands of supposedly neutral institutions that were never all that neutral to begin with. As Slate Star Codex's Scott Alexander puts it in his excellent response piece:

The way I remember it, conservatives spent about thirty years alternately pleading, demanding, suing, legislating, and literally praying for greater fairness in mainstream institutions, and it was basically all just hitting their heads against a brick wall. Then they defected to create their own.

He concludes:

David Roberts ends by noting that he doesn't really know what to do here, and I agree. I don't know what to do here either.

But one simple heuristic: if everything you've tried so far has failed, maybe you should try something different. Right now, the neutral gatekeeper institutions have tried being biased against conservatives. They've tried showing anti-conservative bias. They've tried ramping up the conservativism-related bias level. They've tried taking articles, and biasing them against conservative positions. I appreciate their commitment to multiple diverse strategies, but I can't help but wonder whether there's a possibility they've missed.

One can debate the timeline of all this, to some degree, and Alexander's is certainly simplified. It's also true that Vox, The New York Times, CNN, et al are closer to neutral than Breitbart or Fox News. But let's not pretend these outlets have ever been very interested in playing nice with conservatives. And in cases where they were willing to humor a conservative perspective, they are often punished for it. The hysterical response from liberal readers and media folks alike to the NYT's decision to hire Bret Stephens is only the most recent example. Stephens is conservative, but he's neither pro-Trump nor a right-wing extremist. And yet the left reacted as if the NYT had decided to hire Milo Yiannopoulos. "Go eat dog dicks" and "literally go fuck yourself," were things one journalist said about the NYT, and "you're a shithead," and "a massive twat too" were things another journalist said about Stephens himself.

Vox even assailed the NYT for hiring "a climate change bullshitter." The author of Vox's anti-Stephens piece is none other than David Roberts—the writer now bemoaning the fact that conservatives have opted out of the "neutral" media's game. Consider this tweet from Markos Moulitsas: "Beats me why anyone would have a NYT subscription at this point. If you do, you are funding the Right's propaganda efforts."

Moulitsas is a co-founder of Vox Media, the company that owns Vox.

If Stephens' incredibly mild-mannered first column is really an example of the kind of opinion liberals think is beyond the pale—liberals who run media institutions that claim to be neutral clearinghouses of ideas—then they should not be surprised when conservatives part ways with them. The media told conservatives to take a hike, and so they did.

There's something else worth noting. This discussion so far has concerned media institutions. But there are other organizations purporting to communicate truth in a neutral and even-handed manner that end up looking awfully partisan: universities. Indeed, the American university's century-long march toward ideological conformity is even more apparent than the media's. Here, too, conservatives have sought to create their own alternatives—religious colleges, conservative think tanks—and much could be said about the benefits and trade-offs. But more interesting, perhaps, is what's happening within the elite, mainstream, non-alternative educational institutions.

Indeed, some humanities departments are experiencing the Fox News effect in reverse: pushed ever leftward, they have collapsed into a kind of tribalism as horrifying and toxic as anything coming out of the rightwing. Consider what happened earlier this week to Rebecca Tuvel, an assistant professor of philosophy at Rhodes College, who was accused of "enacting violence" because she dared to write something slightly un-PC about Rachel Dolezal and trans issues.

New York Magazine's Jesse Singal called the campaign of misinformation against Tuvel "a modern witch hunt," and he's right. But this isn't a one-off incident. Witch hunts have become a routine facet of university life. Look what happened to Laura Kipnis and Kimberly Peirce and Nancy Shurtz and Sandor Dosman and Nicholas Christakis. Look what happened after Heather MacDonald tried (and failed) to deliver a lecture at Claremont McKenna College: students published a letter explicitly rejecting truth. More than one student has been attacked—physically attacked—for engaging in "cultural appropriation." Plain, non-malicious attempts to engage in free expression, or communicate information, are frequently punished.

Take it from Fredrik deBoer, a writer and academic at Brooklyn College:

For years and years I have denied the idea that campus is a space that's antagonistic to conservative students. I thought Michael Berube's book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts? was the last word on the subject. I still reject a lot of the David Horowitz narrative. But as a member of the higher education community I just have to be real with you: the vibe on campus really has changed. I spent years teaching at a university in a conservative state recently and I was kind of shocked at how openly fellow instructors would complain about the politics of their students, how personal they go when condemning their students who espoused conventional Republican politics. I encounter professors all the time who think that it's fine for a student to say "I'm With Her" in class but not for a student to say "Make America Great Again"?—?that's hate speech, see?—?despite the fact that both are simply the recent campaign slogans of the two major political parties. Yet those profs recoil at the idea that they're not accepting of conservative students.

I hear people say that they won't permit arguments against affirmative action in their classes?—?hate speech, again?—?despite the fact that depending on how the question is asked, a majority of Americans oppose race-based affirmative action in polling, including in some polls a majority of Hispanic Americans. The number of boilerplate conservative opinions that are taken to be too offensive to be voiced in the campus space just grows and grows, and yet progressive profs I know are so offended by the idea that they could be creating a hostile atmosphere, they won't even discuss the subject in good faith.

And while I think conservative students can mostly get by fine on the average campus, I really can't imagine going through life as a conservative professor, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. Is that a problem? That depends on your point of view. But if it's happening, shouldn't we talk about the fact that it's happening?

Are these institutions—elite college departments that are overrun by far-left thinkers—at least producing sound and valuable scholarship? There are certainly good reasons to doubt that this is the case. As Bryan Caplan has noted, 18 percent of professors in the social sciences described themselves as Marxists in a survey. This is a big deal, he wrote, "because Marxism is nonsense." Echoing Caplan, Philip Magness, an historian at George Masons University, pointed out that Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto is by some measures the second-most frequently assigned work on college syllabi, only losing out to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, a good-grammar handbook. But the Communist Manifesto is seldom assigned in economics classes—where, presumably, its outdated and disproven ideas would be debunked by professors. It is most commonly assigned in humanities classes, where Marxist thinking is applied to far-flung scenarios.

This does not mean that self-identified Marxist academics should be purged in some kind of second Red Scare. It does mean that teachers beholden to a discredited worldview are responsible for communicating information—via research and instruction—to students and the masses. Let's call the information they are producing "alternative facts."

So, is media polarization a problem? Yes. Is it primarily a problem because some—not all, but some—of the rightwing media alternatives are hellscapes of viciousness and lies? Also yes.

But the fact that this is also happening in certain sectors of the higher education landscape suggests that the problem is more fundamental. When purveyors of facts treat legitimate skepticism with contempt, they breed resentment and foster alienation. Ideological diversity, tolerance, and broad commitments to free speech are important, not just because these are the necessary tools for discovering the truth, but because they are checks against the formation of radical splinter movements—movements whose goals have become, in select right-wing and left-wing echo chambers, the denial of objective reality itself.

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174 responses to “Some Conservative Spaces Are Tribal and Toxic. Here's Why the Left Is Partly to Blame.

  1. We are living in a time of neutral-presenting intellectual spaces (The New York Times, CNN, Vox) and explicitly right-wing intellectual spaces (Fox News, talk radio, Breitbart).”

    Holy fucking shit, are they lunatics? Voc, CNN andthe NYT are far left.

    I guess when you are an extreme progressive, anyone to the right of Vox is “right wing”

    1. Fox News is absolutely no worse than CNN, MSNBC, or even the big three. I don’t think Breitbart, which is indeed awful, is any worse than Vox or HuffPo. Reason is obviously who I trust the most, and Spiked-online is great. Both are libertarian places though, so I may be biased myself.

      1. Everyone knows I ain’t no yokel and that I am fond of Golden Coif Fruit Sushi, but he is quite wrong, as is Alexander, when he claims that neutrally-presenting media outlets are less leftist than right-wing presenting ones are right-wing. The hate flows equally rich on both sides.

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        4. Actually, truly neutral analysis (done just with numbers) has shown that left-leaning media is further from the political center than right-leaning media, nearly twice as far if I remember the numbers correctly.

      2. LOL. FOX News is way worse. It is the Republican network.

        You can get news on MSNBC. Even when they lean left, they are mostly factual. (Except when Ed Schultz was around).

        Got anyone like CNN’s Jeffrey Lord on FOX News, but a liberal?>

        1. Wildly biased, and incorrect. MSNBC is mostly opinion pieces. I would say check Pew and provide the link, but am going to guess you consider Pew to be right-wing.

          I rarely see Fox, but can say that I have seen liberal voices presented. A foil to one’s viewpoint is a good thing, and as biased as Fox can be, they are no less guilty of dishonesty about their neutrality.

          1. Fox has Shepard Smith who is so left I had to quit watching him with his BS

        2. Funny, because studies show MSNBC provides dramatically less news than any other network. Quite a bit less than FNC, actually.

          1. Yep. IIRC, CNN was determined to be 60 percent news, 40 percent opinion; Fox 40 percent news, 60 percent opinion; but MSNBC was 15 percent news, 85 percent opinion.

            Redcard is hilariously, laughably wrong.

        3. Are you basing this on watching new shows or opinion shows? There is a difference.

      3. Anyone who watched the election coverage of CNN, ABC, etc saw the complete denial of the lefties on stage. They had to ship in extra interns to blot their tears and preserve their makeup.

    2. Part of the challenge with that statement is determining what he means by “neutral-presenting”. Does that mean that they actually present content in a neutral way? Or does it mean that they present themselves as being neutral (identify as neutral?)?

      I think outlets like FoxNews are further from neutral than CNN. But, CNN also makes a pretty decent pretense of neutrality while FoxNews barely even tries.

      Regardless, the original statement completely ignored the left-wing intellectual spaces that are at least as far from neutral as the listed right-wing outlets. Stuff like MSNBC, HuffPo, The Daily Show, etc. They’re no where close to neutral and they don’t even pretend to be.

      1. “So, is media polarization a problem? Yes. Is it primarily a problem because some?not all, but some?of the rightwing media alternatives are hellscapes of viciousness and lies? Also yes.”

        So, if i’m reading you correctly, media polarization is **primarily** a problem because some right-wing media alternatives are full of lies.

        Sorry, but that’s just silly. Ignoring the existence of left wing media alternatives? Ignoring that they are also “hellscapes of viciousness and lies”? I’ll accept that CNN and NYT (ignoring Krugman) are relatively neutral compared to FoxNews and Breitbart. But, you can’t seriously give that same benefit-of-the-doubt to others like HuffPo, MSNBC, etc. Or, worse yet, to the completely off the rails bullshit sites that exist for no reason other than supplying fake news to facebook feeds (a bipartisan problem).

        1. I thought that was a screw up in the use of “primarily” because it wasn’t what he said in the rest of the essay.

      2. Fox presents as neutral, “fair and balanced”, in their straight news coverage. It’s no secret most of the people who work there skew left the same as they do at the other mainstream news outlets. What Fox does is present exclusively right (mostly center-right) opinion journalism programming.

    3. Vo[x], CNN and the NYT are far left.

      And Soave’s point is basically proven in the first comment….

      1. are you saying they are not? You have to be crazy to think Vox is anywhere close to neutral.

  2. “It’s also true that Vox, The New York Times, CNN, et al are closer to neutral than Breitbart or Fox News”

    The cocktail party money shot. To say that with a straight face is profound. The NYT has become a propaganda piece for the Left. CNN is the equivalent of Fox News, but for the Left, and Vox is the Breitbart of the Left.

    The only legitimately non biased news organizations anymore are the Wall Street Journal, NPR, PBS, and USA Today. Each has their biases (Wall Street Journal, particularly on its editorial page), but they are profoundly more fair than NYT, Vox, or CNN.

    1. I’m pretty sure that thinking “Vox is the Breitbart of the Left” is a sign of terminal syphilitic decay in the brain. You may want to get that checked out.

      1. Dude, that’s a publication that just praised North Korea’s economy in a recent headline. You can be a Leftist and still realize that Vox is a rag.

      2. Vox is the fact free Breitbart for the Left.

      3. Dude, your brain must be in perfect order because its bloody apparent you’ve never used it.

    2. WSJ and the Economist are imo the gold standards for news of the mainstream right and left, respectively.

      NYT is definitely an influential trendsetter on the left hand have helped make a lot of leftist canards more or less mainstream, but could not seriously be mistaken for being neutral.

  3. So, I gather from this article that Robbie has gotten push back at his cocktail parties, so now he’s going to pretend like Vox, NYT, and CNN are totes non-biased.

    1. HURR HURR CORKTALE PORTIEZZZZZ!!!!

      1. So you agree that Vox, NYT, and CNN are more neutral than Fox and Breibart? Or are you too mentally retarded to grasp the question? I’m being serious.

        1. I’m making fun of you. I don’t know where in your dopey questions that answer falls.

          1. LEAVE ROBBY ALONE! WAHHHHH WAHHHHHH

            1. Oh, well at least we know who the sock puppets are now.

            2. Pull his hair. Many want to. (Not me though. I’m over it. Liberaltarians leave me limp.)

          2. I admire a mentally challenged person like Sparky defending all Reason writers in his spare time. You keep it up, kiddo

            1. Since I’m so dumb, please explain to me how making fun of you is defending Robby. It should be easy for someone of your vast intellect.

              1. I don’t know. All you ever seem to do is just mock people and get terribly upset when people mention the notion of social pressure in the media industry that inevitably leads so called ‘libertarians’ to embrace left-wing positions (manifested in the phrase ‘cocktail party’).

                Do you ever have anything of substance to say? Just put your helmet back on and stay quiet.

                1. I don’t know
                  *GASP*
                  NOOOOOOOOooooooooooo………

                  Do you ever have anything of substance to say?

                  If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be saying it here. This place has been overrun by self-important douchebags.

                  Just put your helmet back on and stay quiet.

                  It’s so cute that you think you’re the intellectual.

                  1. Dude, you are the self-important douchbag who ruins this place. That’s weird that you project it on others

                    1. You know who else ruined this place?

                    2. You know who else ruined this place?

                      RedCard?

                      DanBO.cara?

                      Aw, cmon, it has to be one (or all) of the Useful Idiot Troika …

                    3. Bizarrely, it’s also projected that supposition of intellect thing. But, it’s poor education, reasoning skills, and immaturity are proof that this isn’t the case.

                    4. Dude, you are the self-important douchbag who ruins this place.

                      I’ve heard that it’s not manly to cry in public.

                      That’s weird that you project it on others

                      I know that being the first to cry ‘projection’ or ‘deflection’ is supposed to be considered a win, but it just ain’t so.

                    5. Odd that you have’t grasped the chance of anyone here turning to you for what defines a win, much less intellect; seems pretty damned unlikely.

                    6. Odd that you have’t grasped the chance of anyone here turning to you for what defines a win

                      Why is that odd? I didn’t make up the official Internet Chat Room Scorecard.

                  2. Do you ever have anything of substance to say?

                    If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be saying it here.

                    Now THAT evidence is manifest.

        2. Yes. I will. In fact I got my Chinese High school students to study pieces from both the NYT and Breitbart as part of language analysis for their prep for Australian universities. They came to the conclusion Breitbart was more biased.

          Their comments ranged from “Breitbart uses words with negative connotations, emotive language, cherry picking of quotes” and “NYT uses facts, statistics, expert opinion, and shows the opposing side”

          I get that you take umbrage with left leaning papers, I do too. But to honestly say that the NYT’s journalism is as biased as Breitbart is going full. fucking. retard. My 16/17 year old students are able to analyse news pieces more objectively than you.

          If even the Chinese can see it…

          1. Ah, the Chinese.

            Tom Friedman’s deepthroatee of choice.

            Of course the ChiComs love the NYT.

            1. …And dislike blatant racism. Who figured?

              Full disclosure: I live in China, and am Irish. My students never heard of Breitbart, and only 1 knew of the NYT. The class size is 40

              The program I teach is for students going to Australian universities, so they don’t even have a vested interest in American policy. They’re just smart enough to spot biases. They’re fully aware of the bullshit their own government spouts and have become adept at identifying it. Although to be fair, the school I work in is for the richest and most educated in the province (Henan)

              Anything of substance to add? I’ll bite at the chance of a genuine discussion…

              1. Would that be the NYT which claimed that rockets were physically impossible until 1969? Or perhaps it’s the same NYT that denied that there was anything wrong in Stalin’s USSR?

                Gosh, I just can’t think of a reason that citizens of China with its strong central government ruled exclusively by the communist party would find a news organization advocating for stronger and larger government in the US to be more “fact-based.” Truly, it’s a mystery.

                1. Standard whataboutery.

                  As I said, there are faults on both sides, and we could easily spend all day pouring over endless falsities on both sides. We’ll never run out of material, though it’s worth noting your examples are 50 years out of date.

                  But the initial discussion was which one is more biased. And to this I challenge anyone to produce 2 news reports from both organizations (not opinion pieces for obvious reasons) on the same issue, with proof NYT is more biased, and I’ll act in a totally un-internety way and gladly concede the point.

                  In my experience it hasn’t happened. And I’m a voracious devourer of news, hence my presence on this site.

                  Also, I don’t think you fully grasp the true disconnection between educated Chinese citizens and their government. They’re all unbridled capitalists, and have been ever since Deng Xioping’s famous maxim “to get rich is glorious”. But I’ll forgive your ignorance on this matter, since you’ve no reason to know it. The commetariat here is generally weak in international matters, yet you more than make up for it with your hawkish monitoring of your own government’s policies!

                  1. One more thing- this website is called Reason. Please engage with me in the spirit of the website and dissuade me through good ol’ fashioned logos. (the Greek word, not slogan.)

                    I know many will be tempted to fire snarky comments my way, but I’m a genuinely neutral observer that genuinely can’t understand the notion that a wry, educated, and generally intelligent sees Breitbart as less biased as the NYT. I’m genuinely befuddled.

                    If you think I’m just a victim of my own echo chamber, please bust down the doors of perception for me with a concrete example of the same report.

              2. Anything of substance to add? I’ll bite at the chance of a genuine discussion…

                I do not hold myself out to be an Asian expert. In fact, I would have to label myself quite Eurocentric, having spent semesters being schooled in Germany and Russia. And I admire the industriousness endemic in most Asian cultures, tho I do not understand their Animism.

                That being said as a buttress my previous comment, it was mostly directed as a criticism of the NYT as a CommSymp party organ, not a critique of your anecdote.

              3. In your students eyes then slick propaganda is more neutral, is that the case? Breitbrat artcles, with its blatant, in your face wording, is easy to be skeptical of. The NYT with its slicker approach is not as easy to be skeptical of. But isn’t that the sign of a good scam artist? As to the presentation of the opposite view, did any of the reporting come out in favor of the position? Did any of the students verify any of the data or the sources of the data? I’m one who approaches any article or statement by any journalist with wondering about the agenda. We all have our bias’s and our words reflect those bias’s.

                1. “As to the presentation of the opposite view, did any of the reporting come out in favor of the position?”

                  Of course not. But I never said otherwise. I realise that NYT positions readers in a more subtle way, but there are certain standards of journalistic integrity which are adhered to as much as I could reasonably expect, and an ethos of neutrality. I concede that it’s regularly abused, which can make it more insidious, but not on the same level as Breitbart.

                  “Did any of the students verify any of the data or the sources of the data?”

                  They couldn’t, but at least they were named and hyperlinked, whereas I could only give print copies (western internet being mostly illegal in China and whatnot).

                  “such as on immigration or legal issues”

                  The use of the word immigration was a key point in their analysis, funnily enough. The connotations and repetition of the word “alien” in the BB article amused the hell out of them.

            2. All you’ve shown is that they hide their bias better than Breitbart. A lot of the NYT bias takes sound knowledge of free market economics to detect or knowledge of facts not provided by them, such as on immigration or legal issues.

          2. That’s not a very reasonable comparison. Few people will claim the NYT on the whole is as far “left” as Breitbart is “right” I don’t even read Breitbart. It would also depend on what articles you used. You can cherry pick articles from anyplace that sound more or less biased. I would also guess that the writers at the NYT have a better grasp of how to manipulate words to imply different meanings while remaining ‘factual’ whereas Breitbart writers won’t be quite as nuanced. If judging one organization to be more biased than another was the point, you stacked the deck.

            1. “That’s not a very reasonable comparison”

              Agree. But I wasn’t the one that made it, merely reacting to it!

              “It would also depend on what articles you used”

              Any news report anyone finds is what I said. Think a long and hard search would be needed before it’s found.

              “I would also guess that the writers at the NYT have a better grasp of how to manipulate words to imply different meanings while remaining ‘factual’ whereas Breitbart writers won’t be quite as nuanced”.

              True, but doesn’t less biased language make it less biased, if only by a few degrees? And isn’t repeated use of emotive language the most biased all? I think phrases like “non national immigrants”, while tiresome, is definitely less biased than outdated phrases like “illegal aliens”, which is dehumanising.

  4. Is this the same NYT that ran a communism apology column just a couple days ago? Or the one where Brett Stephens was called a Denier even though acknowledged that global warming/climate change was a real thing?

    1. To be fair, the NYT published Stephens, which is good, while the other mags competing for the prog demographic went publicly apeshit about it.

      The Times also publishes Greg Mankiw. He and occasionally Larry Summers are the only people they publish though worth reading.

  5. First they came for the Nazi’s, and I didn’t say anything since I wasn’t a Nazi
    Then they came for the Alt-Right, and I didn’t say anything since I wasn’t on the alt-right
    Then they called me an Alt-Right Nazi

    The same faulty reasoning they use to label things as hate speech, label everyone part of the alt-right, etc, will just as quickly be turned on you, Reason. You are funded by the Koch’s, which is Literally Hitler to those people.

    How long until being against the minimum wage is “hate speech” against the poor?

    1. That’ll just sell out on that too eventually

    2. Um what exactly is it you want them to say that’s making you so melodramatic?

      1. You’ve never been attacked by a leftist, have you?

  6. How can we signal our virtue, if we don’t constantly talk about who’s being an idiot?

  7. There is a great deal of truth in this commentary, but it omits an important root cause factor. It’s easy to tolerate disagreements when it doesn’t matter: I say tomato, you say tomahto, who cares. But as government controls more and more of our lives and property, the cost of tolerating a dissenting view increases dramatically. Our tribe has to do unto them, because the alternative is certainly that their tribe will do unto you.

    1. Good observation.

    2. This a million times. When government controlled tariffs and the mail, and built a few canals, and had a small army and navy, no one’s daily life was affected by government decisions (other than redskins). But the more government controls, the more it behooves ordinary people to take that into consideration, and to start thinking of ways to grab that government teat from a competitor.

      We’ve long since crossed the tipping point. Influencing government is probably the best way to improve your life now, even if it’s just lying about how many jobs you looked for to get an unemployment check, or paying someone in cash so they can avoid reporting the income.

      I blame it on the Civil War. After decades of public relations going nowhere, it only took 4 years og government effort to change society. From then on, influencing government was the first nd only effort, and every subsequent success created that much more incentive for the next social ill.

      1. So weird. But reading your comment brought me back to remembering about reconstruction from high school, or maybe it was my first Econ class in college. Hadn’t thought about this since then, until your comment. Thanks.

    3. Yet oddly enough there are no ‘small government’ Democrats. I mean, there aren’t very many ‘small government’ Republicans but they do actually and honestly exist on the right.

      What does that say?

      It says that at least 75% of all national politicians are for bigger and more powerful government. Odd, then, that the party with absolutely no interest whatsoever in changing that trajectory wants to blame the remaining maximum 25% for the problem.

      Sorry, I don’t buy it. And I’m being so very overly optimistic on that 25% that it’s laughable. It’s more like 2%. Tops.

  8. My father and father-in-law are both in their 70’s. They both have Fox News on in the house constantly. Why? I don’t get it. I mean, I get why they are Conservative. But why this need for constant feeding of information that reconfirms their biases? And at 70? Really? Isn’t there some age where you should simply stop giving a shit?

    1. My age: 71. My answer: I sure hope not!

      1. (Not that I watch Fox news constantly, or ever at all, in fact) But I continue to give a shit.

        1. So good movements then?

    2. All the conservatives I know only watch Fox News, and they have it on constantly. They range in age from their 80s to their 30s.

      But all the harscore liberals I know are always plugged into PBS, all the Daily Show clones, and Madcow.

      I eschew both groups as much as socially allowable. I prefer to hang out with non-political folk, who are, thankfully, still a majority.

      1. My wife and I cut the cord on cable when we moved back to the US 2 years ago and I haven’t missed any of the major media channels a bit. In fact, when I’m at my parents house, for example, and they have CNN or Fox News on (neither of my parents are particularly conservative or liberal) it’s like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.

        1. It’s jarring when you go back to watching network television. I haven’t watched a single network channel in…at least a decade? Any time I watch a bit of it while over at family or friends houses I feel like I’m watching propaganda no matter what channel it’s on.

          Everything seems to be opinion pieces put together by intellectual children.

          1. Same here. It’s like when I switched to pure peanut butter from the big brands. One time my mother handed me Kraft peanut butter thinking there’s no difference. Boy was I wrong. The taste difference was quite wide; more than income inequality. I can’t go back. That’s the feeling I get whenever I see network news. It’s just soooo much linear, superficial shit for the really informed.

            The networks don’t keep an eye on out political masters. They just hold its hand.

          2. “Everything seems to be opinion pieces put together by intellectual children.”

            This about sums up my experience.

    3. My patents are both 72 and libertarians (though my mom leans rightish). As far as I know, they don’t watch any news except maybe the local news.

    4. I stopped giving a shit right after high school and wound up a Libertarian. And really it’s more of not fretting over the things I can’t control, as opposed to “Fuck it fire up the bong!”

    5. I suspect it’s rather that they simply want information.

      I was at a job site today for a couple of hours where MSNBC was on mid-day.

      On a panel (that actually included Hugh Hewitt), someone who I think only has his current job and his tv contract because of his race (and his left politics), said that there has never been any evidence Obama surveilled Trump or the Trump campaign.

    6. My dad, who identified as a solid, union-supporting democrat during my youth (back in the 1980s) now watches Fox News exclusively and sees himself as conservative. When I’m there, I find it grating when I don’t manage to tune it out entirely, but then I’m sure I would think the same if exposed to MSNBC or CNN or the others.

      I’m one of those libertarians who feels next to nothing in common with the right-wing and is equally alienated by the left. It’s like both sides have drank the authoritarian Kool-Aid and now they just argue bitterly about whether the red or blue flavor tastes better. Count me out of their collective idiocy.

      1. I tend to sympathize slightly more with whatever side I’m not currently interacting with. Nothing inclines me more to the left like being surrounded by right wingers talking politics, and vice versa.

    7. Until the last months of my father’s life, he had Fox news running. That changed when his Alzheimer’s kicked in, but up to that point, he was a Fox junkie.

      My wife’s grandfather was 89 when he passed, and he almost always had CNN on.

      Older people are usually more invested politically. That’s why they have such insane voter turnout.

  9. It’s also true that Vox, The New York Times, CNN, et al are closer to neutral than Breitbart or Fox News.

    The only difference, beyond the direction, is not in the magnitude, but in more polite language. Because these are the mainstream media, of course they look more neutral. I dare say Goebbels looked more neutral than Himmler, but primarily because Goebbels was the mainstream.

    The anti-GMO anti-vaccine climate warming alarmists are as crazy in their fields as Breitbart and Fox in theirs.

    Ask any Progressive who saved the whales. Not one of them will admit even a teeny tiny shred of evidence that it was John D. Rockefeller. Where is their objectivity and neutrality when they can’t even do that little?

  10. Good post, Robby. I read the articles in the links this morning, and this really helped flesh it out and tie everything together.

  11. We are not living in a time of left-wing intellectual spaces and right-wing intellectual spaces. We are living in a time of neutral-presenting intellectual spaces

    WRONG!!!

    There is indeed a huge left-wing intellectual space in addition to the neutral and right spaces. Anyone who denies this can only so deeply embedded in the left-wing intellectual space that they just can see it. The idea that only the right has bubbles is fucking bullshit.

    1. I think the key phrase in that quote is “neutral-presenting”. Some people at these outlets will admit to having a liberal bias, but others genuinely believe that they are being neutral. It’s just their understanding of the facts that skews everything ? as Freddie deBoer notes in the linked article above, “The idea that we need any intellectual diversity at all invites immediate incredulous statements like, “you’re saying we should debate eugenics?!?,” as though the only positions that exist are the obviously correct and the obviously horrible.” They are behaving rationally and neutrally based on what they believe to be facts, which is why you will have such a hard time getting any progressive to admit that the MSM is biased.

      1. Okay, I see your point. The far left media does *pretend* to be neutral. And they may truly believe that they are neutral. But they are not, at any time, neutral.

      2. I doubt they believe they are neutral, since they believe their jobs in “news” are a way to further causes.

        The believe they can still con significant numbers of viewers into the belief that they are neutral.

        1. Hmm, I think you have a point that they have to be somewhat self-aware, and so maybe neutral is the wrong word and “objective” would be better here. They have a different worldview and set of facts, and they genuinely believe that indisputable, scientific facts skew to the left and so they report objectively. But I really don’t believe that they are a devious collective trying to con everyone.

          1. I think you’re right that they’re not a devious collective, but I think they are a lot more cynical just by nature of their profession than you give them credit for. I think they knowingly pander to their audiences and to the network owners that pay their salaries.

  12. It wants tribal information.

    Something something projection…

  13. Roberto really tried to fire everyone up with that first paragraph being presented as his own opinion. Luckily for him I accidentally read past the first paragraph.

  14. . It’s also true that Vox, The New York Times, CNN, et al are closer to neutral than Breitbart or Fox News.

    No, its not

    1. This better not be that FBI graph again…

      1. It wasn’t the FBI. At least in that citation. The FBI later stole the mendacious M.O. and generated their own conveniently-defined ‘extremism’ in order to try present a false-equivalence narrative.

        Putting that sort of shit on your front page… while the bodies of terror-victims are still warm? is some grade-A propagandist horseshit.

        and its just the most convenient example. there are plenty of others.

        1. i could point you to one of 1000 retarded Chris Cuomo-tweets for instance.

          CNN is a sewer of lies that makes FOX’s open-partisanship seem like a breath of fresh air.

          1. So much fucken word.

            To even mildly suggest CNN and the NYT maintain any balance is comical as it is absurd as it is downright fucken insulting.

        2. e.g. Here’s an amusing story being pumped by Brian Stelter @ CNN… describing the exposure of “Lies”

          … which of course turned out to be 100% true.

          Not because of their hard-hitting reporting. It just turned out they couldn’t keep calling them “lies” once everyone else got the facts.

          the fact that Stelter’s guest directly contradicts him a few times is just icing on the cake.

    2. What about the fact that we’ve only accumulated deaths since 9-11 isn’t objective? /sarc

      1. its funny, that’s most people’s first reaction.

        that’s actually not the main thing that’s wrong with it, imo, ….. which is more their attempt to pretend that “terror” should be subsumed into a contrived ‘miscellaneous-bin’ category called ‘Extremism’, where they can pretend ‘indiscriminate ideological mass-murder’ (terror) is the same as “hate crimes” (where 1 person might be killed by 1 other person who did so because they had ‘racist’ or ‘homophobic’ associations- or maybe they just did it for the sake of a robbery, but hey, let’s ignore that and pump up the hate-crime aspects so we can pretend its equivalent to people trying to set off bombs in Times Sq)

        they basically toss terror into a miscellanous-bin and pretend its not really as big a deal as people say. Never you mind that steaming pile of bodies we’re supposed to be reporting on. Look at this chart! isn’t that more interesting than the faces of the victims?

        1. Actually, the statistics, if compiled correctly, are more interesting than the faces of the victims. The last thing we want is policy being made motivated by the visceral reaction to a pic of a dead person. News stories really shouldn’t be fodder for policy discussions at all because anecdotes =\= evidence.

          1. the statistics, if compiled correctly,

            they’re not.

            are more interesting than the faces of the victims.

            i understand your point re: ” policy being made motivated by the visceral reaction”….. but buddy, that cow left the barn 15+ ago.

            what should a “news” organization report when there’s been a mass-murder? What are the facts?

            there’s 1) who got killed, and 2) who did they killing, and if they can figure out 3) “why” that’s nice too.

            they don’t even do #1 anymore. and they try and obfuscate #2 and #3

            fine, don’t show their faces. Print their names. Show a photo of where it happened. Report news. Don’t try and bury the facts in some contrived statistical illustration whose point is to pretend that your death was actually some different, less uniquely-motivated sort of event.

          2. News stories really shouldn’t be fodder for policy discussions at all

            the issue was the political bias in pretend-objective media. and my example is pretty clearly ‘evidence’.

  15. It’s also true that Vox, The New York Times, CNN, et al are closer to neutral than Breitbart or Fox News.

    you were born yesterday

  16. From SSC:

    They did find that Republicans were a bit more authoritarian than Democrats, but correctly noted that the measure involved is literally called “Right-Wing Authoritarianism”, is based on a scale invented by Theodor Adorno to prove conservatives had fascist tendencies, and only asks questions about child-rearing practices (you get marked as “authoritarian” if you have a traditional religious child-rearing style).

    It’s kinda weird that Reason has been citing these polls intended to show that Trump and his supporters must go to the gulag before the proletarian revolution.

    1. I don’t want to overdo my criticism. “Right-wing authoritarianism” is a powerful idea with a good academic reputation

      lulz

  17. This does not mean that self-identified Marxist academics should be purged in some kind of second Red Scare. It does mean that teachers beholden to a discredited worldview are responsible for communicating information?via research and instruction?to students and the masses. Let’s call the information they are producing “alternative facts.”

    I love this paragraph. Serious question: do actual Marxists exist anywhere BUT in academia? Is there anybody who lives in the real world who thinks Marxism is a valid philosophy? I know there are a bunch of idiots who think they are communists or socialists, but when it comes to people who have a fully-formed and cohesive Marxist views, I think every single one of them can be found on college campuses.

    1. I know there are a bunch of idiots who think they are communists or socialists,

      yup

    2. I was assigned The Communist Manifesto in multiple classes in undergrad as a history and political science double major. I was assigned Hobbes in one poli sci class and Nietschze in a philosophy class. Never read Locke, Rousseu, Friedman, Hayek, Solzhenitsyn, or the Federalists Papers and many other heavyweights in philosophy, economics, and political theory. I read them later in life. I was a solid student, but never connected with much I was taught. It felt like my brain was given lots of empty calories. Undergrad was a waste of time and money for me.An expensive four year party.

  18. We need to have a conversation about neutrality, be it Vox, WSJ, or Huff Post. Or Reason.

    In any given case, the set of pertinent information is well-nigh infinite, especially if we consider antecedents and implications. No journalist, regardless of intention, can possibly present a complete and balanced view of everything. Not only does the journalist select which information is relevant, but even the choice of words conveys a perspective. And we all recognize the opportunity to amplify or attenuate a case by presenting total or per capita, as the case may be.

    The difference is that some are more blatant about their bias than others.

    Any journalist, or journal, that claims to be fair, neutral, or disinterested, should help the reader understand how to interpret its coverage by explicitly stating its outlook up front. For some of us, it’s pretty simple: voluntary association is morally right, full stop.

    1. Almost like maybe some professional group of journalists should have a code of ethics or something.

      Though, my bias showing, an education system based around the importance of personal perception of emotion doesn’t tend toward ethics nor producing citizens with a strong sense of ethics.

  19. We have come to where we are now, in part, because if incidents like the successor to Walter Cronkite beclowning himself touting fake documents in an effort to bring down a President he did not like. That whenever there is a supposed government shutdown, which branch of government the neutral media holds responsible for the impasse has been whichever one the GOP controls. But of course, it is the conservative oriented media which has poisoned the well.

    Go to hell, Soave.

    1. Cronkite wasn’t appreciably better. There were just fewer people able to call him on his bullshit.

      At this point, I fully advocate pulling ALL government monies out of colleges. Completely. If they will not treat students equally, then why should they get funding?

      Worked to integrate the Citadel, after all.

  20. Fish, meet water. There’s no neutral unbiased information outside the Library of Babel, and of what use is an infinite undifferentiated stream of data? Just deciding what’s important and what’s not important, what’s newsworthy and what’s not, betrays a bias.

  21. Would one of these neutral-presenting media outlets like the New York Times or the Washington Post please hire this fucking fruitcake already so he can stop polluting this space?

  22. We are not living in a time of left-wing intellectual spaces and right-wing intellectual spaces. We are living in a time of neutral-presenting intellectual spaces (The New York Times, CNN, Vox) and explicitly right-wing intellectual spaces (Fox News, talk radio, Breitbart).

    NYT is slightly left of center. CNN is slightly right of center. Vox is pretty much a lot to the left.

    FOX News is more right of center than VOX is to the left. Breitbart and talk radio are way to the right.

    So, the message is we are in a more right-leaning media these days. Sounds about right

    1. CNN is only right if center if you think the center is Dennis Kucinich.

  23. I don’t take this article seriously. It seems more like libertarian brown nosing of the liberal media.

    I’d love to see the stats on how many people actually look at Slate, Vox, or for that matter Salon or Mother Jones.

    It’s my understanding that Breitbart has more readers than anything except ESPN and a handful of other websites, that the Daily Caller is the fastest growing audience, and even The Federalist has four times as many readers as reason.

    It also seems to me that the grab bag smear of ll these “right wing” sources named as creators of fake news and alternative facts is risible. I suspect a far smaller percentage of the stories, even when clickbait or intended to be Milo style provocations, have as many false premises and even outright lies as stories at VOX and Slate do.

    1. ” It seems more like libertarian brown nosing of the liberal media.”

      How audacious.

  24. “neutral-presenting intellectual spaces”, what in the hell do these words even mean? 1984 much Robby?

    Next, why is Reason carrying water for the Left? At least some at Fox pretend to understand the word Libertarian. CNN laughs at the word.

    Rush pretty much created his own space… unless you count “Firing Line” which had a rather different flavor. Neither meant to be “neutral-presenting” in any way.

    I try hard to read VOX, but it’s like my Daughter’s SO, always talking down to everyone it meets. CNN has moments, but rolling your eyes every time you use the word “Trump” rather gives away the game.

    Breibart = DailyKos – for those confused

    If you want news reuters.com.

    And always read ENB, even on a bad day.

  25. The NYT leans further to the Left than Fox does to the Right as measured by audience:

    https://goo.gl/Wx3m1v

  26. My mother’s house: MSNBC
    My father’s house: Fox News
    My inlaw’s house: CNN
    My house: Sitting on the back porch drinking a beer

    1. It’s my house, I’ll drink beer wherever I want!

      But not in front of those networks, My TV is too valuable and beer should not be wasted thrown at TV’s

      1. I don’t even have cable TV. Not worth my money. My father comes to my house and loses his mind for a few days because he can’t watch Fox News.

        When I go to his house to visit here is my lovely itinerary: Wake up, eat a donut, drink some coffee, spend the next 12 hours on the couch watching Fox News.

        I practically have to twist his arm to take out the boat (which is on a dock right behind the house) to go fishing or wakeboarding or something. He also lives on a golf course, but nah lets watch TV not go golfing (it’s a crappy sport but at least it’s SOMETHING to do). Or maybe lets go to the range and shoot one of your 25 guns? Nope. How we take the 12 gauge and clay launcher and go shoot off the dock? Nope. Fox News. All day.

        1. Judging by the number of people with this same situation, this must be some common age-related issue.

          It may not even be political. I’ve been watching video games on youtube, and I just find it weirdly soothing.

          I’m sure other people would be “get off the chair and walk the dog!”

  27. Vox as a “neutral-presenting intellectual space” …

    I guess “Friday Funnies” comes early this week …

  28. We have a mainstream media with reporters who regularly refer to our President as “Mister Trump”. And they wonder why we consider them biased.

    But aside from a jousting match over who is more “neutral”, the original article and this response miss the reality of the 2016 election: it wasn’t this or that media source that decided things, it was grassroots voters who finally got together on the central issue of being sick of being ignored or taken for granted by people and parties in high places (not that this is really changing under Trump, but that’s another issue)

    The mainstream media is firmly encamped on the “intellectual left” — the brie and Bordeaux crowd who run the urban north and control its institutions. They cannot examine their presumptions and biases because to do so would be to question their roots and what sustains them. So looking at an election in which their Chosen One’s grandmother was rejected by the voters they can only think of two possibilities: the voters were swayed by the right-wing media, or Russia hacked the election and skewed the results. The concept that the election could have been the result of a nationwide mood largely brought on by the left’s excesses themselves is beyond their poor power to add or detract.

  29. the right has not grown extreme it has grown some balls and said we’ve had enough of this crap and were not going to take it anymore.

  30. ” neutral-presenting intellectual spaces (The New York Times, CNN, Vox) ”

    I stopped right there. My time is too valuable for this shit.

  31. As an interest group, it has become more hostile to immigrants, more skeptical of free trade, and arguably more tolerant of big government welfare schemes (as long as these schemes are benefitting white people)

    Citizens First. Representative government should represent the citizens governed. More protective of the values of liberty that Americans support from destruction by foreigners who do not share those values.

    More skeptical of deviations from free markets that benefit corporate interests and foreigners and more amenable to compensatory deviations that benefit the mass of American citizens instead.

    And of course, no article of Robby’s is complete without the “Racist!” Shriek. My comments were all about *citizens* without regard to race.

    Progressitarians peddle Progressive identity politics fear, hatred, and resentment to divide the peasants so that they are easier to rule by the Ruling Reptiles.

    Progressitarians promote the destruction of liberty in the US through Open Borders.

    Progressitarians are outraged by violations of free market principles that favor American workers, but silent over an ocean of violations that hurt them:
    corporate limited liability
    violation of the Lockean Proviso
    intellectual property
    differential taxation of wages and capital gains
    differential taxation of wages and property

    Progressitarians are not Libertarians.

    1. Hey look everybody, bbdd made up a new word.

      1. That makes a total of almost 30 in his whole vocabulary, if you count onomatopoeias.

    2. You had me at “Ruling Reptiles”

      *Takes out popcorn, coke & recliner*

      Tell me more about these progressitianian reptiles (slurp)…

  32. Not that “libertarians” are on the “right.” They’re nowhere.

    1. Thank you for showing your colors.

      You asshole.

    2. We’re on the rights. Every right is a moral claim to freedom of action.

  33. Robby, back away and observe that the same ideas that drove Christian National Socialism after Herbert Hoover helped put Hitler in charge of Germany are still embraced by the conservatives of Prohibition. Likewise the ideology of Lenin and Stalin–another pack of altruists preaching the wonderfulness of the initiation of deadly force–still drives the other large tribe of rent-seeking looter politicians. Mindlessly repeating left-right-left-right-left further entrenches the notion that Hitler and Stalin are ideals emulated by folks with principles, and that only non-thinkers seek a meddle ground between Gulags and Treblinka. Even YAF has to have learnt something since 1979!

    1. The “conservatives of Prohibition” and the “pack of altruists preaching the wonderfulness of the initiation of deadly force–still drives the other large tribe of rent-seeking looter politicians” are the same people.

      They built the gulags AND Treblinka.

      The other side wasn’t involved–except to try to stop them.

    2. I don’t want to occupy the “middle ground” between gulags and treblinka.
      I want to occupy some other ground entirely.

  34. There are no neutral media spaces. None. Since Trump took office, I have been investigating news articles in the so-called mainstream media, the supposedly neutral media. I have found dozens of news stories that were blatantly false. Not biased. Not left-leaning. Completely and wholly false. Verifiably false. Not only were they never called on the carpet for publishing liberal propaganda, they were quoted and reprinted across the left-wing media.

    Is right-wing media a problem? No, because it is outnumbered 10 to 1 by left-wing media. No, because the one right-leaning cable channel, Fox News, is countered by ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN all of who have swung so far left, they can’t even see the middle.

    We no longer have news. We have the left’s narrative and that comes at us from almost every direction. People haven’t turned away from “neutral” media. The media has abandoned its role in society and has turned against us.

    1. FNC is also starting to swing left because Rupert’s kids would have rather praise than money from a profitable news channel.

      The recent Colbert thing showed the hypocrisy. If a single conservative in the media anywhere said about Obama what Colbert said about Trump, would ANY survive?

      Nope. But he did. Not even apologizing (which is smart. Nobody should apologize because it only makes it worse. Respond with “fuck you, shithead” for any request to apologize).

  35. I think the argument here is a bit hopeless. A media institution that tries to call it 50-50 every time is useless much like any process whose output is independent of its input is useless. At the same time if it doesn’t one side will yell bias. The NYT had conservative writers, then on came Trump which doesn’t particularly care about lots of supposedly conservative values. The NYT conservatives used their own interpretation of conservative to denounce that. Was the NYT supposed to fire them and get Trumpists? Perhaps there’s a case for that – say, look it turns out you guys don’t represent any meaningful segment of the populace so bye. But where does that leave us – with institutions in constant chase of mirroring what people already believe – when in fact they’re meant to challenge people’s beliefs?

    1. Insightful and thought provoking analysis.

      Reporters should report.

      Columnists should…columnize?

      Another problem is the failure of the public in distinguishing op-ed pieces from reports, which leads many – well represented here – into outlandish claims that Breitbart is the same as NYT.

    2. They’re NOT meant to challenge peoples beliefs.

      They’re meant to report what’s happening in the world as accurately and interestingly as possible.

      The idea that journalists are opinion MAKERS is what’s causing this problem.

      1. “They’re meant to report what’s happening in the world as accurately and interestingly as possible”

        This is what I meant. In the good aul’ days of print media this stuff was clearly delineated. No people can’t tell the difference between opinion pieces and news reports!

    3. “The NYT had conservative writers”

      Which is a little bit like racists saying they have black friends.

    4. The same “conservative” writers like David Brooks who had a hard-on for Obama because of his pants?

      Their “conservatives” are the same as Reason having “libertarian” Dave Wiegel writing here.

      It is laughable to even pretend the label is accurate.

  36. Blame shared across the spectrum, well written, should be required reading…for every academic, journalist and politician.

  37. Well, it’s Robby, so – – – – – –
    But I would like to say that I thought free enterprise was what created and maintains all the right wing hating.
    As soon as Rush realized that AM radio still existed, and it was not necessary to use the “major” TV networks, things kind of took off. Then Al Gore invented the internet, and no one even needed to bribe the FCC for a radio license to speak to millions.

  38. This does not mean that self-identified Marxist academics should be purged in some kind of second Red Scare. It does mean that teachers beholden to a discredited worldview are responsible for communicating information?via research and instruction?to students and the masses. Let’s call the information they are producing “alternative facts.”

    Would anybody accept a Nazi on a college campus teaching courses on the joys of Nazism?

    No?

    Marxism is, literally, no better. In many ways, it is worse. It certainly killed more people.

    1. While Nazism is certainly not being taught on any US campus national sydicalism and other variants of fascism most certainly are.

  39. Outside of a need for confirmation bias, can anybody explain why internet media — which is hiring faster than old media — is ALSO centralized to large, very blue cities? The work can be done, literally, anywhere.

    Yet they don’t want to do so.

    They still want to utterly ignore conservatives.

    Which is fine.

    I’m sure that will never lead to brutal and bloody resentment and retaliation. We’re already seeing conservatives, intelligently, bring in their own goons to beat the hell out of the antifa “protestors” who always try to stir shit and seem to suffer few negative repurcussions in doing so.

    We’re simply playing the game by the rules laid out. If some don’t like it, well, this what they desired for themselves. Why should I not get the same?

  40. This is a good article. I was more or less expecting it to be a full-on tear down of Vox, but it wasn’t at all.

    Full disclosure, Vox is my favorite news source (Reason is second). I don’t read every article from Vox, and I generally don’t exactly agree with their social/cultural assessment pieces, but Vox’s in-depth analysis and “explainers” of most issues is excellent. They’re left-wing, but I don’t think they really pretend otherwise – this to me is key. The concept of “neutral reporting” is a myth. It doesn’t actually exist. There for, the ethical thing for a journalistic company to do is to implicitly or explicitly declare their biases up front.

    Ethical journalism looks something like this, off the top of my head –
    1) State the basic facts of a situation as clearly as possible, and offer sources (this is the most neutral-ish portion of reporting, but even it has some potential for bias).
    2) Plainly state the reporter’s (or media company’s) opinion on those facts. I.e., “Because of basic fact x, y, and z, relevant government/institution/party/person should do A and/or B and/or C.”
    3) Make the argument for why A, B, and C represent the best course of action. Attempt to convince the reader of it.

    Vox largely follows this sort of script very well, and I respect them for it.

    1. Reporting:
      1. State the facts citing multiple, named, verifiable sources.
      2. Shut up.
      Editorializing:
      1. Anything else.

  41. There are no ‘right wing’ echo chambers. There is too much leftist saturation of media for one to exist. Even avoiding media won’t help because leftism saturates so much of life that one will get leftist opinion in nearly every conversation.

    Conversely, there are many different types of ‘left-wing’ echo chamber. One can choose the depths of avoidance one desires–from only hearing leftist interpretation of right wing views, to an echo chamber so tight that it denies even the existence of a ‘right’ wing.

    Worst is that far too much of what passes for journalism today comes from deep inside these leftist echo chambers–so much so that merely hearing a voice from the not-so-far left constitutes screaming right-wing nutjobbery.

    1. An echo chamber is not defined by its ability to entirely and completely seal off all forms of opposing thought. What an echo chamber does is much more insidious. An echo chamber instead carefully and selectively lets only the most idiotic, mockable, and dismissible examples of opposing thought in so that it can be ritually mocked and dismissed. Quite naturally, the person within the echo chamber begins to think very poorly of the people who supposedly hold the idiotic views. That person will simultaneously believe that they are very well informed about “the other side” – they read about them all the time, after all. What they don’t realize is the reporting they’re receiving is at best a laughable characterization of the other side, and not the genuine article.

      There are absolutely right-wing echo chambers. If a person’s notion of a “liberal,” or what progressive ideas are, is based on what comes from Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or the endless parade of memes on Facebook, or The Blaze, than they are in a right wing echo chamber, regardless of how many people they know who voted for Hillary.

      1. You make a good point, but it is much harder to actually live in a right wing echo chamber, for the reasons that Azathoth!!! mentioned. I think it was also Jonathan Haidt who mentioned that in studies he has done, on average people on the right are far better at articulating the positions of those on the left than vice versa. It’s very difficult to only see the caricature of the left no matter what you read and what you watch. Whereas if you live on the left, you can pick your right wing strawman from not only, say MSNBC, but from Comedy Central, HBO, Cracked, Law and Order, and the like. In fact the only ones who I think can reliably live in an echo chamber is likely a fundamentalist Christian who decides to only listen to Christian music, watch Pureflix Movies, and watch nothing but TBN and Fox News. In other words, you have to actively CHOOSE to live in a right wing echo chamber. Left wing echo chambers form naturally.

      2. There are absolutely right-wing echo chambers. If a person’s notion of a “liberal,” or what progressive ideas are, is based on what comes from Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or the endless parade of memes on Facebook, or The Blaze, than they are in a right wing echo chamber,

        But there are no echo chambers that can limit a person to those sources. It’s just not possible.

        Even a person dedicated to trying to seal themselves in such an echo chamber will be forced via the sheer prevalence of leftist opinion to deal with ACTUAL leftist opinion.

        They will see ACTUAL leftists acting as ACTUAL leftists act. All over their tightly sealed echo chamber.

        And this won’t work–

        “In fact the only ones who I think can reliably live in an echo chamber is likely a fundamentalist Christian who decides to only listen to Christian music, watch Pureflix Movies, and watch nothing but TBN and Fox News.”

        Because they’re all over that media, too.

        In fact, they will be told that not acceding to every leftist demand is the very definition of being a far-right nazi–while IN their chamber.

        There are no right wing echo chambers.

  42. Very well thought out and done. My issue with CNN, MSNBC, NYTs etc… compared to Fox News or Breitbart is that Fox News and Breitbart do not pretend to be neutral. They let their biases be known. But yea, they’re mostly all hot garbage. Cable news is for mouth breathing idiots. Although the NYTs does pretty good reporting from time to time but many of their editorials are trash.

  43. Don’t forget that perennial standby of progressives criticizing heretics: “You’re a poopy head.”

  44. Today I saw Krystal Ball on Fox News, and they often have Eboni Williams. And they used to have Dennis Kucinich, farther left than whom no one can be.

  45. Fox news has Shep Smith, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams and allows a bevy of left wing spin meisters and assorted nut-bags on the air. It is important to have contrast. I simply don’t see this on CNN, MSNBC or the alphabet channels. The network news skews liberal, having one channel versus all the rest does not balance the equation. The liberals of course think it is one too many.

    When are we going to have a libertarian news network??? So far Fox is the only channel with personalities/hosts that are actually libertarians, yet people throw shade.

    1. Reason TV exists, mostly as internet TV, but you can find it.

  46. Fox news has Shep Smith, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams and allows a bevy of left wing spin meisters and assorted nut-bags on the air. It is important to have contrast. I simply don’t see this on CNN, MSNBC or the alphabet channels. The network news skews liberal, having one channel versus all the rest does not balance the equation. The liberals of course think it is one too many.

    When are we going to have a libertarian news network??? So far Fox is the only channel with personalities/hosts that are actually libertarians, yet people throw shade.

  47. There are a number of things about this article that accept to much of the progressive view. The first and primary thing is that the Republican party as a whole has never been conservative. The Tea Party portion is conservative and mostly libertarian. They have been making the most noise over the last eight years, but they are only 20 to 25 per cent of the party. The rest of the party has always been pro government control. The ideas of immigration and free trade may or may not change, but the idea of government versus the individual controlling things is not.

  48. There are a number of things about this article that accept to much of the progressive view. The first and primary thing is that the Republican party as a whole has never been conservative. The Tea Party portion is conservative and mostly libertarian. They have been making the most noise over the last eight years, but they are only 20 to 25 per cent of the party. The rest of the party has always been pro government(or institutions like universities) control. The ideas of immigration and free trade may or may not change, but the idea of government versus the individual controlling things is not. This is the main idea of libertarians.

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