Friday, October 10, 2003

Porphyogenitus is starting to pull out of his PLW-induced rage, which is a good thing - when he's not infuriated, he can come up with some pretty interesting ideas. This article is one of them. He's floating a variant on the "echo chamber" idea - that partisans of a certain stripe who only listen to partisans of that same stripe will become less and less comprehensible to the greater polity, let alone their political opponents. It's Porphyrogenitus's contention that the "liberal bias" (whether such a bias exists or not is beyond the scope of the discussion - let me just note that whether there's a bias or not depends on where you're standing) of the media is a *liberal* problem, not a conservative one. A liberal media is a corrective to a conservative - a valuable, contentious feedback mechanism. Similarly, a conservative media would be a corrective to liberals in the same fashion.

An overwhelmingly liberal media means, in this context, that liberals are going to be poorly served with their own biases. They're being lovingly blinded and deafened.

In this sense, the most dangerous threat to conservative America is Fox News. If Joe Conservative lets Fox totally displace the rest of the majors in his viewing habits, he's going to be fitted with a different set of blinkers and earmuffs, but he'll still be just as blinded and deafened as his NPR-listening neighbor Eliza Progressive.

Now that I think on the subject, I'd say that this benefit is only usable by nonpartisan individuals. Partisans can easily get into a defensive mode where the evil biased media is not to be trusted in *any* particular, and go crawling off into their Indymedia or FreeRepublic holes. I'm as prone to this sort of thing as anyone else - I once accused Josh Marshall of building himself an echo chamber, but I have to admit that by refusing to listen to him, I was doing something similar, if not the exact same thing.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that rage is a self-limiter in political discourse. It deafens you. And it's this concern that makes me nervous whenever a blogger I read starts down the demonizing road. Whether it's Josh Marshall ranting intemperately about how horrible Sen. Roberts is, or Kim du Toit's streetlamps, these outbursts serve only to narrow the range of feedback in political exchanges.

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