Via Breitbart’s Larry O’Connor, who notes that Matthews’s idea of balance here is to hash things out with liberal hyperpartisans Joan Walsh and David Corn. Duane already flagged this in the Greenroom but I want to front-page it just because there’s suddenly, and seemingly oddly, a lot of “the media is too right-wing” idiocy about. Seems strange for liberals to be grousing about press coverage after an election in which they crushed Republicans, no? Read R.S. McCain’s piece yesterday about leftist reaction to the assault on Steven Crowder and see if it makes more sense. This is all about delegitimizing the right, sometimes on the micro level, as with the Crowder incident, and sometimes the macro, as with Matthews’s shpiel here. If you’re a reporter and you’re taking conservatives seriously, you’re doing it wrong. Matthews goes so far as to identify Romney’s utterly benign aside in the second debate about “binders full of women” as one of the reasons the media should move, en masse, even further to the left. That’s not a serious critique; it’s a fig leaf of outrage designed to apply pressure towards the desired political outcome. And it works. Look how bothered the media was about what happened in Michigan after the left went to work on it.
Ace claims it’s time for the right to build its own media — not a self-styled alternative to the mainstream media, a la Fox News, but a media of its own. That’s the way conservatives can start to claw back “neutral” media terrain for news that’s unhelpful to the left. E.g., let’s say a conservative billionaire takes Glenn Reynolds’s advice and buys a bunch of women’s magazines. And let’s say he takes Ace’s advice and doesn’t remodel those magazines as “conservative” but dedicates them to true objectivity, with news covered no matter which side’s agenda is harmed by it. Question: How would those magazines maintain their public reputation as “objective” or “neutral” once the left’s hatchet men went to work on them? The effort to ghettoize those magazines as “extreme” or “wingnutty” and therefore untrustworthy would be twice as hot as the effort to ghettoize Fox, for the simple reason that Fox is already pitched overtly at the right. The left doesn’t care what conservatives say to each other about liberals; they care what a neutral source, which might attract centrists and center-leftists, is saying about them because a neutral source will build credibility through its neutrality that might reach across ideological lines. Liberals would work hard to marginalize something like that. On the flip side, which conservative tycoons are willing to throw a boatload of money at buying media in order to make them neutral rather than overtly conservative? If you’re so exasperated by media bias that you’re open to spending $100 million on a newspaper that will do conservatives the small favor of simply taking them seriously, how would you resist the temptation over time to turn that paper into an explicitly partisan, dogmatically conservative counterweight to major papers? What happens when some of the paper’s hack liberal reporters leave in protest and are replaced by more conservative ones who are eager to work there? Can neutrality be maintained then?
Your problem here, I think, isn’t that there isn’t enough conservative influence at the top of the media, it’s that there isn’t enough respect for conservatives at the bottom. And it has little to do with the GOP moving “too far right.” Liberals like to say that Reagan would be a moderate by current Republican standards but they hated Reagan to pieces 30 years ago and they’d hate him to pieces now. Romney was a moderate by any measure — even in his base-pandering phase in the primaries he refused to denounce RomneyCare — and yet they despised him as some sort of plutocratic sociopath. We could spend hours debating why the Lords of Empathy aren’t more empathetic towards their opponents, if only to the point of not suspecting nefarious motives behind every last conservative policy measure, but I don’t think it’s something that’d be solved by having Rupert Murdoch buy up a bunch of papers. It’s a cultural thing, and you’d need a lot of movement culturally — a lot — to make a dent.