The internet has certainly created new spaces for eccentric ideas and conspiratorial narratives to flourish, and the transformation of the Republican Party into a populist formation with its own distinctive media ecosystem has weakened the power of national newspapers to influence Republican politicians. But the G.O.P. speaks for a minority of Americans and fewer and fewer American elites, and the internet has also expanded the audience for certain media institutions at the expense of the rest of the media industry, giving them arguably more influence over the non-Fox News-watching portion of the public than in the recent past. This means institutions like The Times or the Washington Post have a different kind of power than they did 30 years ago, but they have power all the same — including the power to contain almost any story that initially circulates on the right, and to shape the way the non-right-wing portions of the country receive it.

This, in turn, makes it reasonable for conservatives to fear the concentric circles of tech and media power — the possibility that social-media censorship, carried out “neutrally” by companies overwhelmingly staffed by liberals, will expand its reach with the vocal support of an increasingly consolidated and liberal group of mainstream-media gatekeepers.

But it also makes it reasonable for people who are not conservatives to worry about what stories they might be missing, if those same gatekeepers have an incentive to treat anything that originates outside those concentric circles as some combination of disinformation and partisan distraction.