Tuesday, October 14

Conservative journalists, cont.

Friedersdorf concurs with Douthat. His conclusion is also worth reading in all its glory:
what the self-appointed inquisitors of conservative journalism fail to recognize is that the intellectual honesty, engagement and "reasonable" tone of writers like David Brooks, Peggy Noonan and others is what allows them to converse with readers who don’t already share their beliefs. One would think this a feature of these writers, since they offer the prospect of expanding the ranks of conservatives, or at least people willing to go along with conservative ideas on some issue or another. Instead it is treated as a bug, as though the most productive use of a conservative writer’s time is to echo whatever their readers think back to them in the most ideologically soothing prose possible. It is downright maddenning that some conservatives imagine their cause is advanced more by the transparent partisan talking points of Bill Kristol on the NYT op-ed page than by the reasoned arguments of David Brooks. The former’s arguments don’t even convince himself judging by how often he contradicts them.

I’ve written before that the right desperately needs more people whose foremost commitment is to intellectually honest journalism, but whose political views and guiding principles happen to be right of center. Only such people can right the ideological imbalance in the press that conservatives so often complain about. Rather than cultivate these people, however, the conservative movement labels them heretics. What lesson do you think young Christopher Buckleys are taking from his departure from National Review? Does that lesson promise to increase or decrease the supply of non-hack conservative journalists in the long term?

The core of the problem is that the right wants writers who are intelligent, talented and credible to non-conservatives… and who are willing to hold their tongues should their honest analysis ever hurt the short term electoral prospects of the Republican Party. Very few of these people exist! Far too few to build a successful movement around.
It's so nice to read people who get it. My outlook for the future of the sane conservatism has just risen a little, one of the few such developments since the Sarah Palin travesty befell us.

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