The limits of charm, Part Two

Howard Kurtz reports on Jeff Jarvis’ charm offensive. Jarvis, an excellent centrist blogger, would like a pow-wow in which certain bloggers get together with representatives of the New York Times and perhaps other MSM stalwarts. Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, doesn’t think that much would accomplished by such a get-together. However, his correspondence with Jarvis is getting to point that it constitutes a dialogue of sorts. Keller’s responses have been witty and sharp-edged enough to suggest that he’s the kind of guy one would like to meet.
The bottom line, though, is that the only meaningful way for the MSM and bloggers to get to know one another is through their reporting and commentary. Bloggers, of course, already know the MSM because we’ve been consumers of its product for decades. The only way for the MSM to charm us is to significantly improve that product.
Keller appears to be getting to know bloggers. His chief complaint about us is that we’re “erod[ing] the middle ground and accelerat[ing] a general polarization of the nation into people, right and left, who are ardently convinced and not very interested in exposing themselves to facts or ideas that contradict their prejudices.” I don’t think I could charm someone who views the New York Times as a force for moderation and an engine for the presentation of facts and ideas that contradict one’s prejudices. But, then, I wouldn’t be invited to the meeting.


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