Hard leftists so rarely attempt reasoned arguments (you know, the kind with distinctions and other such subtleties) that it’s tempting to applaud them when they do so. Except that it’s difficult to applaud incompetence.
Consider, for example, the argument claiming that the targets of the liberal blogosphere are conservative activists, while the target of the conservative blogosphere is the free and independent press itself. This purported distinction appears to have originated with Garance Franke-Ruta in a piece she wrote for the American Prospect. It is rehearsed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune column by Tamara Baker discussed earlier today by Rocket Man and Trunk.
To overcome this argument, it is enough to ask whether leftists are targeting the free and independent press when they criticize Fox News. If the answer is no, then there is no basis for arguing that conservatives are doing so when they expose bias and inaccuracies in the work of CBS, the New York Times, etc. etc.
I’m not aware of any conservative blogger (or other conservative, for that matter) who questions the right of MSM outlets to exercise free and independent judgment in reporting the news. Here’s the way it works — the MSM has the right to report the news as it sees fit; bloggers and others have the right to report what they take to be inaccuracies and bias on the part of the MSM; the public has the right to sort it all out. In short, the conservative blogosphere is targeting bias and inaccuracy in the MSM, not the MSM itself (or its freedom and independence). And the left, one hopes, is targeting bias and inaccuracy on the part of the conservative blogsophere and other conservative media, not conservatives themselves.
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