"They Do Not Know It, But They Are Doing It"

Jay Rosen tries to pin down the ideology of the American press corps:

So: liberal or conservative? My answer: it’s complicated. One thing we can definitely say: political journalists are cosmopolitans, and they will see the world through that lens. They may also stop seeing it as a lens, and that’s when it becomes an ideology. But even if we had an x-ray machine that gave us perfect information about the beliefs of the journalists who report on politics, the ideological drift of the work they produce wouldn’t necessarily match the personal beliefs or voting patterns of the reporters and editors on the beat because there are other factors that intervene between the authors of news accounts and the accounts they author.

Julian Sanchez further complicates things:

Rosen pretty clearly regards most of these ideological tendencies as pernicious, and while I'm often inclined to agree, it's also worth at least asking whether, in each case, they're any worse than the plausible alternatives. Suppose, for instance, we agree that its both delusional for journalists to cultivate an attitude of being untouchably "above the fray" and that this attitude ends up warping coverage in undesirable ways. It might yet be the case that we're so naturally disposed to tribalism that it can only be avoided by cultivating a self conception as a member of the Savvy Tribe. It would be depressing if this were true, of course, but it can't be ruled out a priori. Sometimes our delusions serve useful functions.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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