Slate Revisited

Enough people in the business have gotten in touch with me in a hurry to dispute the idea that Slate is a center-right publication that I'm starting to have some doubts. And I'll admit that while I look at Slate all the time, I'm not a particularly thorough reader of it and the Mickey Kaus phenomenon looms large in my mind. I suppose I could take some time to do a thorough content analysis and see whether material that criticizes liberals or liberal positions outnumbers material that criticizes conservatives or conservative positions but that sounds boring and tedious. So I dunno, was I wrong about that?

Another thought on the general subject, is that I've noticed that a lot of people in the field of journalism have a tendency to judge the political proclivities of a publication by the subjective mental states of the staff. The correct way, however, is to look at what's on the pages. Having three socialists doing page layout, two moderate conservative writing features on political relevant topics, and one moderately liberal film critic does not a left-of-center publication make. Similarly, if in order to be "interesting" and "provocative" your publication contains some articles in which heterodox liberals challenge liberal conventional wisdom and other articles in which conservatives challenge liberal conventional wisdom, then your publication is mostly publishing conservative content.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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