A reader writes:
Chait is right, for the most part, but when I read his comment about a media filter, I couldn't help but think of how Keith Olbermann always has on guests that agree with him. Maddow and Schultz invite conservatives on to debate the issues. Bill O'Reilly is unbelievably arrogant, but he has on liberals. Olbermann never has on conservatives.
Olbermann's rationale for not have on people who disagree with him is this:
The premise of the guests is often misunderstood as some sort of political reinforcement, or a 'Keith gets only the guys who agree with him.' I ask a lot of these questions to find out whether or not I'm wildly incorrect about something. The point of the show is to illuminate. It is not to throw off heat; it is to throw off light.
And as Newsbusters pointed out a while back, it's hard to find out what you're wrong about if all you have on are MSNBC political analysts and members of the Democratic party. I know this is nowhere near the kind of epistemic closure you find on Fox News, but it's still significant.
I'm probably not the only one who noticed this, but if MSNBC's campaign slogan is Lean Forward, shouldn't Olbermann be, you know, leaning forward instead of back?