Our Longstanding Policy On Dissents

by Conor Friedersdorf

We're eager, whatever our disagreements with your work or behavior or publication, to engage in debate; to air ideas contrary to our own; and to publish direct dissents against our arguments. We're also eager to highlight exceptional writing, reporting, analysis and opinion from across the political spectrum – whether you're a high traffic publication or a low traffic blogger. Even if you don't send it our way, we'll look for it.

But please, e-mail us.  

E-mail the main address. Or send a note to me personally. If there's a diary entry on Red State that is worthy of wider attention, or a thread on Daily Kos that offers penetrating analysis of an instance where progressives are dead right – and these things happen, and get missed – I want to know about them. Writers at The Corner: if I publish something that strikes you as unfair or wrongheaded, shoot me a paragraph explaining why. If it's earnestly offered, I'll publish it, or ask Andrew to do so if I'm underblogging. Same goes for you, Keith Olbermann. Or anyone else whose ideas or niche I've criticized. We can't publish every email or link we receive. But odds are very high that if you're fair-minded in engaging us, we'll be fair about putting your ideas in front of our many readers.

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This note is sure to induce skepticism. For lots of reasons, this enterprise makes people jaded. Little disagreements build up. Small transgressions are magnified. Eventually there's the feeling that others aren't operating in good faith. I certainly feel that way sometimes – perhaps you've felt mistreated by the Dish, and come to that conclusion about us. All I can say is that my feeling, and Andrew Sullivan's explicit instructions to us underbloggers, is that one should always air, and ideally engage dissent because it's impossible to write honestly without it. It's easy enough to merely dismiss folks you disagree with – I'm sure I do it sometimes. In our case, some of you have convinced yourselves that The Daily Dish is essentially hostile territory; you dismiss every argument made here by making easy fun of Andrew for his Palin blogging, or simply pretend that our critiques don't exist.


A quality I love about Andrew is his recognition that his thinking is sometimes flawed. He is the rare boss in this business who tolerates his subordinates forcefully disagreeing with him on his own blog. As you've noticed, he and I have disagreements about Obama, the health care bill, and many matters besides – like the rest of the media, I think I spend too much time on Sarah Palin, and I'd love to spend February ignoring her. That's okay. The Daily Dish staff is rife with respectful disagreements. Part of the job description I've been given, during the periods when I'm working behind the scenes, is to gauge what I take to be flaws in Andrew's thinking, or gaps in this blog's overall coverage, or even my own blind spots, and to challenge him, or at least make sure a diversity of opinions get aired. My colleagues Patrick, Chris and Zoe are great at this on a daily basis. And I want to do an ever better job myself.

So if you think we could up that part of our game, help us out.

My inbox eagerly awaits you.