Matt Bai, a journalist for Yahoo! News (excuse me while I laugh) who has written for New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone (no right-winger he, methinks), has figured out that politics today is rigidly ideological.
Especially on college campuses! He titles his latest column, “Don’t Blame College Students for Intolerance. Blame Us.”
Intolerance! Wow. That’s a big charge. College kids are intolerant and its our fault. What did we do?
“We’d grown up with TV news that tried to get at complicated issues (Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was the single most influential news program of the era) and op-ed pages that crackled with competing arguments.”
Ah, we grew up with a liberal media, and you had no choice but to watch their view and like it. Those tolerant days gone by when conservatives couldn’t get an ounce of coverage. Everyone was so agreeable back then.
“It was reasonable to hope, with the sudden explosion of what we called cyberspace a decade or so later, that this kind of exchange would become more commonplace and more enlightening, rather than less so. Only that’s not what happened. Almost from the moment the first iteration of political blogs appeared, not long after the 2000 presidential election that exposed a deep cultural rift in America, like-minded activists began to wall themselves off from any version of reality they didn’t like. They set about building ideological silos in the space where virtual town squares might have thrived.”
Those damn blogs! People actually had a chance to speak for themselves rather than just passively accept the liberal national news controlling the dialogue. For once, people could talk back.
“What’s happened is that we’ve effectively left behind the Age of Persuasion and ushered in the Age of Confirmation. It sometimes seems the whole world exists to re-affirm our conceptions of it; you can get through days, even weeks, without being at all discomfited, if you know which sites to visit and which channels to watch.”
Instead of the liberal media telling us we’re idiots for believing something besides what they report night after night, we can flip the channel and not watch them anymore, and they cry foul.
Conservatives should never underestimate how much the old media resents this change. Newspapers that once occupied every home are lucky to have enough subscribers to pay the bills now.
National TV news enjoyed a captive audience of 75% of tv viewers in the 1970s. It’s below a third now and not getting better. People have by and large turned off the liberal elite media, and the liberal elite media think we’re horrible, intolerant people because of it.
See, we used to just sit and take it. The newspapers mostly endorse Democrats. The nightly news and Hollywood make fun of and attack people who are happily married with children they didn’t abort who go to church together and work for a living instead of nodding to their message that we have to expand Medicaid and let government give us the most expensive free health care you’ve ever seen.
And we can now turn them off and get our news elsewhere.
And that makes us intolerant.
Better than subjecting myself to their nightly sneers at our values and paying them for the privilege.