The Gatekeeper’s Lament

Nicolas Kristoff mourns the media’s loss of control:

When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper. We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about. Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that’s the trend, God save us from ourselves. That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices.

I don’t dispute that people seek out information that confirms their prejudices, as I’ve noticed that very few individuals of any stripe go out of their way to acquaint themselves with how rival ideologies think. And of those who do visit sites belonging to what, for lack of a better term, we shall call “the other side”, a large percentage oare trolls who have no intention of actually paying any serious attention to what they are skimming in the interest of seeking grounds on which to base what is usually a shallow and spurious criticism.

But the assumption underlying Kristoff’s concerns are ludicrous. All of the major organs of the mainstream media have been uniformly left-liberal for generations. The Wall Street Journal that Kristoff bravely declares he is going to force himself to read is one of the few notable exceptions, along with Human Events and The Washington Times. The appearance of talk radio, then Fox News, and now online alternatives doesn’t mean that everyone is now locked in an echo chamber, it means that conservatives and libertarians are finally able to escape being subjected to constant left-liberal assault.

Left-leaning individuals like Kristoff are still safely ensconced in the same liberal echo chamber they’ve always inhabited, and the recent revelation of JournoList shows how much the left’s media elite prefers groupthink to the marketplace of ideas. The only thing that has changed is that now everyone, of all political stripes, isn’t forced to listen to just one side of the story anymore.