Sunday, February 05, 2006

Lord Hiatt Speaks


In an era when the Web allows readers to read only commentary that they agree with, we continue to think there's value in an opinion page that offers a wide range of commentary.

This is one of the standard talking points churned out by members of the mainstream media, where one can always find the entire range of public opinion - from the New Republic to the Free Republic - on display in perfectly balanced nuggets of ideological wisdom.

But it's just bullshit. First of all one has long been able to find "only commentary that they agree with" - by, for example, listening to conservative talk radio or reading the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal which no longer even has a token liberal. Second, the interactive, partisan, and combative nature of contemporary political commentary on the web ensures that anyone who spends much time getting their politics from the web is indeed going to get a wide range of opinions and viewpoints.

Much of the political web involves monitoring and commenting on what "the other side" is saying and doing. The debate is on display for all to see. This impossible-to-kill notion that those who get their news from the web are only exposed to "one side" of issues results from a fundamental failure to bother to understand how things actually work.

Even if you, in some sense, got "all" your news through this site, or the Corner, or Powerline, you would still, if you ever clicked through a link or two, be exposed to a full range of opinion on any subject.