I’ve just returned from the National Review cruise, seven days of listening to major conservative minds like PJ Media’s own Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldbergh, Ramesh Ponnuru, Mona Charen, John O’Sullivan, Andrew McCarthy, John Yoo, and many others. Again and again, as we motored through the Caribbean, I was struck by the speakers’ quality of thought, their breadth of knowledge and depth of insight. And again and again, I found myself thinking, why doesn’t the world at large get to see these guys more often?
I love Fox News. Love Hannity, O’Reilly, the whole gang, not to mention Rush, Ann Coulter, and of course the guy who gives my videos a home, Glenn Beck. But if you don’t happen to be a conservative, if you’re the typical individual who doesn’t follow politics very closely but votes for the person who seems “fair” or “nice” or the one who doesn’t cheat on his wife or the one who looks presidential, the most popular conservative commentators can seem brash, loud, aggressive, and even mean.
Meanwhile, you’re probably getting your news from people whose approach to information is so one-sided as to be dishonest — people,I mean, like Brian Williams, George Stephanopolous, and Diane Sawyer. And yet they appear thoroughly presentable: polite, well-spoken — exuding elegance and good will even as they go about demonizing anyone they disagree with.
That’s why the sort of commentators who were on the NR cruise could be invaluable weapons in the information wars. It would, I think, be very difficult for anyone to accuse Mona Charen of being brash or aggressive, or anything but the gracious, thoughtful, well-spoken lady she obviously is. It would be pretty hard to peg the soft-spoken, professorial VDH with being loud or mean. So too with Goldberg, Ponnuru, McCarthy, and the others.