Ed Driscoll

In Praise of Partisan Media

“We all know where MSNBC and Fox News Channel stand,” David Harsanyi writes at Reason. “It’s establishment media masquerading as impartial that have the real impact. This bias is rooted in insularity, showing a lack of curiosity about the other side’s worldview — the ignorance about religion, guns and free market economic ideas, for example — and, even worse, a lack of skepticism toward its own conceptions about how things work:”

The Washington Post reported, “Meet Chad Henderson, the Obamacare enrollee tons of reporters are calling.” (The article was penned, incidentally, by the reporter who believes that Kermit Gosnell was a mere local crime story.) “I haven’t had health insurance for 14 years,” Henderson told the Post. “My dad put me on BlueCross BlueShield, but the premiums kept rising, and we dropped it since he wasn’t making that much.” What the author, much less any editor at the Post, won’t ask: “Wait. Doesn’t this guy sound like he’s full of crap?” “Hold on. Do we believe his claims about affordability?” “Hey, why don’t we hound one of the thousands of people who failed to enroll?”

The entire story turned out to be bogus. But it took Peter Suderman at libertarian Reason — a place where, one might imagine, the ideological sensibilities of the staff are naturally skeptical about feel-good collectivist enterprises — to debunk every angle of the story. But you have to wonder how many Chad Hendersons get away with it.

The establishment media could, of course, hire more ideologically diverse staffs to fix this problem. There could have been a Suderman at the Post. Despite what many conservatives believe, there are many media professionals who take their craft very seriously, many who break important stories, many who are immensely talented — but very few who aren’t biased to some extent.

But for the “unbiased” media to do that would be acknowledge that both sides are worth reporting on equally fairly. And that ship sailed long ago.


Related: At PJM, Charlie Martin explains “Why the Newspaper Business Is Doomed.” Hint: They’re in the advertising business, not the news business, but can’t come to grips with this simple fact.