I do think there’s an obsession with binary journalism/opinion making in this country that runs the risk of making liberals look like conspiracy theorists every time we mention it. It’s compounded by the frequently repeated meme about this being a center-right nation, by a network like CNBC spouting off all means of ridiculus market-shilling all the while pretending to be reporting news and unbiased facts, and by having Joe Scarborough mouth off on MSNBC every morning. Remember, MSNBC is supposed to be the liberal equivalent of Fox News. Even when Fox was giving nightly face time to Alan Colmes his presence couldn’t really match what Scarborough brings to MSNBC.
But lest the New York Times run the risk of being too liberal sounding, they want to give two conservatives space on their opinion page. They don’t want to take flack for doing otherwise (although they seemed perfectly fine with taking flack from liberals for giving Bill Kristol a microphone for twelve months).
My only problem with this is the tokenism of it. Young Republicans who espouse intellectually coherent arguments and have fancy pedigrees (Douthat went to Harvard) are few and far between. There are hundreds or bright, young, forward-thinking liberals (literally, they’re everywhere — walking the streets of Washington, DC night and day). Despite this, the New York Times wants balance so they pick Ross Douthat, even though I don’t think he’s any better a choice than the gazillions of progressive bloggers they could have chosen. Which is why we are constantly being told that some up and coming conservative dude is the next big thing — because there are fewer of them to go around.
Be sure to keep a lookout for an upcoming blog post, about how Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins are poor subsitutes for substantive female thinking on the Times op-ed pages.