Op-Ed Claiming Plenty of Political Diversity in Mainstream Media Proves Opposite

There’s so little political diversity in the mainstream media that ANY slight deviation from progressive liberalism is treated as far right.

In the wake of how Kevin Williamson was fired by The Alantic because he was conservative, after hiring him because he was conservative, some are openly attacking the need for political diversity. One columnist at Slate argued that there was already a lot of conservative or libertarians at the three important publications, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic.

But what kind of “conservatives” or even libertarians are these handful of columnists?

Nick Phillips asks at Quillette, “Is Political Diversity on the Op-Ed Page Worth Defending?

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Osita Nwanevu […] laid out his argument in a piece for Slate entitled “It’s Time to Stop Yammering About Liberal Bias.” There are two layers to his critique: firstly, the media actually has plenty of political diversity, but secondly, this diversity isn’t a particularly important value for publications like the Atlantic to pursue.

Nwanevu argues that in our nation’s three most important ‘big tent’ publications—what we might call media’s elite gatekeeper institutions—there are already more than enough conservatives and libertarians. At the New York Times, Washington Post, and Atlantic, Nwanevu counts 18 such people who contribute regularly: David Brooks, Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss, Ross Douthat, David Frum, Conor Friedersdorf, Reihan Salam, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Megan McArdle, Marc Thiessen, Max Boot, Michael Gerson, Jennifer Rubin, Kathleen Parker, Radley Balko, Ed Rogers, and Anne Applebaum. In the spirit of good faith, I’ll point out that he forgot at least one—McKay Coppins, at the Atlantic.

It’s an odd list, for a few reasons. Firstly, the only thing these writers really have in common (besides great talent) is that each of them holds views that depart from progressive orthodoxy in some way. Bret Stephens is skeptical of environmental activism, Bari Weiss questions the #MeToo movement, Conor Friedersdorf is worried about free speech on campus, and so on. But if the standard for political diversity is ‘anyone who departs from orthodoxy in any way,’ it only shows us how powerful that orthodoxy really is. We should sense trouble when paragons of careful, centre-Right moderation like Anne Applebaum start being held out as examples of ‘diversity.’

Indeed, one couldn’t build a more moderate list of dissenters. Of this crew, only one—Ed Rogers—could reasonably be described as a Trump supporter. The rest are prominent Trump opponents, and more than a few are widely despised by the country’s conservative establishment for their heterodoxies on policy. They represent the mildest encroachment on the political Left, certainly relative to the views of the country as a whole. A stiff dose of doctrinaire conservatism this is not.

He then goes on to show that many of these publications are regularly pressured by their liberal readers to get rid of these writers. Liberals are too intolerant to allow anyone else a voice.

Read the full column.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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