At a fundraiser for Columbia University’s newspaper--The Spectator--NYT executive editor Bill Keller offered some thoughts on print journalism and the effect of blogging. While he admittedly gave some praise to bloggers for their ability to break stories, his criticism was far more, shall we say, colorful, such as when he noted that a blog "can sometimes fall as low as being a ’one man circle jerk.’" He also offered criticism for blog readers, stating "There is a pressure to feel well informed without ever confronting an opinion that confronts your prejudices[.]" He is not the first to make this argument about selective reading. Law professor Cass Sunstein made this argument in his absurdly silly book Republic.com, in which he suggested that the government should provide warning labels for web sites based on ideology. But it is surprising to hear Keller make this argument: after all, his own public editor acknowledged last year that the NYT is liberal in its story selection and coverage of issues on the news pages. Why then doesn’t he criticize those who rely solely on his paper for their news, for they likewise never have to confront an opinion with which they disagree?
Keller is just cranky that someone else has joined the party. It was just fine when the news was made up of the liberal bastions of the NYT, Washington Post, the network news, and CNN. But when Fox News and the internet got in the game, why then there was a risk that people could get all their information from one ideological perspective. I find this particularly silly because most conservatives I know read the NYT, or the Washington Post, or gain information from some other liberal outlet along with their conservative news sources. However, I know very few liberals who watch Fox News or read conservative publications.