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August 29, 2005

Ignoring the Elephant in the Middle of the Room

Radio show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, who I have never listened to and only rarely read, has been getting a lot of press lately. He is the subject of a long profile by Nicholas Lemann in this week's New Yorker (not available online, unfortunately). He also is mentioned prominently in a column by Tim Rutten in the LAT regarding the recent decline in talk radio ratings.

Hewitt has adopted the innovative policy of only granting interviews to people who agree to allow him to interview them -- and tape the entire proceeding for broadcast. He recently posted the transcript of his discussion with Rutten, which I found quite interesting. In it Hewitt takes Rutten to task for the declining circulation of the LAT, making a persuasive case (at least to me) that the LAT's obvious left wing bias is helping to erode its readership. He also chides Rutten, like the overwhelming majority of journalists, for refusing to disclose his political beliefs while insisting that his personal views are irrelevant to his work as an "objective" journalist.

For his part, Rutten, in his column, accuses Hewitt (and other talk radio critics) of fetishizing politics and insisting on seeing everyone and everything through the prism of partisan politics. He may be right in this, but this focus on the importance of political partisanship results from the stubborn refusal of journalists (as a class) to admit what everyone knows to be true -- that most journalists are politically liberal. How could this indisputable fact not color the allegedly "objective" reporting of the news of the day?! Why do apparently intelligent people like Rutten insist on maintaining the fig leaf of political neutrality? Do they really believe that their readers can't discern their ideological positions on the major issues of the day?

August 29, 2005 at 10:48 AM | Permalink


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Dear Spart, What's your point?

Posted by: Smartacus | Dec 10, 2005 8:32:52 AM

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