October 06, 2009


Writing in Tina Brown's Daily Beast, Conor Friedersdorf takes issue with the success of Andrew Breitbart's media outlets, claiming that Breitbart should try to meet the standards of the... New York Times?

Andrew Breitbart is the man in the middle of the current madness. Credit him for sponsoring Big Government, the site that broke the ACORN story and prompted the Times to begin monitoring breaking news on partisan sites. These are substantial accomplishments that improve the state of journalism.

But Mr. Breitbart's role hardly ends there.

As a proprietor of Big Government and Big Hollywood, part of the team that runs The Drudge Report, and a regular guest on Fox News, especially Sean Hannity's show, he is a leader among folks who complain that the Times is a pernicious force in American life—that it ignores stories that cut against its ideological bent, too often makes mistakes in its reporting, and gives insufficient consideration to ideological insights other than those held by its staff. This is somewhat odd given that Mr. Breitbart's media empire, and the outlets with which he most closely associates himself, are thoroughly ideological enterprises, publish few if any ideologically heterodox pieces, seldom if ever correct factual mistakes, and ignore liberal insights entirely.

Friedersdorf's screed is daft, to put it mildly.

The idea of an unbiased, objective media is a late 20th century invention proffered primarily by those within the media establishment that wanted to continue to push their ideas and ideals without being challenged by upstarts.

Sadly for Mr. Friedersdorf, that illusion was dashed long ago, mostly due to the heavy liberal bias that manifested itself time and again not just in how a story was covered, but which stories were covered to the exclusion of others.

What Breitbart's various sites provide are platforms for a center-right view of the world, with insights every bit as valid as those that the left-leaning media tries to sell. Apparently, the idea of a free marketplace of ideas isn't one critics admire once put into actual practice.

Are Big Government and Big Hollywood ideologically-driven? Unreservedly. But more importantly, Breitbart's sites all wear their viewpoint unabashedly on their proverbial sleeves... if only the Times and other news outlets weakly feigning objectivity would display such intellectual honesty!

But honesty is not part of their business model, nor is objectivity, nor is competence, or accuracy. If he thinks otherwise, Mr. Friedersdorf may need to check the prescription on his rose-colored glasses.

That said, Friedersdorf's hissy fit at the building of a conservative media empire that provides an alternative to the worldview he would like to protect is hardly surprising.

His specific criticisms, however, are amusing, especially coming from someone who writes at the Atlantic, home to infamous Trig Truther, hypocrite and ideologue Andrew Sullivan.

The temerity to criticize conservative media for inaccuracies and bias is laughable considering the dismal track record of the left-leaning legacy media, but the fact that Friedersdorf published his thoughts in Tina Brown's Daily Beast—the left-leaning, status quo-defending, botoxed and digitized old media-with-a-new-face—is even more ripe, considering that Brown's own husband abused the Beast in an article full of half-truths and outright lies that Brown refused to retract or correct.

Both old and new media have significant room for improvement, but demanding that a successful and growing enterprise follow the example of a legacy media spiraling into the ground is, quite frankly, absurd.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 6, 2009 10:57 AM

Should Breitbart also aspire to have the values of his offices exceed the value of his company?

Friedersdorf is a moron.

Posted by: Pablo at October 6, 2009 12:02 PM

Conor Friedersdorf's got nothing. He is bereft of new ideas and is reduced to sniping at those whose success he envies. He is a pathetic nobody that somehow has come to believe that the world owes him fame and that the "conservative movement"(whatever that is) should pay attention to him.

And that's his good points...

Posted by: diogenes online at October 6, 2009 12:13 PM

This just further cements Conor's status as a hack.

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 6, 2009 12:14 PM

I'm not sure why anyone would object to setting some standards for journalism. Whether you like it or not some things just "are" or "are not" and won't fit nicely into a narrow, predetermined ideological storyline. It's simplistic and myopic. The right needs to stop being so touchy. It only makes them look small and frankly immature. The reason the mainstream doesn't pay attention to the legitimate stories the right brings up is that they are so layered in hysterical, partisan name calling that most center leaning folks just think you're nuts. Clean up your act, follow some basic rules of journalism and you'll be taken seriously. Shepard Smith on Fox has begun to do that. And don't fall back on the excuse that the media is biased. You have to be better than them. Not the same or worse.

Posted by: gus burlimah at October 6, 2009 12:56 PM

I've seen people call Friedersdorf a conservative, presumably because David Brooks needs company.

Posted by: Steve at October 6, 2009 01:35 PM


The NYT pounded the Abu Graib story for 3 months for the purpose of using it as a lightning rod to get servicemen killed. They were successfull too.

It was their front page story, every single day, for over a month. Calling that bias and pro-terrorist is an understatement. It's a shame that you rushed to defend it. The NYT owes our entire armed forces a huge, heartfelt apology.

"And don't fall back on the excuse that the media is biased."

Um. Wow. You deny it? Yeah, that's an 'excuse'?

The right needs to stop being so touchy.

...about the murder of servicemen? Are you serious? Reread your comment again, and if you think about it, you'll see that you're wrong and rude. Remember that the NYT routinely just makes stuff up, expecially if it can be used to slander the US Military. Heck, they even say that Sarin is a conventional weapon, and that WP is a WMD. Straight up lies. That's not even counting that Steven Glass stuff.

And when you stand back and look at the NYT's lies, your level-headed conclusion is that CY is nuts and must clean up his act?

It makes you look small and frankly immature. (these are your words)

Is there any chance that you'll come around?

Posted by: brando at October 6, 2009 02:22 PM

>>"The reason the mainstream doesn't pay attention to the legitimate stories the right brings up is that they are so layered in hysterical, partisan name calling that most center leaning folks just think you're nuts."

Center leaning folks like Gus Burlimah, David Axelrod, and Barack Obama.

Posted by: Steve at October 6, 2009 02:48 PM
...and ignore liberal insights entirely.

Liberals have insights? Who knew?

Posted by: iconoclast at October 7, 2009 01:22 AM
The reason the mainstream doesn't pay attention to the legitimate stories the right brings up is that they are so layered in hysterical, partisan name calling that most center leaning folks just think you're nuts.

They can't do journalism because people are calling each other names? The stories can't be told because partisan people are also telling them?

That's hogwash, gus.

Posted by: Pablo at October 8, 2009 10:03 AM

Conor has proven himself to be nothing more than a little bitch looking for a handout. He is no conservative, albeit he has shopped around using that label, advertising himself as a spokesman for conservatism who is willing to trash it for a few bucks. He is a media whore. And a cheap one at that.

Posted by: templar knight at October 8, 2009 02:39 PM