View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, April 14, 2003
I just came from an appearance at Metro State College of Denver by Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-Large of the National Review Online. And I have to admit I was simulatenously pleased and disappointed. Since it's easier to damn than to praise, I'll get the praise out of the way early. Apparently, he arrived expecting to speak about the Iraq War, and ended up being greeted by a title "Liberal Media Bias." Given that, he did a nice job of ad-libbing about that topic, although I suspect he's addressed it a number of times in the past.

Still, while he was entertaining (one guy brought up a recent, obscure topic in NRO's blog site, The Corner, and rather than set up details nobody else cared about, he dismissed it as "inside Parcheesi"), most of the jokes had already appeared either in the Corner or in his column. He started out trying to gloat about the war, but never really got back to it later. His talking style isn't the best, either, interrupted by frequent ums and uhs, and at times he did a fair impression of a windmill with his arms.

But these are styilistic quibbles. My main objections are that 1) he spent a fair amount of time on Fox News, but appealed more to its ratings as proof that the public, even liberals, acknowledge the truth of LMB. This is true, but the saving virtue isn't that Fox winks when it claims fairness and balance, but that it presents ideas and context that's not presented anywhere else, and 2) that's valuable, because the public debate, the terms, contexts, and assumptions, are frequently defined by the media. Listen to NPR long enough, and you'll forget all sorts of basic assumptions about political discourse.

I'm sure all these points were in there somewhere, but I don't think he did a very good job of tying them together.

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