I usually take everything Howard Kurtz says with a grain of salt, but in today’s Media Notes he seems to get it right with regard to Ben Domenech:
A second major issue was whether hiring a conservative activist as a blogger was a reasonable stab at “balance” when there was no self-proclaimed liberal blogging away, as opposed to left-leaning journalists. I think that’s a fair point, but I don’t want to see washingtonpost.com or any other MSM outfit abandon efforts to include voices from the right.
He is right that it is a fair point, and, while I don’t think the Post should close its doors to anyone on the basis of their political perspective, that perspective should also not give them an advantage in getting through those doors. This point, interestingly, forms the basis of a line of argument Kurtz quotes at length:
At RealClear Politics, David Mastio chews on that one:
“You’d think from all the fury that this was the first time big media had opened up the door for somebody with thin journalism credentials and a strong political point of view. Of course, you’d be wrong. They do it all the time . . . The difference is that the beneficiaries are usually on the left
. . .
“Can anyone name for me a current New York Times or Washington Post reporter who was previously on the staff of National Review, The Weekly Standard or The American Spectator? No? Maybe that’s because there are none.”
While this at first seems like a devastating argument, Kurtz shows that it is actually hogwash:
But I would raise this counter-question: How many people from National Review, Weekly Standard or American Spectator have applied for reporting jobs at the NYT or WP?
. . .
do people at NR and the Standard want to become “straight” reporters, or do they go to those magazines because they want to practice opinion journalism? I doubt that Rich Lowry or Tucker Carlson . . . aspired to cover Prince George’s County for The Post.
I have the same sense. If young liberals dream of writing for the New York Times, and young conservatives dream of being the next Rush Limbaugh, then it’s going to be hard to recruit conservative reporters (or liberal pundits). I could delve into possible reasons, such as liberals’ abiding interest in factual evidence, or conservatives’ electoral need to inspire powerful emotions to distract people from said evidence, but it isn’t necessary for Kurtz’s point.
The only thing I take issue with is Kurtz’s acceptance of the idea that the Washington Post lacks conservative voices. How can one accept this claim about a paper that regularly features George Will and Charles Krauthammer? Other than that, a good column from Kurtz.