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Posted by on Nov 17, 2009 in Media, Politics | 24 comments

Arrogating the Middle Ground

Writing about “The Excommunication Of Lou Dobbs” in Forbes, one Roger Kimball is perturbed by the claiming of the “middle ground” by Dobbs’ critics.

Elevating political discourse. Drawing a line in the sand. Polite company. A middle ground. Get it? If you’re Media Matters, CNN or The New York Times, you are in the happy position of proposing that what you espouse is elevating, middle-of-the-road, non-fractious opinion that is acceptable to “polite company,” i.e., you and your friends.

I guess I’ll have to take up the CNN gauntlet here. I’ve found CNN to be much less partisan, generally, than nearly any other “MSM” source.

It is, however, an interesting jump-off point for discussion. After all, one’s location along the political spectrum is bound to look pretty… well… reasonable to oneself — and all the more so if you’re living in the online echo-chamber.

Here’s what’s really at stake in the controversy of Dobbs and CNN. It’s not only Dobbs who’s been rusticated: It’s also the robust liberalism that thrived on disagreement, argument and polemic.

If he’s looking for Classical Liberalism, I’m afraid he needs to be in the historical section of his local library.

But where is the rational, reasonable “middle ground” these days? And where do you go to find it, anyway, in this hyper-partisan new-media world? Because I’ll agree with Mr. Kimball up to a point: you’re unlikely to find it at Media Matters, or in Paul Krugman’s opinion pieces.