The reliable Ezra Klein delivers a laugher while surprising the world with his analysis explaining that the right wing is more close-minded than the left:
I think that the counterargument some conservatives might offer would be...
He thinks? Dare I ask whether Mr. Open Mind has actually asked any of his conservative friends about this, read a conservative publication, or otherwise put this speculation to the test?
I wish I were making this stuff up.
AS TO HIS ARGUMENT... His gist is that the left has nothing like right wing talk radio, so therefore righties are living in a bubble. To complete his rebuttal:
I think that the counterargument some conservatives might offer would be that the New York Times and CBS News are liberal, but anyone arguing that those outlets are partisan or politicized in the way that Limbaugh is partisan and politicized is, well, sort of a walking example of epistemic closure.
Do tell. What I would argue (in near-perfect lockstep with righties everywhere) is that Rush et al are *alternative* media - typical righties are still barraged with the viewpoints of the NY Times, the non-Fox evening news, TIME magazine, and the mainstream media generally. Righties willing to make the effort can limit themselves to Fox News and the WSJ editorial page, but it is an effort. (Full disclosure - I can't make that effort myself because I have spent several decades reflexively brandishing my fist at the television or shaking my newspaper and muttering "Why are they pushing these lies!" That makes watching Fox very discomfiting.)
A typical lefty could listen to NPR on the drive to work, pick up the NY Times/LA Times/Washington Post, watch CNN, read Newsweek/TIME, and feel very well informed. Although Ezra might not agree, some of us think such a person is actually well cocooned. To be fair, they often get some "Now they tell us" coverage eventually, as on health care, when the time for cheerleading has passed.
To pick an illustrative but otherwise unimportant example seemingly at random - a regular reader Times reader / NPR listener would have no way of knowing that Obama and his team lied throughout the campaign about his relationship with Bill Ayers, and are almost surely still lying. (David Remnick of the New Yorker preferred the word "disingenuous" in his recent book on Obama.)
Now, if a cocooned lib does not know that Obama has been lying they are more likely to fall in line with the notion that Sarah Palin is a right wing nutjob for even mentioning Ayers.
Obviously, that is not as important as a rational national debate on global warming. That said, I meet many well-informed libs, and few of them take the position that they understand that Obama is lying about Ayers but don't care. The most common response is that Sarah Palin is not fit to be President, which is a bit of a non sequitur, one might think. Bush lied about his military service is another typical but not entirely topical response.
Well. As a broader theme, the notion that Obama is lying about his biography while our watchdog press looks the other way troubles me; I think most libs are not even aware that it is happening. Fortunately, I have Rush to open my mind.
EVERYTHING NEW IS OLD AGAIN: Henry Farrel of The Monkey Cage tells us this has been done by Larry Bartels; in the one instance on offer, conservatives are dismally uninformed as to the change in income inequality over time.
But we righties weren't always stupid! Or at least, we weren't always alone in our stupidity; this is from a different Bartels paper:
For one thing, voters’ perceptions may be seriously skewed by partisan biases. For example, in a 1988 survey a majority of respondents who described themselves as strong Democrats said that inflation had “gotten worse” over the eight years of the Reagan administration; in fact, it had fallen from 13.5 percent in 1980 to 4.1 percent in 1988. Conversely, a majority of Republicans in a 1996 survey said that the federal budget deficit had increased under Bill Clinton; in fact, the deficit had shrunk from $255 billion to $22 billion. Surprisingly, misperceptions of this sort are often most prevalent among people who should know better—those who are generally well informed about politics, at least as evidenced by their answers to factual questions about political figures, issues, and textbook civics.
And the gloomy consequence:
If close attention to elite political discourse mostly teaches people to believe what the partisan elites on “their” side would like to be true, the fundamental premise of books such as Rick Shenkman’s—that a more attentive, politically engaged electorate would make for a healthier democracy—may be groundless.20
Oh, boy - maybe better informed voters simply do a better job of mastering their sides talking points.