Note to Fred Barnes: Conservatives don't do journalism

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Especially not the new generation of right-wing players led by the likes of Andrew Breitbart. Sure, they pretend to be practicing journalism. I mean, their sites have bylines. The pieces are (supposedly) edited, and then they appear under catchy headlines. But the junk being cranked out on right-wing political sites has nothing to do with journalism (i.e. fairness and facts) and everything to do with whiney, often hate-filled propaganda.

I'm just sorry I'm the one who has to inform Fred Barnes.

As Think Progress noted, Fox News' Barnes recently appeared at a conservative activist event and urged Republican partisans to "infiltrate" the mainstream media [emphasis added]:

Barnes and some other media critics argue that the broader, more liberal media still decide the daily story and political agenda, so he's calling for a two-pronged war. One goal is to develop conservative reporters. "We need more smart, young people in journalism," he argues, "to infiltrate—infiltrate!—the mainstream media. It can be done."

Then he wants wealthy conservatives to build media outlets. Citing the millions of dollars thrown at political campaigns, he says "there is a lot of money out there that can be used to start new magazines, to buy television networks, to buy newspapers, to start newspapers—so much can be done."

First, the obligatory irony alert: Barnes, who works for the openly partisan Weekly Standard and who cashes a paycheck from openly partisan Fox News, wonders why conservatives don't build openly partisan media outlets?


But with regards to Barnes' point about getting "smart, young" people into journalism, it's simply not going to happen. As Media Matters has been endlessly documenting, right-wing attempts to practice "journalism" routinely reveal themselves to be little more than hoaxes.

Barnes and I actually agree, though. It would be good for politics and journalism if smart, young conservatives opted for reporting and actually committed themselves to practicing the craft. There's simply no indication conservatives have any desire to do so, not when facts are frowned upon within the Republican Noise Machine.

Fred Barnes, Andrew Breitbart
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