Conor Friedersdorf and I disagree about a few things, but we do agree that there is something starkly disconcerting about PJTV’s online venture, something that speaks to an overall problem of conservative media. Heck, it speaks to a problem in the conservative “movement.”
I punctuate “movement” that way because conservatives have become less of a movement, and more of a demographic. As I noted in a piece I wrote for Culture11, there’s a strong tendency to market along ideological lines. For conservatives, the lines are far more established than, say, liberal lines, where all you have to do is talk about “fair trade” and “organics” and suddenly you got yourself the yuppie demographic. Conservatives are easier. All you have to do is say, “I’m conservative!” and you’re in. See also: Mitt “What socialized healthcare?” Romney.
This isn’t a problem for PJTV, particularly Malkin and Reynolds who are, I can’t emphasize this enough, admirable conservatives with important contributions. What is a problem is that being conservative is thought to be enough to get by in a harsh, and competitive, economic environment. I just mentioned Culture11 — which had marketed itself as a “conservative Slate” — but it’s not even in existence anymore. These be hard times, yo, but especially hard times for a venture to limit itself ideologically. If you’re going to do it, go the non-profit route, for heaven’s sakes.
It’s not that such ventures are “anti-intellectual,” as has been the favored tag. It’s really just that this approach is anti-ecumenical. Given that we have our own media structures now, we’ve stuck to where we’re most comfortable. If conservatives have any hope of regaining political dominance, it will be by converting others to our way of thinking, not by preaching to the choir.
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