Jonathan Chait is absolutely right in his assessment that "mainstream"/liberal journalists tend to obscure the substance of political disagreements.

Meanwhile, Tom Friedman writes a column today envisioning a world in which both parties come together. Republicans agree to endorse Obama's policy agenda, and Obama agrees to admit that he could have explained his agenda more clearly. I share Friedman's enthusiasm for such an outcome, but I fail to see how this relates to the current impasse.

This is one way in which conservative journalism is actually far more sophisticated than mainstream news journalism. Conservative pundits, while usually slanting their account in highly partisan and often misleading terms, do a fairly good job of grasping and explaining the fact that the two parties fundamentally disagree on the causes of and solutions to the economic crisis and the long-term deficit. In this sense, a Rush Limbaugh listener may well be better informed about the causes of the impasse than listener of NPR or other mainstream organs. The former will have in his mind a wildly slanted version of the basic political landscape, while the latter's head will be filled with magical thinking.

I disagree that conservative outlets slant their opinions in a "highly partisan and misleading" manner, but sure, conservative pundits have a conservative slant. However, I am a daily listener to NPR, and I definitely agree that the leftist commentators on that show frequently avoid addressing the substantial issues at hand and instead expend their time and energy on straw men.

(HT: James Taranto.)

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