Saturday, December 23, 2006

Craig's Planet

This list from Reason magazine on who should have been Time’s Person of the Year combines the reasonable with the nutty.

Consider this choice from Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s List:

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They speak truth to power at significant risk, challenging the entire press to do so.

What planet does he live on?

Regardless of how you feel about the politics of Stewart and Colbert and whether they are speaking truth, the notion that they do so “at significant risk” is a hoot. In their circles, there would be at far more risk if they supported the president and the war in Iraq. Being liberal in Hollywood and New York is playing it safe, risks zero, and often has career benefits, such as The New York Times best-seller list and Oscar nominations. Stewart and Colbert, whose careers are soaring, don't fear a midnight knock on the door or some McCarthy black list.

“[C]hallenging the entire press to do so” is another baseless concept. Check the surveys on the political beliefs of American journalists and their coverage and you find they tilt overwhelmingly to the left. Those folks need no nudging when it comes to opposing the administration.

But it sounds very brave and revolutionary to talk of speaking truth to power.

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