RE(A)D ALL OVER. To jump on the discussion of the new Media Matters report that finds that conservative syndicated columnists are published much more frequently than their liberal counterparts, while I'm on board with Ezra and Matt's musing about the possible reasons this is true, I think there may also be another factor at work, one perhaps more difficult to overcome in today's media market.
As recent studies have proposed, liberals tend to tolerate ambiguity and nuance more than conservatives, and this is perhaps most apparent in how they write about a subject. A liberal columnist may be more inclined to examine the many facets of a topic, to wade into the subtleties of an argument, explore the finer points, and concede to the possibility of conflicting evidence or opinion. And complex arguments don't generally make for the same hard-lined, concise, and easy-to-read column fodder that our ever-more-dumbed-down mainstream media tend to favor. Conservative columnists tend to lean on the most basic, unexamined, talking-point-specific arguments – quick, easy to digest, appealing to reader's basest instincts. Liberals tend to explore the issue and construct a case for the merits of their arguments, which fewer and fewer papers have the space for, and fewer and fewer readers have the attention span to get through.
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