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Right-Wing Media’s Human Capital Problem

By Matthew Yglesias

"Right-Wing Media’s Human Capital Problem"

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I was observing the other day that the big problem conservatives are facing in the new media climate is that despite a plethora of outlets they don’t have the skills to generate original information and research products in nearly the same volume that generally progressive outlets manage. And to clarify, the issue here is a human capital deficit rather than a financial one. There are a great many people employed in conservative media, and thus conservative media could easily support the salaries of a number of crackerjack reporters. But the reporters just don’t seem to be out there.

Michelle Malkin thinks she’s refuting my point but this example actually illustrates it:

Internet journalist/blogger and Little Green Footballs regular Zombie (not “conservative” per se, but rather anti-sharia/anti-jihad/anti-anti-American/anti-extremist Left) did extraordinary work digging up documents related to Barack Obama and left-wing terrorist Bill Ayer’s relationship — most notably, unearthing the Weather Underground manifesto Prairie Fire and Obama’s review of Ayer’s book on the juvenile court system.

As I said in my original post on this issue what you have on the right is “a lot of wild conspiracy theories and a lot of commentary.” This fits into the former category.

As Dave Weigel observes at his new home at The Washington Independent “I don’t know many conservatives who’d argue, in hindsight, that more citizen journalism about Bill Ayers (whose Weather Underground days were so mysterious that you can Netflix an Oscar-nominated documentary about them) was what the Right needed in 2008.” Right. Also Dave Weigel’s new home is at The Washington Independent. His previous job was at Reason magazine, part of the broad family of the right. And he’s one of the very best young political reporters in the business. But now he’s working for the Windy, part of the broad family of the left. In part that’s for reasons that have to do with his own proclivities and inclinations, but in part it’s because of a different mentality among editors of progressive new media outlets and of conservative media outlets in terms of which skills you’re looking for in your employees.

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