Having fun on the right

The focus of this blog is on mainstream news outlets, as opposed to commentary magazines. Still, we also like to note publications that include news and commentary on the power of faith and issues of religion as a regular part of what they do.

Like ‘em or hate ‘em, the gang over at The Weekly Standard consider religion a — gasp! — normal part of American life and culture. They write about moral and religious issues that are linked to politics, but also to culture. Much of this must be rooted in the personal convictions of the editors about the importance of faith.

I bring this up because of ongoing commentary out there in the blogoshere about a column by John Powers in the LA Weekly. He simply commented on why right-wing journalism seems so much more invigorating these days than left-wing journalism.

Take, for example, The Nation in comparison with the Weekly Standard. Why are the writers on the right having so much fun, while those on the left seem so, well, dogmatic?

This debate eventually wandered over to the Press Box column at Slate.com, in a Jack Shafer column titled “Right-Wing Envy: Do you have it?”

Here is his money paragraph:

Obviously, the right’s superior financial backing accounts for much of the envy: The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch, prints on glossy paper and runs fancy illustrations. The Nation, owned by a liberal gaggle including Paul Newman, ships on budget. But it’s not just money that makes right writing so much fun. While the right seeks converts, trying both to persuade and entertain, the left spends its journalistic energy policing the movement. Imagine The Nation running a weekly column about nothing, called “Casual,” as the Standard does. Also, conservative journalists are more likely to allow readers to enjoy a magazine article without strong-arming them into signing the ideology oath that seems to come packed with most lefty journalism.

You gotta watch out for those fun-loving, nondogmatic fundamentalists out there.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.gregpiper.com Greg Piper

    That Jack Shafer column is one of my all-time favorites, but you err in calling both it and the Powers column “recent.” They were both published more than a year ago. Another good and more recent column about the tone of publications and non-ideological differences is this New York mag piece about the taboo of vituperation for mainstream media, and why it is getting them left behind.


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