The Echo Chamber Argument

One of the almost meaningless terms that you hear tossed around a lot these days, as if it’s some damning indictment, is “echo chamber.”

As in, that’s “Just what you’re hearing in the conservative echo chamber” or “You just think that because you’re hearing it in the liberal echo chamber.”

Here’s the problem: theoretically, that makes sense. But, in the real world, ALMOST EVERYBODY is in an echo chamber.

Like gravitates towards like. Conservatives move towards other conservatives on the radio and the net. Liberals flock to liberal websites. People like Mickey Kaus tend to draw conservatives and unhappy Democrats. People like Kathleen Parker tend to draw liberals and unhappy Republicans.

Now, you may say, “But what about the newspapers and Cable News Channels? They draw people from both sides of the spectrum.”

That is true…but — and this is a big but — what you will find is that they have a very pronounced ideological slant as well.

Why?

Because their “echo chamber” isn’t their audience. It’s their marketing people, it’s each other, it’s the folks they talk to at cocktail parties.

Fox is trying to capture the right-of-center market on Cable News. MSNBC is trying to capture the left-of-center market. The New York Times, LA Times, etc., etc., for 95% of the news business, cater to liberals.

Sure, Fox gets liberals who hate them and the New York Times gets conservatives who hate them, but they understand that’s going to happen and they simply don’t care what they think. So, they’re just as locked into their philosophy as Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore.

Along those same lines, show me someone who complains that conservatives “are in an echo chamber” and I will show you someone whose audience consists mostly of people with similar views and who has no more interest in considering opinions that differ from what they think than Pat Buchanan or Paul Krugman do.

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