August 21, 2013

MEGAN MCARDLE: How Democrats May Lose Their Media Edge.

Yesterday saw a spate of stories arguing that Republicans are — quietly, off the record — a bit worried about their ability to hold the House of Representatives come 2014. Not panicking, by any means; the electoral map still looks challenging for Democrats. But a mite anxious. After all, they underperformed in 1998 and 2006; what if the same thing happens this time around?

I don’t have a useful answer to this worry, I’m afraid. Still, it does give me an excuse to discuss something I’ve been noodling around for a bit: With the news media landscape rapidly fracturing, should the Democrats be worried about losing their own electoral edge? Those of us in Washington live in an era of Democratic triumphalism. Most of the Democrats I talk to are convinced that their destiny is almost upon them. To be sure, they thought that before, in 2008, and that turned out to be incorrect. But ultimately, they expect changing U.S. demographics to deliver the sort of rock-solid control of the political process that they enjoyed between 1932 and 1968.

If the Republican Party isn’t worried about this, they should be. But should Democrats be worried too? . . .

See that last sentence there, about political parties re-entering the news business? I think Shafer is exactly right about where we’re heading. While outlets like my employer, and Jack’s, and maybe ESPN, may invest in commercial news, most of the political and international journalism that we’re used to seeing is going to be ideological, if not explicitly partisan. People will come to the news assuming that the people making it have an agenda — and they will seek out outlets that match their own agenda, if they see political news at all.

This matters for Democrats because, of course, the majority of people in the news media right now are Democrats, whose sympathies naturally lie with social liberalism, government programs and so forth. A more ideological media will be hiring more conservatives, and that will change what a large portion of the country gets as news.

Read the whole thing. According to research, without media bias, the politics of this country would look more like Texas or Kentucky. And everybody knows you can’t argue with research.

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