Rutten's take on talk radio

Tim Rutten's Saturday column in the LAT, nominally about the declining audience for Republican radio, posits that "While the political talk-show hosts and right-wing bloggers claim to have a quarrel with mainstream media's alleged bias, their real gripe is that the news media's traditional values stand between them and what they'd like to accomplish, which is the total politicization of all reporting and analysis." He goes on:

Combine this with the messianic confidence that new media — mainly talk radio and the Internet — inevitably will undermine and destroy the economic health of mainstream media — especially newspapers — and you've pretty much got what Yeats had in mind when he wrote:

If Folly link with Elegance
No man knows which is which

Political talk-show hosts see everything through the prism of their partisan politics and insist, as an article of faith, that everyone else is always doing the same. In this sense, their approach to current affairs is less a conservative one and more a creature of that most powerful of American vices: narcissism.

Interesting side play going on with the column: Hugh Hewitt only agreed to be interviewed if he could tape their back and forth and air it on his national radio show after the column ran. Patterico anticipates great sport with that. Meanwhile, Hewitt is profiled about his take on blogging and politics by Nicholas Lemann in this week's New Yorker. "Right Hook: Going after the liberal media" is not online, though as Hewitt notes, articles with less intrinsic appeal to the online audience are up.

Also in The New Yorker: Tad Friend's Letter from California about Tyler Cassity of Hollywood Forever Cemetery fame is not online either, but the magazine website has a Q-and-A with Friend about it. Excerpt: "Cassity doesn’t talk as much about his idea for displaying DNA samples of the dead in an illuminated globe—a concept that had only three takers. And the globes leaked.) His newest project is green burial; if it takes off, it could change our expectation of what will happen to us when we’re dead—and how we relate to nature."

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