Dreaming of a libertarian daily newspaper

Peggy Noonan has an Opinion Journal column today about near universal support for our troops, regardless of varying opinions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That story is interesting, but I believe the angle she uses to approach her point is worth noting. Consider:

We all criticize the mainstream media, regularly and with reason. More and more and day by day the MSM is showing us that its response to the popularity of conservative media and the rise of alternative news sources is to become less carefully liberal. What in the past had to be hidden is now announced.

This is not necessarily bad: it makes things better by making them clearer. I didn’t enjoy their ideological smuggling. Now they’re more like free-market people: Here are my liberal wares, if you want to buy them buy them, if not the Fox News stall is down the street, buy their faulty product and curses on you!

Fine with me, except that as a consumer of news I think they’re making a mistake. In a time of endless opinion, fact is king. Fact is rarer, harder to come by, more valuable. If only the MSM understood what money and power there are to be had from being famously nonideological, from being a famously reliable pursuer and presenter of fact. Wouldn’t it be great if that were the next new thing?

I don’t often agree with her columns, but she gets it right on that point. As I’ve said many times before, the mainstream media is a marketplace. Rather than complaining about universal bias, which is a blunt tool at best, news customers should find a source that makes them happy. As I’ve said and as she states here, if The Washington Post is too liberal, read The Washington Times. The business side of it will work itself out, whether it’s through a shift in strategy by the publisher, bankruptcy, or sufficient population acceptance of the status quo. It’s just an extension of the marketplace of ideas, which keeps American political thought vibrant. And it works better than mere complaining.