The Cult of Outrage

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Wise words from Ezra Klein:

It’s not that there is no argument too crazy to be obsessed over by liberals, but that there’s no crazy argument liberals won’t obsess over. They’ll totally ignore plenty of arguments that aren’t that crazy. And so too will conservatives. But the crazy stuff is fun to write about, or put on television. It makes for great Jon Stewart interviews. Blog readers love it. Ratings go higher. Liberals like to know the other side is nuts, and the other side likes to know that liberals are fascist Kenyan anti-colonialists who party with the reaper. But all the coverage serves to publicize the crazy book that’s being covered, jacking up its sales and increasing the likelihood that the author will write another.

The same goes for the right, by the way. Fox news spends plenty of time on the left’s marginal figures to similarly pointless effect. This is why you gotta love “The News Hour,” people, even if it occasionally puts you to sleep.