Competition

Matt Yglesias picks up on how reporter Joe Klein of TIME has been banned from the McCain plane.

Michael Calderone observes that “other Time magazine staffers, including Washington bureau chief Jay Carney, reporter Michael Scherer, and Mark Halperin (The Page), have not had a problem with access.” You might think that if Time were a real news organization, it would stand up for Klein and say that if the McCain-Palin campaign isn’t going to let Klein on the plane, then they’re not going to send some other journalists to give them kinder coverage. Instead, though, Time operates in conventional MSM style. If you get good access, your stories get good placement. So if like Scherer and Halperin you decline to tell the truth about McCain, you get access to McCain and your career benefits. If you do tell the truth about McCain, you lose access to McCain and your career suffers. Which is a great way to run a magazine if you don’t care about informing your audience. Which, I guess, Time’s owners and editors don’t care about.

But as Matt, or really anyone knows, the professional media doesn’t simply care about informing their audience. They care about informing their audience while staying in business, and staying in business means playing nice. Ironically enough, conservatives tend to elide this aspect of free market competition when decrying the liberal media.

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