Forget about a “centrist pundit”

I’m not surprised that the major media outlets have a hard time finding centrist pundits:

Some producers say they are weary of the bickering between the left and right, each parroting talking points emailed from party headquarters. Most news-talk shows have pundits representing only “the four poles — Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives,” says CNN’s Mr. Bohrman. He has an Internet reporter “scouring the blogs,” partly to look for non-partisans who can articulate the middle ground in an engaging way. He says he’d love to find the great American “centrist pundit.”

I’d advise them to forget about it.  It’s the very nature of centrism that there is no “great American centrist pundit”.  Centrists wouldn’t be centrists if they were content to march under somebody’s banner.  And the experience of the political blogosphere (in which no centrist blogger is among the top 20).

On the other hand,  if you’re looking for genuine centrist thinkers and writers, you need go no farther than my blogroll.  Joe Gandelman, Callimachus of Done With Mirrors just to name two.

The rewards of the center are few and the stresses are many.  I wonder if the rate of blogger burnout is higher among centrist bloggers.

10 comments… add one
  • I wonder if the rate of blogger burnout is higher among centrist bloggers.

    That observation nearly brought tears to my eyes, as does any rare sympathetic recognition of what one has been through. Being a centrist blogger certainly often seems thankless. I suppose it’s like being a craftsman. You put all this effort into articulating non-prefabricated, “handmade” thoughts, only to see 99.9% of thought consumers stampede to the doors of the mass-production outlets, as for a post-Thanksgiving sale at Wal-Mart.

    What a snob I sound like.

  • LaurenceB Link

    I always read the partisan blogs, but I usually only contribute to the more centrist ones. Nearly every day I check out Instapundit, Powerline, Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias for a (reasonable) partisan take, but I typically only join the discussion on centrist blogs like this one, themoderatevoice, outsidethebeltway, hispanicpundit, poliblogger, and other local and topical blogs. Extreme left or right blogs like Malkin and Atrios I generally avoid altogether except for occasional entertainment purposes.

    But, judging from the hits these blogs are getting, I guess I’m not typical.

  • LaurenceB Link

    After giving it some thought…

    Popular centrist blogs:
    How about Andrew Sullivan or Balloon Juice?

  • Is Andrew Sullivan a centrist? Or a right-winger who hates Bush because of his support for the DOMA? Hard to place (one of the ten telltale warning signs of the centrist).

    I stopped reading Sullivan during the period that his blog became all-homogamy all the time. Perhaps I should start reading him again.

    I consider John Cole to be one of the most honest, decent bloggers out there. Is he a centrist? His co-blogger certainly isn’t a centrist.

  • The networks can’t go to a centrist pundit unless they’re willing to do a three-way split screen.

    The dynamic is yapping dogs, one Left, one Right. A centrist can split-screen with either Right or Left but will spend at least part of the time agreeing with either Right or Left, and there goes the whole story-telling dynamic. If you split the screen between two Centrists reasonableness might break out and that’s the death of a news network broadcast.

    So, you’re right: ain’t likely.

  • The MSM, Hollyweird, and Academicide all howl at the moon over the fever swamps of the far left. Leftist bloggers like smokebiyotchswamp are crack-fueled and crack-brained.

    The right-wing bloggers used to be centrists, but the gap widens because the left is inventing new facts through judicial fiat—gay marriage in MA. Thus, if one simply stays in the center absolutely, he will be in the far right as the chasm opens due to new lefty “fresh thinking” such as “non-retributive justice” meted out by judges like Cashman in VT.

    The Dems used to be the party of Rum Romanism and Rebellion. Now it is Drugs, Atheism, and Delusion.

  • kreiz Link

    I was going to add M. Tak as a great centrist blogger, along with Schuler and Cal. There are few rewards for centrists. Basically, we become material only in the close races, which are increasingly rare. Once the parties have sought to enlist our help, they quickly discard us in favor of insiders. No surprise, I suppose. But there are a lot of disenfranchised centrists out here, and we are rarely heard in mainstream media outlets.

  • I think “centrist” is inherently nearly non-existent. It indicates to me a person who sees the world in bi-polar (Left/Right or Republican/Democrat or what have you) form, but more or less can’t figure out where he fits. I think a better word is “non-partisan”, where there are many good bloggers. I also think that there are a lot of good bloggers who would be fine partisans if there were a place for them in our bi-polar political system.

    I put into this category Glenn Reynolds and the guys from QandO, as well as some of the people at Winds of Change (including Callimachus, who I don’t consider centrist so much as a bad fit for the bi-polar spectrum), yourself, Mark Safranski and (more humbly) myself.

    In fact, as I think more about it, I think I would be deeply discomfited by a true centrist, for the same reason I’m discomfited when discussing religion with true agnostics.

  • Centrist pundit on current TV = Larry from the Three Stooges. “Hey, leave him alone.”

  • Tom Striker Link

    I think both sides should be taken apart and put back together again.
    On one side the rich and big corporations hijacked the GOP. on the other we’ve got the “We are it” Dems with their liberal judges that are ready to pounce when a law is not convenient to them.
    Let;s just dump them both and start from scratch.

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