Rich Lowry, PCIM Distinguished Speaker

Rich Lowry shares insights from the right.

By Samantha Allen '10

Last November, Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, the biweekly magazine founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955, presented his perspective on the current state of journalism as a guest of the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM). Considered one of the top contemporary political writers and analysts, Lowry advocates a conservative point of view from his platforms as an author, syndicated columnist, television pundit, and independent blogger.

“I invite movers and shakers,” says PCIM founder and associate professor of journalism Jeff Cohen, who in his days as a media critic for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC often debated staunch conservatives, including Lowry.

While Lowry defended famous Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck during the Q&A dinner that preceded his talk in the Park Hall Auditorium, the real event of the evening was Lowry’s views on journalism and its future. He claims the public is seeking out alternative media sources as a result of the failing mainstream climate, which he says is overrun by journalists who “want to save the world.” This, he says, has made what they have to say disappointingly stale.

“These pretty boy, blow-dryed anchors CNN has. . . are stereotypical and represent perhaps the worst aspects and pretentions, to my mind, of the establishment media,” he says, singling out popular MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann as “vile and hateful.”

Lowry talked about how new and online media is stronger now than it ever has been. One reason, he says, is because, in the online world, all audiences are addressed and served. In addition, he says, the abundance of click-to-publish writers has created intense competition, which produces better content.

The lecture couldn’t have been more timely for Cohen, who weeks earlier helped bring to campus Arianna Huffington, the high-profile editor of the left-wing Huffington Post, through the Park Distinguished Visitor Series (see story on page 8). Huffington also spoke on the state of journalism, and Cohen says the similarities between the two were astounding.

“I was surprised they had the same things to say,” Cohen says. “They were both thrilled about the [move to] Internet, optimistic about the fallout of mainstream media practices, and confident in the public and about the future.”