David Brooks and Hugh Hewitt talk about Twitter


My recent column, “Why I hate Twitter,” has sparked a lot of conversation.

Last night, Hugh Hewitt asked David Brooks about it on Hewitt’s radio show. The conversation ended up being more about why conservatives attack Brooks — but the New York Times columnist’s theory on that probably has some merit, as well.

Here’s an excerpt:

HH: David Brooks, today Matt Lewis put out a column, a very perceptive writer, about how Twitter had become a dark place. And he’s talking about sort of the casual endless abuse that occurs, and just the level of acrimony that invades the space. And I knew you were on the agenda to talk today, so I started to think about you. It’s interesting, as a conservative who works at the most visible liberal media institution in the United States, you would think that no matter what you thought, conservatives would support you. But I was thinking about you in the context of Twitter. I doubt there are many conservatives who take as much abuse as you do from conservatives, as opposed to support. Is that in fact true?


DB: Well, I don’t know if I want to compare myself to others. I take a fair bit of abuse, I think, for two reasons. One is you know, on some issue, I’m more moderate than a lot of other conservatives. I think I have a pedigree. I worked for the National Review…


HH: The Weekly Standard.


DB: Wall Street Journal editorial page, Washington Times, Weekly Standard. But I’m more of a Hamiltonian conservative instead of a Jeffersonian, so I love capitalism, but I think government can do a little more than some others to help people get into the capitalist race. So I understand that. The second thing is you know, my audience is pretty liberal, and I’m trying to persuade. And sometimes, I get frustrated with people who are living within the conservative world and who are pure, and I understand that. It’s kind of easy to be pure within the conservative world. But if you’re out there with an audience that’s 98% liberal trying to persuade, well, you try and do it in a way that’ll be persuasive and sensitive to your audience. And so when people accuse me of sort of selling out or wimping out, I get a little frustrated with that, because I’m actually out there in the wider world taking it, believe me, taking a lot of abuse from the left, because to a lot of my readers, I’m as far right as anybody they’ve ever heard.

They go on to talk more about Twitter, and while I found that interesting, the part I bolded was even more thought provoking.

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