Friedersdorf is right about the problematic consequences of this system. And there’s a good case to be made that campaign reporting would be more interesting, more informative, and more useful if it were undertaken by reporters who hold a well-defined (and known-to-readers) set of political values—especially when those values are in tension with the bipartisan consensus. In fact, The Atlantic has been trying just this approach, to good effect, with Will Wilkinson’s dispatches from Iowa. I’d love to see Radley Balko do the same for Huffington Post.

But the traditional approach will probably be with us for a while. And as long as it does, there’s a puzzle for critics: Can you imagine a way for the press to identify the “right” dissents to pay attention to that doesn’t boil down to, “report from a perspective that privileges my personal political values”?

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Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.