It's Not An Accident
Various commentators have recently been making the argument that conservatism suffers from "epistemic closure." David Frum makes it today in terms of how they are unwilling to toss Breitbart over the side:
On the phone on the evening of July 20, a friend asked me: "Can Breitbart possibly survive?" I could only laugh incredulously. I answered: "Of course he'll survive, and undamaged. The incident won't matter at all."
There will be no apology or statement of regret for distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone. There will be not even a flutter of interest among conservatives in discussing Breitbart’s role. By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart’s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself.
When people talk of the "closing of the conservative mind" this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people — everybody can be narrow minded — but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact.
He's addressing the "conservative intelligentsia" there, but I think this phenomenon is clearly less a matter of narrow-mindedness and ignoring of unwelcome fact than a conscious decision to lie for political ends. The rank and file are misinformed because they are being purposefully led astray by the same conservative intelligentsia which owns and operates the right wing media.
This isn't a result of "epistemic closure." It's a result of professional propagandists successfully applying their trade. Let's not pretend it's an accident.