People are pissed off. Our political conversation, long dogged by vitriolic and incivility is headed to a point of incommunicability.
Individuals on the right are now experiencing an added degree of disenfranchisement while the Capitol is dominated by Democrats. Do these folks who feel so silenced and who shout so well about being underrepresented in the media see that this is how people of the left felt during the Bush years?
Both the right and the left bemoan the inadequacy of the “main stream media”. There is no end to the griping about how our television news agencies have failed us, how they have chosen the easy money of headlines and sound-bites over straight-forward, fact-based reporting. One might go so far as to argue that the majority of television news agencies – especially cable – do not report news at all.
Editorials abound. Is there a piece of cable news delivered without an interpretation?
The question becomes then: Who is so dependent on this spin and editorializing? Who is addicted, infatuated; desperate for interpretation by the talking heads on television?
Is it them or us? Is it the anchors, the Hannity’s, the Beck’s?
What is it they provide their audience?
Clearly the men and women of television cable news are not providing unbiased facts. When we tune in to these shows, we learn where to direct our anger, it seems. We are not presented with a clear-eyed view of what is happening through which we might choose for ourselves to be upset, to be encouraged, or to be apathetic.
The audience has come to expect opinion from these television personalities, an expectation that feeds into the continuation of this editorial news “reporting”.
We can’t stand back and declaim against the cable shows as if they created and sustained their style in a vacuum. People watch these shows and cheer their actors like heroes. Audiences around the country enjoy the feeling of being informed of a political situation and told how they should feel about it. It’s easy. And, truthfully, it’s not all bad.
The trend in discussion here becomes negative when it takes over and stands in for unbiased reporting. The anger and the resentment that these shows fuel have become the norm in a country with no shortage of frustration and no amount of brainpower to spare.
The producers of these news shows are obliged to ask themselves what is best for the American populace. Can we afford to skimp on the information while gorging on attitude? Can we stoke the flames of disillusionment and anger forever?
As audience members we are obliged to ask ourselves questions also. Do we really see our own feelings mirrored in these talking heads? Would we not rather be civilized and talk about the issues that face us, even the demanding and frustrating ones, but talk, not yell.
The anger of our political discourse is not new to the world. The “Wilson Incident” during President Obama’s speech recently is reminiscent of what we see in the senate sessions of certain Asian countries. They run things differently. Do we want to run things like that? Do we want riots on the Capitol? Senators and representatives using canes, not for walking, but carrying them in self-defense?
Let’s put some polity back in our politics. And let’s choose to tone down our personal political discussions. And let’s insist that our news agencies do the same.