I’m not so sure.
Public Debate, discussion of any kind really, doesn’t seem to exist anymore. That is disappointing when there is so much that needs to be talked about. Discussions should be taking place instead of the onslaught of sound bites.
He shouldn’t have had to call Tucker Carlson a tool as we should have all known that already. But the climate hasn’t changed any. We got our representatives jockeying for soundbites, with the facts being casualties. I’d like to see congress debate the health care reform in congress. I’d like to see Joe Wilson read a plan before he orally contradicts it. I hung in with some during the campaign but the blustering never stopped and eight months into the President’s term, nonsense like that continues. It makes me think Jimmy Carter and Maureen O’dowd both have the same point.
But neither side is especially interested in the other. I enclosed the old Crossfire clip to show that after covering the events of the day, the networks tread the same turf making each other look foolish but never really covering new ground. MSNBC likes to taut itself as the place for politics, Fox is allegedly Fair and Balanced and CNN? Well, Wolf is in the situation room. Mine has toilet paper.
People talk in soundbytes and I think that has infected the attention span of viewers a little bit too. The process has gotten convoluted. Even local announcers speak in polls like they mean something instead of policies. The primary process has been getting screwed up by the annointing of candidates and I think that messes up individual participation in the process. Reporters are asking about polls instead of asking what Mayor Brown knew and when he knew it. When it talks Comedy Central to report that the house republicans were contradicting a bill with their quotes, you know something is messed.
It reached its nadir with me when the hubbub about President Obama wanted to talk to school kids. National and local media actually turned this into a thing. I remember being sheparded to a room to watch President Nixon speak, and he actually had some ideas that could cause some concern. Great oratory can move mountains and lift whole houses off the ground, and on a literal level inspire great things. Nothing can be better for a wounded world than our leaders talking to us and to each other. If a senator hasn’t seen a bill, go find a copy, don’t bitch about it to Ann Curry.
My boss likes to say she hires grownups. To paraphrase that, I like to think I voted for some and I’d like you to act like it please. Quit sweating the red coats or other members of the microphone wielding hordes and do a job. Do it well enough and reelection will take care of itself, and hopefully the journalistic breathen will quite screaming and name calling to report on accomplishments.