Monday, September 21, 2009

You Don't Have To Listen. Really.

I’ve suggested that we should not continue to support television programs that we know are intentionally lying to us and reduce “debate” to screaming matches and name calling.

I have been told that my strategy is a poor one – that in fact we need to fully support the extremists – even though we know they are purposefully lying.

The argument seems to be “there is so much bias out there, we must support the extremists in order to provide balance.”


I fully agree (as Linds points out) that everyone has a bias.

And I concede that in order to get a balanced picture, one should look at sources that lean right as well as sources that lean left. (see bonus thought below)

But we aren’t talking about supporting leaners, we are talking about supporting liars.

A leaner, while reporting on health care, might say:

“The health care bill will cost a measly $800 billion dollars.”

Or, leaning the other way, they might say:

“The health care bill will cost an overly extravagant $800 billion dollars.”

Then there is lying. The liar says:

“Not only won’t the health care bill cost a cent, but every American who signs on will get a free pony!”

Balance is not achieved by seeking out liars who lie in the opposite way as someone else lies.

That’s not balance; that’s psychosis.

Is there any other area where we would suggest such tactics?

Like in English class. Sure, some high school English teachers lean heavier on grammar while dismissing literature. And some may think that spelling is not an important skill and push a larger does of vocabulary.

But suppose your child had an English teacher so strict they strangle the language?

No e e cummings allowed (bad punctuation) – in fact, all poetry is out the window for being too indirect. Twain is tossed for using “ain’t.” Any student caught reading Shakespeare is immediately expelled due to his irregular use of contractions.

Who would argue that we must support that teacher by adding another instructor who intentionally teaches poor grammar?

My point is this:

No one is being served by screaming heads that are not capable of listening. That’s poison.

Please, fill your diet with meat and veggies, with lean and fat, with salad and dessert.

But don’t convince yourself that you must take poison for balance.

Our acceptance of Jerry-Springer-melee-chair-flinging style of political debate is damaging to us all.

In a world that accepts that as “balance,” Kanye West’s award show antics fit right in. The proper response would be fully supporting Kanye, and providing balance by hiring someone to interrupt Beyonce’s speech.

Thankfully Beyonce isn’t on board with that kind of balance; I think her solution was much healthier.

Just my thoughts,


Bonus thought: For those interested in swimming among the variety of leaners, Linds recommends as a wide source of news content.

No comments: