Thursday, June 30, 2005

"...tinny, defensive, anxious, and increasingly irrelevant..."

Richard Bradley extrapolates from Tucker Carlson's interviewing technique to its broader use in the right wing bully culture:
    I wonder if this macho, winner-take-all paradigm isn't finally wearing out its welcome.

    It's never been particularly healthy, of course. Listening to Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter is like eating at McDonald's; it can taste good in the act, but afterward, you think, Why did I just do that? Yuch.

    But more important, it seems ill-suited to a time of real seriousness in American history. It's more about scoring cheap debating points than about finding common ground or resolving difficult problems, and it's certainly not about actually listening to people who hold differing opinions.

    During the Clinton administration, that approach transformed a stupid sexual peccadillo into a constitutional crisis.

    Now there's a war on—a war started by conservatives—and their debating style just seems tinny, defensive, anxious, and increasingly irrelevant. When it comes to political dialogue, conservatives may have won a lot of battles, but the country is losing the war.
Let's hope Bradley is correct. Let's hope we're on our way to the return of reasoned discourse. And lest anyone accuse me of negativity, let me cite a few examples of people who do it right:

Keith Olbermann, who refuses to interview more than one person at a time. Anyone who has watched his show knows that this simple rule precludes the talking head shouting matches that dominate most of these shows.

Bill Moyers, when he was on NOW, for the same reason.

And an honorable mention to Bob Costas, substituting for Larry King on CNN Tuesday night, who asked intelligent questions, followed them up, and actually appeared to be listening to the answers.

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