Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's all over but the quieting

Debate. Unbridled, enthusiastic, energetic debate. There's nothing wrong with it. It's healthy. What we see and hear today is very unhealthy.
What we're seeing on cable TV "news" is not debate. It's all about name-calling and shouting. To attract viewers. To make money.
Most of what we hear is not even true.
But there's a reason we're not hearing debate. Because what we hear on TV is not. It's propaganda.
Joseph Geobbels -- that's right, the Nazi propagandist -- said it best:
"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly: It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
A Prattville, Alabama, woman wrote an important letter to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, which I quote:
"Hollering 'Socialist', 'Nazi', 'Marxist' and wishing people dead is not political debate. It's ridiculous invective and name-calling that wouldn't have been tolerated on a playground in the America I knew as a child.
"Maybe the debates between John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley from the 1970s should be made available on TV again. These men disagreed on policy just as vehemently as people do now, but they were able to debate their positions eloquently and civilly, using facts, statistics, and educated opinions. The level of public discourse in this country today is stunningly low and it doesn't bode well for the future."
Hear hear!

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