Deggans talks about extreme political discourse on NPR's Weekend Edition
As a longtime fan of host Scott Simon, I was particularly excited to talk with him for a segment airing this weekend about the debate over political discourse, planned for NPR's Weekend Edition.
Regular readers of the blog know where I stand here; I've compared the situation to stubbing your toe, getting an x-ray and discovering you have bone cancer. the stubbed toe didn't cause the disease, but it was a painful wakeup call to a problem that needs attention.
During our radio discussion, I noted that such talk earns big money and big election wins for pundits and politicians. In the same way the American public was eventually convinced that smoking causes cancer -- an accepted truth that was passionately criticized for a long while -- we'll have to spread word about the caustic effects of particularly violent political rhetoric.
I called out pundits like Bill O'Reilly for distorting the rhetoric argument to take on points many people aren't making. I resisted the idea that fleeting reference to violence -- like President Obama's quip about not bringing a knife to a gun fight -- was the equivalent of figures who consistently and repeatedly instigate their audience with violence-themed rhetoric.
I also noted how liberal pundit Keith Olbermann could more easily apologize for his own excesses, because many in his audience feel similarly. That would be more difficult for conservatives such as Glenn Beck and O'Reilly, whose audiences expect them to push back aggressively against such criticism.
Wonder how long before I make O'Reilly's hit list again?
Since I've been lax about posting my forays into the punditocracy, I'll link to my appearance last Friday on WEDU's Florida This Week, which you can see by clicking here (why no embeddable video, dudes?)