Recently, Decius wrote:
It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.
We need good, publicly funded, refereed voter guides that provide balanced information about the issues, and we need to promote a culture that advocates that people evaluate the information in these guides objectively and without regard to partisan bias.
Previously, he wrote:
News media election guides often present editorial endorsements alongside or interspersed with raw election information. Editorial endorsements are an important exercise of our First Amendment rights. However, when voters are getting all of their information from an opinionated source it is harder for them to view the information objectively and make their own choices.
And long before that, he wrote:
Everyone participates in the process of producing the truth every day. Your recommendations matter. You will need to be able to think critically about the range of ideas that you are exposed to and decide which ones make sense.
It is that last part that will really move us forward.
In the October issue of Atlantic Monthly, Mark Bowden writes:
With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the "reporting" that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition.
I would describe their approach as post-journalistic. It sees democracy, by definition, as perpetual political battle. The blogger's role is to help his side.
Without journalism, the public good is viewed only through a partisan lens, and politics becomes blood sport.
Journalism, done right, is enormously powerful precisely because it does not seek power. It seeks truth. Those who forsake it to shill for a product or a candidate or a party or an ideology diminish their own power. They are missing the most joyful part of the job.
Facts never speak for themselves. We speak for them.
On Jon Stewart against Tucker Carlson:
Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were "hurting America."
STEWART: Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.
STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.
BEGALA: OK. Now
STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people...
CARLSON: How do you pay?
STEWART: The people -- not well.
BEGALA: Better than CNN, I'm sure.
STEWART: But you can sleep at night.
STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.
P. J. O'Rourke:
I wonder, when was the last time a talk show changed a mind?
Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, seems to have gone out of fashion with everyone.
Those who yearn for government without politics always invoke abstract truths and moral visions (the good life, the fair society, the just commonwealth) with which no one is likely to disagree because they have no content. But sooner rather than later someone gives these abstractions content, and when that happens, definitional disputes break out immediately, and after definitional disputes come real disputes, the taking of sides, the applying of labels (both the self-identifying kind and the accusing kind) and, pretty soon, the demonization of the other. In short, politics, which is what independent voters hate.
You want a return to civilized dialogue and respectful disagreement, but you'll have to forgive my cynical laughter.
How close is cynicism to the truth?
They're almost on the same side of the line. Cynicism will lead you to the truth. Or vice versa.
I'm not saying we should stop, but I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why.
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