“Conservative Host: Trayvon Deserved To Die And So Does ‘F*ggot’ Dan Savage (VIDEO).”
“Watch Bill O’Reilly Shamed Into Apologizing For His Racist Remarks! (VIDEO).”
“See The 10 Reasons Why Fox News Is Total Garbage!”
“Republican Who Said ‘Shoot That N*gg*r’ About Obama Claims Statement Wasn’t Racist.”
Are these titles shocking? Of course they are. Did the title pique your interest and get you to click on the link that promised some earth-shattering revelation that would single-handedly destroy every talking point of the Tea Party? Or show you a truly shocking video that, if shared with your Tea Party family member, would finally convince them of the error of their ways? It very likely did, and that’s the point.
You may ask “where are you going with this?” and “haven’t we had that discussion before?” Yes, we’ve had this discussion before and where am I going with this? Whether it is sports or politics, the real action and the real issues have been replaced by layer after layer of nonsense. It’s as if Inside Edition or The National Enquirer took over the reporting when it comes to the things that matter. We don’t hear about bills that have been introduced, unless they’re incredibly outrageous. Even when we do find out that the legislation will do something like slash benefits for veterans, chances are it becomes the usual cry of, “See? Look how horrible the other side is!” before we’re treated to another round of commercials featuring LifeAlert or reverse home mortgages with Tommy Thompson.
Unless you’ve been living under a political rock for the last few years, I’m sure you’ve heard about the problem of money in politics. Well, I’m here to tell you that money is a problem in politics and it isn’t just with the politicians. It’s with the reporting and the vast amount of money that can be made off the “us vs them” divide that resembles a college football rivalry on steroids, with guns, instead a form of discussion about the future of our country. At some point, someone decided that marketing politics — like sports — could result in entirely new television channels and websites, and new ways of making a dollar. Now we have an infestation of people who have literally quit their day jobs to make money off the phenomenon I like to refer to as “political entertainment.” These are organizations and individuals who lend nothing to the political discussion except inane vitriol disguised as “news.”
There is a market for information that people get addicted to which reconfirms the partisan bias that has been seeded over the past few decades. I believe it really came about with the advent of AM talk radio, and individuals who realized that all they had to do was deliver their opinion (whether liberal or conservative) with the over the top approach used by the likes of Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh, and they could make a career of doing so.
This is good for their bank accounts but it isn’t good for our country. We cannot simply engage in a political dialogue that resembles WWI trench warfare in which we lob recycled confirmation bias articles back and forth across the lines. It is good to call out the idiots on the other side, but we need to start doing the same on our own. We have to get beyond the whole “all Republicans are evil monsters” and start realizing that while we squabble, both parties are doing things that are not necessarily in our best interests.
If we cannot excoriate the people and organizations within our own ranks who are playing both sides against each other for financial and political gain, then we have no right to criticize those who fail to do the same on the other side of the ideological aisle.
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