Slightly OT: Politics and Chrisitan entertainment
Via reader CH, a study from the
Which is another way of saying that for most of these spittle-flecked bloviators carrying on loudly about the latest perceived outrage (and alas, I’m sure we can all think of a few sg personalities who fit this bill), the content of what they’re saying is probably less important than the fact that as long as they’re shouting, they don’t have to have a serious conservation with anyone, much less think seriously about their own ideas. So please, no caps lock.
Update: since it’s come up in comments, let me just say that cable news in general is pretty horrific when it comes to dumbing down and otherwise distorting life into sound-bite-sized conflicts oversimplified for the sake of entertainment and ratings (though this is just one of many problems; James Fallows’ classic essay on the topic - “Why Americans Hate The Media” - remains the definitive indicment of the overall out-of-touchness of television news and a blistering take-down of the infotainment mentality that has overtaken mainstream media). Certainly there is alot to loathe about CNN (e.g. Wolfe Blitzer: Worst. Debate moderator. Ever.) and MSNBC (e.g. Chris Matthews, the dirty old uncle of cable news commentary) and television news generally (”if it bleeds it leads!”), just as their is about Fox News. My point in the post above was not to suggest that Fox News is is alone in its propensity for intellectually dubious behavior (they aren’t), only that the network is particularly loathesome for its special brand of phony balance.
All may not be lost for conservative discourse though. For one thing, Fox’s ratings are declining (Later update: O’Reilly is no longer top dawg of the prime time cable pack), a promising sign (not just for progressive and liberals but, I’d also imagine, for serious conservatives who value honest engagement with the world). This decline seems likely connected to the concurrent decline of Republican political power under the Bush administration. If I were a conservative or a Republican wondering how to reestablish the party’s and the movement’s credibility post-Bush II, I’d certainly be hoping that the decline of Fox-driven Bushism will clear some space for smart and honest conservatives (like George Will and Andrew Sullivan, for instance) to help right the right, so to speak.Email this Post