Jewish World Review Nov 9, 2011/ 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772
Blame It on Brokaw
By Jonah Goldberg
You know who I blame for the terrible tone in American politics?
No, not the man himself, but what he represents.
You can still find this sort of hubris on the masthead of the
Brokaw, an honorable and industrious man, is now playing the role of elder statesman while touting his new book, "The Time of Our Lives." In it, he writes: "Slashing rhetoric and outrageous characterizations have long been part of the American national political dialogue ... but modern means of communications are now so pervasive and penetrating they might as well be part of the air we breathe, and therefore they require tempered remarks from all sides. Otherwise, the air just becomes more and more toxic until it is suffocating."
There's much wisdom here. But blaming the new media environment for what ails us is an awfully convenient alibi. It suggests that the old media, of which Brokaw was a master of the universe, played no part in losing the trust of so many Americans.
For starters, when the mainstream media complains about the national "tone," it almost invariably means the tone to their right. After the tragic
At the same time, Democratic rhetoric has grown ever more extreme. Vice President
More recently, Biden has insisted that the
When tea partiers angrily shouted down their congressmen at some town halls around the country, then-Speaker of the House Pelosi and then-Majority Leader
Meanwhile, violence, extreme rhetoric and wanton lawlessness have been prevalent in the
All too often it seems like the supposedly evenhanded media cherry-picks positive examples from the left and negative ones from the right. And even when they do cover ideologically inconvenient news, the passion and hysteria are nearly always reserved for the threat from the right.
Brokaw and his heirs don't understand that such double standards breed precisely the rhetoric they find so toxic. Because the new media Brokaw laments allows conservatives to see how much important news the old media didn't deem fit to print, they learn not to trust or respect those who wag their fingers rightward about civility -- or anything else.
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