Our Talking Point Culture
Every year, when I think it can’t get worse, it does. I’m referring to the political discourse by pundits that carries on incessantly like cicadas. Every day, I’m bombarded by various arguments and opinions about the candidates made by the political pundits and spin doctors. These creatures have always existed, but there seems to be more and more of them these days — they’re reproducing like a plague of locusts. Even the news media are spinning themselves, with CNN constantly insisting that it has the “best political coverage” and with Fox crying out that it’s “fair and balanced.” After all, if you say it enough, it must be true.
Dan Filler at the Faculty Lounge refers to this terrific clip from The Daily Show illustrating how the pundits blatantly contradict themselves:
And then there’s the recent episode of Peggy Noonan caught on an open microphone expressing sentiments that contradicted what she was publicly saying.
It seems as though all these pundits and spin doctors are just playing a game, saying things not because they’re true, not because they believe them, not even because they’re plausible — they just make arguments because they support their side. But this is all just noise. Why must we be constantly be bombarded with this inane and phony banter? It would be refreshing, for once, to hear people express their actual opinions, to hear them make arguments that they really believed in rather than what they felt was the party line. It would be refreshing to no longer keep hearing the talking points, and to have a real discourse, not a phony one with scripted arguments that change on a dime if expedient.
So here’s my plea for the media — stop giving these pundits all the airtime. Yank them off the air. Don’t print their drivel in the papers. Let’s just assume that the pundits for each side are just going to spout off whatever they find expedient. Do we really need to hear more of it? Let’s just say that they cancel each other out, and then start with a fresh slate. So please give the airtime and op-ed space to people who are willing to express opinions with integrity, who actually care about developing principled positions rather than merely churning out debate club stock arguments. This is my plea. I’ve reached my saturation point. I can’t take any more. This is a form of torture that must be worse than water boarding.