Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Back on November 22nd, I wrote in this space about the lack of thoughtful, reasoned political debate in this country - a topic which has been addressed by many people smarter and more articulate than I (most notably linguist Deborah Tannen in her book The Argument Culture). Yesterday, writing in The Los Angeles Times, Martin Kaplan advanced the topic very well in an article titled "Does Iraq Need More Debate?"

In this wonderful article, Mr Kaplan asks why people keep insisting that we need a "national debate" about Iraq, and suggests that the reason is "...because the mainstream media are too timid to declare the difference between right and wrong. Imagine if journalism consisted of more than a collage of conflicting talking points. Imagine the difference it would make if more brand-name reporters broke from the bizarre straitjacket of 'balance,' which equates fairness with putting all disputants on equal epistemological footing, no matter how deceitful or moronic they may be ... There's a market for news that weighs counterclaims and assesses truth value. It just hasn't kept up with demand."

I'd love to quote the entire article, but you can read it yourself by clicking this link:,1,4254441.story?ctrack=1&cset=true. It's a marvelous piece of writing, and worth your time to read and think about.

Let me just quote from the end of the article: "Maybe we don't need a national debate. Maybe what we really need are leaders with more character, followers with more discrimination, deciders who hear as well as listen and media that know the difference between the public interest and what the public is interested in."

Gee, I wish I'd said that.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.


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