Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Steaming Piles of Journalistic Crap"

A few days ago, I ran across what I thought was a brilliantly insightful article by Bill Curry on We Can Stop the Neo-Cons: Here’s What a Truly Progressive Foreign Policy Would Look Like. I felt strongly enough about it that I put a link to it on my Facebook page so that my friends could read it as well ... knowing, as I did so, that it would enrage some of my more rightward-leaning acquaintances.

Sure enough, one of my friends commented, "That article is proof that even in the biggest steaming piles of journalistic crap, there can be found nuggets of useful truth. It's the digging through all of it that's painful."

"Steaming piles of journalistic crap" is a pretty harsh observation, but it's a pretty commonplace (and, truth be told, less virulent and insulting than usual) commentary on articles with which the reader does not agree. You can read the comments on that (or pretty much any) article and watch the quality of the discourse spiral downward rapidly*, losing any connectivity to the actual points and arguments originally made. The later observation that "It's the digging through all of it that's painful" sends a message that some points of view just aren't worth considering, except as the useless tailings from which the occasional nugget of perceived worthwhile thought might be mined.

One of our biggest problems nowadays is that there's a complete - often nearly fanatical - reluctance on the part of many to admit the validity of any point of view other than their own. Hard-core Republicans don't believe there's anything a Democrat can say that anyone with a brain would accept; hard-core Democrats see with absolute clarity that Republicans are utterly uninterested in anyone who is not part of the 1%, or whose name doesn't end in "Inc." Both sides are unwilling to accept that they are both interested in the same general goal - a better, freer and more prosperous America - but have radically different visions of what that means and how to get there. The result is bad faith, deliberate misrepresentation of opposing positions, and dysfunctional, gridlocked government.

So, Dear Readers, since there are lots of steaming piles of journalistic crap out there (including, some might say, this very blog), dig through them, anyway ... who knows - you may find something interesting you hadn't expected ... even from someone you didn't expect** ...

Have a good day. Dig deeper. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Almost certainly eventually reaching the Reductio ad Hitlerum "argument."

** If you don't recognize the picture, think Jeff Goldblum's observation about dinosaur leavings in "Jurassic Park."


eViL pOp TaRt said...

A very interesting article. Salon has some interesting content; but I suspect that conservatives are put off by the articles that explicitly make the assumption in their word choices that the right always acts in bad faith. In short, they provide the experience of being insulting to them. Fox News is a often-used whipping boy by Salon. Do watchers of that network be turned off by being targets of name-calling. In fact, MSNBC and Salon do take those kinds of positions.

Linda Kay said...

Hi, Bill...I enjoyed your post this morning, and thanks for clarifying the picture. It has become a real challenge for me to figure out what to listen to for any discourse on the federal government. There is so much bias in journalism. A person really does have to dig deep and spend some time analyzing the arguments from both sides.

Mike said...

I remember the last picture. I also remember him sticking is arm into it elbow deep.

Grand Crapaud said...

I think that it is a useful thing to base any kind of military intervention in terms of coalitions, even those in which some of the willing are involved in token ways. I see Western Europe vulnerable to threats of terrorism and Putin's notions of a Russian empire.

Anemone said...

Seeing an immense pile of crap, an optimist would grab a shovel and exclaim, "With all this crap, there must be a pony somewhere!"

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I'll be careful not to play the Hitler card.