One of the reasons my Sweetie likes The Daily Show is because of the time the staff takes to show political pundits contradicting themselves. They manage to find material/quotes/video of pundits who say one thing on one day and something else on another day.
Now, this is not a big surprise to me. I came to a revelation years ago listening to Rush Limbaugh. Rush got his talk show start at a Sacramento radio station and there used to be huge billboards around Sactown promoting him. I have been a listener of KFBK News Radio for years, partly because they had the best traffic updates in the morning. So, I’ve listened to a lot of their shows. Tom Sullivan (who was, I think, best man at Rush’s wedding) is the afternoon host these days. I know people who used to be devout listeners of his show when he made the Big Time and who became (for a while) huge dittoheads of Limbaugh. They would use Rush’s latest rants to argue political issues with me. So, from time to time I would listen to Rush so that I could hear for myself what he was saying. And I made two observations: 1) Rush gets so worked up with his rants that I am convinced he is going to give himself a heart attack on the air someday, and 2) Rush is, first and foremost, an entertainer. He, like many TV and radio talk show folks, is not working for a non-profit. So, at the end of the day, what is the bottom line? It is NOT – hey let’s look at the opinion polls and see if we swayed anyone on this issues. The bottom line at the end of the day is: What were my ratings today? It’s all about being fiery enough and holding people’s attention enough to keep them listening. That fattens the ratings and the paycheck. I’m convinced that if you talked to most partisan commentators and told them “Starting tomorrow, you have to switch views to keep your job” (with no repercussions – like – the audience wouldn’t even remember what you said today, ala 1984) – I think a large number of them would. Do you listen to these people rant? Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Ann Coulter, anyone who ever uttered one word on Air America (yuck). Pretty useless, all of them, as far as productive commentary. Give me NPR any day of the week.
So, given that partisan pundits just want exposure and ratings, it doesn’t surprise me that they can spin any story to support their rants. Even if it contradicts yesterday’s rants. What surprises me is that more of their listeners don’t call them on it.
Now, the hypocrisy that I am speaking of today was pointed out on the Daily Show a while ago. I sent the clip to my Sweetie (who had already seen it), but I did nt distribute it anywhere else. I figure – there is so much political hubris floating around, people would get sick of me adding to it.
But today, again, I read someone’s blog who is complaining about anyone making a fuss over Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy. And who complains about anyone passing judgement on Palin because of it. Now, that statement I agree with – AS LONG AS WE DON’T KNOW THE FULL STORY. Sure, there are probably times when parents make crappy decisions for their kids (hi – I hired a hooker for my 16-year old son). But, isn’t it a wee bit hypocritical when these complaints come from people who talk all the time about their conservative Christian values and who make judgements about people who take a stand on more liberal issues (as this blogger did just a few days before – he made a judgement call against people who stand up for an issue without knowing anything about them).
Well, I call shenanigans hypocrisy on you!
And everyone else who does the same thing for the sake of partisan politics. Just cut it out, will you?
Because I see this issue is still coming up, I am finally going to share this clip for anyone who has not seen it. The Karl Rove part about experience and the O’Reilly part about teen pregnancy are brilliant and hilarious. The last part is ok, but I would mainly recommend the first three minutes.
I think the takeaway lesson here is – don’t use these people to help you make your own arguments. And – watch out for hypocrisy in your own rants. I know we can’t always avoid it. I admited when I was so passionate about an issue here on this blog that my logic and reason could be compromised. But I can also admit when someone with a different political conclusion has some good/great/valid points in his/her arguments. Does that invalidate my opinions? No. It informs them. Is that so bad?
For the record, O’Reilly responded to the clip on his own show. He is correct that The Daily Show edited his comments to fit their mocking point. But when I hear so many people out in the world doing the same thing (condemming one group of people and supporting another ON THE SAME ISSUE- based on politics), it irritates me. You can see his response here:
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