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July 31, 2004

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Here and there, I've been hearing echoes of a feeling that I've found difficult to suppress while attempting to gather information. Perhaps it's a general mood among conservatives, especially, that is exacerbated in my case by the various life matters with rightful claims to more time than there is in a sleepless day. But I have no more patience for template-driven political chatter.

I think the final straw, for me, occurred when I had O'Reilly on in the background as I unpacked boxes late at night and the gravelly voiced Democrat spokeswoman Susan Estridge told one of those personal stories that make the abortion debate so difficult — one of those that would require slow and painful discussion in order to tease out political conclusions.

Understandably, O'Reilly wasn't in a position to walk down such paths with Ms. Estridge, but what bothered me about the segment was that the story was told — and the emotions were unearthed and displayed on national television — for the purpose of defending a Planned Parenthood t-shirt reading simply "I had an abortion." Something about the combination of the specific topic, the near-tears anecdote, and the accompanying "safe, legal, and rare" slogan made the whole discussion seem a pointless, scripted exercise.

There have been other examples — such as Rhode Island's Democrat attorney general spending five minutes of radio airtime dodging an obvious line of questions as if he were lying, not because he was lying, but because he was trying to emphasize his disagreement with the governor on a matter about which he substantively agreed — but they're all just too tiring to recount. I can't escape the feeling that the health of our nation depends largely on our finding new sources for information and new venues for publicly accessible debate.

If Pundit D and Pundit R are going to do little but read from lists of talking points, citizens are just going to tune them out... and take it as an excuse not to challenge their own preconceptions.

Posted by Justin Katz at July 31, 2004 1:01 AM
Politics
Comments

"If Pundit D and Pundit R are going to do little but read from lists of talking points, citizens are just going to tune them out... "

Justin,

You sure got it right with this posting. As soon as one hears something new, within two minutes every pundit R or pundit D is saying the same thing.

Posted by: Bill Ware at July 31, 2004 10:21 AM