Heads and Propaganda
have the bad habit (according
to my wife) of clicking on different television stations during
Almost every night we get bits and pieces of
two talk shows that are completely antagonistic to each other. Bill
O'Reilly (the O'Reilly Factor on Fox), and Keith Olbermann
(Countdown on MSNBC). Mr. O'Reilly champions conservatism, and Olbermann
liberalism. Even though they have a lot in common, using many of
the same misleading rhetorical techniques to influence their audiences,
and carve out a fine income from it, they hate each other. A while
back, I liked them both. Now, I've lost all respect for them. To
call them entertainers is giving entertainers a bad name.
There are a lot of ideological fanatics on radio
and television, of course. Rachel Maddow is the most recent,
but Sean Hannity, Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck, Mike Savage and
the grand-daddy of them all, Rush Limbaugh, share high marks
in this regard. I'm sure there are many others trying to make a
name att his as well.
The power these people have comes from aiming
their comments at an audience of a particular political ideology
and manipulating their fears, outrage and personal biases. They
want to dictate to us what is right and what is wrong. Having an
open mind, partaking on a quest for truth, refusing to be led like
sheep into a mob mentality, is the last thing they want from us.
If everyone were a free-thinker, they'd be out of a job.
We've recently seen what a powerful effect Rush
Limbaugh has on the Republican Party. Democrats have declared him
the de facto leader of their opposition, and the Republicans shy
away from denying it. This is the kind of influence that these talking
heads can generate.
How should we consider such "talking
I look to the 9th Trust for the answer.
will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake not delight in
But we need
no such reference to know that it is wrong for anyone to make
a living based on gossip, innuendo and the willingness to say anything
to hurt those of differing opinions. We know in our hearts that
this is wrong. These fanatics awaken each morning thinking about
how they can harm "the opposition." They are certainly
not chivalrous as I see it. Not manly either. They remind me of
professional wrestlers who prefer staged talk to staged wrestling.
I seriously doubt that they believe half of what
they say, which puts them in conflict with other Trusts as well,
such as speaking the truth, committing one's life to the greater
good, putting concern for others above personal wealth, cherishing
humility, defending the defenseless, upholding justice, and living
one's life with courtesy and honor.
They do find ways, however, to beguile the innocent
with their self-righteousness, quick banter, and confident style.
The ones we agree with seem to be "one of us." The ones
we disagree with, are the bad guy opposition. Angels on one hand,
demons on the otherall depending on who is listening. The
feelings they generate are addictive, fueling our anger, influencing
our opinion, and contributing to the confusion of life that leads
to poor political choices.
In a sense, they are enemies of democracy, which
can only function well when voters are well-informed about truth.
These are only my opinions, of course. People
need to decide for themselves. I hope we all take time to think