Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Enough with Glenn Beck

Guest post by T.W. Wilson

Ed. note: The pseudonymous Mr. Wilson, I assure you, knows a lot about politics, having been on the inside himself, but is new to political blogging, and I encourage you to check out his blog, Lippmann's Ghost, mostly but not exclusively on U.S. politics. This is the first of what I hope will be many guest posts for us. It just makes sense to start with a rather direct piece on the greatest American ever, Glenn Beck. -- MJWS


Glenn Beck is an idiot. Anyone who doesn't think Glenn Beck is an idiot is an idiot. Despite this, we continue to respond to the boob as if he deserves respect in the great national conversation that is politics in America.

When we learned that a federal government official was quick to demand Shirley Sherrod's resignation before all the facts were known because he feared hearing the story shouted by Beck on his nightly rant, I could only shake my head.

When we begin to modify our words and deeds because we are afraid of how a liar and a fool might represent them in the public space, something is seriously wrong.

Certainly we need to counter lies when they are told, correct putative facts when they are wrong, and challenge ideologies when they are destructive. Let us never shy away from this responsibility. But let us not waste our time in this effort unless the things we challenge are having a significant impact on public policy debate and the decision making processes of our leaders.

Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schulz, and Chris Matthews, and many more, do yoeman's service in presenting an articulate and well-argued progressive perspective. I am becoming weary, however, of their obsession with Beck and his ilk.

See the first sentence above: Anyone who doesn't think Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Hannity are idiots is an idiot. And further, anyone who believes their nonsense probably travelled in that goofy orbit long before Fox News was a glimmer in Rupert Murdoch's eye. In other words, they are not changing anything and, typically, responding to them doesn't change anything.

I'm not saying, to be clear, that some of their crap doesn't make its way into significant political discourse. I only ask that we be discerning about what is and what is not worthy of our notice.

When we respond to every particle of foolishness, we end up giving them twice the airing they would otherwise get and cut in half the time the rest of us have to discuss, debate and truly understand key issues the way adults need to understand them.

When one sibling is annoying another in the back seat of a car, a parent will sometimes say, "just ignore him, or he'll keep doing it." Okay, maybe Beck won't stop doing what he does if we ignore him, but we'll be forced to think about it a whole lot less, which can't be bad.

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