Perhaps there’s some silent call to inaction among the screaming meanies, those C-SPAN callers who exhort any action by the President as unconstitutional or evil and ascribe to him traits of a nazi and dictator. Or maybe they are cognizant of the retreat of the House GOPs, though that seems unlikely. But in the days approaching the Inauguration of President Obama, there has been a noticeable quieting of these raving voices.
I think C-SPAN is pre-screening the callers. And that’s a good thing.
It’s one thing to open the lines and promote First Amendment rights to viewers. It’s quite another for all C-SPAN viewers to be inundated by hateful, ignorant and frankly, treasonous voices screaming over the tube. I’m sick of it. I know that I am not alone in this. But apart from my personal disgust, there’s the idea of civic discourse. And C-SPAN’s responsibility as a public service broadcaster.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse is blunt about the damage done by the screaming meanies.
…the strident tenor of contemporary American discourse is threatening our cherished democracy. Acrimonious language by elected officials and their surrogates impairs the development of sound policy, making government less effective.
And the Institute names the media as a complicit partner in this destructive trend.
The media exacerbate the problem by focusing on the most extreme voices and sound bites, oversimplifying issues and neglecting the multiplicity of opinions and approaches needed to solve these complex policy problems.
As President Obama begins his second term, I am hoping that C-SPAN, Fox News and all other media outlets will work proactively to balance the shrill outcry of the screaming meanies. This is not squelching their right to voice their opinion. But it is a demonstrated commitment to calm and balanced reportage.