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Why Our Political Discourse Sucks August 18, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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If you want to have a fruitful argument or discussion it must rest on some shared premises. And most fruitful conversations will begin with some shared facts on which everyone can agree. When there are no shared premises or agreed upon facts, conversation devolves into a  meaningless brawl where the loudest or most powerful wins.

In a democracy, the media is the institution in a position to report facts on which to rest a debate.

So it is really disturbing when the media reports outright lies such as the multiple references to the “Mosque at Ground Zero”. It is not a mosque and it is not at Ground Zero. It is a community center roughly two blocks from Ground Zero. Here are pictures of the neighborhood—does it look like hallowed ground?

Most people get their news from headlines and sound bites. When the news media are not careful to make their headlines and sound bites conform to the facts, millions are misled.

This “debate” about the Muslim community center in New York is a farce created by (some) conservatives intent on manufacturing enemies to run against in the upcoming election. It is just another in a long list of recemt “debates” over “concepts” that do not exist in reality. There were no “death panels” in the health care plan, Obama is not a “socialist”,  estate taxes are not “death taxes”, there are no “terror babies” planted by Muslims bent on setting off bombs when they grow up.

But the press likes controversy so they dutifully report the imaginary as if it were real.

And we end up debating the imaginary while real issues (like getting aid to Pakistan or dealing with climate change) are pushed aside.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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1. TPP Weekly Rewind | The Public Philosopher - August 20, 2010

[…] Much like Sam in his post on Tuesday, Dwight Furrow over at Philosophy On The Mesa explained ‘Why Our Political Discourse Sucks’ […]


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