Sign of the Times

The New York Times published a feature in the Sunday Styles section on “pundit school,” where individuals interested in manipulating and obscuring public debate can hone their skills in delivering pithy one-liners, distorting their opponents’ positions, and reducing complex discussions into empty sound bites.

The piece profiles J. P. Freire, a 26-year old managing editor at The American Spectator, who apparently needs to brush up on his ability to get air time on Hannity & Colmes. Because nothing says “anti-elitist” like spoon-feeding viewers premade opinions in pseudo-debate that they can mindlessly spout at rallies.

It’s sad that political discourse has sunk to a level so low that both sides feel the need to train their talking heads to manage opinion.

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~ by Benji on 26 October 2008.

One Response to “Sign of the Times”

  1. I couldn't get into this during the interview, but I will say this: Cable news debates are murky territory for someone who wants to get something thoughtful out. However, if you want it to remain a screaming match, the best way to do it is to avoid the training. Why? You have at most 5 minutes to talk. You have a host that might have a bias. You have another guest on that wants to recite talking points and will talk over you. If you just go on figuring that you'll do what you do, you won't have the chance to even get out those thoughtful points. Think David and Goliath, except David doesn't have his sling.The point of the Hannity & Colmes analogy is simply that it's important to speak in a concise manner. Shocking as it may be, people *watch* this show, and prefer that you don't stutter.

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