I had to do some administrative catch-up work Friday afternoon in my office, which allowed me to flip back and forth between MSNBC and Fox News as an ambient distraction. They were, let me say, quite awful to watch. Both stations, stuck by no fault of their own in the summer no-news slide, have become parodies of themselves, begging partisan audiences to pay attention by offering ridiculous cartoon characterizations of the awfulness of the other ideological team, either conservatives (for MSNBC) or liberals (for Fox).
For Fox the image of choice is the union thug; for MSNBC it is the swastika wielding culture warrior. For both, the word “violence” was thrown around like candy for the masses, who are apparently torn between wanting more blood and wanting more outrage over the blood. Meanwhile, the substance of any policy discussion–like President Obama’s quiet decision to deal away Medicare bargaining power for prescription drugs–is lost.
But then this is not about Fox News, or MSNBC. This is about all of us. And I think Mark Halperin gets it right in his list of the 10 reasons “EVERYTHING ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE MOBS IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE.” (Maybe number 11 is that Mob frenzy is pushing that annoying Internet-habit of using all-caps headlines.)
Here are the first three:
1. Coverage of the mobs is playing into the hands of the mobsters.
2. Coverage of the mobs is crowding out a needed national debate about health care.
3. The White House is understandably pushing back against and exploiting the mobs for its own political gain; while understandable, it is also shameful in its own way.
Read all ten of them here.