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The following is from Anna Quindlen’s brilliant piece about the Ann Coulter fallout – as she says, it’s not about Ann Coulter….

“Sure, there’s still room for satire in dissecting the body politic. But when satire morphs into mockery, and mockery morphs into savagery and suddenly it’s all savagery, all the time—well, does any of that really advance the debate?

If, as many suspect, this is either a moment for the United States to prevail or to implode, a radio program, a column or a TV talk show really matters. It’s a valuable piece of public real estate that should be earned every day, by engaging rather than interrupting, by reasoning rather than rabble-rousing. Maybe even by doing the really unthinkable in the civic auditorium and trying to move the conversation in fruitful directions. In the constant search for the new and the counterintuitive, one answer might be to get ahead of the curve with solutions instead of bringing up the rear with opprobrium, to be the ringmaster rather than the guy with the broom and the pan following the elephants.

Someone once told me that the media are always fighting the last war. Personal attacks and cynical put-downs are so last-time-around. Maybe idealism is the new black. Were there commentators during World War II content to mock the way Hitler styled his mustache, or the idea of Franklin Roosevelt’s running (ha, ha—get it? Running?) for a fourth term? If so, they’ve been forgotten.

These times are, in some fashion, as significant and serious as those, and the way in which voters are attending to this election and the issues makes that clear. This election is not a joke; this moment deserves more than playground-bully punditry. The people who pontificate for pay need to rise to the level of their audience. That will certainly be a stretch for many of them.

…should be earned every day, by engaging rather than interrupting, by reasoning rather than rabble-rousing…
Aaah, if only…well, we idealists can still dream that this would happen.

What, if anything, do any of them really have to say?


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