...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Finding the middle.

Last night I got into a political argument with one of my best friends. It doesn't matter what it was about--that's not the point. We started out with angry positions, and for a moment it sounded like it was getting personal. Somebody else in the dinner group said something like, You guys are having an argument--as opposed to a debate. I blurted, "What's wrong with having an argument?" Then we all had a conversation about the distinction between argument and debate. We're all old friends who trust each other, so it was easy to de-escalate. Good wine and food helps. The two of us found common ground--neither of us was so ideological that we couldn't agree on the imperfection of both sides in the situation we were discussing. I realized that the atmosphere in the country requires that you take one political side or another and see everything that happens through its filter. And our news sources either pander to this polarization or has been labeled by the sides as "not with us, therefore with them." The pressure on information producers is to attract attention with maximum sensation. Even I, a minor blogger, feel it. It's the adrenaline business. Which news organization has the "objectivity" reputation? Who's thought of as the fairest medium? How do we start dialing down the emotion and weighing the facts? I'm workin' on it. How about you?

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