Does overheated rhetoric invite and incite dangerous behavior? Is there a causal relationship between the killing of Dr. George Tiller and the rhetoric that originated from the partisan talk-television prior to his death?
Joan Walsh is troubled that she is best remembered for a 10 minute debate with Bill O’Reilly surrounding Tiller rather than three decades of writing and editorship. It says something profound about the state of basic cable news. The rationale for CNN, plus a whole host of basic cable news outlets, was to give us more of a global viewpoint. However, we have instead seen the growth of talk television, which is modeled on the growth of talk radio.
The mission of The Luncheon Society has been to remove the invective from either side of the debate to have far more robust conversation. There are a number of The Luncheon Society members who I cheer on when I catch them on television. However, when they are with us, they’re free to expand beyond confines of the “10 second answer,” and the conversations are richer for it. As I ponder this question, I think to last week’s Ken Burns elegant documentary on The National Parks System, hearing the voice of Peter Coyote and seeing Carl Pope, both who have joined us around the table on numerous occasions. We would be a better country if our national debate mirrored that approach. Continue reading