Name-calling is Fun and Entertaining – and Drowning Debate: The Jon Stewart / Keith Olbermann Saga

Here is Keith Olbermann’s response to Jon Stewart over Olbermann’s namecalling towards Scott Brown. At the end, Keith Olbermann says “You’re right. I have been a little over the top lately. Point taken. Sorry.”

The ad hominem spam in political discussion is so abundant it’s become an issue unto itself. Unemployment and a shrinking economy have to take a backseat to political pundits personal views of others. To quote Stewart on this subject, “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.” (Jon Stewart on CNN’s Crossfire)

The irony is that at the end of the Crossfire video, Jon Stewart gets sucked into the namecalling by calling Tucker Carlson a “dick.” I’m not defending Olbermann; calling someone a “dick” is a far cry from calling someone “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”

The namecalling is so loud now its drowning out debate about the issues. Most political talk these days is focused on getting the best dig in and not the best point across. The king of the hill battle to arouse prejudices needs to die down. It would be an improvement for Olbermann to refer to Scott Brown as a “dick” next time.

Even when you are well aware of the damage caused by personal attacks, it’s easy to get drawn into the battle. It takes a great deal of self-discipline not to reach for the flamethrower when attacked or when there is a strong disagreement on an issue.

To teach themselves some self-discipline and so someone can benefit, the pundits should put up their own swear jar. Each time they drift away from the issue at hand and go with the personal attacks, they have to throw some money in the jar to be donated to charity.

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