I was actually kinda with Ted Van Dyk on this one… up until the final few paragraphs:
Beck’s goofy brand of conservatism is harmful to serious public dialogue, but no more so than the various ideological rantings associated with the master of the schtick, Rush Limbaugh, or of their counterparts on the left-hand side.
Typical, wishy-washy, centrist, equivalency bullshit. I mean what counterparts on the left? How many lefty TV/radio personalities have the same sort of audience reach as Beck, let alone Limbaugh, and are there any of consequence who are even remotely as vile? Honestly, even here in liberal Seattle, we now have four conservative talk stations — KVI, KTTH, KKOL and KIRO-FM (and yes, given their lineup, I think it’s fair to characterize KIRO as conservative now) — compared to just KPTK on the progressive side of the spectrum. And of course, since the loss of my show, not a single local liberal talker. Not one.
Their popularity and huge audiences reflect the cynicism of the broadcast groups which sponsor them and the general dumbing down and growing irresponsiblity of media in the United States. A recent Pew survey, as others in recent years by many reputable organizations, underscored the degree to which Americans increasingly distrust and even discount entirely the “news” they see in all media — from daily newspapers to network news broadcasts to cable-news shows to local-level print and electronic media. The same surveys show citizens increasingly turning for information (and thus forming their views) on the basis of what they see and hear from biased sources and from online blogs which often purvey information which is outrightly false.
You mean purveying outrightly false information, like when you repeatedly lie about the cost of light rail, and its margin at the polls? Are you putting Crosscut in that category of “biased sources”…? I’m just wondering.
Those writing for media — for even as moderate and responsible a venue as Crosscut — will attest to the large number of comments and communications received in response to their pieces from readers proceeding from anger, bias, or ignorance. Crosscut’s readership makes it less susceptible to such response than does that of many other sources. A reading of comments made in response to Seattle Times or online P-I stories, for instance, shows a high percentage falling into the angry/biased/ignorant category.
Oh, I see, you’re not putting Crosscut into the same category, because it is a special, magical place where anger, bias and ignorance are as rare and fleeting as your grounding in the facts surrounding transportation issues.
Beck is only a symptom of a far larger general problem in American society. Voters and citizens exposed to half-baked commentary and politically slanted “news” will increasingly be less able to make reasonable, informed decisions about the big issues facing them.
See, I think the issue for Ted here is, “informed” by whom? Van Dyk doesn’t seem to draw a distinction between the vile, racist, hate-mongering of a Glenn Beck and the occasionally hyperbolic, but largely civil rants of a Keith Olbermann. What really seems to bother Van Dyk is that they’re the one’s informing the public, rather than a wise old sage like, you know, himself.
Far be it from me to defend the likes of Beck, by lumping him in with bloggers, citizen journalists and the denizens of comment threads far and wide, Van Dyk displays an obvious disdain for the very same public he claims he’s trying to inform. And you wonder why folks choose to get their news and commentary elsewhere…?