Why snarly pundits are losing their own battles

Some people just like being angry -this or they like the way their faces scare away children without need of a Halloween mask
Some people just like being angry -this or they like the way their faces scare away children without need of a Halloween mask

I don't think there's ever been a time in my life when politics was as talked about as much or as with as little restraint as it is today. A great deal of this is due, I'm sure, to the advances in communication: the internet, talk-radio, cable shows dedicated to promoting political agendas, and the abandonment of unbiased coverage in favor of promotion of political agenda from the old major television networks. There seems to be books coming out every month, book concentrating on political views and written by individuals who have some smidgeon of experience with politics or just like to talk about politics. The radio is ablaze with commentators. These self-made pundits, generally well-spoken and absolutely unswerving in their beliefs, have captured a cultural niche the likes of which have never before been seen in the media.

In this trending adrenaline-filled culture of outspoken viewpoints, vanishing is the simple idea that everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. Dear gods in Valhalla, dare to make a counter-popular commentary in some forums and its like jumping into shark infested waters. But more so than the amateur assault junkies are several of today's most leading pundits, from liberal and conservative camps alike. They aren't just quick to shout down contrary views, they want to wallow in their reactions and broadcast these venomous reactions wherever they may chance have an audience. Typically, these loudmouth pundits don't give a rat's tushy how nasty, childish or ill-bred their counter-criticisms are. They persevere like cockroaches after a storm, spreading their nastiness with only renewed fervor.

This trend extends to political parodying and stand-up, which I actually enjoy when done well. But this genre of humor is sinking into mediocrity caused by a saturation of rabid views. Take Bill Maher for example. Instead of humor he plies his audience with trashy swipes at people. Case in point: Sarah Palin's family. Ok, I may not like Bristol Palin -and as a matter of fact I don't- but to drag Palin's entire family (including the infants) into his gutter-bred style of comedy isn't comedy at all. Its not cutting-edge, its not funny. It is ugly. And it shows how lame an individual is to rely on pot-shots of innocent children in the aim to score a few laughs among those of like mind.

The other pundits just generally rant and rave, like Michelle Malkin. Poor Michelle; I might take her seriously if she didn't undermine so many assertions with half-researched validation and hypocritical rationalizing. Well, that and the fact her voice gets painfully shrill and her face tends to swell like a puffer fish when she's contradicted. The last thing I want to see when trying to fend off an assault to my ears is seeing an attractive woman morph into Spongebob Squarepants' driving instructor. My nerves can't stand it and my TV set weeps.

In this photo Bill Maher is apparently showing his I.Q.
In this photo Bill Maher is apparently showing his I.Q.
Don't look now, Ms. Puff -Spongebob's performing a Native American funeral ritual!!
Don't look now, Ms. Puff -Spongebob's performing a Native American funeral ritual!!

Behavior as demonstrated by the likes of Maher and Malkin leave me thinking -as I'm sure some others do- that there may well be some underlying hatred fueling their fire. Conviction alone doesn't breed vulgar insults, verbal abuse or the needy compulsion to go after others. Whether it is Maher attacking someone's children or Malkin attacking someone's tribal rituals, the contemptible things they see in others is nothing compared to the contempt they display.

What is most ironic about this -coming from anywhere- is it is usually the people who most vehemently defend the right of free speech that strive to shout down, scream at, name-call and generally have a rabid hissy fit on those who contradict their personal convictions.

Not everyone pulls this. There are still a lot of people who express themselves with respect to others. But I've come to the sad conclusion that this kind of conduct has become culturally fashionable. Too many people just seem to enjoy being angry. Their inner reactions may start as a simple, firm conviction to a particular ideal; but they go to extremes that trample on the very ideals of proper civility they expect from others. Most galling is when they turn around and excuse their behavior by saying things like you can't be a goody-two-shoes if want to defend the truth. But what, I ask, does acting like a mean, spoiled brat have to do with defending any truth?

a pundit who earned my respect

I like Glenn Beck, even if I don't want to throw my panties at him



I can only hope that the trend won't progress. But I also speculate that if it does continue then pundits will start seeing that such behavior usually costs serious consideration of their views. If an expressed idea is articulated poorly, and poorly often enough, it becomes merely fodder for parody and dismissal. And once people start dismissing your credibility they often dismiss anything worthwhile that just may fly out of your mouth.

Keith Olbermann knows who the Worst People In the World Are

but shouting, "The rats at the IRS who intruded on my PRECIOUS time!!" isn't very constructive to socialist agenda.


Rush Limbaugh recognizes un-American activity when he sees it

as long as he's not in a painkiller-induced fog


Chris Matthews compares the Tea Party to the Muslim Brotherhood..

..the Keebler Elves to Nazis, the Smurfs to Chinese communists and Snoopy to Dino the Dinosaur.

More by this Author


Comments 11 comments

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

I wish Maher would invite Ted Nugent on his show and keep his snarky attack on conservative women up. That would be worth watching. But Beth the whole tone of American debate has taken a blatantly hostile tone and it is now a civil war of Ideas. I wrote a hub about that over a year ago. Keep up your excellent work.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

You're so right, tony. And I'll have to check out your hub. Thanks for reading!


kateperez profile image

kateperez 5 years ago from pasadena, tx

someone once tried to defend this man's vitriolic assaults on conservative women by saying he's just a comedian. Well, what the heck? MILF is an insulting and degrading term whether you are a comedian or a serious person. This man has to take responsibility for the words that come from his mouth and that of his guests. He is a talking head, and the lemmings of the world love to jump on those bandwagons, left *or* right.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

kateperez, Maher reminds me of the kind of liberal male who doesn't go for the idea of a woman walking three paces behind him, but three paces ahead..just in case there's a land mine.


danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

very true. FOX is the worst to me, and while I prefer CNN, some of their "pundits" are just is bad in the opposite direction. I tend to stick to online news, which seems to be more impartial. (overall)


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Beth,

What you're seeing is the age old tension between having a real intellectual legacy (like Krauthammer and Beck), or collecting more eyeballs and making more money through either format (O'Reilly) or sensationalism (Matthews, Olbermann).

Achieving true intellectual legacy AND maximum revenue is impossible. Each analyst has to pick one or the other.

Stu


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

danielleeantosz, I often go there for news, too. The hard part is finding an online news reporter that doesn't throw in some opinion along with the facts. I would have to say when it comes to "just the facts, ma'am" type news my fave place is Reuters.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Stu, you're right and it sure makes that Mr. Cronkite my parents watched (& I only recall vaguely from my childhood so forgive me if I've misspelled his name) seem like the epitome of broadcasting professionalism.

As far as pundits go, even when I disagree with them I still like Beck and Mr. Krauthammer. The first is fair and humorous, the second fair, stoic and has a keen dry wit. In fact, Mr. Krauthammer has got such a good approving rate in my household that he's earned the "Charles in Charge" nickname here. And if we're surfing the channels and see him my kids give him an enthusiastic shout out, "Charles!!" Not a bad rep to have with a 13 and 14 year old, lol.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Beth,

Agree with all your comments.

Krauthammer is definitely the "dean" of conservative commentators. And Beck is certainly in the upper echelon.

I feel sad about people like Rush and Ann Coulter. When they want to be, they can be very incisive and intellectual. But they are SO addicted to sensationalism, and the money it brings. They will never reach their full potential as analysts unless they get serious. It's a real waste of talent.

Stu


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

"I feel sad about people like Rush and Ann Coulter. When they want to be, they can be very incisive and intellectual. But they are SO addicted to sensationalism, and the money it brings. They will never reach their full potential as analysts unless they get serious. It's a real waste of talent."

Stu, I agree wholeheartedly.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Beth,

I've seen Rush so intellectual, and so in command of the facts, when he is interviewing people who agree with him. But in the face of disagreement, he drops all intellectualism, and goes into a juvenile sort of "attack mode."

Coulter, for a few weeks a while back, was really cleaning up her act. Her articles had alot of facts, good analysis, and were free of her usual obscenities. But she couldn't stick with it. She's now reverting back to her old style.

For psychological and financial reasons, these two will probably never reach the upper tier of the profession.

Stu

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working