Colin Powell Gets It (almost) Right

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and addressed the “nastiness” in our public dialogue:

“There has crept in our society and our public dialogue, a coarseness, a nastiness, an attack of people who don’t share the same views as you do,” he said. “All sorts of nastiness. And it is not just politicians who are doing this to each other, and, frankly, politics has always been a contact sport in this country, but with all of the cable channels and talk radio and blogs, especially blogs, where people can be anonymous with their nastiness, I think has caused a level of coarseness in our society that we’ve all got to think about.”

Especially blogs? That was a gratuitous dig that doesn’t really advance the point he was making. Blogs don’t have nearly the influence that politicians and national television and radio commentators have. Their contribution to the coarseness in public dialogue is tiny by comparison.

I’m glad to hear that Powell agrees that violent rhetoric directed toward political adversaries has escalated beyond reason and can result in potential harm, but did he really have to shift the responsibility from the media to anonymous commenters on blogs? That just diminishes the message and lets characters with millions of followers, like Glenn “Shoot them in the head” Beck, and Rush “Don’t kill all the liberals” Limbaugh, off the hook.


2 thoughts on “Colin Powell Gets It (almost) Right

  1. Maybe when he said blog he was thinking of places like Red State, Drudge, Brietbart and even places like Free Republic. Many just through everything online as being a blog and all those places mention are nasty.

    • That’s true. But I still think his wrath was misplaced. He would be correct to include blogs, but if he were going to single something out he ought to have said “especially Fox News.”

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