Gene Lyons suggests that Arkansans, and Americans in general, really are above most of this. I think he’s being generous, but it’s an attitude worth promoting.
“My theory: Ever since Rush Limbaugh adapted the techniques of drive-time sports radio to politics — the loudmouth hyperbole, the fake omniscience, the mute button — the mass-marketing of outrage to people stuck in freeway traffic with blood-pressure levels already approaching the blowout range has coarsened public discourse to the level of road rage.
“You want “blood libel”?
“Limbaugh, last week:
“What (accused assassin) Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party … The Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim … plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder — but something lesser.”
“If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
“Meanwhile, the Tucson radio station that advertised “Rush Limbaugh: Straight Shooter” with a billboard full of simulated bullet holes has taken it down.
“See, they compete with each other, these clowns, to set you against an imaginary enemy consisting of your friends and neighbors because conflict pushes ratings, and higher ratings lead to more money.
“Are you going to keep helping them do it?”