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Bill Moyers on The Spectacle of Illiteracy

We are not short of wisdom, leadership and prophets in this age. But to watch mainstream media you would think we have become a species of abundant stupidity and despotic ignorance.  Who would benefit by this portrayal?



Bill Moyers by Yoichi Akamoto 1965
Increasingly, as witnessed in the utter disrespect and not-so-latent racism expressed by Joe Wilson, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, who shouted “you lie!” during President Obama’s address on health care, the obligation to listen, respect the views of others and engage in a literate exchange is increasingly reduced to the highly spectacular wed embrace of an infantile emotionalism. This is an emotionalism that is made for television. It is perfectly suited for emptying the language of public life of all substantive content, reduced in the end to a playground for hawking commodities, promoting celebrity culture and enacting the spectacle of right-wing fantasies fueled by the fear that the public sphere as an exclusive club for white male Christians is in danger of collapsing. For some critics, those who carry guns to rallies or claim Obama is a Muslim and not a bona fide citizen of the United States are simply representative of an extremist fringe, that gets far more publicity from the mainstream media than they deserve. Of course this is understandable, given that the media’s desire for balance and objective news is not just disingenuous but relinquishes any sense of ethical responsibility by failing to make a distinction between an informed argument and an unsubstantiated opinion. Witness the racist hysteria unleashed by so many Americans and the media over the building of an Islamic cultural center near ground zero. Bill Moyers

I can't add anything to this that would be more insightful or present a more indepth observation. I believe Moyers is one of those people who possesses a rare ability to converge a lot of disparate information into a concise diagnostic. Read the whole article here.

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  1. One of the two best programs to come from the USA!

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