With the extremes sucking the oxygen, we’ve traded thoughtful argument for shaming
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia last month. The hounding of government officials in their private lives is not protest but bullying, Winston writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)
There was a time when I saw appearing on cable news shows, both left and right, as an opportunity for a civil debate on serious policy issues. That was probably naive, but I believed in the inherent value of proof-based and polite argument in providing the nation with the information to make good policy choices.
But as time went on, I began to feel like Michael Palin in the famous Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch. In the comedy bit, Palin goes to the “clinic” to buy an argument. He pays out his five pounds, but when he meets his “arguer,” Graham Chapman immediately goes on the attack.