Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Civil Media Interview Between Polar Opposites

Yesterday I saw something you rarely see on our combative 24-hour news stations.  I witnessed a civil interview between two people who admit to be being polar opposites in political philosophies. 

Bill O’Reilly, the self-avowed traditionalists host on the Fox News Channel, was interviewing Ed Asner, the veteran actor who makes no apologies about being a very liberal even socialist advocate.  There was no attempt by either one of them to embarrass the other.  They both talked as though they had been best friends for years.  At the end of the interview, O’Reilly said that he always enjoyed having Asner on the show and declared, “You’re an honest guy and a patriot.”  Asner then leaned across the table shook O’Reilly’s hand and said, “I enjoy you.”

It amazes me that Fox News is labeled as such a biased station by the main stream media.  What I saw yesterday probably could not be repeated on MSNBC.  Tune in to Chris Matthews’ show sometime and watch him try to belittle and berate anyone who doesn’t agree with him.  I remember several times when he had activists from the Tea Party on his show.  Matthews seldom interviewed the person.  Instead, he spent most of the segment time angrily lecturing the person on what is wrong with the point of view that person espoused.

Even worse is this new addition to MSNBC, Martin Bashir.  A short while back, Bashir was interviewing the former Republican congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo.  He pointed out that Tancredo once said several months ago that because he viewed President Obama’s policies as being soft on international terrorism that he might be a greater threat to national security than Osama Bin Laden.  Bashir then pointedly asked if Obama should be shot in the head like Bin Laden was.  Tancredo was stunned by the question, and replied, “God, no.  I don’t want to see any harm come to the President.”

Bashir and Matthews unfortunately are the norm at MSNBC and sometimes Fox and CNN.  It appears that new many hosts on our 24-hour news networks are not interested in learning about the point of view of someone with whom they may disagree.  They seem more intent on demonizing and vilifying those who do not share their philosophy.  In a very real sense, it actually appears that they are bringing people on their show to solely discredit them if they harbor different ideas or solutions to today’s social, political and economic problems.

I’d like to thank Bill O’Reilly and Ed Asner for a wonderful viewing experience.  You two gentlemen proved that people can disagree completely and still have a civil, polite and, dare I say, even friendly conversation.  Isn’t that what this country is really supposed to be about?

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