Sunday, April 8, 2018

Social Media War: Not Left Versus Right But Idiots Versus Idiots

Source:  The Hill.

Most have not paid much attention to the war of tweets between Kimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity over their differences in politics and juvenile jabs at one another.  The days-long war between the two media figures really changed nothing.

Today, Kimmel acknowledged the harm this was doing to the country and apologized.  Hannity tweeted that he would respond on Monday.  It'll be interesting to see what the "right" side will say on Fox News.

But Kimmel is right.  The spat between the two offered nothing of value to advance the dialog of the state of the nation and issues currently faced by the average American family.  In the midst of international crises (a new chemical attack in Syria, continued Putin aggression, unclear foreign policy), economic issues (growing depth, possible rapidly rising interest rates, possible trade wars), and an embattled administration mired in daily made-for-TV drama and possible more indictments, the added noise does not help Americans understand what is going at all.

Kimmel is a talented late night talk show host, and like other hosts, are thriving on the Trump administration's policies, its actors, and missteps.  That will continue even after the Kimmel apology. As for Hannity, he has built his brand catering to the Republican base. Anyone who has seen his show is knows he is unlikely change and, thus, issue an apology on Monday.  His audience wants someone to blame, someone to fear, and is unlikely to offer a platform for a debate based on the merits of the Trump policies and their shortcomings (it's the same for the other side as well - MSNBC).

But Kimmel's apology is a good first step.  Instead these distractions that both political parties want the public to focus on, staying away from that and laser in on what both the Democrats and Republicans fear the most, which is what issues they should be solving.  Insults, personal attacks, and simply attack the other side's positions is easier.  This means the politicians would not have to do the right things for the American people.  The brave things for the American people.

It's unlikely that the current political discourse will change overnight.  Perhaps, the best thing is for Americans to turn the table on the politicians and focus on their fears.  And the best way to do that is ignore their attempts to distract the public, whether on cable news or social media, ignore the manufactured fears, and focus on what matters.

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