Keller @ Large: Why So Many Grievance Junkies?
BOSTON (CBS) – Did you get your voter registration done by Wednesday night’s deadline?
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Chances are you did, or were already registered, because you’re an engaged citizen who cares about being a serious, informed voter.
But let’s face it, not all of us are quite so seriously engaged.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel aired a scary segment on Tuesday night of interviews with adults on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. who were asked what they thought of the second presidential debate – the one that had yet to occur when the interviews were done.
But that didn’t stop them from giving strong opinions, including detailed reactions to the format and other yet-to-be-seen details.
The satirical news site The Onion tweeted a telling headline Wednesday night in the same vein: “Millions Head to Internet to Figure Out Their Own Opinions About Debate.”
This would all be funnier if it didn’t speak to a real problem – even many engaged voters are filling up on “information” that is dubious at best.
Take “The Drudge Report” for instance, the king of political news websites, where stories from around the world are cherry picked and showcased.
Along with a steady stream of anti-Obama news, it feeds you a steady diet of headlines about media bias like this one: “Bizarre Coincidence: Democrats Get More Time in All Three Debates,” alongside stories about crime and sex, preferably in the same story, and irresistible tabloid stuff like this one: “Celebrity sperm donor service gears up for launch.”
But mostly, The Drudge Report fuels the conservative appetite for grievances, real and imagined, against the usual suspects.
For liberals, it’s the Huffington Post, last night featuring these headlines: “Mitt Falls Apart… Candy Bites Back, Romney Shot Down in Debate Fact Check” and “Sarah Silverman’s Dad Fires Back at Rabbi’s Scathing Letter.”
This is what many of us have become, grievance junkies, mainlining political bitterness and partisanship cut with tabloid-style fear.
Is that really what we mean when we talk about doing our civic duty?
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.