November 15, 2004

Some Relevant Thoughts on Media

William Raspberry's column today has some good insights on how the media can approach contentious issues in a more reasonable, informative, and thoughtful manner.

Accepting Our Shades of Purple

But neither is it all that rare. Scores of public controversies are reported as to-the-mat battles between unyielding opposites -- in part because our journalistic habits send us looking for these irreconcilables. What, we ask ourselves, is the point of seeking out a minister who believes that gay and lesbian couples should be treated fairly, even sympathetically, but who draws the line at church-ordained marriage? And it's a cinch such ambivalent people won't seek us out.

We ridicule people who insist that, on one issue or another, they are just a little bit purple. And yet I dare say most Americans are just a little bit purple on most issues.

Acknowledgment of this fact -- in our politics and in our journalism -- might go a long way toward the healing our country clearly needs.

(P.S.: The dam in question was never built, because the courts decided it might impact a scarce sub-species of fish--the "Snail Darter Principle." Environmentalists continue to fight tooth and nail to prevent the construction of "wind farms" in the Flint Hills on the grounds they might adversely impact the populations of prairie chickens.)