By: Emma Shinn
“I’m thinking about killing [liberal filmmaker] Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could.”
“[Republicans] are kind of saying, ‘If you don’t agree to our demands, we will destroy the world economy.’ Which I think is what Dr. Evil said.”
“[Republicans are attempting to] end this democracy…It is one thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from without. It is a worse thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from within.”
“You want to have two guys making out in front of your child? A guy smoking a joint, blowing smoke into your kid’s face? It’s okay with [non-religious people]. I’m not exaggerating. This is exactly what the secular movement stands for.”
Do any of these statements sound crazy to you? Would you be shocked to hear them coming from people who claim to be professionals dedicated to delivering the truth to the public? Well, believe it or not, those are exactly the type of people who uttered those words. They are reporters who contend to be drawing audiences in order to provide them with information, but are really just pushing their own agendas and trying to get “the other side” riled up.
These are media extremists, and they are everywhere. On television, on the radio, and from both of the major political parties. You don’t believe me? Take the quotes above for example. Two of those quotes came from liberals and two from conservatives.
Glenn Beck wants to single-handedly murder a few liberals for expressing their opinions. Bill Maher thinks Republicans desire to destroy the world economy. Keith Olbermann claims that conservatives are trying to destroy American democracy from within, and Bill O’Reilly thinks any secular group is interested in advocating sex and drugs to children.Those people are a Republican, Democrat, Democrat, and Republican, respectively, and they are all guilty of making remarks that are, franky, way out of line.
Now, often times, statements like these serve only to anger one group and rally another. But I have another reaction that I think both sides should consider more often: just laugh. That’s right, laugh. What’s great about media extremists is not that they make people mad or give people cause to feel smug; it’s that they’re freaking hilarious.
When Beck gets so overcome that he cries on air? Just laugh. When O’Reilly gets so loud and angry that he refuses to let anyone else get a word in? Chuckle it up. When Olbermann compares any and all Republicans to everything from dog doo to dictators? Hardy har har. And when Maher stacks his deck of guests so that he only has to interview people who won’t oppose him? Giggle like a schoolgirl. It’s all just. Plain. Funny.
So, next time a reporter or newsperson says something that may upset you, take my advice and try to laugh at it instead. Sometimes it’s best to get up in arms over issues that you are truly committed to, but other times, you’re better off just snickering it away. As Olbermann himself once said (in one of his less out-there moments), “Sometimes it’s more productive to laugh at the stupid than to yell at the stupid.”
And with all the stupid going around in the American political media, maybe we’d all get a lot more done if we just took the time to laugh.