Bill O'Reilly was on The View today. Even though I am politically conservative, I generally do not like him. I think he is abrasive and childish. I liked The View in it's first season--it was a new idea and, generally, fun. Now, though, it is a propaganda machine, or so it seems to me. When I saw Bill O'Reilly and The View mashed together, I was a intrigued. When I saw the interview, I was surprised.
Things start out okay, but then it erupts into screaming and aggressive finger pointing. I was waiting for the girls to start pulling hair and Bill to lean back and begin kicking--bike peddling style. It was not the rude and interupting style of debate that you see so often on political news shows and it wasn't a full-on cat fight, but it was a horrible combination of the two. Eventually, two of The View girls walk off because they just can't take it anymore. Apparently. I'd like to think they were giving themselves a time-out, but I doubt it.
Here is the interview. Watch what happens at minute 2:30.
Barbara Walters is not someone I love and adore, but I she is due some amount of respect for a life of diligent news telling (especially because she was one of the first women in the field--a whole different topic for another time). She says something there, on the fly, that has been needing to be said. "What you have just seen is what should not happen. We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking off stage."
I do not like contention; my spirit is offended by that atmosphere. But, I do enjoy a good debate. When two parties have opposing views and self-formulated opinions based on good information, it can be a robust and invigorating activity. A good argument is one where both sides can see the prevailing wisdom and are open to being proved wrong. It can also constitute a discussion where both sides will always disagree upon conclusions, but where both sides can leave the moment knowing the other was honest. This particular interview had potential, the audience was obviously divided, applauding for both sides, in turns. But then . . .
I love that Barbara Walters called her colleagues out. They behaved badly. They were not professional. They did not want to understand each other's points of view. If they were not to be agreed with, they were leaving. Period. Too many in our nation have become this way. We are unwilling to bend, unwilling to listen, unwilling to admit when we are wrong. In this ultra-heated political climate of this fall's elections, we have become absurd.
We are told that we are supposed to avoid talking about religion and politics in polite company. Why can't we be polite while having a fair, invigorating, even enthusiastic religious or political discussion? Maybe if we practiced doing it first at home, and then with our neighbors, we wouldn't embarrass ourselves on television.