The insult culture of the left and the right

Red States:
In a segment on Thursday, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin took some time to address the controversy around Roseanne Barr’s offensive tweet and the outrage that followed.

The segment, however, did not stay focused on Barr’s tweet. Instead, Baldwin pointed out that when conservatives claim that there is a double-standard in how they are covered versus liberals’ offensive statements they are actually correct.

Via Caleb Howe at Mediaite:
Baldwin then played a series of clips of Keith Olbermann, who is famous for his over-the-top condemnations. The litany of insults in the clips she plays, as well as in her additional summary after the clips, was impressive in both scope and variety. After the long set of examples is run through, Baldwin says “Despite all of this, he just got another plum job. A job, ironically, at the same company that just booted Roseanne for violating its values.”

Baldwin then moved on to Samantha Bee, showing the clip that has been everywhere today. Here’s her commentary following that clip.

Here’s the relevant quote from Baldwin on Bee’s comments (video of the commentary is available at the Mediaite link above):
[I]magine for a second how liberals would have reacted if Roseanne or a conservative TV star would have used that language describing Valerie Jarrett. Whether you agree with the President’s policies or not, calling a senior advisor inside the United States government or anyone for that matter the “C” word is, like I said at the top, it’s outrageous, it is unacceptable and should be called out.

And this part of her commentary is perhaps the most important point Baldwin makes.
She could have easily made her point without using those words, a point that, by the way, is totally lost because she used that language. Doing this she is no better than the very behavior she criticizes. In fact, she becomes part of the problem.
Insult is a low form of argument.   Most people should outgrow it in Middle School.  Does anyone think they could win an argument before the Supreme Court by going in and throwing insults at their adversary, rather than reasoned argument?  Yet, for many in politics it has become the norm, because it takes less brain power than critical thinking. 

Unfortunately, social media has only exacerbated the problem.  It is easier to slip it into a response on Twitter or Facebook than compose a thoughtful response.  I usually respond to them by saying "I don't find your insults persuasive."

The double standard on these insults is a problem too.  I don't approve of them, but I think we should encourage apologies and reward them with forgiveness most of the time.  In today's culture, if you fired everyone who insulted someone else we would probably have a significant unemployment problem.


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