TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

April 29, 2013

Disturbing trend of hyperbole in media, politics


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — There is a disturbing trend of absolute hyperbole on the part of news media and political speakers. What I’m talking about is the immediate use of top shelf words like “dictator,” “fascist,” “communist,” and this really has to stop. Anytime something goes wrong it’s an immediate “Watergate” or “Waterloo” and when something goes right it’s “reformation” or “salvation.” These are powerful words and we use them to describe things that we’ve never experienced. Even under our worst presidents, Nixon and Bush, we were very far from being under the thumb of a totalitarian dictator. That’s a concept that’s so far out of the mind of the average American they should have to have a class before given license to use it.

To juxtapose President Obama and Adolph Hitler because of our dissatisfaction for whatever reason is borderline insanity. It cheapens the Holocaust and true oppression, which most of us have no right to comment on. It’s also always the first person who comes to mind under brutal dictators. Hitler or Stalin. No one is ever compared to Pol Pot, Slobodan Milošević, Mao Zedong, and it’s because it’s rhetoric that’s not used to illustrate fact, or make a real comparison; proof that it’s only talk made to sway the opinions of those who’d have no idea who Pol Pot or Omar al-Bashir are.

It isn’t a right or left problem — it’s both sides immediately running for the biggest guns just to make things interesting, to sell, because they have to yell at callers, speak down to people, not let anyone get a word in, no one has respect for one another, and no one is able to make a compromise. I don’t mean compromise on policies, I just mean on ideas. We always have to oppose all parts; there can never be any giving of ground for people on the other side of the argument. How can we expect to raise intelligent and thoughtful children when we scream bloody murder on the news because someone disagreed with your opinion? We’re teaching to speak and not listen and just push the argument along until no one can hear what anyone else is saying. We also have to take into account what our use of hyperbole does when they’re trying to use their context clues to figure out what is going on, it’s to the point where we actually have to teach children not to take the news literally!

You have to be intelligent to watch American news and understand what is going on considering you have to pull apart the facts and try and back away the perilously strong opinion of whoever they give a microphone to. It’s all a ploy to get old people and soft headed young people stirred to madness by mentioning phrases and concepts guaranteed to evoke an emotional response, as though it’s the appropriate way to respond.

Even people I enjoy like Rachel Maddow are guilty of it from time to time and that’s worse than nut bars like Glenn Beck and Michael Savage using it, because at least someone with a little bit of inductive reason could tell who the idiots are being they’re the only ones doing it. This makes us all look the same as one another and we’re not. Someone intelligent enough to believe in women’s rights or gay/lesbian rights should be smart enough to present their point intelligently and respectfully and rely of the validity of their statement.

It really boils down to strengthening our two party system and keeping it rigidly separate and ineffectively equal. No one can discuss and try and grow from one another as it’s become a preprogrammed response to become hostile and talk over someone you could potentially learn from. This also keeps them from conducting real news and getting to real answers or better yet, the real questions.

Charles L Helton, Corbin