November 17, 2016


Bill Maher, Glenn Beck apologies, rethink red-hot rhetoric (Brian Lowry, November 16, 2016, CNN Money)

Several prominent voices have identified ratcheting up rhetoric prior to 2016 as contributing to the toxic environment that made Trump possible -- noting that when true alarms needed to be sounded, their "The sky is falling" warnings sounded a trifle hollow, unable or unpersuasive in terms of defining the unique threat that many saw in Trump's candidacy.

After all, we'd heard plenty of heated pronouncements before -- a partial byproduct of the pressure to garner attention in a world driven by ratings and (in a historically recent departure for print journalism) traffic.

On the November 11 edition of HBO's "Real Time," Maher confessed to having attacked President George W. Bush -- and later GOP nominee Mitt Romney -- "like he was the end of the world. And he wasn't. ... They were honorable men who we disagreed with, and we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf and that was wrong. But this is real."

In a New Yorker interview before the election, Beck sounded similarly chastened for over-the-top diatribes he employed regarding President Obama during his Fox News days -- having suggested in 2009 that Obama harbored a "deep-seated hatred for white people."

"We've made everything into a game show," he said, "and now we're reaping the consequences of it."

Some conservative pundits and columnists who joined the "Never Trump" movement experienced their own epiphanies. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin called upon those near the political center, on the right and the left, to unite as "champions of moderation," hoping "to cool tempers and dampen resentments."

Posted by at November 17, 2016 6:08 PM