Monday, August 14, 2006

The Tone of Political Discourse

This blog is now igor-free, forever. Thank God for me, and for my audience.

The tone of political discourse varies from blog to blog and person to person. I’ve used various tones in this blog and probably haven’t settled yet on the final tone I’ll choose (if I do). So, I guess you can say in this regard that I’ve been erratic. Michael Savage, the iconoclastic, rabidly conservative radio talk show host of The Savage Nation is also an erratic guy in this regard. He operates totally on his feelings at the moment. Sometimes he is professional, and others he is juvenile. I am guilty as charged.

Dennis Prager’s tone is totally professional, totally respectful. He hates evil people, like murderers, rapists, and Al-Queda, but he is not hateful even when he speaks about them or to them. Rush Limbaugh’s tone is bombastic, iconoclastic, filled with humor and fun, and self-righteousness. Sean Hannity’s tone is earnest and patriotic, almost to excess. Bill O’Reilly’s tone is arrogant and know-it-all. Larry Elder’s tone is fun and rational. Bill Krystol’s tone is utterly rational.

On the left, Larry King’s tone is sweet and suck-up. Katie Couric’s tone is Pollyanish and syrupy. Matt Lauer’s tone is tough-sounding and matter of fact. Air America’s tone is vicious and cynical.’s tone is gleefully hateful. Chris Matthew’s tone is pugnacious, as is John Mclaughlin’s.

I think that each person must find his own tone. It is good if it is consistent, but I don’t think it helps if it is manufactured. I try, for example, to be civil and rational in my dealings with people. On the other hand, I do believe in being brutally honest, at least in my blogging life, as opposed to being polite. In real life it is better to be polite, and follow every rule of etiquette. In politics it is better, it seems, to be “politic.” In a blog, though, unless you are going to run for political office or unless your blog is for your business or public relations, it seems to me it is better to be honest, even if that means being offensive sometimes. Honesty, after all, is what the blogosphere is all about.

We wonder sometimes if being honest matters at all in the blogosphere. Well, it does. I know most of us don’t yet reach a big enough audience to make any kind of difference. Yet, all of us taken together do make a difference. In fact, it is well-known that the blogosphere has become a kind of “fourth estate,” to not only supplement, but sometimes even replace traditional forms of journalism. We owe it to our audience, and to ourselves, to do our homework and try to stay true to our principles. We need to be open too, and examine those principles in light of the feedback and reactions we get. This is difficult, but it is the dilemma of every public figure. What you see in the world, what you report about what you see, and the way you do it determine not only your tone, but your veracity, and your use to humanity.

I once more salute all you political and non-political bloggers out there, left and right, who spend your valuable time creating messages for the universe. God bless you in your noble work. I love reading what you write, and I hope some of you get something from what I do too.


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Henry Martin said...

Very good post, Rock. I have been posting now for three months - every day! My "tone" is to be honest, giving a thought or two from the day's events. I try not to offend, however. I guess when my byline proclaims "conservative Christian" and I claim BJU it behooves me to put forth a good face. I can only hope it isn't a "front."

No one deserves to read me in a bad mood, for it is not becoming of a follower of Christ. I tend to be kind to folk anyway, but being a Christian makes it even more imperitive.

By the way, the banished Igor is now visiting my site. So far, so good. Today he remarked on goodness being for suckers. He sees public opinion making "heroes" out of criminals. I don't see that, yet, and pointed him towards true goodness in Christ.

Rock said...

Thanks for your comments, Henry. I do think you achieve your objectives in your blog, and that is to the benefit of us all.

I think other people have more luck with igor than I, which is fine. He still makes "interesting" comments on other peoples' blogs, but he doesn't seem quite so invested, which is a good thing--he needs some emotional distance from his comments and ideas in order to express himself more effectively.

Continue your good fight. I'm quite sure that God is smiling on you, and hope He is on me.