Wednesday, February 21, 2007

False Choices

Tonight, on CNN, Paula Zahn is airing a special report titled "Hip-Hop; Art or Poison"? I use this as but one example of a growing phenomenon in the mass media, and also in our civil (or uncivil) discourse. If you sensitize yourself to this dynamic, you'll start to see it more and more. We are being bombarded with a series of false choices; is hip-hop art or poison? well how about the possiblity that it's a little of both, or neither? Yet another example would be the way the Iraq war is presented to us; you're either a patriotic, unquestioning supporter of the President and his strategy, or you want all the troops out now and you don't support them and you're virtually a treasonous person.

As if there can't be a more nuanced position somewhere in between those two extremes.

Objective thought is dying. More and more people are turning to mass media for their opinions. Tell me what I should believe....I don't have time to figure it all out by listening to and rationally thinking about various voices and sources.

Tell me which side of the false choice I should be on.