The 2012 presidential election, otherwise known as the chest-puffing Olympics for many political commentators, continues to highlight the divisive nature of cable news nets in American society. As a member of Generation Y (or something like that), this is, for the most part, the only TV and radio aesthetic I’ve been exposed to. I’ve come of age in a time where revealing you’re a Republican in a room full of liberals is a risky move, and Rush Limbaugh calls women “sluts.” It’s a weird time, but it’s all I know. Yet, my mother and father, both Baby Boomers, tell me after each political confab and subsequent flurry of on-air yak-seshes that “It didn’t always used to be like this…once, there was a sense of respect.”
Vet journalist Ted Koppel took on what NBC dubbed “truthsayers,” or the loud voices in political news that have established themselves through argumentative, alienating programming. The segment, which aired on “Rock Center” Thursday night, features Koppel asking anchors including Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Bill Maher about the growing trend of emphasizing an “us versus them” attitude in newscasts, and if they believe it is harmful to society.
With many in the American TV audience eagerly anticipating the Oct. 6 Jon Stewart vs. Bill O’Reilly pay per view debate and political yakking saturating the TV marketplace with the approaching election, Koppel’s segment is not only timely, but crucial when it comes to understanding the implications of modern political news — and how we might be able to change it.