Stewart asks for reason, can the media follow?

Shhhhhh, listen closely. If you are really quiet and listen hard you will start to hear the voices of reason whispering in the maelstrom of the media’s political partisanship.

Sadly, the easiest voice to hear comes from a comedian. Jon Stewart, who for years has critiqued the media better than any media professional could, announced last week a “Rally to restore sanity.” Of course, it’s a rip-off of Glenn Beck, but watch the  clip, you will discover that Stewart is poking fun at the media coming both from the left and the right.

The media need something like this. They need someone to step back and look at the direction they’re heading. There is no voice of reason right now. A man announces on Facebook that his small church of 30 is going to burn Korans  and it becomes national media news for a week, with reactions from all over the world, including shots of protesters protesting Terry Jones, the wannabe Koran burner, by setting fire to the American flag.

Responsible journalism? Was there a voice of reason saying this wasn’t a story? There wasn’t much to be found that week, although the AP did announce it was holding Terry Jones stories to just one per day.

Christine O’Donnell, the Delaware Tea Party candidate defeated her traditional Republican candidate, Mike Castle, in the primaries and immediately the media from both sides took aim on her. And O’Donnell stoked the fires by canceling appearances on Sunday talk shows, including Face the Nation — this after taking heat by conservatives for appearing on the “liberal” morning talk shows after her victory.

That’s happening more often now, more and more often, with candidates only appearing on media that support their agenda. They stay away from mainstream media, from traditional media sources looking for a balanced story in favor of partisan press that plays the role of cheerleader. The voice of reason is not being heard, maybe because it isn’t speaking loud enough. In New York, multi-millionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking people to vote for moderates.

He doesn’t care if they are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, he just wants moderates. Is Bloomberg acting as a voice of reason?

The screaming has become so loud from both sides that no one can hear anymore. Media outlets become organs of a political party. It is so hard to hear someone talking about the liberal media today because there is so much noise coming from the right. Don’t think the left has been left behind. Liberals have their own partisan news sources as well; it’s just that the conservatives do talk radio and political media much better – and a little louder — than the left.

But with everyone taking sides and everyone screaming, little room is left to actually debate. How can people decide what they think, rationally, when no one discusses what the issues are?

James Warren wrote a piece last weekend, discussing a conversation between former Illinois conservative Republican Senator Everett M. Dirksen and President John F. Kennedy. Basically, Dirksen helped Kennedy find a way to ban some atomic testing in the midst of the Cold War, a situation that was tricky with both Democrats and Republicans. It was a true bit of bipartisanship that makes us wonder what would happen if that situation arose today. Read the story and then ask yourself if this could happen today.

Would the media allow this to happen?

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