Here’s my plan to fix politics in the U.S.: get rid of all 24-hour news channels, and get rid of most of ESPN too.
There just isn’t 24 hours worth of news every day. And there are three networks covering ths small amount of news around the clock. As a result, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC have to cover the most insignificant nonevents as if they were the end of the world. And if there aren’t any missing pretty white girls, then they start trying to whip up some sort of political controversy. Politics just doesn’t move fast enough to require 24 hour a day coverage. A half hour a couple of times a day and maybe an hour-long in depth show is plenty.
But really it’s all ESPN’s fault. I may have blogged this before and if I have then you get to read it again. When ESPN came along all American males started watching sports around the clock, and a culture of sports started developing. With ESPN everybody was able to talk sports all the time and keep up with what was going on at all times. Pretty soon everybody started thinking of everything in terms of sports, and in terms of winning and losing. From there that winning and losing culture got ingrained in the American psyche and people started transferring it to politics. Politics, or more accurately governing, was no longer a collaborative process — every decision meant somebody had to win and somebody had to lose. It no longer occurred to anybody to look for the proverbial win-win situation, or to (shock! horror!) compromise. If the other guy got what he wanted, then I must have been defeated and that couldn’t be allowed to happen.
Actually I’m pretty sure I’ve written about that before but I’m too lazy to go back and look. And it’s on my mind enough that it won’t kill me to write it again. So there.