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McFarland's main point ignored

Posted: September 24, 2009 10:35 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Many readers have responded to Bruce McFarland's "Democratic Voices" column on "nut jobs" (The Signal, Opinion, Aug. 24), but nobody has really addressed the most important point McFarland was trying to make.

I agree McFarland made some broad leaps, but when he says that "a nut job is someone who believes and repeats something he or she sees or hears, without question, despite indisputable evidence to the contrary," he is right on.

Both Emerson and Thoreau said that most people fail to "see." They also said that when most people gather information they gravitate primarily to information that supports the position they already hold. It is hard to "see" when a person doesn't look objectively at all sides of an issue.

News shows, however, will not achieve high ratings by helping viewers to look at an issue objectively. They get high ratings by stirring up people's emotions, by helping people to act emotionally instead of rationally. Many people watch these "news shows" and believe what they hear without question, then rant and rave and parrot what they hear without any real knowledge.

These "nut jobs" are dangerous because they act like an unthinking mob.

Many people have objected to McFarland's essay because they believe that he is attacking Republicans. The issue is not Republican vs. Democrat. The issue is "nut job" vs. rational human being. I think that we are much better off with the latter.

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