Review any article on most major news websites and you will surely find that the substantial division in America can be reflected in the commentary.
Recently there was an issue in which CNN journalist Jim Acosta, had his press pass revoked by the President; after a heated debate occurred between the two one day prior. Upon questioning, the White House stated that the reason for the pass being revoked was due to him assaulting an intern who was attempting to regain control of the microphone from Acosta during the press conference. In an effort to push that agenda. a doctor clip of the incident to sped up of the incident. However, anyone who reviewed the actual footage could see that no assault of the sorts happened…not even close to one.
CNN then decided to file a lawsuit against the White House, as this was deemed to be an attack on First Amendment rights. On Friday a judge agreed and ruled in the favor of CNN; and therefore ordered the temporary reinstatement of his press pass by the White House.
Now despite CNN being viewed by some as more liberal leaning, the commentary by readers highlighted just how polarized our current political climate his become. One commentator stated “I refuse to watch CNN ever again until Acosta is fired. He thinks he can do whatever he wants and its disgusting”. I found this particular comment to exhibit a form of irony, due to the fact that the President has spoken and said things that are from being politically correct or even polite to others for that matter.
Nonetheless, what we see is that people will remove the sense of right or wrong; for whatever “good” in their political party they want to protect. The political compass is no longer guided by actual facts for some; but blinders to anything that does not support the good in the agenda they want to protect and the promote. Public discourse ethics protects and promotes a place of conversation for diversity of ideas and persons. Public discourse ethics nourishes the public arena as a conversational space that provides pragmatic welcome for difference. Private life unlike public life eschews difference, finding definition in commonality of interests and commitments (Arnett, Fritz, & Bell, 2009, P. 99)
This mentality however, is not exclusive to one particular party but can actually be seen across the aisle for both… just in different magnitudes. This is evident in the fact that responses are present from both major parties and independents also, that don’t exactly mirror the facts. Information has been contorted to fit one’s belief; rather than the belief being the guide on how to process information accurately. Unfortunately this leads to more diluted facts that don’t work well for people who fall into the highly opinionated category.
These opinions often mimic the bully on the playground analogy when it comes to public discourse. Largely because public discourse ethics assumes that the public arena is a “sacred space” – a space to be protected, a space that is honored and valued (p. 108). Currently within this political climate, we see less civility and tolerance for idea’s that do not reflect our own. That is evident when you see a comment that is contrary to popular opinion; being met with harsh responses and personal attacks on the person who stated it.
Some of those attacks have been so hostile in nature that it would make sense that a moderator or referee step in to tone done the rhetoric. Unfortunately, the political distance has become so great that I don’t think the aid of a moderator would even be feasible at this point. People have deemed news outlets as being “fake news” so they are less inclined to believe what is published as truth, in order to default to their own beliefs and or opinions. Openness to difference has gone out of the window, and we are now firmly planted on two opposing sides.
If however we do not resort to finding some common ground; we will find ourselves in an internal an external civil war again. So we must attempt to be confident in the facts our beliefs; without being excluding of others who do not share those same ideals. In a changing world, public discourse is the communicative ethics protector of difference among persons and ideas our task is to keep the public domain safe for difference ( p. 108)
Arnett, R.C., Bell, L.M., Fritz, J., (2009) Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications