Saturday, June 19, 2004

For Argument's Sake...

John Leo on the lost art form of argumentation

I've had the opportunity to listen to Rush Limbaugh recently, and I came away unimpressed. My reaction to Sean Hannity's radio show is much the same, but I remain a fan of Neal Boortz's show. I attributed some of this split of opinion to the content of the shows; Rush and Sean talk nothing but politics, but Neal is inclined to discuss virtually any newsworthy subject. Neal is also more willing to have fun and cut up with his producers on the air.

But in the course of his column, I think Leo may have hit upon another distinction between the shows. Rush and Sean preach to the choir. Their listeners are folks who agree with them, and their callers are the same way. A fair number of Neal's listeners, however, don't agree with him, and Neal knows and likes this. Perhaps this difference in listenership is because of the other factors I mentioned above. Perhaps it's because Neal seems more willing to take calls from people who disagree with him. And while I do find myself sometimes irritated with Neal's methods of arguing, at least he *does* argue. He's not simply preaching to the choir, he wants people who don't agree with him now to change their opinions. They may not be convincing arguments; heck, sometimes they may not even be good ones. But it's an effort to reach beyond one's own ideological faithful.

This also explains why I tire of Neal's show when he begins to harp at length on Hillary or some leftist agenda. For the most part, I still agree with him, but it makes for much less interesting listening.

Back to Leo's column, I know that when we get to the Presidential debates for this year, the words will be just as scripted as he describes. Nothing will be spontaneous, and little will be persuasive either. Emphasis will once again be placed on the "what" of each's platform, with little to no talk of the "why" one course of action is superior to another.


Post a Comment

<< Home