I watched a fair amount of ABC Sunday morning in the 1990s with Cokie Roberts (seen here in an ABC picture interviewing President Bush with George and Sam). This was back in the day when these shows were more interested in exploring the issues than yelling about the other side being wrong. Cokie Roberts was able to understand all sides of an issue and speak calmly and clearly.
My sense of the show was that they actually liked each other. Opinion disagreements were parts of the show and part of the friendship. Each person was not their political opinions; people had families, ups and downs, jobs, careers. The many articles coming out in response to her death talk about her kindness and mentoring of people. No people from one ‘side’ or another…just people.
I learned a lot from this show and from her. One of my takeaways was understanding that the person behind the opinion is more important than the opinion.
2 responses to “Cokie Roberts – back when journalism was more interested in thinking than yelling.”
Well said, John. Political discussions are no more, displaced by yelling and name calling. In my estimation, this decline began years ago with the advent of “talk radio.” The anonymity that it offered allowed people to be venomous, obscene and even threatening. That’s spread to most types of social media. I don’t know what, if anything, can bring back the civil, give-and-take of days past.
I think Talk Radio was the spark, I don’t think it was the fuel. I think there were, and still are, a lot of people that feel abandoned by “those in power” (in the eyes of the beholder). Along with the larger societal changes, people were feeling, and still are feeling, in less control over their life. The need to be right, the need to control something, the need to be heard. That is the fuel in our current political dumpster fire.