Much of the reporting in the press since the attack of Sept. 11 has focused on the anti-United States propaganda being dished out in so many parts of the world.
Religious fundamentalist schools in the Mideast and Asia have painted us as the personification of evil itself, and inflamed the passions of zealots eager to do us harm. We have begun to question the motives of nations previously thought to be allies, as well as those we acknowledge as unfriendly or enemies. Indeed, there are even reports of such groups in our own country who, in a more covert way, are espousing the same line of thought.
Needless to say, it is very difficult to conduct a sane foreign policy amidst such hate and distrust. It seems, at times, that virtually every move we, as a nation, make is immediately subject to scorn and suspicion. I do not believe that such hatred serves the cause of freedom anywhere in the world, and we should rightly condemn its proliferation.
And yet, when I am in the car and turn on the radio, it seems to me that I am hearing a lot of similar thoughts being expressed by our own people. Talk shows, it would appear, have become one of our favorites pastimes and they extend from the far right to the far left with very little in between. Liberal or conservative, the enemy appears to be our own government. Hosts and callers alike spout venom that would fit nicely into a good many foreign propaganda mills.
I guess the part I dislike most about such programs, in addition to the hatred they dispense, is the colossal ignorance they spread. Callers and hosts alike are often “down on what they are not up on.” Or, in many cases, they take a half-truth and enlarge it into a great lie.
An ancient cynic once remarked: “You musnt enthrone ignorance just because there is so much of it.” And yet, the talk show debasement of all branches of government continues unabated. No wonder it is so hard to govern and to find qualified candidates willing to expose themselves to such treatment.