by Jeff Wilfahrt
Oct 17, 2013, 8:11 AM

CSPAN and things that go bump in the night

Back in 1984 Newt Gingrich cast aspersions as to the patriotism of the Democrats. He did so to an empty chamber in the middle of the night where there would be no immediate rebuttal.

Tip O’Neil contests Gingrich’s midnight exploitation of CSPAN.

To the extent that O’Neil is calling him out we find the fundamental cause of how we have come to the political impasse we find ourselves in today.

The next time you see a politician of any stripe on any news network speaking on a chamber floor ask yourself why the seats behind them, even in a tight shot, are empty. Both Republicans and Democrats have pursued O’Neil’s request for CSPAN to intermittently scan the seats and thereby reveal the absence of members. Both sides have denied those requests.

And now all those hot blooded speeches, rife with innuendos against the opposition party, are all too often given to an empty chamber.

Contemporary polls say blame the them all, Republican and Democratic alike, for dysfunctional government. There is some truth in that accusation but it falls short of including the national media. The CSPAN feeds are controlled by the respective chambers. The media rebroadcasts these empty chamber clips as if there existed some real floor debate.

When these cherry picked snippets are shown, there should be an inset showing how many, if any, members of the respective chambers are present.

The Republicans, the Democrats and the media are banking on the intellectual laziness of the American public. There is validity to the term boob tube.

Nobel prize winner Kahneman in his April, 2013 book, Thinking Fast and Slow, tells us thinking burns calories. Easier to allow what he calls System1 to jump to its conclusion by perception. It is time for the electorate to go on a thinking diet.

The ultimate blame America, is in the mirror.

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