Exiting the Hyperbolic Chamber

I’ve spent too much time blogging, tweeting and bickering with radicals and nutcases over the last few years. I’m done. I’m stepping out of the hyperbolic chamber.

From this point forward, this space will be used to elevate the political discourse in America. I won’t be blogging about Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin unless they decide to run for elected office. You won’t see a post here about the various loony bloggers who I will not name, but who serve merely their own self-interest by saying loony things so that they’ll get retweeted and blogged.

I’ve come to realize that one of the Internet’s greatest strengths is also it’s greatest weakness. The Internet is great because it gives a voice to anyone. But the problem is that the Internet gives a voice to anyone. We need to filter.

Without the Internet, Sarah Palin would be the one-time vice president nominee from Alaska. The first female GOP VP nominee. If she had run in 1998 rather than 2008, before the advent of social media, she would have written a book that a few people would have read, and that would have been the end of her career in national politics.

But by leveraging the power of social networking, Palin has been able to build a sizable following and she’s been able to keep the media focused on her. She posted a video on Facebook and it became a national headline story for several days.

I’m in no way bemoaning the power of the Internet and social media, I think it’s revolutionary. However, the problem is that too often we can get sucked into the hyperbolic chamber. It’s easy to just sit back tweeting and blogging about Sarah Palin. It’s cheap copy. It’s cheap “news.” It’s the 21st century equivalent of apartment fires and car crashes. Rather than covering something of depth, something that has impact, it’s all too easy to just blather on about how stupid this person is or how crazy that one must be.

There are real issues that need to be covered, discussed and investigated. Health care. Poverty. Unemployment. Federal deficits. Education. Wall Street. War. Gun violence. But these issues take time to cover. You can’t micro-blog about them on Twitter 140 characters at a time. You can’t just dash out a story about poverty in 500 words. These stories requiring research and actual reporting.

So I’m stepping out of the hyperbolic chamber. Will you join me?

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