I didn’t put Marjorie Taylor Greene in Congress and neither did you.
But she’s there. Not only is she there, but the Georgia pol with a history of supporting QAnon conspiracies has House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ear, which makes her views — regardless of whatever else they are — newsworthy.
CBS and “60 Minutes” were roasted this week in some circles for airing Lesley Stahl’s interview with Greene for giving the member a “platform” to proclaim such head-scratching hyperbole as Democrats’ being a bunch of pedophiles.
Personally, I want to hear the rhetoric. I want to hear what she’s thinking. I want to hear her views on current events.
You should, too, because she isn’t the only one who harbors them. Pretending Greene and other like-minded individuals are going to disappear or have a change of heart if everyone would only squirrel away into their respective echo chambers to rant is foolish.
Shaming others into believing the opinions of a government leader isn’t worth hearing is what you’re advocating by saying CBS shouldn’t have aired a Greene interview. You’re saying your views are better than someone else’s. You’re saying our freedom of speech is limited to those whose speech you find agreeable.
It’s condescending, elitist, pompous and, as recent history is playing out, completely ineffective and counterproductive to advancing your viewpoint.
Silencing someone isn’t winning an argument. It doesn’t change hearts and minds. It does the opposite. It makes the person being shushed resentful. It hardens their beliefs.
More snide comments on social media or politically driven media outlets only make the wall between us thicker. It drives more people into the safety of their keyboards and disturbingly deeper into their own minds and imaginations.
Like it or not, Greene is a U.S. government leader. “60 Minutes” and Stahl are doing their job by informing the public about the rhetoric she’s using. Thanks to their work, we know she’s distancing herself from QAnon. She’s not publicly advancing delusions that the Parkland school shooting was staged.
We understand that Greene believes that many Democrats are pedophiles because they believe gender-affirming therapies for teenagers are effective in helping them become their true selves. She sees such approaches as inappropriate sexualization.
Stahl gasped at the statement.
Would it be better if “60 Minutes” hadn’t aired it?
If this is what a Republican member of Congress truly believes, my answer is no.
Having this admission stated in public gives us all an opportunity to talk it out. It opens the door to conversation, listening (which is something everybody could improve on) and learning.
Have you noticed how politicized our country has become?
You believe this, you’re a Republican. You believe that, you’re a Democrat. The vanishing number of independents are increasingly being recruited or manipulated by both sides.
Political actors are lobbying the news media — historically more motivated by ratings, clicks, readers and profits — to portray their talking points in a way that is flattering for their side, and not the other.
The media is pressured into having the courage of other people’s convictions. When the impartial media refuses, it’s often accused as being biased, corrupt or “fake.”
Some outlets have caved in. They’ve turned advocacy journalism into a business model. Apparently, there’s money in feeding this insatiable appetite of looking at the world through a particular shade of light.
It releases the dopamine. Makes us feel good that others are wearing the same-colored glasses.
But not everybody is staring through the same tint. They never will.
That’s where “60 Minutes” and other credible news outlets come in.
We need to expose ourselves to the world around us. Understand where others are coming from. That’s where we learn. Begin conversations. Find some consensus. Move forward. Repeat.
We need more Stahl interviews with Marjorie Taylor Greene, not fewer.
Otherwise, we’re all just spinning our wheels. Our respective ruts get deeper, and nobody is moving.
(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol news service MIRS at email@example.com.)
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