04 August 2007

Senator Dodd and Mob Rule

This morning I watched the exchange between Bill O’Reilly and Senator Chris Dodd which I believe aired on the 3rd of August. It concerned, as has many of O’Reilly’s opening shots recently, the Daily Kos website. It seems that there’s a ton of needless and pointless invective on that site. I can’t comment on it directly. I don’t think I’d get much out of reading anything on the Kos site and won’t waste my time finding out if my guess is correct. My life will not be lessened by my assumption.

The one thing that struck me about Senator Dodd’s comments was his insistence that the Kos site is a valid, viable medium simply because so many people post their views on it. Through this line of thinking, mob rule would do just fine by Mr. Dodd. Bad behavior is justified simply because so many are in a given place at a given time, regardless of how many actually participate in the bad behavior.

By Senator Dodd’s logic, any website with adequate levels of participation should be free to harbor whatever hate people care to spew. I won’t list the obvious “high viewership” possibilities that come to mind.

What bothers me is that Senator Dodd and other presidential hopefuls have spent time and effort to go to Chicago and participate in the yearly Kos gathering, thereby giving public support to the content of the site.

The web abounds with off-the-cuff commentary and angry writer, many anonymous. It is sometimes the practical voice of various mobs. It asks us, through various strident voices, to tune out reason and buy into emotion. That politicians appear to support websites of the angry mob is troubling at the very least.

As “consumers” of content, we should ask ourselves just how far we want our leaders to venture into the land of mob rule and if we trust them to keep their heads about them. Will they fall in line with those angry voices; toe the line of the emotionally driven (which exist throughout the political spectrum)? And what should the public answer be to those who do? Do we really want to be governed by emotion?


Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of this joke motivation poster from Despair Inc., that restates this topic so eloquently. (http://despair.com/idiocy.html)

Bob M. said...

I love that site. I'll have to look again, but there's one that goes something like: "The only constant of all your failures is you." Another classic.