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Klavan: The Television Era Gave The Left A Distinct Advantage

By  Jacob Airey
DailyWire.com

The appeal to emotion is what today’s Left does best, but why does it work so much better than good old-fashioned logic and reason? Andrew Klavan argues that the television era ushered in a new form of politics, one that gave the Left a clear and distinct advantage. He explains the development on Wednesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show.”

“I think it’s a cliche but it’s also true, that leftism is an emotional appeal,” he said. “Whereas right-wingers are sometimes too reasonable and too logic based, but they are more reasonable and more logic based so they are going to be more involved with words. The minute things became televised, the Left took a distinct advantage. The minute things became about images.”

“But television and the media has also done something else,” he continued. “It’s also emphasized extreme ideas. Why? Because it is much more fun to turn on the TV and hear one guy yelling that ‘MS-13 is invading your country to rape your children’ and the other guy yelling ‘racist, racist, racist’ than it is to hear two people saying, ‘Well look, obviously we’ve got to restore the borders. We’ve got to secure the border. How do we go about doing that? What’s your policy and why? And here’s mine.'”

“It is simply better click bait to have people talking about extremes” because it makes for better television than two people debating their arguments based on logic and reason, he explained. But it’s not just the “click bait” comments that have dumbed down the debate, it’s also the images.

“Television imagery is stupid,” he continued. “It is shallow. It’s effecting and it is moving but it gets to your heart very easily. Images go right to your heart. Words have to work their way there through your mind and that is the change that the media has wrought. We are living in a society where we are being taught to be illiterate and to judge things on the way they look.”

Video and transcript below:

Recently I was re-reading the Federalist Papers, and one of the things that I was really struck by is the founders – these papers obviously that were written to sell the constitution to the public, and the founders just foresaw everything. They knew so much about human nature. They knew where the corruption would come in. They knew where the arguments would be. They were just amazing. But one thing they did not foresee is the invention of television. I was thinking this as I was watching it.

Television, and now of course social media and the media of the internet and all those things, because they assumed that our loyalties would remain close to our localities, close to the state. They didn’t count on the effect on the imagination that television was going to have in bringing us all together and making the president the center of our national idea instead of our state, instead of the governor. Instead of worrying about what’s happening in our schools and towns and our states and defending our state’s right to make decisions. We’re now so focused, I mean we wake up and go to sleep and we’re thinking about politics, thinking about the president of the United States. And that’s only one thing that happened.

One of the great turning points in American Politics was when, in 1960, Richard Nixon debated John F. Kennedy. It was a turning point toward the Left. It was a turning point away from reason and toward emotion.

A society that lives by images is a stupid society, a shallow society. In the Middle Ages, the world was divided between people who were literate, the elites, and most of the people were illiterate and that’s why there were such beautiful pictures and so many pictures in churches. It was the gospel of the illiterate. It was things people could look at to get the stories. People who live by images live a shallow and emotional life. People who live by words live a life that could be at least governed by thought and reason.

So, obviously, we know that I think it’s a cliche but it’s also true, that leftism is an emotional appeal, whereas right-wingers are sometimes too reasonable and too logic based, but they are more reasonable and more logic based so they are going to be more involved with words. The minute things became televised, the Left took a distinct advantage. The minute things became about images.

But television and the media has also done something else. It’s also emphasized extreme ideas. Why? Because it is much more fun to turn on the TV and hear one guy yelling that “MS-13 is invading your country to rape your children” and the other guy yelling “racist, racist, racist” than it is to heat two people saying, “well look, obviously we’ve got to restore the borders. We’ve got to secure the border. How do we go about doing that? What’s your policy and why? And here’s mine.” It is simply better click bait to have people talking about extremes. When you can have somebody come on and say “men and women are the same, there’s no difference between men and woman and if you think there is, you’re sexist.” That creates outrage.

You’re going to watch something that makes you outraged. You’re not going to watch people start to talk in rational terms about the scientific information which increasingly shows that there are deep and abiding differences between men and women and here is what they are. Of course, even though there are deep abiding differences between two classes of people, they may not affect you as an individual. All that stuff is nuanced and shaded and it just doesn’t work on television. Television imagery is stupid. It is shallow. It’s affecting and it is moving but it gets to your heart very easily. Images go right to your heart. Words have to work their way there through your mind and that is the change that the media has wrought. We are living in a society where we are being taught to be illiterate and to judge things on the way they look.

Listen to more of The Andrew Klavan Show on iTunes here.

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