James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Fields of screams: political commentary and kids’ soccer

Posted by James McPherson on August 27, 2010

I read a fair number of political blogs, both liberal and conservative, and a lot of news stories that now allow anonymous nitwits to post comments. It just occurred to me recently, however, how much those comment sections resemble a game of soccer involving 5-year-olds. Both involve:

  1. lots of pointless screaming and wailing
  2. juvenile pleas for attention, especially from one or two players who seem to be everywhere
  3. uncoordinated and often pointless back-and-forth that generally goes nowhere
  4. little planning or evidence of thinking
  5. almost no paying attention to others on either side
  6. bad grammar

Both also quickly become so boring that, unless they have a kid in the game, most people quickly wander off. At least with the kids’ game, you get some fresh air, rather than stale old B.S.

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2 Responses to “Fields of screams: political commentary and kids’ soccer”

  1. I almost like you even though I am very conservative until I noticed how much time you spend to belittle people.

    Whether what is or is not the ‘truth’ your heart motive and intent appear to me to be ‘bad fruit’. You do not care what the truth is, as long as your side prevails. I haven’t read all of your blogs but I have paid attention to enough of your comments on many blogs (as you seem passionate about posting a’reply’ on many peoples comments). You pick out the weakest link or the most ‘ignorant’ statements and then use them as a fulcrum to imbue the idea that they represent a majority.

    For instance, you taking a hateful statement from a supposed Christian, you surmise that they represent all Christians. I feel sorry for you, that you waste so much time playing into this political game, of which is a great farce of truth.

    I am not a fan of the ‘Christian Right’ nor do I think they represent God. Please do not act like this whole mess is not pre-meditated otherwise you’re surely more ignorant than I give you credit for… Stop fueling the fire.

    I’ll pray for you to have you eye’s opened to the truth, (at least you appear worth the prayer and intelligent enough to know spending more time on causes like feeding the poor and/or tending to the homeless on skid row (like in LA); or visit the sick and dying in a local children’s hospital, would be far more productive, positive and worthwhile).

    Arguing political semantics is the biggest waste of time and adds nothing to ‘Love’ of or for Human Beings. Especially, mocking Godly morality or insulting the Righteous, (and you know many of the hateful statements from people who claim to be Christians and are not) is not ever justified.

    God Bless you.

  2. James McPherson said

    “Arguing political semantics is the biggest waste of time …”
    Perhaps–and definitely, if I thought I was going to change many minds. But I might educate a few, while doing something I enjoy. Fishing, golf, watching television and reading are also things I enjoy, and also generally less productive than voluteer work (though I do some of that, too).
    And while insulting the righteous may not be justified, I believe that insulting the self-righteous definitely is justified. We might disagree at times about who fits in each of those categories, of course.
    But thanks for the comment and the prayers.

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