No Party Labels
We have come through a brutal campaign season that further clarified and heightened the deep political divisions we have in this country. Healing this seems insurmountable, but maybe we could at least try some baby steps. For instance, sometime back I suggested the following experiment to both Fox News and CNN, but not surprisingly have not heard back.
What if, for a month of print/video news content, you did not refer to elected officials with the suffix (D) or (R), and introduced elected officials as “Senator Jones” instead of “Republican Senator Jones”, and Congressman Smith instead of “Democratic Congressman Smith”. The party label could still appear on news stories if appropriate, but the individual labels would disappear. Would news content and news talk show guests present differently if not defending the “brand”, i.e. party label? Would we the viewers seriously read/listen differently without pre-judging the un-labeled content? In other words, would real communication actually occur?
Maybe this wouldn’t work at the National level, since National news media seems intent on fanning bipolar political flames, not dousing them. But what about at the grass roots level? Could local newspapers and TV stations take up the challenge (for what I think would be a very positive response)? Could social media-savvy people get behind a Twitter/Instagram #NoPartyLabels campaign? It may be a small step but “un-labeled” communication could hopefully inch us toward becoming (with a nod to Fox News) a more “fair and balanced nation”.