David Brooks appeared on C-SPAN's In Depth segment as part of their series, Book TV this Sunday and par for the course, the viewers were treated to a big dose of David Brooks doing his best to whitewash and gloss over the extremism we see on the right and playing the “both sides” false equivalencies game by lumping together Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz.
I won't argue with anyone who doesn't care for both Schultz and Olbermann's sometimes bombastic style and the fact that both of them can resort to hyperbole when trying to get a point across or when either of them have their backsides up because they're upset about something.
But neither Keith Olbermann or Ed Schultz is a Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter because like their styles or not, they happen to keep the majority of their reporting based on something called facts. Unlike David Brooks who has built his career on trying to pretend that the Republican Party in any way, shape or form has the interest of the working class at heart and that they're doing anything other than looking out for the interests of the elite in the United States and trying to make their ideas palatable to people who should otherwise find them offensive.
Brooks was asked this question by one of their Twitter followers:
Does the inflammatory approach of the entertainment-style pundits like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter hurt the conservative cause?
Here's how he responded.
BROOKS: I guess, you know, Keith Olbermann on the other side and some of the MSNBC folks. You know, I do a show, I do two shows on a regular basis. I do the Newshour with Jim Lehrer and Meet the Press. And there we have very good discussion that I'm proud to be a part of. I feel really good when I leave the sets of those shows. And we get pretty good ratings, in fact, quite good ratings. Better than a lot of those cable shows.
And I don't understand why more people don't do it. C-SPAN does it, have very high level discussion, and so you know, I think the kind of stuff we do is good for the country and I think the kind of stuff that Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter do is a form of entertainment, which, you know, is bad for the country.
It leads to a style of misinformation where you, I spoke earlier of the confirmation bias, where you just want to hear things that tell you how right you are all the time. And I think a lot of what those shows, whether it's Ed Schultz or Ann Coulter, that's what it is. And they're not looking at problems which are real, which is the real problems of the world are complicated and if you turn it into a morality play, you're doing harm to the country.
When asked about Rush Limbaugh, Brooks said he's not a huge fan, but he's “whitty.” He also went on to call his audience “very well informed” on a lot of issues while immediately saying they believe a lot of lies as well.
Brooks called Limbaugh “a more responsible figure” than Glenn Beck and then also admitted that he listens to Limbaugh. Brooks also tried to dismiss Limbaugh's influence on his listeners by saying that Limbaugh is not capable of influencing how they vote.
For anyone that would like to do mounds of reading on how this sort of interview is just par for the course with Brooks, I would highly recommend reading my fellow C&L contributor and weekly podcaster here, the inimitable Driftglass' very insightful posts on David Brooks whose writing skills I am extremely jealous of and have no illusions of ever coming close to approaching, and who dismantles Brooks' hackery and false equivalencies on a regular basis.
And if you're worried about a David f-ing Brooks reference or some similar language that I'm sure Brooks would find extremely impolite and uncivil, unlike the very polite job he does of lying to his readers and viewers on a regular basis, some of Driftie's work may not always be safe for work. So if you visit his blog and your boss doesn't appreciate a curse word appearing on your computer, don't say you weren't warned.