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Christopher Scott

Marine combat veteran, 4X author, speaker and host of over 1,700 podcasts and radio shows. 

We’re the Jerry Springer Nation

American political debate has turned into trash TV

United States politics has started to resemble the notorious Jerry Springer Show. If you recall, TV talk shows gained popularity during the Phil Donahue era. Phil Donahue, an eccentric character, pioneered the show format that later gave rise to the Oprah Winfrey show. They targeted daytime viewers, predominantly stay-at-home moms, with clean and informative content.

Then, Jerry Springer entered the scene. His show, featuring sensational topics like paternity disputes and romantic betrayals, often ended in brawls. Despite the widespread criticism, it attracted millions of viewers. The show was characterized by mudslinging, yelling, and trash talk, much like modern day social media news feeds or political discourse.

Here's a screen shot of CSPAN congressional hearing highlights. Not really but it could be.

Today's society seems to have regressed in maturity, especially when discussing social and governmental issues. Conversations have been reduced to sound bites, memes, and name-calling. The question is, where are we headed with this, and what does it accomplish?

When observing the diverse viewpoints of Americans, it's clear that two distinct ideologies exist. We've become divided, unable to agree on most issues. This polarization is evident in the headlines and on social media, where opinions are absolute and leave little room for reason or compromise.

But why is the country so polarized? Why can't we agree on anything? How did we become enemies with each other?

The answer lies in a hidden game of tit-for-tat played by politicians, unions, big corporations, and the media. This game, often referred to as political correctness or extremism, is not new. Disagreements have always existed. However, the method of communication has changed. Instead of healthy debates, we now witness personal attacks, lies, and deceptions. The question remains, what happened or rather, what is happening? What changed?

I recall the debut of the Jerry Springer show in 1991. It was unique and innovative for its time, though some of us questioned its quality. Springer would begin his show sliding down a stripper pole, setting the tone for the rest of the program. Howard Stern, another controversial figure, at least offered humor and intelligence. In contrast, Springer's show seemed devoid of intellectual value. Despite this, the show became massively popular leading other talk shows to revamp their formats to compete.

I have to give some credit to Oprah Winfrey, who kept her integrity intact despite the pressure to conform. She is a stark contrast to Springer's viewership, which I question for its values and character. Jerry Springer, despite hosting what I perceive as a show for losers, is also a lawyer and politician. His political affiliation? Well, that's for you to guess.

The popularity of Springer's brand of talk shows is indicative of public desire, or at least, perceived desire. Nowadays, politics, news, and social media have morphed into a massive Jerry Springer-like spectacle. Unless you live in seclusion, it's hard to escape it.

I'm not blaming Springer for the current societal divisions. He's merely a symbol of broader trends. It begs the question - who benefits from a divided public opinion?

Creating a common enemy is a simple, albeit shallow and often counterproductive, tactic to rally support. The downside is that it fosters division instead of unity based on principles. Those who get drawn into it often end up disappointed.

So, who benefits from creating a common enemy? It's certainly not the average person. However, those who seek followers, such as corporations, news outlets, politicians, bloggers, and speakers, often employ this tactic. It's now commonplace to create a common enemy, leaving us fighting amongst ourselves and not progressing.


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