Letter: Reject extremism and debate with rationality and respect

(Richard Drew | Associated Press file photo) In this March 2, 2017 file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio, in New York. The liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America this week released two batches of recordings Carlson made as a guest on a radio show where he made denigrating remarks about race and gender. It was timed to coincide with Fox’s first-ever sales meeting with advertisers on March 12, 2019. Media Matters says it wants to pressure Fox into better behavior by making advertisers aware of what is being said on the air. Carlson says critics want to shut Fox down.

I am so tired of extremism and its incredibly damaging effects on society. Why have we simply discarded the approach of respectfully considering others’ views in attempting to reach the most reasonable and rational answer or solution to a given issue or problem? Maybe it’s because an intelligent, well-reasoned discussion of actual facts and issues is never as entertaining as extreme labeling (as evidenced by the unfortunate popularity of the entertainers who portray themselves as “news” personnel on Fox), but clearly, the use of extreme and emotionally charged labeling has taken over the debate of issues in our society.

Real issues are never solved by taking the simplistic shortcut of labeling your opponent’s view with loaded terms such as “heretic,” “socialist,” “racist” or “liberal,” hoping to gain an immediate advantage in the debate or even justify harsh actions (including violence) based on all of the preconceived negative connotations that may be associated with that label.

The only real and helpful discussion has always been, and should always be, a balanced effort to calmly and respectfully use reason and rationality, based on actual facts rather than distorted half-truths, to reach an effective solution.

It may not be as fun or entertaining to acknowledge facts that support an opponent’s position, but the calm use of reason and rationality, without fear of considering valid points raised by others who view things differently, is most valuable to the process of finding real solutions in all areas of our lives.

Cliff Payne, Holladay

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