February 19, 2004

With Marshall, It's All Personal

As I was driving to work this morning, I caught the replay of the last hour of Hugh Hewitt's show from last night, and the quality of the debate from Joshua Micah Marshall stunk, and that's been the rule rather than the exception. Both in tone and in content, Marshall constantly relies on personal attacks and hysterical approaches whenever Hugh challenges him on a political issue. Last night the topic was John Kerry's Senate testimony in 1971 that alleged that the US murdered 200,000 Vietnamese a year, but the topic is irrelevant.

Here's the template for debates between Hugh and Marshall:

H: So, Josh, have you read the report today that says the sky is blue?

J: Oh, Hugh, that is so like you and your buddies on the right! What does color have to do with anything? You and your colorist friends never complained that the sky wasn't pink during the last Bush administration!

H: Josh, I'm just referring to this article --

J: That article has already been discredited, it's so lame, and I can't believe you're still talking about that, Hugh.

H: But the sky has been consistently the same across different partisan administrations --

J: Oh, my God, Hugh, that is just ridiculous, you KNOW it's a matter of perspective. From your right-wing cloistered view, of course the sky is always blue. I can't believe you mislead your listeners like this.

And so on and so on, week in and week out. Peter Beinart of The New Republic gets hysterical in debate on occasion, but for the most part actually debates, rather than trading in invective and desperately attempting to change the subject. I'm beginning to understand Hugh's motivation for inviting Marshall on the air with him: to underscore the intellectual bankruptcy of a good portion of the Left, including the so-called intelligentsia.

While learning to debate in high school and college, two key concepts were repeatedly drilled into us -- whoever raises his voice first loses the argument, and whoever resorts to personal attacks forfeits credibility. Joshua Micah Marshall apparently never learned this, and judging from his appearances on the air, didn't do too well in comportment, either.


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