The Listen Challenge

One of my pet peeves is baseless accusations.

I often respond to baseless accusations of folks like Limbaugh and Beck by simply asking if the accuser has any specific evidence to support their accusations or if they’ve ever even listened to the show.

If they say no, I challenge them to listen to an hour of the show and write down the things they agree and disagree with and the things that annoy them and then I’d be happy to have a conversation about those specific things.

I got to hear a perfect example of my Listen Challenge on the radio.

The DJ and her sidekick of local alternative music station morning drive show were discussing some Glenn Beck sound bites.  The sidekick played the first sound bite and the host responded something like:

Uggh…I don’t know what it is, but I can’t even listen to him.  There’s something about him that I just disdain.  If others like him, great, but he’s not for me.  I couldn’t even tell you what he just said because something in my brain shuts down whenever he starts talking.

The sidekick then falsely teed up the second sound bite:

In this one, Beck basically claims Martin Luther King applies now only to white people [or something like that].

The sidekick played the clip and something wonderful happened.  The host listened. She realized that her sidekick misrepresented the sound bite and she called him on it.

No, I don’t think that’s what he said.  I think he just said that we can all rejoice in Martin Luther King, which I agree with.

That’s a huge breakthrough. The first time she accidentally didn’t shut her brain down and listened to Glenn Beck, she agreed with him.

Maybe from this she’ll learn not to be so judgmental and she will listen more to what is actually said and rely less on the distortions from folks like her sidekick.

She may still disdain Beck.  But, if  she listens more she may be able to explain why instead of believing that it’s just an involuntary reaction in her brain. That will result in her being able to explain her disdain in more a convincing fashion:

“I don’t like [or simply] disagree with Glenn Beck because he believes X.  I think X is wrong because Y and Z.”

I can respect bashing when you have actual reasons.  I don’t respect bashing ‘just because’.  ‘Just because’ has never persuaded me.

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