Webb: When opinion becomes vitriol

Webb: When opinion becomes vitriol
© iStock

The right to opine on any issue, especially in politics, is considered an American art form. We didn’t invent it but in the modern era we’ve expanded its use and application especially with new technologies and social media.

Radio had the most reach for decades and still is an incredibly powerful communication medium. The rise of conservative talk radio demonstrates that, more often than not, opinion supported by facts will win the broadcast day.

The attempted rise of liberal talk radio has fallen flat in America. There are many examples of failed platforms like Air America, Pacifica Radio and even taxpayer-funded operations like NPR and other forms of public radio.

ADVERTISEMENT

Television is a relatively new invention and for many we can now visualize while an opposing point of view is destigmatize or demonize. Just more proof that anything can be used for good or bad or some combination of both.

The internet and any of its many platforms is the new battleground. Nobody dies in a computer crash, but careers can die on the internet. Social media has given rise to anonymous capability and while, like any tool, it can be used for good information to be shared, it is too often used just for destructive purposes and anonymous vitriol.

In recent days we have seen so many examples of opinion being pushed aside for all-out vitriol against the president. It’s no longer enough to disagree, but the aim is now to destroy by any means necessary, even at the expense of other liberals. This is not new, but the levels of vitriol now allow for outright lying and fantasyland scenarios.

An MSNBC host and panel ran with an example of how you can impeach Vice President Pence, make a deal with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions MORE (D-Calif.) to be vice president, impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE and get President Pelosi. There was a time when this wouldn’t have even made it past the first few words before being shut down.

Just a basic question for Democrats and those who disagree with Trump: Are you willing to destroy former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE or anyone necessary to get to Trump?

ADVERTISEMENT

Even Republican presidential candidates such as former South Carolina Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE suggests there could be an economic collapse and a financial storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen, as he talks about his primary challenge to Trump. 

To him and the never Trumpers: Do any of these Democratic contenders get you closer to your Republican goals?

So where does this lead us as a nation and culture? Society is under assault and widely accepted social norms have been too often pushed aside. Good behavior can coexist with the anonymity of avatars. If the avatar is negative and reflects who you are, then you’re the problem.

This is not just from a political perspective, but examine so many aspects of our culture that have been bullied into submission or given rise to enraged individuals in response.

What can we do, if anything? There’s a device and an app for that, whatever “that” is. 

Part of me wants to say put it down but that’s not realistic either. Maybe it’s just frustration with the lack of balance that has been destroyed individually and collectively for too many people in today’s world. Let’s solve the issues in the real world and it will go a long way in the new technology world. We have so many tools at our disposal and if used correctly and combined effectively can help more than hurt.

Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, host of “Reality Check with David Webb” on Fox Nation, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.