Friday, August 10, 2007

Choosing your opponents - Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Thom Hartmann

Every APF pundit has a staple of moves they bring to each debate, especially when its on their turf. Sean Hannity's go-to move involves reading a litany of controversial quotes from like minds of the opponent, then asking them to defend the indefensable. Bill O'Reilly's arsenal includes 'cutting the mic' and 'raising his voice'. These type of tactics are deliberately theatrical and more often than not provide entertainment rather than intelligent discussion.

The guests are booked so they can be pounced on. These guests will often be highly partisan or asked to defend something that is highly partisan. It makes for a riveting slugfest or as Bill O'Reilly calls it, "a shootout".

One of the more interesting debaters is honorary APF pundit, Thom Hartmann. While most pundits book opponents that are the easiest targets or make for the best fireworks (i.e ratings). Thom Hartman will go for for partisans of a different sort. Thom debates with thinktank representatives and other ideological opposites and attempts to invalidate the whole premise of their beliefs. Conversational in tone, often enlightening and usually not an inch given by either side. As Thom says in a buzzflash interview:
Thom Hartmann -- Air America's Renaissance Man Talk Show Host
The arguments that are put forth by the conservatives on my program are the arguments that progressives encounter constantly out there in the world.

So it's not so much that I'm beating this guy up on your behalf. It's rather that he and I are having a discussion so that the extremes of the issue and the depth of the issue can be illuminated, so that for every one of his talking points, or every dimension of his perspective, I can provide the alternative dimension or the alternative talking point. My listeners then have a better tool kit for interacting with the conservatives in their lives ... At the end of the day, you still work in the cubicle next to the guy, or he's still your brother-in-law, or in my case, was my late Dad.

-- Air America Radio Host Thom Hartmann

The Ayn Rand Institute is one of Thom's favorite sparring partners. The Ayn Rand website states in its introduction that the ARI
seeks to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today's culture.

For the liberal Thom Hartmann this is a great starting point to sink his teeth into. Debating issues as far ranging as Health Care, Income inequality and Indian patents. Be sure to check out all their debates on the Ayn Rand website.

View the Thom Hartmann Vs Ayn Rand Institute archives
Listen to Thom and 'The ARI' debating CEO pay
Listen to Thom and 'The ARI' debating the Free Market
Listen to Thom and 'The ARI' debating the rights of corporations

Read the BuzzFlash Thom Hartmann interview
Visit the Thom Hartmann website
Visit the Ayn Rand Institute website

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