: I just opened the most upsetting email, one of many that responded to my view of Fahrenheit 9/11. It said in part:
Wake up Mr. Jarvis, we are a nation divided! It is us vs. them! What rock have you been living under for the past few years? I am much more afraid of Bush, Ashcroft, and the rest, then [sic] I am of any terrorists.
Now that is truly frightening. This man — a guy named Robert who lives in Moscow, ID (supply your own irony) — truly believes that his enemies are his fellow citizens and his President, not the terrorists who murdered 3,000 of my neighbors before my eyes.
What the hell is happening to America?
Or is it really happening to America?
Or is it happening to an extreme fringe?
When I was on CNN the other night, the only thing I said that surprised Aaron Brown and Jeff Greenfield — and it took them physically aback — was when I responded to the old saw that we are a divided nation and said, “It’s our fault.”
It’s our fault — in media and politics — when we paint America as a nation divided and it’s as if we want it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is why I have such a problem with Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 9/11: It seeks to divide.
It demonizes. And it picks the wrong demons. It’s us vs. them, but the them is us.
I hated it when the right wing demonized Bill Clinton. So, you know what? That pretty much makes me honor-bound to hate it when the left wing demonizes George Bush. For I do not believe that the half of America that elected the one is evil while the half that elected the other is angelic.
I can’t stand Michael Moore for looking at America as inspiration for leftist invective just as I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh for looking at America and spewing his right-wing rants.
I hate it when my colleagues in media talk about how we all hate each other when I see absolutely no reporting that backs that up; I can’t stand being turned into a one-dimensional fool by my own business.
Am I going to light a candle and ask, “Can’t we all get along?” No. The issue isn’t us. The issue is how we are portrayed by politicians, political activists, and media. They’re wrong about America.
So it’s time to turn the tables and treat them as they treat us: Let’s cut them out of one-dimensional cloth, for they truly deserve it.
It’s time to treat Michael Moore as the extremist that he is. Simple-minded, simplistic, mean, venemous, a hate-monger who does nothing to advance the debate and aims instead to divide. Add your nominees on the left.
And the same goes for Rush and Jerry Falwell and others who spew their hate and half-facts and bile and intolerance. Add your nominees on the right.
They are extremists.
And media are their dupes or, worse, coconspirators.
But we the people now have a medium to call our own. We need to use it to reclaim the reasonable middle.