The Dark Campaign I: Mudmen

The Dark Campaign I: Mudmen

: Sinclair Broadcasting — the real right-wing TV — has ordered its stations to preempt programming before the election to run an anti-Kerry show. To get around all that’s right and holy and legal, the company is inviting Kerry to appear — with full expectation that he won’t, of course.

Jay Rosen says Kerry should show up anyway for a final confrontation with the right wing: “America will watch. And if he can’t win that broadcast, he does not deserve to win the prize.”

Jay expects me to disagree and I’m not going to disappoint him. I suspect that Jay thinks the nuts will expose themselves as nuts and Kerry will reveal himself to be above it all.

But I don’t think we should keep pandering to the fringes, the nuts, the nasties, the mudmen. They are like bratty children off their meds: They do it for the attention. Give them attention and they’ll never behave. They deserve to be ignored and, in due course, they will go overboard and burn up like the latest trend in reality TV.

I think that Jay wishes for a Joseph-McCarthy-“Have-you-no-shame” moment. I wish for that, too. But I fear it will backfire. Attention to these guys is like more plutonium to a chain reaction.

So how do we stop the nuts? How do we hose down the mudmen? By ignoring the lunatic fringes and paying attention instead to the wisdom of the crowd — the essence of democracy.