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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

THE QUESTION

How do we end the rhetorical arms race?

Vitriolic political rhetoric is on the rise for one simple reason: it works. In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, what can political, business and community leaders do to change the political dynamic so that demonizing opponents is not a winning strategy? How do we end the rhetorical arms race?

Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on January 11, 2011 10:09 AM
FROM THE PANEL

Managing anger and fear

Somehow it's become accepted to publicly manifest one's anxiety, especially through anger. This is not to say that we won't face significant challenges in the years that lie ahead, but giving way to fear is the first self-indulgent step toward giving up...

Posted by West Point Cadets, on January 12, 2011 6:43 PM

What's your piece of the mess?

Hyperbolic politicians and the media and gun laws may or may not have contributed, Best as I can tell, we are already into heavy demonizing of "the other" in the aftermath of the tragedy...

Posted by Marty Linsky, on January 11, 2011 7:29 PM

Making the case for civility

The Tucson tragedy is at least a momentary reset in the super-heated discussion in Washington. The truth is that no one knows what the long-run impact is going to be, and everyone is scrambling to find the right note...

Posted by Donald Kettl, on January 11, 2011 7:22 PM

Our role in this tragedy

Our pattern seems to be a brief awakening during a crisis, at which time we are startled and sickened by the horror of what happened, but then we soon return to a semi-conscious state that serves to distance us from...

Posted by Katherine Tyler Scott, on January 11, 2011 7:10 PM

May this be a wake-up call

Leaders set a tone. When leaders in public life speak about their opponents in hateful, over-the-top vitriol, it makes people more fearful of those they disagree with and what they are doing to our country. When "lock and load" and "second amendment remedies" are part of the discourse, it sets a tone that...

Posted by Paul Schmitz, on January 11, 2011 6:59 PM

We need more Joseph Welch moments

Some of the louder voices in our society these days seem to believe that extremely bitter criticism of the government equates with the deepest patriotism. That's not necessarily the case...

Posted by Yash Gupta, on January 11, 2011 11:47 AM

It will take responsible leaders

Provocative radio and TV commentators won't disappear as long as they draw a large audience. But unless responsible leaders reject followers in their own parties who preach lessons of hate, unstable listeners will continue to believe that destructiveness...

Posted by Michael Maccoby, on January 11, 2011 11:42 AM

This is about guns, not rhetoric

Anyone who thinks that "vitriolic political rhetoric" is what killed and wounded the people in Arizona is in desperate need of a crash course in ballistics. It wasn't words; it was a Glock...

Posted by Alan M. Webber, on January 11, 2011 11:35 AM

Sandbox rules for politicians

Thus far, this system of communication has worked on some level because we're tuning in; we're supporting networks, radio stations and publications that broadcast this rubbish; and on some level, the American public is buying in...

Posted by Alaina Love, on January 11, 2011 10:47 AM

From rhetoric to reality

Today's violent rhetoric is a symptom of a larger social virus, one that has attacked and crippled the American attention span. After this weekend's unspeakable tragedy, many...

Posted by Coro Fellows, on January 11, 2011 10:47 AM

It's hard to be hopeful

I am still waiting for a talk show host or politician of any political persuasion to say, "I think my rhetoric has been excessive and...

Posted by Howard Gardner, on January 11, 2011 10:42 AM
John Baldoni

Respect the rights of those who serve us

Judged by what passes for political discourse--with partisans on both sides hurling invectives--it would be tempting to blame extreme partisanship for the tragedy. That would...

Posted by John Baldoni, on January 11, 2011 10:22 AM
David Walker

The dramatic decline in civility

The time has come for all elected officials and candidates for public office to pledge to refrain from personal attacks and gross distortions of facts for partisan political...

Posted by David Walker, on January 11, 2011 10:14 AM

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