Listening to Diane Sawyer try to reduce and direct every question to its most base emotion point, made me think of a book I read a few months ago. It's called, "Seducing America: How Television Charms the Modern Voter," by Roderick P. Hart.
Here are some quotes from the book:
* "Television has a logic and that logic is fully in force when it comes to governance... Politics has become increasingly personal.
* "It is television that has changed how politics is conducted and how it is received."
* "The traditional press conference has given way to the presidential town-hall; the scathing broadside has been supplanted by the 15-second spot; campaign oratory has been replaced by the emotional collage of the convention film. But this book makes a more ominous claim: Television has changed politics itself."
* "As long as people choose to live together and as long as the world's resources remain finite, the essentialist would say, politics will do what it has always done: forge cooperation, enforce regulations. Television can hardly change these brute facts of public life. But television can, and does, mystify such facts. Television can, and does, make the public sphere seem more private."
* "Television makes us see politics in a certain way but also makes us see seeing in a certain way. Television tells us, a bit at a time, that politics can be reduced to pictures... Most important, television endorses a special set of feelings."
* "Television...now tells us how to feel about politics, producing in us a swagger whereby we tower above politics by making it seem beneath us...has made the burdens of citizenship increasingly taxing for us and it is, I believe, responsible for much of the alienation we now feel."
* "Television...fills an emotional void created by modern life itself. Television has become a delivery system for intimacy...If politics were suddenly obliterated from the television screen...politics would instantly become less personal."
* "(I)t is television's capacity to generate surprise that makes it especially attractive."
* "Social scientists have long noted...that those who watch television a great deal know precious little about how they are governed, presumably because political programming is directed at the lowest common denominator. But being informed and feeling informed are different matters. Many Americans, far too many Americans, feel eminently knowledgeable about politics, and that is a danger of some consequence."
* "Television miseducates the citizenry but, worse, it makes that miseducation functionally attractive."
* "Over the years, voter turnout has decreased even as television consumption has increased."
* "Watching governance has become equivalent to engaging governance. Because of television, even nonvoters can now feel politically exhausted."
* "What happens when people watch politics solely through a strategic lens? A cultural cynicism results, and it saps the body politic by making the miracle of self-governance seem a sham. But why is cynicism attractive? Because it is television's most natural language and because people derive pleasure from being in sync with popular culture."