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WINGNUTS: HOW THE LUNATIC FRINGE IS HIJACKING AMERICA

by JOHN AVLON

Little annoys me as much as false balance. Fox News is perhaps the most famous purveyor of that position and because of that notoriety, the right get unfair blame in the unbalancing wars.  

John Avlon's book, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, provides strong evidence that the left can play the game just as well when it wants to.  Purporting to be a review of lunatics on both fringes, the book instead lists heavily against the right.  (When the book came out, Bill Maher called Avlon on just this point: you can see that video here.)

That listing is a real shame because the book has a great deal to say about the way that extremists dominate the dialogue, shouting down the rest of us. The use of lies, political spin, political marketing and deliberate obfuscation should be a wake up call to us all and yet, instead, they continue to reverberate through what Avlon calls "the echo chamber."

I wish, though, Avlon had oriented his thesis more around solutions: our dialogue--as I have long argued--requires a louder silent majority (and please ignore the oxymoron) aimed at reasoned, cogent conversations. As a treatise on the current polemical landscape I highly recommend the book; however, as a presentation of solutions we'll have to wait for the sequel.

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