Public Discourse, Education, and the State of Democratic Deliberation
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Argues that the reliance on sound bites in recent political discourse is harmful to the democratic process.
Sound-Bite Saboteurs examines the emergence of a multifaceted, multimedia culture that encourages the use of sound bites to silence one's opponents at the expense of democratic deliberation and debate. No simple partisan phenomenon or mere attempt to "spin" a particular issue, sound-bite sabotage is, the authors argue, a sophisticated and media-savvy effort by public and private elites to destroy the grounds of public discourse, higher education, and democratic argument. By displacing democratic debate with political spectacle, sound-bite saboteurs attempt to keep citizens more entertained but less informed, more cynical but less engaged, more adept as consumers but less adept as agents. In a broad-based and integrated analysis of this phenomenon, the authors argue that sound-bite sabotage can and must be resisted both within the classroom and beyond.