Let’s Agree to Agree

The media should stop framing every issue as left vs. right.

March 2, 2011

People from different political spectrums can occupy some common ground. It’s the media that views the world in black and white—or in terms of its political coverage, left and right.

So said progressive Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor of The Huffington Post, and Republican strategist Mary Matalin during Tuesday’s General Session.

Despite fundamental differences in opinion about the Obama administration, the economy, and other issues, the two agree it’s time for the media to stop framing every issue as left vs. right.

“The crazier you are, the more TV time you get,” noted Matalin, referring to television’s plethora of political pundits.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineHuffington and Matalin co-host “Both Sides Now,” a radio show that examines both liberal and conservative viewpoints. Their biggest common bond: A belief that Americans must rediscover the virtues of the nation’s founding fathers.

“I see overwhelming evidence that things aren’t working,” Huffington said. “The attitude of ‘too big to fail’ still exists and unemployment is still over 9%. We can’t afford to pay for Head Start, but we’re spending $2.8 billion a week to fight a war in Afghanistan.”

Plus, young adults are at risk of “downward mobility,” she said. “My daughters and their friends have graduated from college and have done everything right, but they still can’t find jobs. We saved Wall Street—we need to create the same sense of urgency about jobs.”

“Many Americans have reached a tipping point where they believe the future for their children won’t be as bright as it was for them,” Matalin added. “To win the future, there’s a moral imperative for us to return to our founders’ virtues.”

This means relying less on the government for assistance and solving problems locally. Matalin, a New Orleans resident, cites the Big Easy’s resurgence following Hurricane Katrina—fostered largely by a recently elected Democratic mayor, for whom Matalin voted.

The construction of new schools, implementation of jobs programs, and other measures are transforming the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“The solution will be the accumulated efforts of everyone in the community,” Matalin said. “Local communities will bring America back. I’ve seen it.”

• View more GAC coverage here.