Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

I promise there is a non-political point to this:

If you don’t already listen to Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz show, go to their website and listen. The podcast is one of the most downloaded programs on iTunes each week, and the show has an estimated audience of 2,000,000 people.

This week, the celebrity guest was Janeane Garofalo, a liberal comedienne who used to host a program on Air America radio. You can hear her on this week’s show around the 17:30 mark. She’s on for about 10 minutes.

Now, for the amusing part. I was at the taping for this show. The 10 minute segment was edited down from the nearly 30 minutes that the phone conversation took place. In that extra time (not heard on the final program), Garofalo ranted about the political Right in nearly every sentence, prefaced a remark by saying she wasn’t sure if the FCC would allow it, and visibly (to me, anyway) annoyed host Peter Sagal as well as the three panelists.

How you manage to annoy people that are presumably on your side
is amazing.

At one point, Peter Sagal asked Garofalo if she had ever spoken with a conservative Republican to simply talk about the issues. Just a chat, without yelling, name-calling, etc. A talk where points could be conceded to the other side. She managed to go off on a tangent and eventually implied that she hadn’t done this.

After she finished her segment and hung up, the host turned to the audience and made a side remark (also not in the final program) that she was the second extremely liberal person they had brought on the show. He had asked both of them the same question about whether they had ever sat down and just had a conversation with someone who was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both women hadn’t done this. Neither seemed like they would anytime soon, either.

It’s why I like Off the Map and this blog. The people who comment publicly and write me privately come from a whole variety of backgrounds, but they want to have these dialogues without resorting to one-way diatribes.

The question is how we get people to listen to this type of conversation instead of the voices on both extremes who are unwilling to admit any weak points at all.

[tags]Wait Wait, Peter Sagal, NPR, Janeane, Garofalo, Off the Map[/tags]

  • jim

    I continue to admire your balance and discipline and will follow you as you help others learn how to practice the same

    your friend
    Jim

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen aka Ir

    Hi Hemant,

    Thanks for the favorable mention of Off The Map. We definitely share your interest in promoting calm reasoned dialog and we appreciate your efforts to do so. Also your excellent role-modelling of how to do it.

    By the way, I wrote a blog entry on the eBay atheist blog this morning based on your observations and final question: Radio Shows, Rants and Ratings