The Participation Blog

The Jerks are Winning

Rude behavior at public meetings used to be an anomaly – the exception to the norm. But that ship sailed a long time ago. Media deregulation, the loss of the fairness doctrine, and the general suspension of the equal time rule gave rise to Rush Limbaugh and hate radio, followed by Fox News and the rest of the professional anger and propaganda business empire. If people believe professional wrestling is real, just think of what Tucker Carlson can sell! (And you can also throw the Jerry Springer [RIP] Show in the mix as a catalyst.) This shock and infotainment media change helped to teach and encourage people to act and say things in public that were socially unacceptable prior to that time. Don’t think that people were all milquetoast losers before then, but there was at least a tendency toward basic human decency. Sounds quaint, doesn’t it? We help professional public managers navigate this new reality because not only has bad behavior become socially acceptable, it’s now protected by the courts.