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October, 2012

A Well Deserved Recognition

by Larry

On February 21st of this latest presidential campaign year, notorious for discord and attempted election buying by political action committees with war chests in the millions from well heeled Republican or Democratic donors, something remarkable occurred: right leaning commentator David Brooks, columnist for "The New York Times" and famously regular pundit on "The PBS Newshour," and left leaning commentator Mark Shields, columnist for "Creators Syndicate" and an equally well known regular (with David Brooks) on the "PBS Newshour," received a joint "Prize for Civility in Public Life," the first such award, from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA.

Allegheny College Admissions Building (Wikimedia)
It is about time! These days, it seems all the rewards, in advertising, income, prestige, books sold, interviews given, campaign contributions raised, air time, newspaper column inches, headlines, political election or re-election, and so on, go to those who eagerly demonstrate their nearly limitless capacities for incivility.

The popular Brooks and Shields political analysis duo on "The PBS Newshour" has been ongoing weekly for a number of years. They are also regularly seen in PBS analyses of major political speeches and debates.

David Brooks, who got his professional start as a police reporter in Chicago, is also a frequent commentator on PBS' "All Things Considered" radio program. Mark Shields, who besides his television presence and writing has helped manage campaigns in 38 states, is in addition a weekly panelist on "Inside Washington," which airs on ABC and PBS.

Our hope is that others will begin to emphasize what the majority of the electorate already much prefer, respectful discussions of serious issues by intelligent people who generally act like grown-ups and are willing to make genuine efforts not only toward polite interchange but also solutions that reflect reasonable and common interests. Here's to David Brooks and Mark Shields for their exceptional records and to Allegheny College for this well timed and highly deserved endorsement of courtesy in American commentary and politics!

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