Should Liberal TV Hosts Open Their Shows To Conservative Speakers?

Should Liberal TV Hosts Open Their Shows To Conservative Speakers?

When Trevor Noah had Tomi Lahren on his show, what did we gain from it?

I rode in my mom’s car to and from school every day through junior high and high school, and we always listened to the radio. On the way to school in the morning, we would listen to the liberal news from Chicago. On the way home, we would listen to the conservative talk show hosts.

One time I asked my mom why she listened to people she didn’t agree with. She replied, “It’s important to know what the other side is thinking.”

While watching Trevor Noah, liberal host of “The Daily Show”, interview Tomi Lahren, conservative host of TheBlaze’s “Tomi,” my first instinct was to apply my mom’s lesson. The Washington Post called the interview an attempt “to do something about the liberal media echo chamber”. By “echo chamber”, they mean how people tend to only listen to media that agrees with the views that they already have—how it would be if my mom and I had listened to the same news sources before and after school, instead of switching things up. Lots of people only watch shows from one side of the political spectrum; for instance, they watch Fox News or CNN, and not both. Someone who only watches “The Daily Show” is getting one side of the political spectrum, one way of looking at the world. But in this episode, Trevor Noah brought in Tomi Lahren, someone whose worldview is diametrically opposed to Noah’s and his audience’s.

During the show, Noah challenged several of the arguments that Lahren has made on her show – that Black Lives Matter is a movement of “rioters,” that “mainstream media” cannot be trusted, and that Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem is “inappropriate.” Noah had counterarguments for each of her points, at one point calling her out for outright racism (Lahren: “I don’t see color.” Noah: “If you don’t see color, what do you do at stoplights? There's nothing wrong with seeing color. It's how you treat color that's more important.”). Neither Noah nor Lahren backed down or changed their mind about anything, but overall it felt like a civil conversation. It was certainly a change of pace from the usual scene of Noah making jokes at conservative news clips, unable to talk back to him.

But afterwards I saw some people on Facebook saying that all that Noah had done was give Lahren a wider platform for her hateful rhetoric.

A couple years ago, an artist erected a statue of a KKK member in the center of campus, without any warning or university permission. Black students responded with reasonable fear, and the university told the artist to remove the statue. The artist protested that his first amendment rights were being suppressed, claiming that he wanted to start a conversation about racism. But while conversations about social issues are important, there is a difference between starting a conversation and simply perpetuating hateful imagery or rhetoric.

Was having Lahren on “The Daily Show” perpetuating hateful rhetoric or having a conversation? Would it have been better for Noah to simply have shown clips from Lahren’s show, made some jokes about the ways she was wrong – which he has done – and left it at that?

If Noah had brought Lahren on his show and simply let her talk, then I would agree that he had only expanded her platform. But instead, Noah used conversation to challenge the hateful rhetoric of a human being. In doing so, he let us know what "the other side" is thinking without supporting it.

Having Lahren there in person meant getting more than a soundbite edited to its craziest part. It meant getting a real human being, someone who could talk back, like the people we have to interact with every day. The questions I heard most after the election was, “How do I talk about political issues with conservative family members?” If we never see the liberal people we look up to interacting with non-liberal real human beings, how can we know how to talk to them?

Here’s another benefit to having non-liberal real human beings on liberal shows: sometimes people who disagree with us actually have a point on something. During the interview, Lahren said something that I’d never heard or thought of before. She said that Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, is the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign. No matter what we think of the man she helped put into office, this specific thing is a milestone for women. With that point, Lahren made me realize that I had let my views on one issue (Conway’s support of Trump and his deplorable policies) get in the way of my views on another issue (women’s political power).

It is possible to both dislike what Conway has done and use her as proof that women can do anything. I wouldn’t have realized that if Trevor Noah hadn’t reached across the aisle and made me listen, for just under half an hour, to someone from "the other side" and learn what she was thinking.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.


Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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