Monday, February 20, 2017

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 2/17/2017

"Shields and Brooks on Trump using the press as a punching bag, Michael Flynn's sacking" PBS NewsHour 2/17/2017


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including President Trump's contentious press conference, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation, as well as the continued scrutiny over other potential contacts with Russia and more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome, gentlemen.

David, to you first.

That was quite a report from William Brangham, two towns in Texas, two groups of people, both sides of the political aisle.  What does it tell you about just how divided this country is?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Yes, welcome to life in America these days.

For those of us who have been traveling around, that's reality.  And two things strike me.  The first is, politics is based on social identity, and so, again, there is going to be differences between rural and urban and between left and right.

But what's at the core, why is the chasm so wide between the two, and why are the two universes almost non-overlapping?  It's like whether we're just in-group, out-group, or is there some cultural or ethnic or racial divide that's at the bottom of this?  It's very hard to figure out what unconsciously is making people so fervently in one universe or the other.

But whether it's an identity politics thing, or just we that like to form groups and we like to unify our group by hating some other group, that's the world we're in.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And, Mark, they couldn't have been more divided than they were.

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  They weren't.  They were characteristically Texan.  They were outspoken.  They didn't hide their allegiance or their enmities.

And I thought a particular act of fraternal love was disabling the FOX News Channel when his brother came to visit over Christmas, not exactly a loving act, it would seem, but something that he boasted about to William on national television.

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