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August 17th, 2011
05:40 AM ET

Talk Back: Is heckling good for our political discourse?

Although the 2012 Presidential election is 15 months away, many Americans are already heated up about it. This week, hecklers from both sides of the political aisle turned up at events held by both the GOP contenders and President Obama to challenge the candidates at town hall-style forums.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told Carol Costello yesterday, "We're moving into a confrontational society. We don't want to listen to C-SPAN, that's too boring. Instead we make our decisions based on political flashmobs."

Perhaps, he added, politicians are now judged on how well they respond to hecklers - not how well they explain their policies.

Talk Back: Is heckling good for our political discourse?

Let us know what you think. Your answer may be read on this morning's broadcast.

Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. mike sey

    At least heckling interrupts the steady flow of platitudes and bumper sticker slogans fed to the carefully marshalled and staged faithful in lieu of policy. Occasionally it produces a moment of authenticity and forces a candidate to momentarily confront an issue he/she has been evading, ducking, denying and otherwise studiously evading. Once in a while its a chance to liberate and share a shoe. On balance its more healthy than harmful than the alternatives.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  2. Damian

    Politicians only care about your money, NOT about you. The only way to even attempt to make them take responsibility for their own actions and/or words is to throw it in their face. ANY OTHER METHOD of communication will only get you to an answering machine or a staff member. Maybe, with enough heckling and a little violence, politicians can remember that they are NOT ABOVE the average American citizen. Maybe people ought to look a little deeper at what's happening in this country. There isn't a SINGLE POLITICIAN in this country that is worth the breath he draws.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  3. Justin

    Heckling can be positive because it prompts the candidate to think on their feet which can lead to a more accurate insight to their way of thinking, rather than the prepared speeches which often don't say much at all. Also, the hecklers are usually asking something about what people really care about, so candidates can use the hecklers to guide their public discourse.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  4. tet1953

    There is nothing wrong with someone at a political rally putting a candidate on the spot with a question that the candidate would rather not answer. I believe it steps over a line when it is designed to simply embarrass the candidate or is just to interrupt and cause trouble.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  5. Ronald L. Carter

    The fact that the question is raised at all, "Is heckling good for our political discourse?", suggests that open listiening and cirtical thinking are taking a back seat in political discouse. What "great examples" some of our politicians and citizens are demonstrating to our young people as the way to solve tough problems! Is this why some folk don't like the image of a "professorial president"? He thiniks too much?

    August 17, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  6. louie

    I believe that speaking your mind is the only way we can get things accomplished, so yes I do believe its a good thing... however, the best person at speaking his mind is THE ONE, RON PAUL but yet he gets no media coverage.....why??

    August 17, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  7. louie

    I beleive that speeking your mind is the only way we can get things accomplished so yes, heckling is good!! FYI why does CNN never talk about THE ONE"Ron Paul" ????

    August 17, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  8. Dianna

    No! More respect is needed and the conversation or message gets lost and prevents others from an opportunity to be part of a meaningful conversation. In these situations the kecklers are only wanting to vent. But a important note to always remember is that we live in a society that allows these freedoms and in other countries that is not the case.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  9. Steph

    Politicians say they want to know what the people think, so they are in touch. Heckling is the only way the people can seem to get in touch. Call their office, write a letter or e-mail, the only person you speak to is thier staff.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  10. Roger

    what is heckling if it means telling the truth it good but for lies check your facts before the moment and let the person answer the question so that you will not get a miss understanding of the issue don't embarrassing yourself on TV

    August 17, 2011 at 6:17 am |