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Making Diane Sawyer As Uncomfortable As Possible

In a recent “Good Morning America”, Diane Sawyer and libertarian radio commentator Larry Elder discussed the Don Imus case: 

In wrapping things up, Sawyer said “free speech issues abound in all of this.”

SAWYER: Alright, Larry, good to talk to you this morning. 

ELDER [politely correcting her]: Diane, I do want to take issue with the term ‘free speech.’   This has nothing to do with free speech. Free speech has to do with the government suppressing political speech. This has to do with a private employer, CBS, determining for all sorts of reasons that Don Imus ought to go. That’s just the way things go. That’s just free enterprise. It has nothing to do with free speech.”

SAWYER: Well, free speech enables you to end this interview by attacking me! Thank you very much. [*chuckle*]

ELDER: I didn’t attack you Diane, I was just simply clarifying something.
There were big smiles on both sides, but one sensed that Sawyer’s feelings had indeed been hurt, and that Elder was trying to recover from what he feared might have been a GMA-career ending moment.  Source

Aww, poor Diane Sawyer!  She got her tender, little feelings hurt when Larry Elder politely behaved like a gentleman when he corrected her.  Mr. Elder had the unpleasant epiphany of realizing he was interacting with a drama queen who resorted to playing the victim card when she could not cogently and logically respond to Mr. Elder’s correction. But thankfully, drama queens who milk their victimhood don’t get to define what is good etiquette for the rest of us.

A huge myth of etiquette is that it exists to make others “comfortable”.  In actuality, etiquette exists to make some people extremely uncomfortable as a way to convey the full consequences of socially unacceptable actions.  Making people comfortable doesn’t equate to never confronting them or correcting them politely, particularly in the context of political commentary as Elder and Sawyer were engaged in. The discomfort factor for Sawyer ratchets up even more when Elder refuses to fall for Sawyer’s guilt manipulation and instead politely refutes her hysterical claim of being “attacked”.   Score 1 for the polite Elder, score 0 for the rude Sawyer.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Deb1000faces April 26, 2007, 7:49 am

    I love this exchange. Diane Sawyer seems to be used to giving a little wink and having the conversation go her way, and it was nice to see someone handle her misinformation gracefully.

    Polite does not equal doormat, and kudos to Mr. Elder for being the former without being the latter.

  • Scritzy May 1, 2007, 5:30 pm

    Good for Larry Elder! Seems as if he has done his homework re the “free speech” issue — and others, including Ms. Sawyer, have not.

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