The “civility” debate

Listen 48:56
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, right, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, talk as they switch places at the podium during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, right, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, talk as they switch places at the podium during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Guests: Tom Scocca, Sarah Sobieraj

Since the disrupted dining experiences of a few Trump administration officials over the past week, a debate has emerged from the political and media classes about this idea of ‘civility,’ and what it means to be ‘uncivil,’ when debating politics and engaging in activism. Last month, incidents in pop-culture such as Roseanne’s racist comments and Samantha Bee’s use of vulgar language were also tied up in this concept of appropriateness and civility. And of course, President Trump himself is quick to use insults and derogatory statements against opponents and members of the media.  Today, we’re going to discuss how and why these debates emerge, how these concepts are weaponized politically, and what constitutes civil and uncivil action. We’re joined by political writer TOM SCOCCA, and associate professor of Sociology at Tufts University, SARAH SOBIERAJ, to talk political civility.

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