Conviction and Demonization

Today I had an interesting conversation with a new friend about Bill O'Reilly and George Tiller. Some people have been laying some blame on O'Reilly for Tiller's murder because of the way he talked about Tiller on his show. I am inclined to agree that Bill should rethink how his language might be demonizing rather than simple strong rational criticism. It got me thinking too. As we were discussing this, my friend argued that O'Reilly couldn't be blamed, that we shouldn't have to filter all our language all the time, and that no uncertain terms should be used for naming evil when we see it. I argued that where we shouldn't have to filter everything and we should indeed name evil in no uncertain terms, we must know our audience and we must take responsibility if our language crosses the line from conviction to demonization.

So the question is, where do we draw the line between conviction and demonization? At what point are we being so strong with our language that we are laying the foundation for more evil? And at what point are we softening our language so much that we paralyze ourselves from ever really being able to identify when something is morally unacceptable?


Mark said…
Your giving O'Reilly way too much credit.

He thinks his audience is unbiased.