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Populist Anger about Health Care Reform; A Review of the Week's Bad Behavior
Aired September 19, 2009 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here's a question we want to ask you this hour, now. Are we out of control?
Hello, again. You're back in the NEWSROOM.
What in the world has happened this week? Are we out of control? Let's review the week in bad behavior.
(VIDEO CLIP OF SERENA WILLIAMS' TIRADE AT U.S. OPEN)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I sing country music. So thank you so much for giving me a chance to win a VMA award.
KANYE WEST, SINGER: Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'm going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reforms, the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie!
OBAMA: It's not true. And one more?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And big reminders for you. Yes, these were high-profile figures in politics, sports, and entertainment, but is this sort of a microcosm of our collective behavior? Are we all becoming a little less civil, too self-centered perhaps? Well, here's just some of your responses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of feel like people that have a lot of importance, they sometimes forget that everyone is human, and I think that we all need to - I'm old-fashioned, the golden rule, treat others like you would like to be treated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think it was spur of the moment, emotions. I don't really think as a society we've gotten to that point, you know. It was just emotions got them. It happened, move on. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think we have become rude to each other, but I think the way we are expressing our emotions, it's kind of, you know, we are getting less patience maybe, but I don't think we have become rude as a society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: OK. So let's see what our panel has to say. We also want to hear from you, too. Joining me, Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners. She's the author of the book "Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior." And Pablo Torre, "Sports Illustrated" writer who has been keeping up with the goings on in the tennis world and beyond. And Eric Fisher, a psychologist, who specializes in family conflict and who also has written the book "The Art of Managing Everyday Conflict."
All right. Good to see all of you. So we want to know, are you surprised, you know, at this kind of behavior, Judith, are we surprised at the kind of behavior that we saw in the very public arena?
JUDITH MARTIN, "MISS MANNERS": Surprised? Like this is the first time you have seen rudeness? It's been going on forever. There is no wonderful time that you can go back to when everybody used to behave well. I think the difference now is the public reaction. You notice that people are excusing it more. They're willing to let it pass more easily, and that encourages it.
WHITFIELD: OK. So doctor, I wonder what does this say about us? You know, Judith says wait a minute, don't be surprised here. We've been seeing this all along. But maybe what's different here is because you're talking about these high profile folks and, yes, the apology that is soon to follow, are we all kind of excusing one another for losing our temper.
ERIC FISHER, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we are. And I think what we have to understand, Fredricka, is what's going on is it's the way we look at power is starting to change. It's that we've been in this more control-based hierarchical way we look at power from the top down and people used to fall into line with that in the past.
And now we're moving, I believe, towards a more equity-based model. But in the process of change there's often a lot of conflict. And we have to understand the degree that conflict is playing in this is often because of the underlying emotion. The way to really resolve this is let's look back at ourselves and understand the emotions that we're feeling underneath the anger, the rage, the defiance, the outbursts.
WHITFIELD: And so Pablo, we have seen athletes kind of lose their temper before. You know, they're fighting for every point. They're trying to, you know, score a point, end a match in their favor, but why was this one different or was this particular case of Serena Williams treated any differently?
PABLO TORRE, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Well, Serena Williams' case is particularly bad simply because of the stakes at hand, you know. This is a woman who came after the John McEnroe's of the world, who is an awesome unique talent, yes. But at the same time, she should have learned her lesson. You know, that match, she already had broken her racket in half and gotten a warning. And now after being called for a foot fault.
Is it a hard call? Fairly rough, to make sure. But at the same time she should have known better, and the stakes were so high and the spotlight was so bright. One of the differences in sports is that everybody is watching now. You have all those ingredients mixed together. That's why the response of Serena had been the way it was.
WHITFIELD: All right. This is some of what we've been hearing from you at home on my blog. This from someone who says "Politicians haven't been great examples to our kids on the subject of civility and how to deal with disagreements. That's the least I can say." That coming from Beatrice.
And then Eileen says "Congressman Joe Wilson yelling "you lie" to President Obama as the president addressed Congress last week is a clear example that civility has a clear problem." And this is also from one of our bloggers. Sorry, I don't know his or her name. "In a way, I'm ecstatic that this recent rash of bad behavior because it has forced the issue of civility into the public square where it very much belongs. I salute you on your special and I'll be watching with great interest." So it - that's from Chandra.
So it sounds like, Judith, you know, a lot of folks are dying to hear someone say, you know what? Here is bad behavior. This is what we're all doing, and this is how we need to correct it.
MARTIN: Well, I hope they're dying to hear it. Because I've been saying it for years and years and years now. And I've been getting the reaction of, oh, people are just being honest and they're expressing their emotions, they really feel that way, let's go past it. All that sort of thing.
It's not very pleasant, and these are not by any means the first athletes or politicians who have behaved badly, but the voters do not penalize the politicians for this on the whole and the fans don't penalize the athletes. So there's not very much incentive for them to behave better.
WHITFIELD: So in a way, you're saying some people get rewarded for that bad behavior and that's a problem.
MARTIN: They do.
WHITFIELD: That kind of promotes more of it.
MARTIN: People are always saying to me, you know, politicians behave so badly, isn't there anything we can do about it? I say, yes, it's called an election.
WHITFIELD: All right. We're going to talk some more to all of you. We talk about the outbursts being very ugly. One way to clean it up perhaps, a really good apology, but that seems to be the problem these days. How come no one knows how to apologize anymore?
Last night Congressman Joe Wilson was back on South Carolina soil. He thought this topic was behind him, but instead, it's still back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: I particularly would like to point out that I grew up in the holy city of Charleston, south of (INAUDIBLE). It is the center of civility in a civil state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So many styles of apologies and explanations.
WHITFIELD: All right. Hearing and seeing the latest examples of incivility are just losing control of one thing, but what about those apologies. Let's start with Congressman Joe Wilson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: Last night I heard from the leadership that they wanted me to contact the White House and state that my statements were inappropriate. I did. I'm very grateful that the White House in talking with them, they indicated that they appreciated the call and that we needed to have a civil discussion about the health care issues, and I certainly agree with that.
I am not going to apologize again. I apologized to the president on Wednesday night. I was advised then that thank you, now let's get onto a civil discussion of the issues, but I have apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president who I know. I am not apologizing again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And then last night in South Carolina, Congressman Joe Wilson again talking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: I believe that people should be courteous, be civil, and as I said now several weeks ago, get with the speaker afterwards and let he or she finish their speech and - but please get with them afterwards in a very civil manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So our panel is back with us. What makes a good apology? Once there's been a nasty gaffe, how do you clean it up? "Sports Illustrated" Pablo Torre and Judith Martin, also known as "Miss Manners" is with us and psychologist Dr. Eric Fisher.
All right. I'm going to begin with you, Judith, Miss Manners. So what makes for a good apology and did Congressman Wilson handle it right? Did he have all the criteria of a good apology in your view?
MARTIN: You're supposed to say you take it back when you have insulted someone. Not just that it's inappropriate. That's a strange word that everybody is using to mean, oh, I shouldn't have done it five minutes later or five minutes before, but it's all right that I did it.
The correct way to doubt the truth of someone is, first of all, not in the middle of a speech. But when you do it in the halls of Congress, it's supposed to be, I believe my colleague is greatly mistaken unfortunately. That's the polite way to say it.
WHITFIELD: Does it help that over the course of a few days we hear sort of a new version of, you know, a person's take on what happened, in this case.
MARTIN: What doesn't help is that someone saying, OK, that's done with. This should be part of one's reputation. I'm not saying you can't eventually redeem yourself, but it's not something that is instantly dissolved when you pour two words on it.
WHITFIELD: OK. And then there was Kanye West. After he, you know, took the microphone, then he tried to clean it up like this on Jay Leno.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEST: It was just - it was rude, period, and, you know, I'd like to apologize to her in person and, you know, I wanted to -
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": So when did you know you were wrong? Was it afterwards, as you were doing it? When did it strike you, oh-oh?
WEST: Like as soon as I gave the mic back to her and she didn't keep going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Doctor, was that enough for you?
FISHER: You know, I think that there could have been a little bit more to it. I think what he has to look at is what brought him to that point of doing it. I believe giving an apology, you have to say it and mean it, and what I mean by meaning it is it's through action, it's through not doing it again. It's through really making sure that there's a humbleness to that and there's acknowledgment of the behavior.
So we got to address the behavior we're talking about, and I think even if you look at the congressman's apology, when he says "I'm not going to apologize again." Again, that's about power then, that he wants to preserve his power. He wants to say I'm not going to submit. I have already groveled or submitted enough, here's my neck, you know, and let's move on. WHITFIELD: All right. So one more time, let's see that panel that we had up on that full screen which has some of the criteria of a good apology. Can I see that one more time? There we go. So what makes a true apology? Apologize with sincerity. Address the behavior you are apologizing for, work to not make the same mistake again.
FISHER: Right. Exactly, exactly. And I think that's a good model that, you know, we can all work on, but because so many times our apologies are based on a feeling we've submitted power and we don't like to give that power up, people have a hard time with that and feel like I've lost something, but we haven't.
WHITFIELD: And maybe that's in part why, you know, HLN's "Showbiz Tonight" did an informal survey, and they asked Americans, you know, did they believe that Kanye West gave a good apology. And apparently 75 percent said no. So it sounds as though what you're saying there is kind of in step with what some of those polls say. They didn't feel like it was very genuine.
FISHER: Well, it kind of goes back to - if we remember back to Nixon's speech on his dog, I think it was checkers. He got in front of the country and he actually showed tears, and back in that time they saw that as too much weakness showed. So it's such a fine line, and everybody else determines and judges when they've apologized.
I know when I'm sincere about my apology. But so much because we get our power outside of us in our culture, other people determine when we've said I'm sorry. And I think we have to know when we've made a mistake and acknowledge it within ourselves.
WHITFIELD: All right. And then, then there was Serena Williams who address what took place. You know, her getting a little tempered on court a few different ways. This is how it went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERENA WILLIAMS, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I haven't really thought about it or have any regrets. I try not to live my life saying I wish, I wish. But you know, I was out there and I fought and I tried and I did my best.
For a major emotional outburst that I had. I think I pretty much covered it. I just really wanted to apologize sincerely because I'm a very prideful person, and I'm a very emotional person. I'm a very intense person and I think it all shows and most of all, I'm a very sincere person. (INAUDIBLE) lessons here, apologies to anyone that I may have offended.
Well, yes, like I said, everyone has, you know, things that they do and every one, you know, has moments. No one is perfect, and I think everyone could see that. When I played at the U.S. Open, everyone kind of sees me like a little bit, sometimes a robot, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to write "On the Line" because it talks about my faults, and a lot about how I kind of fell from grace, so to say, how I've moved from number one to almost 200 in the world and that whole fight that I had to do to come back. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So that last comment from Serena Williams was when she was on CNN's AMERICAN MORNING. And so Pablo Torre of "Sports Illustrated," you know, it's interesting because she definitely did use the word "I apologize for my behavior," but why do you suppose she felt compelled to use so many different venues in which to convey this message?
TORRE: Well, one of the big problems was that, you know, we haven't talked about immediacy. She didn't - she took a couple days to get out at this, you know. She was at the VMAs. She made a snide comment with a wry smile. You know -
WHITFIELD: About stepping over the line.
WHITFIELD: And it kind of fell flat.
WHITFIELD: People weren't laughing.
TORRE: Sports fans, you know, they treat their favorite athletes, you know, they're stakeholders. They are part owners of their careers. You know, as rational as that may seem, you need to be immediate about your apologize, you need to be sincere and you just take full responsibility, and Serena, it took her way too long to get to that bottom line which was I'm sorry. I made a mistake. I apologize sincerely. I think she tried to over compensate when she realized how late it was.
WHITFIELD: Well, I wonder why is it some are able to kind cash in on this moment. Here Serena Williams is supposed to be out on her book tour and now she's kind of being distracted with having to talk about this. But then she's trying to segue her behavior into something of which she's tackling in the book.
At the same time Congressman Wilson, campaign money, over $1 million already and then Kanye West, he's also trying to release and win the popularity of many with his new CD, new album coming out. Some cash in, some don't. How do you make sense of this, Judith?
MARTIN: That's exactly the problem, that the public is interested in drama and sees this as interesting and exciting, and puts up with it. And if they did not, if people were penalized, if you were considered someone not fit for office or for public entertainment, it would be very different.
MARTIN: The public is condoning this.
WHITFIELD: Yes, Judith, I'm going to let you - I think somebody needs to get you a glass of water there. It sounds like you're about to lose your voice there. But you know, Pablo, let me ask you. You know, Roger Federer, also a U.S. Open moment. He got a little testy, got a little upset, I think we have a little videotape with some transcription because there's some words that you don't want to hear me say. Let's try to roll that.
We're going to try to cue up that tape. You know which moment I'm talking about, Pablo, right?
TORRE: I do.
WHITFIELD: OK. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER FEDERER, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: You have any rules in there? Stop showing me your hand, OK. Don't tell me to be quiet, OK? When I want to talk, I'll talk. (BLEEP).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: OK. So he has a couple expletives in there but it's handled a little differently. Why is that?
TORRE: Well, I think one of the main differences was the context in which Serena Williams' outburst took place. You know, she was eliminated from that tournament. Roger Federer, a, doesn't have the reputation that Serena has for being such a hothead, I think to say.
WHITFIELD: So reputation has something to do with -
TORRE: I think reputation -
WHITFIELD: -- accepting an apology or needing an apology.
TORRE: I think it does. You know, people don't see Roger Federer as much of a prima donna as they might a Serena Williams who as you alluded with the book sort of thing, that there's an element of theatrics there also that Roger Federer is a very staid guy normally. He's seen as a classier player. And so that coupled with the fact that he wasn't eliminated. That the penalty that he was levied wasn't as harsh that sort of categorizes it as a notch below what Serena Williams did with shoving the ball down your throat sort of thing, which Federer, he cursed, but he didn't go that extreme.
WHITFIELD: OK. We asked a lot of folks what they thought about these apologies. If they thought that they did really constituted a good apologies. This is some of what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, no, because it just seemed as if he was prompted first by Senator McCain saying that he should apologize immediately and perhaps the reaction by the general public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think time is going to be the judge. If they stick to the promise that they've made and the apologies they they've made and change their behavior over time, then, yes, I would say they're being sincere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serena Williams, it took too long. I think it might have taken a little long for some of them, but I think they were sincere. I really do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So it really does mean for some real public, I guess, acceptance, to our panel, Judith and Pablo, and Dr. Eric. Doctor "E," let me ask you. You know, are we all learning something from these very public gaffes, something more about how we need to be better about our own apologies?
FISHER: I think it gives us, you know, a level to which we need to look at our own behavior. To me, the world is a wonderful mirror for us to look at ourselves, and with regard to what Pablo talked about before, I wanted to say I think we have to be careful of creating a judgment on how Serena responded versus making sure it's not seen as a remark about. Women aren't allowed to express emotion like that without having certain judgments being made.
She's a passionate player. She was basically programmed to win from a very early win. It was be the best, be the best. It doesn't mean that Roger wasn't programmed the same way, but I think we have to look at it that she used her emotion very much in her game to succeed, and sometimes that becomes her downfall.
I think in all these instances what we're seeing is arrogance, and as a culture I talk a lot about collective arrogance in our culture, and that means the idea that as a culture we believe we have more pride or belief that we're better than we really are, and we have to put that front up to the world.
That's been the downfall of every - almost every empire throughout history, arrogance as a single emotion has been the downfall of every empire. I think we have to watch it as a culture and stop looking at what everybody else is doing. See it as a guide post and then look back at yourself and say how am I playing into this whether I'm giving into it and putting up with it or whether I'm doing the same thing?
WHITFIELD: So it really is an issue of being self-centered, but boy, is it hard to be self-centered, particularly when you're on this pedestal, you know, Judith? I mean, you know, people are - you know, you've got fans and people have great expectations of you continuing to do great things. How can you not become a little self-centered?
MARTIN: That is exactly why areas in which there is conflict like sports and politics, it's exactly why their rules are much stronger than in ordinary society. The rules of the legislature, the rules of athletics are very, very strict about what you can say, about what you wear, about how you show respect to officials.
Exactly because it's supposed to contain that conflict, and if you're not going along with the rules, then you're not respecting the sport or the arena in which you're playing. WHITFIELD: We have been hearing from people in so many different forms and fashion. We got more blog comments and we also have a little bit more of your comments on the street.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's to go to the person directly, look into eye and say sorry. That should come from your heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something along the lines of knowing that you were wrong in the first place and even though it's hard to apologize, being able to get outside of yourself and being able to apologize.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would take way more than that for me. Buy me out - no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: OK. So lots of folks have different ideas about what's a good apology and what isn't. But before you even get to the apology, before you get to the gaffe, how do we even get to this place? We're going to be asking our panel here.
Judith Martin who is also known as Miss Manners, "Sports Illustrated" Pablo Torre, and psychologist Dr. Eric Fisher, when we come right back. How do we get to this point and how do we correct ourselves and get out of it?
WHITFIELD: A look at our top stories then we'll go back to our hour focus on are we out of control? Right now the "Denver Post" reports that a terrorism - a suspected terrorist and his attorney abruptly broke off talks with FBI agents this morning. A spokeswoman for the suspect's lawyer says it is no longer in his client's best interests to talk to the FBI. Administration officials told CNN the Afghan national has admitted to ties to Al Qaeda. His attorney denies that he has any link to terrorism.
New Haven Police continue to collect evidence in the murder investigation of Yale graduate student Annie Le. Last night they towed a car from the motel where suspect Raymond Clark was arrested. Clark was a technician in the lab where Le worked. The "Associated Press" quotes authorities as saying Clark tried to hide evidence in the lab even as investigators worked around him.
And it's the annual gathering of the Values Voters' Summit in Washington, D.C., Republicans hoping to win votes are in attendance. House GOP leader John Boehner told the group that Democrats are bankrupting the country.
And we've had a week of a lot of bad behavior, so it prompts us to the question, are we out of control? And are we seeing that whether it be in the health care rallies or perhaps in debates right there at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KATHY CASTOR (D), FLORIDA: We're not going to stand for the status quo anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And we'll take a look at some of the outburst in recent town hall meetings. Is everyone kind of out of control?
WHITFIELD: OK, welcome back. We're asking the question are we losing control. After a week of some pretty nasty behavior from a lot of folks whether be in sports or maybe even entertainment or perhaps even politics.
We're asking you the question, are we out of control? We've been hearing from folks in so many different ways whether it be the about the behavior itself, the apologies, or lack thereof and then how did we get here in the first place. We have a great panel with this to help us break it down. What are the influences? How are we all kind of losing tempers with one another and forgetting our manners?
We have got with this from "Sports Illustrated" Pablo Torre and Judith Martin also known as Miss. Manners and Dr. Erik Fisher as Psychologists.
OK, so how do we get to this point, Pablo, I'm going to put you on the spot, we have been seeing you know, where in the form of Serena Williams, she said she was fighting for every point. You know, and she was just kind of in the moment but then kind of lost her temper. How do we get to this point where we can't kind of reel it in?
PABLO TORRE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Yes, you know, sports has a legacy of this kind of thing, of combativeness, so people losing their temper but I think one of the things that at least separates this modern era is influx of money, of ego. That I think its different now than it used to be 50 years ago because these players are being paid so much that people expect more of them and as results you know in tandem, these players have at times a sense of themselves that may you know, rub people the long way.
WHITFIELD: But am I also hearing you say you know there's a lot of pressure then? There's a lot of pressure --
TORRE: Of course.
WHITFIELD: -- not just playing the game, being in the moment of the sport, but all the other expectations around them and so sometimes it's hard to manage all those emotions?
TORRE: Yes, I mean that's true also is that we treat athletes now as celebrities. I mean, that's a fact. They're in tabloids you now, they cross over, they try to do a billion things. The bottom line is their plate is fuller and we are watching them at all times and so certainly pressure is an aspect of it as well as how they conceive of themselves. So, it's a two-way street I think, and it all adds up to this bigger pressure cooker that you know, results in outbursts like this.
WHITFIELD: OK, and so, Judith does that really apply to all of us, that we're all kind of under pressure and sometimes we kind of forget how just be polite, how to deal with one another, how to resolve conflict without screaming or yelling or shaking a fist.
JUDITH MARTIN, MISS MANNERS: I believe that's what's known as life. It has its pressures. It always has had, but you ask how did we get here? We start there. We all come into the world rude, kicking, screaming, waking up those nice people in the middle of the night just because we are cranky, and there are influences that are supposed to counter this, child rearing, public disapproval of bad behavior, the occasional punch in the nose that tells someone that, no, it's not really a good idea to go around and antagonizing others, and when there is less of that, when there is more of the feeling of, oh, well, if you really feel this way, the most important thing is to express it --
MARTIN: -- then you've undone or failed to do the controls that change us from these primitive creatures we start out as into civilized people.
WHITFIELD: Dr., yes I'm wondering you know for those of us who are not you know major celebrities you know, the money is not pouring in, you don't have this gigantic fan base, what are the influences? Are we saying that, we perhaps all lost patience because we got the world of black berries, we're constantly got our heads down, we don't have as much face to face interaction with one other and we've forgotten how to do that?
ERIK FISHER, PHYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think the issue of control is and what's going on is there's a lot of stress out there these days. There's stress in the economy, there's stress in our jobs, there's a stress on the things we do and yes because we're so much into technology, we're forgetting the art of communication, and I think that the issue with control is I always teach people that the need for control is based in fear, and that gets back to our model of power because when people feel afraid, your power goes away and in a model of power, in a world where we're supposed to be strong, you know, I teach people about the economies, good and bad, right and wrong, strong and weak and win and lost.
The ultimate one is we want to win, but how do we win? Most oftenly is we win in conflict by looking strong. So, our protective emotions that we show when we feel threatened, are going to be anger, rage, arrogance, flippancy, defiance sarcasm and hatred and when we look at all these instance at this loss of civility because somewhere inside somebody felt a loss of power, they felt disrespected, fear, shame, guilt, whatever emotions that they determine to be weak and they had to try to get their power back by taking it from somebody else, and that's why I try to teach people to believe in themselves.
WHITFIELD: Yes, and I want to ask you some more about how to manage it then because the people are, knows those all things that seems like everybody feels from time to time. How do you manage it so that you don't kind of blow your stack and I'm going to give you guys a moment to kind of simmer that question for a moment while I read some blog comments because we're hearing from folks on my blog page and so on face book and Mina says civility, this is her opinion about with civility as a whole. Civility is dead. We all mistreat one another and we learn this behavior from each other. People are not nice, never were, she says.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness, is that really true Judith? Never were, we're never nice?
MARTIN: It's true that there have been always rude people, there have been polite people. I mean this fantasy land of never never land when people were polite or that everybody is rude now or neither is true but I would day that the problem that I respectfully to disagree with the good doctor. It's not that we think more of ourselves but perhaps we think more about other people.
FISHER: You know, I look at that comment and I think it's a great comment because in some ways you're right and I agree with you because so much of our power has gotten outside of ourselves but if we get to the equity model of power, to me that's what I try to teach people, we learn to believe in ourselves. If I learn to love and respect myself, I will learn to love and respect other people. That is the golden rule, doing to others as you would have them going to you. The golden rule of this hierarchical model that we live in is he who has the gold makes the rules and that's what's so destructive is that we think if I have the power I can make the rules and I can tell people what to do.
WHITFIELD: So I wonder doctor you might be answering Lauren's question who says my main question is how do we fix this problem? It's quite clear to me that a lot of Americans don't want to grow up. It's like we suffer from Peter Pan syndrome. Children think they are the center of the world, as they should. It turns into a problem when fully grown men and women still think that. So I wonder when we try to focus on our kids that we don't raise self-centered you know brats, people who are out of control. How do we do that if we've got a personal problem ourselves?
FISHER: It's a great question because we all come to this world and our influenced by this world and we also come with our own temperaments and that is where you know in the parenting book. I talked about the interaction between temperament which is a personality we are born with, attachment, and power, because we understand that the strength of our attachments, how we're taught love, how we connect to the people around us and how we feel that love with other people, we learn to take other people's points of views.
We learn what at it feels like to be with the shoe on the other foot and those attachment I think are really disrupted that's why I talked about it because I think the problem -- one of the problems with our issues with our culture is that we have disrupted attachments and we've ignored some of that in our culture right now.
WHITFIELD: So, Pablo, I wonder if there are a lot of coaches that are we talking to there athletes, there star players and saying you know what, let's have a moment here let's talk about you know manners and all that good stuff which is a difficult conversation to have especially in the you know, view of any stars, whether it's entertainment or perhaps it is politics or maybe even athletes when they have been put up on this pedestal to say you know, you are great, but now let's have a conversation about how you need to come down to earth. Do you suppose that conversation is taking place a lot now?
TORRE: I do, and especially because Serena Williams was eliminated. You know, there are pragmatic consequences now. Coaches and players themselves want that fire and want that fuel at all times, but only in so far as it helps them win and because there are these pragmatic consequences that no you know, no one wants that happen, they never want to lose, if that's going to happen, then, yes, those conversations are occurring, and I think the problem on a macro sense is just talking about fans and players, there's an asymmetry there. I think, as far as you know building any sort of consensus coming together on these subjects, it's all you know, maybe it's impossible but you sort of need to realize that fans and players are all human beings. To bring a player down from that pedestal is so hard -
TORRE: -- especially when a fan is sitting you know, in a seat, they pay $1,000 for these days to watch a guy play. It's so hard to reconcile those two things and see that person as someone who is just like you.
WHITFIELD: Yes, we've got other comments coming in on my face book and blog as well. Amy D. is saying America needs more God and to become more humble. That's a little bit of what you were saying doctor E and Sandy says, I must say, I've seen much of this in certain news shows from anchors and it is so very disconcerting and troubling.
However, compassion for others and civility is the responsibility of parents, period. I raised my daughter to be strong, compassionate, respectful and respected, and I instilled good manners. Guess what? It actually worked. Oh, that's good. And Ines says of course civility is dying here in the USA. We're raising a generation of narcissists. A nation of no-spanking or parents failing to teach kids the respect of their elders, leaving it all up to the teachers.
Therefore, raising a bunch of spoiled brats. Oh, and then Jan O. says civility suffered a severe blow when Dr. Spock began his domination of child rearing practices in the U.S. The emphasis was on the child always feeling good about himself. It is no surprise that these self-centered children grew up to be self-interested adults void of consideration for others and ignorant of the rules of civility.
Dr. E. I think some of a little bit of all of those comments actually came from a page of your thinking. FISHER: Well, what I hear in all those comments is we're looking for who basically the persecutor as I talk a lot about victims, persecutors, rescuers, and instigators and all these people feel our society is a victim to that spark (ph) or disappearance (ph) and all there things. You know, we're all responsible.
The issue is if I can play the victim, I didn't do anything wrong and if I didn't do anything wrong I'm off the hook. So, there's no blame, no shame, no guilt, no fear and no responsibility. If I'm the persecutor I caused the victim pain, but the rescuers they love to rescue victims. So, if we have solutions to how we can fix things, that we can fix society, we get our power from rescuing the victim. The victim gets their power from looking the rescuer to take care of them.
FISHER: And the prosecutor gets their power from being able to crushed that victim.
WHITFIELD: Hold that thought. We're going to talk some more about there. There is much more in this, many people say they're getting direction from actually talk radio and other ways, whether be at the health care reform debates or perhaps politics in a different direction.
WHITFIELD: We'll get back to our focus, are we out of control but first these top stories.
Hundreds of police in Mexico City are deployed across the city one day after a shooting on a subway flat form left two people dead. Eight others were wounded. A security camera captured the shootout between police and the suspect. The gunman was scrolling repeatedly (ph) on a wall when police stopped him.
President Barack Obama says world leaders had made progress in their push to stabilize the global economy. In his weekly address the president said next week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh offers a chance to review the steps taken so far. Mr. Obama also pushed his plan for a new agency to protect consumers. He criticized, quote, lobbyists for big Wall Street banks who oppose regulatory reform.
And thirsty families in a Baltimore suburb can feel free to turn on the tap again. Water pressure has been restored and water is safe to drink again one day after a huge water main ruptured. The break flooded basements in dozens of their homes.
And we come back we're going to concentrate again, are we out of control? Whether be in politics or beyond, some say, some of the directives are coming from talk radio. Are they getting a bad rap?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Welcome back, as we asked the question, are we out of control after seeing so many outbursts over the last week and a half or so? So, it's become a very contentious debate, I'm talking about how health cares reform. But how it is an issue that's been talked about since the '60s reached this fever pitch? Take a look at them.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, PENNYSLVANIA: If you want to be let out of here, you're welcome to go. Now wait a minute.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I don't understand this rudeness. What is this? I don't get it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you lying then or are you lying now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You muck up everything you get your hands on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Dodd, who took a sweetheart deal from countrywide, Tim Geithner who refused to pay his taxes.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, PENNYSLVANIA: Hey, guys, I'm one of you, and I want to get the last word in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this health care gets passed, you know this president --
WHITFIELD: All right, so what's provoking such passion? Are they political parties? Is it the issue itself, talk radio? Or all of the above or none of the above? Let's invite back our panel that has joined us through out this hour Judith Martin who is also known as Miss Manners and Dr. Eric Fisher who is a psychologist and with "Sports Illustrated" magazine Pablo Torre.
OK, so how do we get to the bottom of these manners, having some few take a stub? Can we blame something like talk radio? We hear some people blaming talk radio. Are there directives to blame or is it something else?
MARTIN: I've heard a lot about power, about stress, about money, fame, and now media influence. I just want people to stop being obnoxious and I could use a little help from parents, from coaches and league officials and from voters because if they won't stand for it, it will stop.
WHITFIELD: So Dr. E. it really is about looking within, but when you hear people who say, you know what, such and such told me to do it or I'm hearing this movement that says I should be participating this way and I have to get my point across that sometimes is the excuse.
FISHER: Yes, I think this goes to that instigator role. What's the job of a talk radio host but to inspire conversations and what conversations are really fun to listen to ones that have a lot of emotion going back and fourth? And the other thing is health care is closer to change potentially than ever, since the 70's and 60's so there's a lot of fear behind it because people who have power don't want to give it up. That's one of the issues in our hierarchical model of power.
So, we're not looking at truth, and we're not looking at that, so you're right we're looking at our version truth and out version of right and that's where people are having all this conflict in the theory of what if I'm wrong or what if I'm right its over rules.
WHITFIELD: And let's look at a couple of examples, some might say there are occasions in which talk radio might spark a flame, fan the flames, and sometimes extinguish it altogether. So, here is Rush Limbaugh back in April, conservative radio commentator, talking about President Obama and his hopes for President Obama.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: What is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?
WHITFIELD: So does that in any way kind of stir the pot? You know, Pablo Torre, I will ask you to weigh in on this because you know, it really has a lot of people asking about the media's responsibility, all of us.
TORRE: Right and you know talk radio is the parlance of sports you know, I think the unfortunate reality as far as the media goes, it is an influence, and the fact is it's become polarized. The extremes are the ones grabbing headlines is in to the cline of long form journalist but unfortunately we now get the sound bites and headlines that are designed to galvanize people and provoke debate even if the source material isn't perhaps the strongest it could be. Definitely a lot about the polarization of the media today unfortunately.
WHITFIELD: And here is another talk radio host, Neal Boortz, and this is sort of part of his transcription of he's actually trying to quiet a crowd that got a little bit upset over an incident involving an alleged assault here in Georgia. And saying a reporter asked me whether or not I would vote to reprimand Joe Wilson and I said that I would. I would like to see a return of some degree of civility to the Congress. I'm sorry, that was actually about Congressman Wilson. Not a silly but another comment event that I thought he was going to be talking about. So, in some respects Judith you know while some might be blamed for fanning the flames, they can also be credited with helping to quieting things down is asking for some civility.
MARTIN: Let us hope yes and if you're going to help, I'm very grateful because we need all the help we can get. People are excusing, they're being amused, they're being ready to participate and to fight and to turn it into a drama, and the calming influences are very need.
WHITFIELD: OK, well hopefully all of us learned a little something here by other people's examples that we need to just take a moment and just calm down, right? All right. Judith Martin, Dr. Eric Fisher, as well as Pablo Torre, thanks to all of you for being part of it. Thanks to everyone at home too who participated by sending us our comments, be a blog and even participating in those men in the street comments. All right, we're going to call a lot of people who did a great job. Thanks everybody.
Are we out of control? Hopefully not, but what we know right now, we're out of time.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield. See you again tomorrow. Don Lemon is up next.