What's Been Worse for America: Ambush Politics or Instagram?

My RedState colleague Bonchie reported over the weekend (and with the perfect headline) about the widely-circulated video of Fox News host Tucker Carlson being politically ambushed at a bait shop recently by some angry dude with a cell phone, a very inflated opinion of himself, and a nasty attitude.

For those who missed it, here’s the clip:

In other circumstances, the ambusher in the video might have found himself on the receiving end of a smash to the jaw. But to his credit, Carlson handled things pretty things well, all things considered.

As I watched the video I was reminded all over again about the popularity of such tactics where someone either bumps into or stalks a public figure who they disagree with politically and then proceeds to hound them as they’re going about their daily business, sometimes while out with friends and loved ones.

The tactic grew even more popular when Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) infamously encouraged angry leftists in the summer of 2018 to get in the faces of their political opponents no matter where they saw them, which just happened to be a year after the attempted assassinations of Republican lawmakers on an Alexandria, Virginia softball field by a deranged supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Most of the people reading this as well as the author herself have seen these types of videos in the past when the cameras have been directed at blowhards like CNN’s Chris Cuomo, and cheered. But in reality, things like that don’t do any good for our society and don’t add anything to the conversation. In fact, they make it worse, especially when the videos go viral, which just inspires more people to do them as well.

And then there’s Instagram, where not only do videos like the one above get posted routinely, but where there’s a filter for every moment under the sun, moon, and stars, and where I’d guesstimate probably 75% or more of the photos are staged and heavily edited to look perfect. I used to look to Instagram to escape the nuttiness of Twitter and Facebook, but Instagram has become problematic as well because it has been increasingly designed to give the people who view it the illusion that the people who are posting pictures have the perfect bodies and perfect lives, and are always on the most amazing vacation either to the Cayman Islands or the south of France with toy dog and designer wardrobe in tow.

Perhaps more so than any other social media app, it gives people a visually stunning view (in pictures and videos) of everyday life that for most of us does not exist.

Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not trying to give people who use filters for photos a hard time; most of us have used a photo app filter a time or two in our lives. I’m just sick of everything looking airbrushed, beautifully colored, and unrealistic, which gives a false standard that most people can’t (and shouldn’t try) to live up to.

So which has been worse for America? Ambush politics or Instagram? In my view, it’s a tie – but if I had to pick one, I’d give the edge to ambush politics, because while a constant stream of filtered pictures is annoying, at least it’s just a filter. The ambush videos are real and, in most cases, represent an ugly side to America that needs condemning, not encouraging.

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