Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right; American Life in Columns.

Author:Taylor, Joe
Position:Book review

Michael Smerconish; CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT; Temple University Press (Nonfiction: Essays) 30.00 ISBN: 9781439916353

Byline: Joe Taylor

Michael Smerconish's collection is compelling and entertaining -- not as a filtering of daily news through a predictable ideological lens, but as a group of insightful entries into conversations about current events and issues. Although written for Philadelphia publications from the period between September 11, 2001, and the election of Donald Trump, Smerconish's subjects -- sometimes whimsical, most at least touching on the political -- will be appreciated by Americans on the right, left, and center.

With national television commentary credits and long stints as a host of radio talk shows, Smerconish is never shy of expressing opinions. His columns aim to clarify the news, right injustices, discuss subtleties, or propose solutions.

One early piece, an argument against tort reform, could serve as a model position paper in a university writing class. A more recent column based on his keynote address to a convention of radio broadcasters proposes that talk radio, which "gives voice to the extremes while ignoring the middle," is in part responsible for America's polarized political climate, and suggests that network executives can...

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