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A new season of hate in America

Anger is perhaps America’s oldest collective national emotion. Without it there might not be a United States at all. But there have been times when the force that perennially divides us is not anger, as much as its more violent and more disturbing cousin — hate.

In this essay, Need to Know co-host Jon Meacham takes a look back at moments in American history when hate has exploded in violence and across the national consciousness, and to recent expressions of it against members of Congress.

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  • Pat Brunson

    Fear is the root of anger. Hate? Well that is a phobia. One really defines the other.
    Manipulating fear is pretty much the work of dictators. Calming fear and lending direction is the work of leaders.

  • Ken Roper

    I so needed to see this today. After watching politicians hint at hate all day in TV ads, this was a much needed dose of sanity.

  • Doreen Pigey

    Is this the program that will replace NOW and Bil Moyers Journal?
    If so, I am hanging on every week on every word.
    I am so tired of talking faces and shouting radio massages; What a pleasure to hear a sane, inteligent report.

  • John Craft

    Thank You for this peice. It is nice to hear a voice of sanity, for a refreshing change.

  • Tomy


  • Teresa


  • Eli

    Good show. Looking forward for some quality journalism.

  • RE Mant

    The story about the Texas Board of Education was fine until it got to the moral, which was not only clearly editorializing, but a fine example of exactly what those rednecks were talking about. I don’t see how this can help the cause of non-partisanship. I think I’d rather watch Al Jazeera at 9; they are more objective.

  • Joe Beckmann

    How incredibly sad to lose Moyers for this banality. Surely you could have asked, for example, how Texas got to be the largest market for textbooks while it’s the second largest state. You might also inquire about the degree to which texts are used to test, to formalize, and to indoctrinate, since most texts in most schools are old, questionable, and increasingly undermined by online sources.

    Most instructors I know of use texts as points of departure – issues for inquiry rather than words of irrefutable truth. The degree to which you ignore these critical instructional patterns and absorb the claptrap “truth” of both sides of the Texas debate insults the educators you pretend to reinforce. Just as that same uncritical and naive view of most of your other stories – it is as if the Texans finally threw out Moyers for uncritical and knee-jerk replicants of both sides of a largely irrelevant and predictable loggerhead of deadheads.

    Many more nights like tonight will inspire a blog on “who to give your PBS donation to now that they don’t deserve it any more.”

  • A. X. Payne-El-Bey

    I think the people need to know about a wonderfully informative book called THE CREATURE from JEKYLL, and the books author, G. Edward Griffin. We would learn a great deal about the REAL reason why the country is in such economic dispair. Please have him on the show!

  • A. X. Payne-El-Bey

    Correction on the book title, The Creature from Jekyll Island. (Sorry… it’s been a long day)

  • Patrick Colston

    Unfortunately I did not discover “Now” until it’s last season. I have to believe that Moyers must have received an offer for something bigger and better! I have searched all over the “Need to know” website for the names of it’s two host. The female host comes across as interesting enough. Her co-host has always has a look on his face as though he is in extreme pain! He has a look like someone that is extremely backed up and needs a dose of Ducolax or Exlax. Hey dude get out the old hot water bottle before you next shoot.

    Whereas NOW always seemed to be middle of the road with it’s politics and was actually interesting and informative. This new show leaves no doubt where it’s coming from…far left! Which makes it Need to Not Know!

  • BigSky

    Replaced one left-winged show with another.

  • Dennis M. Beaty

    Another day in the conservative America created by the Reagan-Clinton revolution. I just want to say it offends me when people refer to people on the Right as being either Christian or Religious. It is at times like these that I feel it necessary to remind everyone that Jesus was not a Christian and that Pat Robertson and the rest of those glorified snake oil salesmen are basically examples of the Anti-Jesus pharasaic mentality that caused Jesus to be tortured, humiliated, and nailed to the cross. It is a mentality that is identical to the Bush-Cheney limited government concept of the unchecked unbalanced presidency modeled after Pinochet. These are Pavlovian symptoms of the collective post traumatic stress of total cold war.

  • Gary Ogletree

    Jon, you have political amnesia. You forget Code Pink, ANSWER, etc. and all the hateful attacks on Bush. You declare hate started with the election of Obama. What hate? I Tea Party. There is anger at a corrupt government and banking system, but the atmosphere is pretty free of hate–more of a celebration that so many are willing to come out to defend free enterprise, the Constitution and protest the debt burden being put on the next generation. Of course Obama is a radical, He wants to fundamentally change America into his warped idea of socialist utopia. And he and his regime have displayed a strong totalitarian bent that would be worthy of investigation. Your show would have more credibility if you weren’t so aggressively pushing a leftest agenda. This hate smear is from White House talking points. You should know better and it makes for shoddy journalism.

  • ejh

    When I heard this commentary on the air, there was a section about Newt Gingrich comparing what Obama was doing to the US to what Adolph Hitler had done. It’s not in the video I see on your web page. What happened?
    Also, I remember the Right repeatedly demonizing Clinton. Sounded like hate to me.

  • henry r terry

    Patchogue not in our Backyard.   The call to come forward is completely disingenuous: Mayor Pontieri presided over a fake police force which hunted, like those serving prision sentences for hate crimes.   Public awareness campaigns can’t be
    productive in communities where the government is unethical and doesn’t
    practice honesty and transparency.


    People talk about “healing the
    community” yet are unwilling to address the endemic problems at the root
    of the problems in Patchogue.


    Public Relations coaching of elected
    officials and well advertised “outreach” efforts to minorities –
    intending to impress outsiders and promote the careers of select
    politicians –

    are hollow to those who were here, know the truth and recall recent history.


    One-sided “documentary” puff-pieces can’t fool everybody.