Average Joes

February 25, 2008 at 10:29 am | Posted in On Air | 14 Comments

Average JoesIt’s our February edition of Average Joes on Tuesday, February 26.  Join four Charlotte Talks listeners for debate and coversation about the topics most important to them.  This month’s topics include the presidential election, the cost of adoption, school violence, reality TV, religion and more.  You can listen and participate with your peers today on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins.


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  1. What do the average joes think about the Iraq recession?
    Yesterday I was on a conference call with John Edwards, VoteVets.org, MoveOn, and others, including national reporters. The Iraq recession will be discussed far and wide.

    Your thoughts on the connection between the war and the declining economy?

  2. Is this a step back for the professional woman or what? The suggestion that we vote for Obama and let him go around the world and make social calls on other countries while Hillary Clinton takes on the heavy lifting of pushing through healthcare reform is such an example of the glass ceiling that women have worked so hard to break.

  3. Next time include some “Average Joes” with some life experience. It was difficult listening to your guests this a.m.

  4. I have to agree with Liz… While I enjoy the diversity normally presented on your show, the 20-year old girl was just too naive to be a real contributor to the discussion.

    It was rather difficult to listen to her inexperience and not have it questioned. She was just parroting things she’s heard and believes in and could not support her arguments with any substance.

    In the future, your screeners should do a better job of providing more mature guests and respect its listenership.

  5. I am the “Joe” who said Obama should repair international relations and have Clinton work on healthcare. It is an issue she is passionate about and clearly wants to work on. I think she would rather have that legacy than any other. Obama will have plenty of heavy lifting to do in Washington on that and many other topics. In any capacity, Clinton will go all over the world and use her considerable experience and talent to further any agendas that benefit this country. I must say, though, that working to repair our frayed relationships with allies we need to keep us and them safe is more than making “social calls”. Also, if Clinton thinks that presidential visits to some countries are not appropriate, perhaps if she becomes president, she will send Obama anyway. It’s a matter of matching proclivities with needs, not of giving one person more glamorous or less difficult duties.

  6. I have to say that finding it hard to listen to people who don’t have more “life experience” sounds a bit patronizing. Why shouldn’t we get to hear from younger people, too? I personally wouldn’t want to just tune into to the grouchy old persons’ show. Several of the guests yesterday had some very thoughtful ideas to share with the listeners, even none of them sounded as if they were older than the mid-30s. If you couldn’t hear that because they sounded too young to you, then I think you really missed out on a good opportunity.

  7. “Why shouldn’t we get to hear from younger people, too? ”

    We should, but can you honestly say this member had anything to say? All she did was parroting talking points that are heard on right-wing radio every day. Can you name something that she really had her own opinion on? I can hear this stuff from other people all day long.

    I’m not that old myself, but I will say young people that aren’t out in the world, truly do not understand the world around them… I sure didn’t.

    At the end of the show, this young lady said no one is entitled to health insurance, but yet, who’s paying for her insurance? Her parents! She said she’d get insurance, but yet, didn’t have a clue as to what the costs are. I would say that’s pretty naive. I would also care to wager when it comes down to it, she’ll still be on her parents policy even after she graduates.

    When a person, young or old, truly has an opinion of their own, based on real-life, real-world experiences, I’ll be glad to listen.

  8. Wendy Herkey, Senior Producer of CT here– just wanted to respond to Ted and Liz regarding your comments about guests without “experience” on the show. Limiting our Average Joe Panels to just listeners with “more experience” would cause a number of issues- for instance, where do we draw the line? How “old” do our guests need to be? At what age are you credible enough to be included as an “Average Joe”? Should they have voted in X number of elections (that might exclude some older listeners as well, of course…) And if we’re excluding a segment of our listenership (censorship?), what does that say about the open nature of our show, and the spirit behind the whole Average Joe idea and public radio in general? What I would submit to you, Ted and Liz and any other interested reader is that the Average Joe’s series is what the participants make it, and if you feel like there’s something that’s missing from the Average Joe Panel, submit your information and become a panelist on a future show. We’d love to hear what you think about the topics that are important to you. Hope to hear from you soon at charlottetalks@wfae.org.

  9. Wendy, did you even read my message? Take my point about the health insurance. She could only say what she’d be taught, and couldn’t even answer the question when she was asked directly about it.

    I think there’s a difference in believing in something based on a life experience, and believing in something because that’s all you’ve ever been told. As a college student, she had a very narrow view of life, which is unusual for someone of that age.

    Naturally, you’re welcome to put on anyone you’d like, and I guess that’s why it’s called “Average Joe”. As a long-time member, use to informed, diverse discussions, I guess I was just expecting more of out WFAE.

    Thanks for your reply.

  10. Hi Ted- sorry- that post wasn’t up when I wrote the response to your first post, so I couldn’t have responded to it above. However, I can respond to it now– I think that your complaint about it being an age issue is not correct. There are people of ALL ages who repeat what they hear from neighbors, friends, parents, radio hosts, and other locations and insist that those statements are their original opinion. I don’t think it’s for us to decide whether the Average Joe we’re speaking of, Erica, has done that or not. She obviously said some things yesterday that you disagree with, and you feel like she’s uninformed on the issue. That’s fair- we’re not on the air to have 4 people who agree with each other on everything and say things to make our listeners happy all the time- there are supposed to be different viewpoints, disagreements and that hopefully will create discussion. The purpose of Average Joe’s is to bring up topics that people talk about at the watercooler and then have “Average Joe’s”, listeners to Charlotte Talks who volunteer to participate, discuss those topics on the air. It’s meant to show a cross section of how our listeners feel about the world around them and further discussion about the topics THEY choose. None of our Average Joe’s are experts on any of the topics they’ve submitted. The healthcare issue was not one of the topics that Erica submitted, as I look at the list of topics from my prep for the show, but when asked her take on it, she gave her opinion, which was shaped by her experiences. I don’t see anything wrong with that. The point was made on the air that her parents pay for her health insurance right now, and I think it’s up to the listener to draw their own conclusions from what they heard. You also say that she’s got a “narrow view of life, which is unusual for someone of that age”. I think that statement also takes away from your argument that she’s too young and inexperienced to be on the panel. You’re saying she’s unlike other young people, which negates your statement that younger people shouldn’t be on the show. To underline my earlier post, we aren’t going to censor our listeners from being on the program. The requirement for being an Average Joe is that you’re a listener of Charlotte Talks who wants to participate in this panel. If you submit the information that’s been requested of you, you’ve fulfilled that requirement– regardless of age, occupation, religion, experience, race, political affiliation, education level, or economic factors. Erica did that. I repeat my invitation for you to do the same. charlottetalks@wfae.org.

  11. In support of Erica, I applaud her for being willing to go on the radio and talk about what she thinks and how she feels. I was nervous, and I bet I have a lot more experience talking in front of groups than she does.

    That said, I do see your point, Ted. I was concerned about the same thing in advance. It took several hours of research to make sure I was prepared for all the topics on the list – there were quite a few. I wouldn’t be surprised if Erica either didn’t know to do that or couldn’t find the time.

    I have to say, though, that I am not sure all of my opinions are perfectly reasoned either. It’s hard to come up with thoughtful arguments on the fly, especially when you don’t have a lot of exposure to everything on that list. I admire Erica for admitting that she did not have a rationale for all of her opinions. Maybe it will be a good impetus for her, and all of us to give more thought to what we believe. I appreciate all of the discussion on this blog. It has been thought-provoking.

  12. Hi everyone! I had a great time on the show Tuesday morning with all the “Joe’s” (or “Jo’s”).

    I will defend Erica too here. She’s a young person who is going to have her own point of view, which is the idea of having an “average Joe’s” show in the first place.

    I reran the last 10 minutes of the show yesterday so I could properly answer Erica’s question to me (I think we all felt a little rushed).

    Would my Dad’s quality of health care had been worse if it had been universal?

    That is a tough question to answer accurately because none of us have ever experienced that type of care, so who’s to say the quality who would be adequate or not? I know many “pundits” love to use the “you have to wait 9 months for an MRI” arguement. I don’t believe that would happen here. I have some faith that a universal health care system put in place here would have a certain degree of competency.

    I have to admit that I didn’t realize the email responses we sent would be included in the discussion, which surprised me.

    Erica, Robin, Luke, I had a tremendous time yesterday and I do hope that we do get together for a meal like we talked about.

    Oh and one more thing. Yes, it is possible for a registered Republican to feel compassion, and want to vote for a Democrat that inspires, along with having a solid vision of what the future can be. I don’t regard global warming, environmental issues, and medical care to our citizens as a left/right issue. Those are issues that stand for the bettering of humanity and our planet.

  13. Well, with four against one, two of them being station employee’s and the other being one of the guests, why should I bother? With bias like this, who would even consider my opinion?

    Next time, I’ll just keep my comments to myself.

  14. Correction: two of them station employee’s, and TWO of them being the guests…

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