Tannen's claim is true enough with profound substance. Hot topics are taken by media to the extent of being pugnacious. They find it amazing I guess. As one side says something the other camp deliberately disputes it. And this is where the media plays along - it is how they treat the subject to open - they want their readers, listeners, or viewers caught up on how both camps point out their position. If something came too hard lined, it is the "action" they are waiting.
She well explained that our culture must not be obsessed on this media flow. A stream of argument and dispute. It can be beneficial however, but not a lot. Some arguments can be taken aback to constructive approach but if seen in public is most often negative. It is because the whole thing is under the public eye. Come to think of it, whenever we are out in the open, the unrestricted, we actually become restricted simple because we have to impose responsibility on our words and actions.
It is easy indeed to verbalize anything that would just be hanging inside our heads, without much thinking. Do we really mean it? Does it make sense, what we just busted out? Or there would be much appropriate word to use that would not look us an educated "war freak"? Again, it is what the media is anticipating. If two divergent ends are expressing theirs views to the extent of harsh wordings and callous remarks; it is a live show they are making - more money perhaps at the end of media producers.
To point out one perfect example of Tannen's account of Argument Culture, the Political Debate, where two bureaucrat aspirants convey their platforms and persuade people to make a wise-use of their...