Friday, April 13, 2007

The Sewer of Right Wing Hate Radio

MediaMatters has a tremendous post here that makes an excellent point: the cleaning up of American radio cannot logically end with the elimination of Don Imus. In fact, for years the (Republican) elephant in the media room has been the astonishing outpouring of the most vile bigotry and slander by the radical right on the nation's airwaves.
The phrase "liberal media" has always been a fiction, but no more so than in regard to radio. (Paul Harvey has been spewing out tiresome conservative platitudes since the 1940s, but at least he has been generally civil.) The real right wing nutcases began to appear on the airwaves in much of the country in the 1950s. Beginning with conservative loudmouths Joe Pyne (nationally) and Howard Miller (in the Chicago area), the right's ugliness proliferated. Morton Downey, Jr. kept the ball rolling nicely (he was Limbaugh's immediate predecessor) and then the floodgates were opened: the Fairness Doctrine was repealed under Ronald Reagan. After that, the Right's dominance spread even faster. Rational dialogue? Reasoned arguments? An examination of all sides of a controversy? Who needs that crap? It proved to be much more profitable to appeal to hatred, anger, prejudice, and the hunger for brainless, simplistic "answers" to every complex problem. (Can there be a more repulsive example of "discussion" than a knuckle dragging Limbaugh listener from the 90s shouting, "Ditto!"?)
In many parts of the country, the far right viewpoint is the ONLY one which is EVER heard. I've been told that to drive through the Deep South during the Clinton presidency and listen to the radio was to be exposed to an unceasing flood of mindless hatred and preposterous lies. And the cancer of the Fox "News" personalities has only exacerbated an already awful situation. (Really, how can there be a just God when people like Sean Hannity are allowed anywhere near a job that doesn't involve the serving of fast food?) Right wing hate radio has been the chief engine of Republican electoral success and a key instrument in the conservative "culture war" (i.e., the war against the rest of America). It has also pandered to the worst instincts of its audience. Here's a lovely example of radical right wing Republican trash that MediaMatters didn't cite--Bob Grant, who was ultimately fired:
One of Grant's favorite words for African-Americans is "savages": The U.S., he said (1/6/92), has "millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya--people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized." He declared (10/15/93) that "if they didn't observe Martin King Day, there would be trouble from the savages." Apologists for Grant say that he only uses "savages" to refer to rioters and criminals (as if applying racial stereotypes to criminals was not racist).
But it isn't true: Grant has referred to black churchgoers as "screaming savages" (4/30/93); he's said (7/15/93) that black fraternity members represent "the savage mind, the primitive, primordial mentality." After overcrowding at a charity event led to deaths, Grant referred to the crowd (1/6/92) as "the 3,000 to 5,000 savages who showed up for the rap stars' basketball game."
Read the MediaMatters article and then add your own observations. To me, the solution to this is obvious: a Democratic president, an increased Democratic majority in the House, and a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate to allow the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine--and a crushing blow to the Right Wing Noise Machine that has so poisoned and sickened political discussion in our country.


Anonymous said...

What's with the denying of political opposition, J? You seem to be on quite a kick here.

joan said...

I clicked on this article from the Bartcop link and can add a little more to what you say.
First of all, it's not necessarily the "deep south" where there is no dissention. Indeed, I live in Oklahoma and we have NO alternative press--and I mean NOTHING even slightly left of far right--okay, there is the semi-monthly tabloid the Oklahoma Observer. Yet further south in Bush's home state, there are pockets, both geographically and media-covered where folks can be left and listen left: Austin, Dallas.
But I agree with everything you say. I can vouch for the idea there is absolutely NO outlet for the left, which, by my estimation, means no "free speech" in today's world.
In Tulsa, our three tv stations and a daily newspaper would close their doors before they'd present any opposition to the republican noise machine. And check out the places where we get our radio news: KFAQ and KRMG. See who they have on their lineup. They can't find anyone more radically right or they'd hire them. What we don't hear from the media, we get from our "radical clerics" or rather our clergy.The populace here in district 1 have elected and re-elected the illustrious Jim Inhofe over and over again; and we border Tom Coburn's district.
Criticism of the president's regime or of anything not in accordance with the republican talking points is nonexistant. It's just "not done." Everything is patriotic and we listen to the president because he is our president.
Another interesting thing is that Oklahoma is mostly registered Democrats--moreso in western Oklahoma. Most of Oklahoma is blue collar, lower middle class.
Amazingly, these people vote for, support, believe in and listen to the very regime which is inherently detrimental to them. They are bombarded with chants of "unfair taxes" and are snookered into believing taxbreaks for the rich means more money in the pockets of the middle class.
Anyway, your rant is correct.
Thank goodness for the internet and satellite radio, without which I would surely have gone crazy by now.
The other explanation I have for this plight is in the book/movie, "Why We Fight." It helps me to understand a lot.