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rolling nicely (he was Limbaugh's immediate predecessor) and then the floodgates were opened: the Fairness Doctrine was repealed under Ronald Reagan.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.