I spent more time than usual in my rental car while on travel earlier this month. Because it was equipped with satellite radio, I did something different. I listened to a satellite channel that bills itself as “Real liberal talk radio, Sirius Left [channel] 146.” According to the Sirius satellite radio website, liberal radio talk show hosts on channel 146 include Thom Hartman, who “uncovers corporate lies, rampant confusion in the offices of our politicians, and exposes the ‘con’ in conservative;” Lynn Samuels, who also works at a Greenwich Village Laundromat; and Mike Malloy, “a traditional Democrat” who offers “fire from the left.” It was apparent that Samuels’ program is only on satellite radio and not broadcast-delivered, as she liberally dropped the F-bomb and other vulgarities throughout her regular rants.
It had been awhile since I had listened to liberal talk radio. I was reminded of the three major reasons why I eschew the medium after listening for only a short while the very first day. First, it is understandable why liberal talk radio has failed again and again. While conservative talk radio hosts can be demagogues and engage in hyperbole, their daily blather pales in comparison to the nonsense that is blasted from liberal radio shows.
Second is the totally inexplicable fixation that liberal talkers have with George W. Bush. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer summed it up best when he diagnosed the problem as “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” According to Krauthammer’s theory of BDS, there is little that goes wrong in the world that Bush-haters believe cannot be laid squarely at the feet of George Bush. Much of this likely stems from the fact that many of these folks subscribe to the notion that Bush is an “illegitimate” president because he “never won” the election in 2000 and he “stole” the election in 2004.
Lastly is the adherence by the left to one totally whacko conspiracy theory after another. Bush is a criminal, the war on terrorism is about benefitting Halliburton, all media is conservative, and the U.S. is a fascist country are just some of the recurring topics. Their tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theories are just as nutty as claims of UFO rides and the origin of alien crop circles.
I scrawled one silly comment after another on a notepad throughout the week as I withered under the daily assault of political pornography, foul language, liberal hate-speech, sexual comments by a shock jock-wannabe and other nonsensical drivel. I listened to several radio hosts more than once. In addition to Hartmann, Samuels and Malloy, I also heard broadcasts from Ed Schultz, Bill Press, Mark Thompson, and Stephanie Miller.
I had listened to Schultz, Press and Miller on several occasions in the past. Schultz generally comes across as more lucid than the others (although not by much), while Press’s Chicken Little accounts of corporations controlling the country wear thin after a short while. Miller appears to be in search of an on-air identity, trying to decide if she is a liberal talk show host or a female shock jock. Every Miller show I have listened to has included sexual innuendoes, jokes about body parts and bodily functions, and references to vulgarity that is more benefitting middle school boys at recess. One day Miller droned on about the size of her breasts and their firmness. She referred to them as her “breasticles.” That’s intelligent political debate for you.
I confess that I do not listen to talk radio on a regular basis, although I have sampled various programs over the years. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are relatively easy to find in most cities in America because each host is syndicated to hundreds of stations. Finding the liberal network Air America has proven to be a bigger challenge. As of this moment, I honestly do not know if the network is still around or has finally slipped into insolvency after so many flirtations with bankruptcy almost from the day it launch. The liberal radio station I used to listen to in the Washington, D.C. market no longer appears to be branding itself as “Air America” and instead calls itself “Progressive Talk 1260.” Perhaps this is a clue regarding the life expectancy of Air America.
There is considerable irony to the routine complaints lodged by nearly all of the Sirius channel 146 talk show hosts about “corporate media” in light of the reality that there is only one satellite radio provider, given the recent merger of competitors XM and Sirius. Moreover, most of the hosts hawked General Motors automobiles and urged listeners to buy the Pontiac Vibe. Other commercials were for Mercedes-Benz. Miller did an on-air pitch for Tahiti Village (a time-share venture), and Hartmann urged listeners to join him in a gold investment scheme. Their show websites had ads from Google and international conglomerate Nestle. None of these companies could be characterized as “mom and pop” operations and many of them are Fortune 500 companies. Lots of big corporations are behind the talkers who claim they are corporate media-free.
The following are just some of the nutty quotes, comments, and viewpoints espoused on Sirius channel 146 during one week in August. These comments are not even worthy of rebuttal or correction. There is not a shred of truth to the wildest of viewpoints. Yet, many of the comments are apparently red-meat (or to be politically correct, perhaps I should say “red Tofu”) to the channel’s far-left listening audience.
In no particular order, this is a sample of what I heard:
Pat Buchanan is a “sociopath racist” who wrote a book titled “Death of a White Nation.” (Note: Buchanan wrote no such book.)
The “Bush crime family” was behind the planning and execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“[George] Bush has committed war crimes.”
“God doesn’t exist.”
Everyday, U.S. troops are “slaughtering Iraqis by the thousands.”
“Communism provides services to the people such as a job, a place to live and universal health care.”
“Communism is not what makes China bad; it is corporate fascism.”
Our Founding Fathers repudiated religion “because religion was a threat to free people.”
“We need government to create jobs.”
“The goal is not to reduce the price of oil, but to eliminate it from society.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if Hillary [Clinton] was nominated [for President] and we got rid of that little putz?”
“John McCain is a senile son-of-a-bitch who needs someone to change his Depends [sanitary pants] because he is too stupid to know what it means when his diapers are wet.”
The political left loves free speech quotas such as the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” They claim to want greater political debate on the nation’s airwaves, although that is just a red herring. Instead, they want to achieve in talk radio the monopoly the political left has on broadcast television, weekly newsmagazines, and the major daily newspapers. Supporters of free speech quotas are the “thought police” who want to end political viewpoints they oppose. Yet, if they were really serious about giving the public informed, political debate, one would think they would start by replacing the entire line-up on Sirius Left 146.