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Bad Rap Reax

I received a lot of positive email feedback from my Bad Rap oped last month in the Baltimore Sun.

However, as expected, denizens of the fever swamp arose from the bog to inform me of what a hateful and unthinking person I am for having the temerity to make an argument.

Lane said

It’s shocking to me that you would write “…conservative talk radio is not a monolithic agreement factory full of Rush Limbaugh’s ditto-heads repeating what he tells them to think,” explaining what conservative talk radio is not, then turn around and reduce what progressive talk radio “is” by writing, “…Al Franken ranting about racist conservatives and Randi Rhodes waxing poetic about an assassination of President Bush did not make for compelling radio; thus Air America’s stupendous failure.” Of course, I don’t know why I’m surprised; by your own admission, you don’t listen to progressive radio, so you’re obviously unqualified to sum it up for your readership. The crux of the Steiner issue is that he is an independent voice that has been stifled by corporate interests. Whether he is progressive or conservative seems beside the point.

What Lane deliberately leaves out is that after my mention of Franken and Rhodes I explicitly write “Clearly, Mr. Steiner’s show wasn’t anything like the fever swamp of Air America.” But I digress

From Maria Allwine of Baltimore’s Green Party

Mr. Newgent would like his readers to think that “liberal bias blinkers its assessment of conservative talk radio…” Here’s what conservative talk radio really does – nothing to assess in this latest outburst from Bill O’Reilly – it’s as plain as day:

“And I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that’s how she really feels — that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever — then that’s legit. We’ll track it down.”

You can dress this up however you wish and there will be people whose ideology prevents them from abandoning this kind of garbage, but conservative, right-wing talk radio, with few exceptions, is hate-wing talk radio. What haters like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and too many others are selling is “tracking down” people who don’t agree with them and silencing or even killing them – plain and simple. I can hear you all now saying that’s not true. But in your reflective moments, you must know how true it is.

If you don’t acknowledge that that is exactly what most of these talk-show hosts are really selling, then you’re not listening and you’re not willing to acknowledge the depth of your own hateful feelings for progressives like me, whose fundamental ideas about how to treat other people and how to make this country live up to its professed ideals are different from yours.

O’Reilly’s latest filth isn’t funny, it’s not a joke and it never has been. It’s all designed to make you hate people who are different from you. It’s designed to make you see what is becoming the majority of finally awakened Americans as your enemy. And the worst part of it is – people like O’Reilly and their ilk do it for the MONEY and the PRESTIGE and their perceived POWER!! Don’t you get that?

Marc Steiner’s program served the community of Baltimore and Maryland without sowing ugliness and hate. I realize that this is perceived as “liberal bias” when what it really is is civil discourse without demonization – a concept rendered arcane by most conservative right-wing radio.

I fully expect many posters, after they read this, to spew hateful invective toward me and other devil-progressives – you’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become habit without reflective thinking.

Allwine’s rant is pregnant with every left wing trope about conservatives that the straw man was already a pile of embers before she began banging away on her keyboard.

Allwine employs–conscious of it or not–the old Marxist false consciousness trick. The false consciousness goes something like this: if you disagree with the left, you obviously suffer from some sort of brainwashing and are incapable of critical thinking. Since progressives are the embodiment of all that is right and good in the world, being a conservative you are, ipso facto, a hateful person. I cite again for emphasis:

If you don’t acknowledge that that is exactly what most of these talk-show hosts are really selling, then you’re not listening and you’re not willing to acknowledge the depth of your own hateful feelings for progressives like me, whose fundamental ideas about how to treat other people and how to make this country live up to its professed ideals are different from yours.

Lost in the frothy sanctimony of their spittle-flecked rants, people like Allwine go on to prove the very point of my piece.

You see progressives don’t go apoplectic when you are wrong about them. No, they scream and rant when you hit the target.

crossposted on The Main Adversary






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