Sunday, June 05, 2005


Right-wing noise, Part II

Let's see. Where was I?

If you'll remember from the other day, I was describing a recent lazy Thursday afternoon listening to conservative talk radio. After 30 minutes of Rush Limbaugh, I felt weariness and extreme boredom set in, so I turned over to Bill O'Reilly on 97.1 Talk (It's like Fox News on the radio with all your favorite talking heads.)

Now ol' Bill is a different sort of conservative. He doesn't mind giving the Bush Administration a hard time, and I respect him for that. But he calls himself an independent. That would be like Pat Buchanan, another frequent Bush critic, calling himself an independent. In other words, O'Reilly is pretty darn right wing. And he's a loudmouth and bully too. His schtick is to find the biggest loser out there with the biggest nutball agenda and excoriate him before millions as if he's performing some national service by telling off some poor, defenseless kook.

Today, he's forsaken the kooks for Juan Williams, an NPR guy and frequent Fox talking head. Juan's a pretty smart guy and liberal too, so I give Bill brownie points for providing equal time and not with some tepid moderate like Alan Colmes. Today's debate topic: the Amnesty International report. Bill says that it's just a bunch of hot air from people who hate America and would love to see soldiers killed.

"The left-wing websites started claiming, torture, torture, torture, abuse, abuse, abuse, without any proof," he says. "The torture industry is designed to undermine the Bush Administration and elect Hillary Clinton president in 2008." (That's one of those things conservative talk-show hosts like to do, drop Hillary's name. The mere mention sends listeners into a rage. It seems cheap and gratuitous like a comedian using the f-word to elicit laughs.)

Bill speaks out both sides of his mouth. So much for no-spin in the zone. On the one hand, he says that the torture and abuse haven't been proven. On the other, he opposes releasing more photos, saying that it will cause our soldiers to die. It's basically rhetoric designed to keep the public from knowing what's really going on in Guantanamo and our other detention centers. But Bill persists.

"I don't want our soldiers to die. I don't want our soldiers to die. I don't want our soldiers to die."

If you've ever seen Bill's apoplectic and beet-red face on the cover of Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, then you have a picture to match the voice I'm hearing on the radio at this point. Bill doesn't want soldiers to die. How nice. I'm sure our men and women in Iraq thank him.

Personally, I've noticed that our soldiers are dying anyway with or without photos of Abu Graib, so I say let the dirty laundry hang. That's how we improve our country. Juan agrees.

"I suspect you want to close your eyes because it will erode support (for the war)," he tells Bill.

Overall, it's a lively although rather overheated debate. It was worth listening to, but I fear I'm neglecting construction of Mount Budmore, so I turn off the radio and resume my important work. At 2, I turn the radio back on and listen to a half-hour of Sean Hannity. But don't get me started on that guy. We'll talk about him some other day.

Again, please, please, please sign the petition to bring progressive talk radio to St. Louis, so I can construct Mount Budmore in a more peaceful Zenlike fashion. By the way, we're up to 680 signatures. That's about 200 more in just one week, but we still need yours, so click here:

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