On any given weekday, self-professed conservative talk show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, will draw more listeners to their nationally syndicated radio broadcasts than viewers of the evening news television broadcasts of ABC, NBC and CBS combined. As one listens to these right leaning hosts, their television counterparts and the paid conservative punditry rail against the “mainstream media” it completely escapes them that they are the mainstream media. Most of these “conservative” radio talkers are syndicated, nationwide, on hundreds of stations owned by only a handful of major corporations.
TV talk hosts such as Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs and pundits such as Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Karl Rove and Dick Morris work for NEWS CORP. – a multi-national media conglomerate - which owns the Fox Television Network, Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network. It also owns the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and several other publications in the United States alone. However, when you listen to the television and radio hosts and read the op-ed columnists, paid by NEWS CORP. and other media conglomerates malign the “mainstream media,” one would think they believe themselves to be maverick broadcasters airing their dissent over pirated airwaves spreading a message against a brutal dictator, when in fact, many of them have used their positions at NEWS CORP., Clear Channel Radio, etc. to become multi-millionaires under the guise of being obscure opinion mavens.
Several of these hosts like to invite ideologically opposing guests on their program to give the illusion of being “fair and balanced,” equal opportunity presenters of dissent. But the guests are frequently interrupted, mid-sentence, as soon as the host realizes he or she doesn’t like the response. NBC and MSNBC host Chris Matthews is often guilty of this, as conservatives are quick to point out, but fail to see this lack of journalistic professionalism in themselves.
It is now widely known that on the eve of Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, the GOP leadership vowed to make their number one priority the denial of a second Obama term. At that point Republicans, en masse, began to vote against, and filibuster their own sponsored and co-sponsored legislation designed to create jobs, spur growth, reduce the deficit, garner bi-partisan support, and had President Obama’s approval. The GOP legislators who have engaged in this unpatriotic and destructive practice have yet to be questioned as to why they found this course of action to be in the best interest(s) of the nation. In their very revealing book about the severity of the bipartisan gridlock, IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN IT LOOKS, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein point out, “If the politics of partisan confrontation… and hostage taking has been building since the late 1970s, it has become far more the norm than the exception since Barack Obama’s election.”
Although the GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, have admitted that the president was left a horrible mess, their “mainstream media Duper-Pac” has spent the last three years castigating Obama for pointing out the economic calamity left at his doorstep. However, they are quick to defend Mitt Romney for no longer being at Bain Capital when a plethora of heartache and destruction was leveled against American companies and American workers. But those voices in the Duper-Pac failed to admit that it was Romney’s tenure at Bain that forged the business model of excessive debt, bankruptcy, the stripping of assets and outsourcing that lined Romney’s pockets and it is that business model which continues to live on, blazing a trail of economic destruction against the American middle class long after Mitt Romney had left the building.
And way before Barack Obama even danced with his wife at the presidential inauguration, radio host Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the mainstream media’s conservative Duper-Pac, said he hoped Obama failed. At which point Sen. Mitch McConnell and the congressional Republicans collectively abandoned their oaths and began to take their marching orders from Mr. Limbaugh. They have thumbed their noses and hoisted their finger at the American people and refused to support their own good ideas simply because they could not stomach Barack Obama’s signature on the legislation. It is the height of audacity when these weak minded public servants, who bow to dishonest noisemakers on the public airwaves, accuse the president of lacking in leadership. Rush says something one day and the GOP practically recites it verbatim on the daily cable and Sunday news shows.
In the interest of full disclosure, I listened to Rush Limbaugh in the very late ‘80s and early ‘90s when he first came east to New York. He was humorous, witty, informative and pleasantly thought-provoking. I liked him and I liked listening to him even when I didn’t agree with his point of view. I find today’s Rush Limbaugh to be insultingly arrogant, mean spirited, unfriendly in voice and manner and lacking in humor. In an attempt to decipher this troubling metamorphosis, my best explanation would be to paraphrase a quote of the brilliant and incomparable Richard Pryor while in character as the neighborhood wino describing one of the other neighborhood denizens. “Them narcotics done made [Rush] null and void!” Perhaps it is time to begin drug testing and searching the medicine cabinets of the congressional Republicans. They appear to be sorely in need of rehab.
September 7, 2012