Talk Radio: The Lords Of Loud
by Steve Young
[Editor's note: We are happy to introduce a new weekly columnist, Steve Young. Steve has written for us often in the past on a variety of topics (see sidebar below). His contributions here will concentrate on talk radio and the "Lords Of Loud."
Steve Young has appeared as an embattled liberal on some of the most conservative shows. As he explained to the Philadelphia Daily News in March, he's a welcome guest because he plays to their vanity and doesn't threaten the megalomaniacs: "No. 1, I'm not mean-spirited, even though a lot of times I'd like to be. And No. 2, I'm physically attracted [to Hannity and O'Reilly]."
Steve is an award-winning television writer, film director , author and BBC's Hollywood correspondent, His work has been published in the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, Washington Times, National Lampoon, and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, CNNfn, and Fox News. In his spare time he opens car doors at his kids' school in Chatsworth, CA, center of the pornographic film industry ("I wanted to find a place where I could be comfortable with my kids growing up. And having jobs after they grow up, after 14," he joked to the Daily News). Steve is not adverse to being the story himself. Last year he attempted to sell his family on eBay for $5 million.]
I am an addict. Talk radio is my drug. I need my fix every single day. And I hate it. I listen to it like one watches a WWF villain, hoping that he gets beat, but knowing that he never will. Because it's fixed. Just like talk radio.
My addiction is so out of control, I became a frequent guest on talk radio and TV. I'm the liberal that Hannity actually allows to get a word in. I'm the Hollywood lefty who makes O'Reilly laugh -- and gets invited back. I'm the talking head on Fox News who refuses to answer the host's stupid questions seriously. But even when I won the battle, they won the war. It's their battlefield and the weapons and rules of talk radio are so far in favor of the host that you don't stand a chance.
Perhaps some of you masochists heard my 90-minute battle with Hannity where he tried to tell me and his audience that Bush had added two million jobs during his term. I used the facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sean used...Sean facts. Do you think there was one of his fans who believed me?
Perhaps you tuned in when he invited me on his show, live in enemy territory at the Nixon Library in front of 2,000 rabid Hannityites. He said that no one who reviewed his book negatively had actually read the book. I did. Sean bet me that I would not be able to find any inaccuracies. As always, the bet was dinner at a Ruth Chris steakhouse.
I made the trek down to the hallowed grounds of the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA to appear with Sean in front of some 2,000 rabid conservative Orange County Hannity fanatics. All the loverly women looked like Pat Nixon and all the men looked...well, white. I'm sure Jackie Robinson went through worse, but I truly felt like I might have been breaking the Nixon Library liberal barrier. Finally, liberals would be able to visit the missing Nixon tapes just like everyone else. Still, the audience was quite cordial and allowed me to say whatever I wanted -- unless it wasn't was what they want to hear, which was most of the time.
Sean explained to the audience that I was a liberal, as if they couldn't tell it from my prominent tail and horns. He alluded to the fact that I had actually read the book, which I indeed had. After we shook hands and kissed each other on the cheek (an old Hannity greeting that I had yet to get used to) I began.
Making sure that I first got the Ruth Chris steak under my belt, I went right for the jugular. Page 252. The spelling of "campaignining," which I'm pretty sure was meant to be "campaigning." Score. I had the steak dinner. Right? Wrong. He blamed the mistake on his editor. He said it didn't count. Being that I try to blame all my mistakes on my editors, I felt forced to give him a pass. After all, I had plenty more inaccuracies and mistruths in my bag.
So I went with the killer.
Page 22: Sean quotes a portion from a 10/22/01 New York Times editorial referring to the U.S. insurgency into Afghanistan that he said made it "clear" that America "was not strong enough to conquer these foes, so we might as well compromise before we suffer too much. It was only the latest evidence of how little faith the Times truly has in the resolve of the American military." Sean must have accidentally overlooked the very next sentence in the editorial which said, "Even though the risks are great, President George W. Bush made the right choice... As (our soldiers) go (into war) they should know that the nation supports their cause and yearns for their success."
Does it sound like the Times had little faith in the military or the President? That's what Sean wanted his readers to believe -- even if the facts were just the opposite.
Did Sean pat me on the back and start making dinner reservations for me and my wife? Did he even let me finish my statement? Nope. Instead -- and I know this is hard to believe -- he started talking over me, urging the crowd to chime in, and said that in spite of the proof I showed him, that the Times editorial wrote that the president "made the right choice," and "the nation supports (the military's) cause and success," he said, "No it didn't." And that was that.
I show him black and Sean said it was white. And the 1000 Pat Nixons and their 1000 men all cheered. It wasn't that black was white to them. What was right was whatever their knight in shining armor said was right, no matter what a liberal might provide, even it was documented fact.
From that point on there was no opportunity to finish a sentence let alone get other of the books deceptions across. Deceptions like page 228, Sean takes Senator Dick Durbin to task for a 9/12/01 issuing a press release vowing to hold gas stations accountable in the wake of any price gouging. Sean asks, "Did Dick Durbin condemn the terrorists who perpetrated this despicable act? No. Did he voice sorrow over the loss of three thousand Americans? No. Instead, in the aftermath of our national crisis, Senator Durbin appointed himself as high watchman of America's gas stations."
Did Durbin issue the release? Yes. But what Sean again fails to explain is that he doesn't give you ALL the facts. A half-truth is not the same as the truth.
Never mind that there was a state of panic with cars lined up and fistfights breaking out at the Illinois gas pumps where some prices had jumped to $5 per gallon. Durbin, who would have been derelict in his duty as a public official not to address the potential crisis, But he, in fact, not only signed on to a 9/12/01 proclamation condemning the 9/11 attacks (S.J Res. 22), but also vowed publicly the same day that "We will respond. America's been attacked. Those who attacked us will pay a price." (Globe and Mail 9/12/01).
I'm guessing that Sean felt that the complete record of Durbin's words and actions would only confuse his fans, who rely on Sean and his brethren "fair and balancers" for the truth. The same fans at the Nixon Library or at home who didn't get to these liberal lies. Lies that just happen to be the truth. You can look it up yourself. I did. Wonder how Sean missed it. I know he had to miss it because Sean is not the type of guy to purposely leave out information. That certainly couldn't be considered fair and balanced.
There's much more but why even try? Sean's probably shouting over this column right now.
So it is, if I want to be able to offer the facts without being interrupted, shouted down or having my mike turned down, I have to do it on my turf...the Albion Monitor turf.
While Eric Alterman and David Brock and snopes.com will continue to supply you with the reality in face of the diatribers perversion of the truth, I will give you my take on just what it means...and what they would like it to mean.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.
June 26, 2004 (http://www.albionmonitor.net) All Rights Reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use in any format.
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