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Talk Radio Turned Reagan's Coffin Into Soapbox

by Steve Young

Bush Campaign Rushes To Exploit 9/11 In First Ads

This week Talk Radio lost their least that's what they would have you believe.

In a week of remorse for, and tribute to, Ronald Wilson Reagan, a president who had served us all, those on the AM dial who spoke of the greatness of the man, chose use this past week's homage as just another opportunity to dish out a good heapin' of we so good, you so bad.

Talk radio went to war with any network anchor or oped page writer who offered a non-positive of the Reagan legacy saying that this was not the time to wax political especially when they were busy attacking any combination of Democrats officials, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Bill & Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

You would expect them to blame the oped pieces, the leftist papers, the network anchors who dared to report there were some who questioned Reagan's policies or lack of same. But there was not a peep of Reagan negativity from those the righteous hosts chose to aim their demonization at: Democrat officials, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Bill & Hillary Clinton or John Kerry. They reached for a 1988 article where Senator John Kerry was quoted criticizing the Reagan presidency during the '88 presidential race.

They said that this was not a week to deal politic or power play, then beseeched the country to add the face of Reagan to ten dollar bills and Mt. Rushmore.

They and their callers spoke of those who questioned the duration of the week-long media coverage, insisting that there was no mention of over-coverage of John Kennedy Jr's tragic death or Princess Diana's...even though there was plenty of "enough alreadies" to go around in every case.

They used his death to demean Presidents still living; not only that he was a good president, but how much better his presidency was than Carter's; not only that he was a moral president, but how much moral he was than Clinton.

As always, the Lords of Loud needed only a kernel of reason to hammer home their ideological attack. But different from their status quo railing against the enemy, here they chose to use and besmirch the memory of the man they confessed ad infinitum, had become the most important moral and political influence in their lives.

They stood on the body of the 40th president of the United States, microphone in one hand, righteous indignation in the other, and worked overtime to make this larger than life death one of division and derisiveness. And in doing so they diminished the dignity of his passing.

They asked us to compare the respect the Republicans had during these solemn ceremonies, verses the insolence of the Democrats as they mourned and celebrated the late Senator Paul Wellstone.

Presidents, good, bad or pedestrian, Republican, Democrat or Whig, whether we agree or not with policy, style or antics are Commanders in Chief of all the people. Even if the people are unhappy with his presidency, never voted for him or even want him impeached.

Ronnie began to lose much of his cognizance just as talk radio was taking a foothold, but the way his children spoke of his spirit and sense of values, I doubt whether he would have become part of the game talk radio plays. This week as OUR late president drifted toward his heavenly repose, ready to join Wellstone, watching and listening to the false prophets using his death as just only another tool to polticize and denigrate, no wonder he once said, "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."

Now you know why there is a red light blinking just outside of the studio door of every talk show host on the air.

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful"and is a frequent guest on talk radio.

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Albion Monitor June 11, 2004 (

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