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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

One of the problems with many of the talk show hosts on the left is that they just aren't very good at radio. I know of what I speak. I've been one who's been said to fit that description. There are good ones to be sure. Just not a lot. So when a talker steps up and shows him/herself to have the chops as well as an ability to pitch the words moderate to left listeners are dying to hear, it's broadcast news. The one small drawback is that the progressive voice here is not a progressive, not a liberal, not Democrat. He's not even on a progressive station or show.

Meet Doug McIntyre, morning rush host on Los Angeles' KABC radio and L.A. home to Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and a bunch of local far-right zealots. He sparkled as perhaps the only regular pundit on the right equipped with a funny bone on CNBC's Dennis Miller Show, and I'm including Dennis. Perhaps it was his previous TV writing work that helped but being smart with a real sense of history actually made the gags pertinent, and actually clever enough so they didn't come off as ignoble as a gag.

His positioning as L.A.'s daily opening act to O'Reilly's radio disruption softens the belly of a Lord of Loud who thinks he'll be getting the typical yessuh, massah suh, right wing, second team guest who will make for an easy ditto of whatever the bully bloviates. As O'Reilly found out this past week, McIntyre is neither echo nor doormat. Visiting O'Reilly's radio show, McIntyre took Billy to the woodshed leaving the nospinster ridden hard and put away wet. What a treat to see O'Reilly blindsided by a bright guest ladling out five facts to every single misleading fluff Billy ineffectively attempted to use to interrupt Doug to make his bullish bull point. In dire need of smelling salts you wonder if Bill was even aware that he had been KO'd. If he did you can bet Doug might spend a long time between invites.

I have yet to have an on-the-record conversation with McIntyre -- mostly because our off-the- record inside the industry talks are much too much fun -- but no conversation held the deliciousness or gravitas of his bombshell last week. To be sure, Doug does spend time on the dark side, but that makes his manifesto last week all the more slammin.'

In an apology to his KABC audience, most who lean far to the right, McIntyre admitted that he had made a HUGE mistake in voting for President Bush. That a talk show host apologized at all would be news, but McIntyre didn't simply apologize. He called George W. Bush "...the worst two-term President in the history of the country," and made the case that Bush was "the worst president, period." It shouldn't be missed on anyone that McIntyre is something of a history maven having written for American Heritage Magazine.

Not pulling a single punch, McIntyre said this president was "...either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both." Even more Howard Deanish, he actually called the president "a liar." Not that he made a judgement on misinformation. Not that he mangled a word or phrase. Simply, this he is "a liar."

He banged the president not for simple mistakes. Catastrophic ones.

"The damage this President has done is enormous. It will take decades to undo, and that's assuming we do everything right from now on. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed Presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments...I believe that George W. Bush has taken us down a terrible road."

If he had spoken more haltingly I would have thought I was listening to Al Franken.

He didn't miss a beat hitting the president on both domestic and foreign policy; war, taxes, medicare, immigration. Departing far from the standard right-sided rationale for... most everything, McIntyre admitted that, "The liberal media didn't create this reality, bad policy did."

Acknowledging any faux pas short of mispronouncing the Iranian president's name, in itself might get the suits at KABC thinking it's time to return Doug to his former 12-5AM graveyard shift or throw him away altogether as they did with the legendary Michael Jackson, one of Doug's predecessors in the same KABC time slot. But if they do, he shouldn't worry about finding another home. There's plenty of room on the left side of the dial. The team could use another power hitter.

Steve Young, author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" can be read every Sunday in the LA Daily News Op-Ed page (right next to Bill O'Reilly)

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Albion Monitor   May 11, 2006   (

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