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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

With the new CBS (Couric Bull Shoot) evening news premiering this week we were all introduced to what Katie called, "Free Speech" ("Speech" being the operative word), in which "...newsmakers, opinion makers, and just plain folks tell us what's on their minds." And when you offer free million dollar network time to a voice, who better to donate it to than someone who has only three hours a day, five days a week to do it already.

Mr. and Mrs. News Consumer, meet Rush Limbaugh, Couric's free-speech speaker on Sept. 7, a few days after she took the seat of Walt Cronkite.

Under the qualification set by KC, that their free speecher be a newsmaker, opinion maker, or a plain folk, Rush Limbaugh fits none. Newsmakers? Not unless he was to speak to how hypocrites get away with breaking drug laws. Opinion maker? If this were "opinion spreader," sure. But when you repeat a political party's propaganda without the trouble of cross-pollinating them with facts, then you're just a repeater of someone else's opinions.

"Patriotism is supporting our troops in the battlefield, not undermining the mission and morale," is not an opinion. It's a Karl Rove talking point.

And do I even need to speak to a "plain folk" who makes a $zillion a year spreading his free speech?

On this past Thursday evening's segment, Rush freely read what was on his mind and guess what? It was a condemnation of "some" who are "pretending these terrorist incidents are mere episodic events," and believe the threat of terrorism is "going away because we choose to ignore it."

He never identified who the "some" were who believed this. I'm guessing they aren't in control of the House, Senate or White House.

Rush assured us that "When good negotiates with evil, evil will always win." Well, yeah. When the evil has full control of the microphone or can hang up when good tries to make a legitimate counter point to evil.

Rush invited us to tell him " do we negotiate with people whose starting point is our death? Ask them to wait for 10 years before they kill us?" And I would tell him, if I could ever figure out what the hell that even means. For crissakes, he prepared the script in advance. Wouldn't you think he might have attempted to make it coherent?

Watching Rush make his absolutely Free Speech was made all the more difficult to comprehend due to the barrage of red herrings obscuring his read.

Did you know that it's not patriotic, when we "...want to grant those who want to kill us, U.S. constitutional rights."

Um. Anyone remember Tim McVeigh?

It's not patriotic, "When the critics are more interested in punishing this country over a few incidents of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay than they are in defeating those who want to kill us..."

Raise your hands, folks. Punishing America over defeating killers. Anyone? Anyone?

And it's not patriotic when we " to destroy a foreign surveillance program which is designed to identify those who want to kill us and how they intend to do it..." I looked it up. "Destroy" is not defined a "modifying it so that it doesn't break the law or shred the Constitution.."

I wondered if Katie would have approved a Josef Goebbels "Free Speech" appearance.

Yet, despite my trepidations on learning what patriotism means from Rush Limbaugh, I stuck around long enough to find a point where I actually agreed with el Rushbo's read. One that actually gave me hope. He closed his read with...

"But let there be no doubt about this: America will prevail. We're the same country that survived a bloody civil war, defeated the Nazis and the Soviets. Each generation has a responsibility to the next. Our generation will not disappoint."

To God's ears.

And then, God willing, that next generation will only be able to read from their history booksabout the talk radio that only cares about dispersing propaganda.

Next up on "Free Speech": The Fox News lineup.

Steve Young writes on talk radio for the Huffington Post and his "Lords of Loud" column in the Albion Monitor. He is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful." Then again, you might want to purchase his new wacky kiddie novel

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Albion Monitor   September 8, 2006   (

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