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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Did you ever wonder how the pundits of talk radio got so smart? Stop wondering. They didn't. defines a pundit as "a learned person, expert, or authority." No where does it say they must be "honest." The level of factual content fights a never ending battle with the level of integrity for the bottom rung in the import of punditry

The top of the chart is always certainty. Sound like you know what you're talking about far outweighs what it is you are talking about. Rush Limbaugh pulls in the top spot with about 15 million dittoheads, most of which will admit that they needn't listen, watch, or read anything but El Rushbo for their information. And what information do they get? Rush claims that if you look at the legislative record of Barack Obama, "you won't find a Senate bill with his name on it," and that "He's never reached across the aisle as a senator in legislation."

Of course, when he says "if you look at the legislative record" he's depending on the fact that his fandom didn't. Because, if they did they'd find that Obama was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act with the bill's primary sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (OK). Coburn himself referred to the legislation as the "Coburn-Obama Bill."

Wow. Debunking complete in one bill.

Oversight? Negligence? Honest mistake? Cha.

If it were his only bill participation or only time he "reached across the aisle, perhaps. But Obama also worked with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) to produce the "Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative," which President Bush signed into law. And four of the 12 co-sponsors of Obama's bill (S2125) to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo" were Republicans: Sam Brownback (KS), Susan Collins (ME), Mike DeWine (OH), and James Inhofe (OK). President Bush signed the bill into law.

It's how pundits roll. Having access to the facts doesn't call for them to share them. At least the part of them that doesn't push their particular agenda.

Fox News contributor Dick Morris, who worked for Bill Clinton and now works as a Fox News contributor where he shows up almost daily as the Clinton basher extraordinaire. This week he wrote that Hillary Clinton said, "Chelsea [Clinton] was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea's life." She never said that. It's not that Morris didn't have access to a number of Hillary "misspeaks," but why choose one she never made? Easy. 9/11 and a Hillary lie tied together is gold on the Right. And that's exactly why Limbaugh suggested his listeners as Democrats to vote for Hillary -- the Republican choice -- in the primary. Was his concern to drive democracy or bulldoze it into the ground? You be the judge.

Bill O'Reilly smacked John Edwards around on a daily basis, taking him to task for saying that 200,000 veterans were homeless because of economic situations. The fact that those are the Veterans Administration's brought about an O'Reilly clarification that 80% were homeless because of non-economic situations. Not that Bill mentioned it, but that meant that 20,000 veterans were homeless. It didn't stop O'Reilly from continuing to ridicule Edwards for his comments or that what Edwards said was far closer to the facts than Bill's. See, the facts aren't important in punditry. Only ratings, revenue and book sales are.

You don't have stay long on a radio signal or Google past the first page to find transcripts from Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and the skillion other broadcast Lords of Loud playing fast and furious with the truth. Of course, distortions of the truth aren't sole property of the Right. Short of a cure for AIDs and Cancer -- combined MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd aren't going to spend much time mentioning anything positive from George Bush.

Referring to a Jake Tapper (ABC News) claim that a Democratic official said the only way to win was "the Tonya Harding option" -- kneecapping Obama, both referred to the TH option as something Hillary was actually considering.

Still, being that Fox News buries the competition and the Times is going out of business (ask Bill O'Reilly) and the Right owns talk radio lock, stock and bias, the so-called infotainment punditry is basically the Right knocking the Left. It's all about creating a counterfeit truth -- one made up of portions of the facts -- and if truth be know, anything less than the entire truth is no truth at all.

The major problem is that their audiences buy it as the entire truth Oh, they all sound sincere. But sounding sincerity doesn't make anything less a lie. Actual patriotism, integrity, democracy and the truth all take a seat at the back of the campaign bus when it comes to talk radio. Talk radio like to speak of how they are their listeners only chance for a voice, but the fact is, their unwillingness to supply their fans with the whole truth confirms a mistrust of their audience to handle the truth.

And whether right or left, that is nothing less than an insult to the listener.

Award-winning television writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (, Steve Young, is a former talk show host, writes ad finitum on talk radio. His "All The News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday (

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Albion Monitor   March 28, 2008   (

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