I’m all for free speech, but that doesn’t mean I have to listen to, or read, all the hateful crap that conservative cranks, um, crank out. As I’ve observed before, conservative “talk” radio really doesn’t involve much talking between two people. Rather, the talking is almost entirely one-sided, with the cranky host using the public airwaves to rant and rave about his or her personal feelings, and having the power to shut off the voice of any caller who doesn’t adhere to the Republican party line.
Wednesday afternoon, while driving around in our Toyota Prius, I allowed KXL’s Lars Larson to enter into the otherwise pleasant Green atmosphere of my motoring experience. He was all a flutter about gay/lesbian marriage, given the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision that such had to be allowed in that state to guarantee equality under the law. Per usual, I noticed that when a fawning listener phoned in—“Hi, Lars. Love your show. I listen to you all the time. Here’s my take on the gay marriage thing….”—Larson would give the person free rein to say what they wanted.
Then, a thoughtful guy called up who had a different perspective. And almost instantly Larson started interrupting him, barely letting him finish a single sentence. During this “conversation,” Larson did at least three-fourths of the talking, if not more. This guy was trying to point out that the US Supreme
Court had ruled that people have the right to engage in any private sexual practice they desire, which has implications for the legality of gay/lesbian marriage.
Every time he tried to speak, Larson interrupted rudely. Finally, Larson had the gall to say, “If you’re not going to engage in a conversation with me, I’ll shut your mike off.” He then did just that, and finished with a lengthy tirade about how this idiotic caller, by God, wasn’t going to succeed in his attempt to take away the institution of purely heterosexual marriage from the majority of Americans who, like Larson, don’t want homosexual perverts joining their marital party.
At that point I jabbed at the power button on the radio and listened to blissful silence. Then, after a while, I turned the radio back on and enjoyed Oregon Public Broadcasting during the rest of my drive time. And that’s what I vow to do from now on—no more conservative talk radio listening for me. If I want to get my blood pumping, I’ll get on a Stairmaster. I’ve made this vow before, and have broken it, but this time I think I’ve really realized that by listening to these hateful conservative cranks I’m supporting them.
Another good example was just emailed to me by a friend who was outraged by Ann Coulter’s attack on Max Cleland, the ex-Georgia senator who lost three limbs in Vietnam. Coulter claims that because Cleland’s injury happened off the battlefield, it doesn’t make Cleland a hero. Coulter ends her column this way: “Cleland wore the uniform, he was in Vietnam, and he has shown courage by going on to lead a productive life. But he didn't ‘give his limbs for his country,’ or leave them ‘on the battlefield.’ There was no bravery involved in dropping a grenade on himself with no enemy troops in sight. That could have happened in the Texas National Guard—which Cleland denigrates while demanding his own sanctification.”
The Center for American Progress web site appropriately questions whether Bush will put up with Coulter’s attack on Cleland’s war service, and, more importantly, whether each of us should. This page has an email link to Fox News which I just used to say that I’m not watching any more Fox News until Coulter is canned. And that’s true. Even though I’m a news junkie, I can get my fix just fine with CNN on the television and OPB on the radio. Everyone should consider doing the same.