Sunday, May 24, 2009

Frum Is Right

David Frum is waging a struggle to reclaim the Republican Party on his web site One of his articles is entitled "No Wonder People Hate Us." It's about how the lunatic fringe is destroying the Republican Party. The piece focuses on a right wing, open mouth radio host named Mark Levin who really does abuse anyone not of his own ilk.

Frum provided a transcript of an excerpt in which Levin horribly castigated a woman caller, questioning why her husband didn't just put a gun to his temple. Frum questioned what people like Levin must be doing to any decent Americans:

Imagine some commuter - a nonpolitical person, a family man or woman, a taxpayer and billpayer - who happens to flip the dial on the radio on the way home and hears that exchange. What would such a person think? Wouldn't it be something like, "I dont know what's wrong with that horrible man, but I do know this: whatever side he's on, any decent person would have to be on the opposite"?

I didn't know anything about Mark Levin but this controversy led me to seek him out on YouTube. Here's a clip of this guy tearing into his fellow right winger, Bill O'Reilly, that captures the state of right wing talk radio in the United States today:

I don't have any sympathy for Frum or his Republicans. If you choose to sleep with dogs, don't complain when you get fleas. The Republicans courted these people when that served their purposes just as they courted Christian fundamentalists. The Republicans gave them the necessary degree of credibility and support required for them to flourish. The Republicans provided the rotten fruit needed for this bacteria to grow. They cut their own throats. Now they're left with a party of churls and Quasimodos, a party of hacks and hucksters, names like Boehner, Imhofe and Palin. It was this whole strata of mud dumb bigots and fearstruck fantasists to which Karl Rove looked to cement his permanent Republican majority. Rove never grasped that the key to his success could also be the key to the indefinite collapse of his party and the abandonment of its grotesque movement.

The Republican Party deserves to be led into the desert by the likes of Levin and Savage, Hannity and Limbaugh. There's still a good bit of rotting left to do before they're ready to rebuild, before they can be restored to the company of decent people.

p.s. What's with O'Reilly? If you listened to that clip he sounded perfectly reasonable. Haven't we seen this before on prime time wrestling? The bad guy who needs to revive his tired brand and so instantly switches sides?


Brad Dillman said...

Actually, I got a free satellite radio when I bought my car. On my commute, I switch between Sirius Patriot (right wing) and Sirius Left (left wing). I actually favour Patriot and listen to Hannity, Levin another guy named Mike Church and some others. I find them almost as entertaining as Colbert.

People talk about bias, but I think looking at bias is misleading. What is in jeopardy is verification of fact, which has less to do with opinion.

Lately I saw a clip from The View where Glenn Beck was caught in a lie (and laughably he stuck to his story anyway).

Barbara Walter challenged Beck that he didn't verify his facts as a journalist. Beck responded he wasn't a journalist, he was a commentator and therefore didn't need to verify facts or be held to the same standards as journalists.

For example, consider the following. Two commentators could argue the merits of how the CIA did 9/11 as an inside job. One commentator could suggest this was a good thing in that it motivated the country to act; the other could argue it was a bad thing because of the deaths it caused. Neither commentator need bother verifying whether the CIA did 9/11 as an inside job; they presume the facts that fit their position. The old "Have you stopped beating your dog yet?" fallacy.

I don't think bias would be such a problem if honesty were enforced. Honesty can be enforced upon facts much easier than bias can be balanced.

I think over time more people will recognize the difference between bias and outright lies. I just wish it'd happen faster.

The Mound of Sound said...

Mike, Frum is biased and I really don't have trouble with that. Even within any particular political family there are distinct biases. In fact that's healthy as it furnishes the basis for diversity and constructive criticism.

What Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and this cretin Levin trade in isn't bias but hatred and, yes, as you point out they resort to a lot of dishonesty to grease their wheels.

They attack political correctness but if there's one bunch hostile to diversity, it's them. They attack diversity as heresy. Sad really.

And all that's standing between me and Sirius is a new car? I think I'll keep the beater going another ten years.