Recently by Brian Wilson: Now or Never
For the last 6 years, I have been wearing the 3 hats of Program Director, News Director and Host of PM Drive (3p-6p) on WSPD, Toledo's #1 News/Talk station. 46 years in radio/TV, I've labored in the broadcasting vineyards from Baton Rouge to Houston, Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Dallas-Ft.Worth, San Francisco, New York City and several lesser media markets along the way. I was part of the Original Cast at the start of CNN, did the last music show and first local talk show on WABC/New York. I "invented" Vacation Relief, providing talk talent (mine) to major market radio stations around the country via ISDN. As such, I have had the pleasure of subbing for at some of America's heritage Talk stations and filling in for the likes of Art Bell, Laura Ingraham, Jim Bohanon and other nationally syndicated luminaries. For a few semi-glorious years, I and my wife, a degreed broadcast journalist, actually owned our own station in Maryland. (Just as gloriously, we sold it a few years ago). I was the opening act for Siegfried & Roy's Radio City Music Hall tour, did a couple ABC TV "Specials" with Dick Clark and have had the pleasure of interviewing giants from just about every field imaginable.
There's more but my Episcopalian-instilled modesty is one my less endearing charms and I have violated the rather strict parameters already. I wouldn't have mentioned any at all if it wasn't relevant to what follows.
For your consideration: Did the "Godfather" of Talk Radio* send his surrogates do his dirty work?
*I have done two shows with Rush during his "Rush To Excellence" Tour circa 1992-93. This included chauffeuring him to the stand-up following the radio show and somehow taking my producer to dinner afterwards. A year later, hosting "Talk at Night, an Atlanta live-with-band-audience-guests-and-callers TV show, Rush brought me in to "consult" his fledgling and ill-fated TV efforts.
During the recent (and blessed) Rush Limbaugh vaca, the 3 Marks (Davis, Steyn and Belling)* pulled various days of what we in The Biz call "vacation relief". As the President, CEO and Grand Exalted Omnipotent Stomper of Vacation Relief, Incorporated and a veteran of the Great Radio Wars (see above), I can testify they did their usual good job(s), actually exceeding the quality of the work product generally spewed by the Great (his word) El Rush-Bo, N-3P ET on too many radio stations "across the fruited plane" (his words again). Note this is a purely objective observation; one doesn't have to agree with the substance to acknowledge the technical quality of the performance.
Listening to the last 30 minutes of the Limbaugh show cum Mark-of-the-Day, a succession of events occurred, not spontaneously generated on any show I have ever heard. Ever. For every day in that time slot, the host du jour stated in a slightly different ways he was being goaded into "say[ing] something (bad) about Ron Paul"; Mark Steyn had the class to demur. Allegedly, the prodding was coming from the ubiquitous but unheard phone screener "Bo Snerdly"* with whom Limbaugh has regular one-sided conversations.
*While I don't know Belling and won't be interviewing Steyn for 2 more weeks, Mark Davis and I worked together for a year in Washington, DC prior to his move to Dallas-Ft.Worth where I was his regular "vacation relief" for 12 years.
**"Bo Snerdly" is nom de air for James Golden. We worked together at WABC/NY where he was Assistant Music Director before the switch to Talk. We appeared on a couple NYC TV shows a few year later. He is a genuine talent in his own right and had a short-lived LA talk show.
For LRC Readers fortunate to be otherwise productively occupied, the feigned reluctant response from Belling and Davis went something like…
You just want me to say something bad about Ron Paul, don't you? Well alright – well, let me just say: Ron Paul…he can't win…he can't get elected…he'll never get the nomination. Ron Paul means 4 more years of Obama. Ron Paul is the wacky uncle who shows up at the family picnic and everyone tries to ignore. I mean, I love the guy's passion for the Constitution but his wacky foreign policy ideas, wanting Iran to have nukes! Well, that's just insane. Tell ya what – he should just drop out of the race and when whichever true GOP candidate wins the White House appoint Ron Paul to head the Fed! Then he can audit the Fed all he wants! That's it! Or make him Secretary of the Treasury!
Yeah. That's the ticket!
Lew Rockwell himself will tell you: I am an unabashed, unrepentant, unexpurgated, unadulterated, unJabberwocked supporter of Ron Paul and the Doctor's prescription for what ails America. Mega-Dittos: the US Constitution. (Granted, it has its flaws – but it's the Rule Book we have for now unless/until something better – or worse! – comes along).
Against this background, I was more appalled than amazed how 2 of the 3 Marks made this special effort to debase, ridicule and marginalize the Ron Paul candidacy. Based on the embarrassing comportment of the MSM efforts re Paul last election cycle, more of the same was only to be expected. But at the same time? In the same segment? Each day? Almost verbatim? By different hosts on the same show? Trust me: that is not the product of the spontaneous combustion chamber Talk radio prides itself on being. That it happened on arguably the most listened-to radio program on the air whose host is notoriously in the tank for the GOP Establishment left a slime inside my Electronic Listening Device.
Having heard portions of Limbaugh's own "Move Away Closer/Don't Make Me Do It" criticism of the Paul candidacy – including its supporters – that Belling and Davis would mimic not just the same faux reluctance to take their Neo-Con shots but the same dissing for the same reasons, set my tin-foil hat on fire. But knowing some of these guys reasonably well, the nature and function of Talk Radio really well and the subterfuge of politics of destruction too damn well… maybe tin foil does burn after all.
How can a Neo-Con claiming to be a good Tea Party supporter read the Constitution and not have passion for the Ron Paul candidacy – unless they support the same "Living Document" hogwash for which they criticize Liberals? Iran nukes? Paul has stated emphatically he does not want Iran to have nukes; he doesn't want anybody to have nukes. He'd like to do away with all nukes. If you own the franchise "War-Mongering for Fun and Profit", what's wrong with that? "Wacky" Foreign Policy? Paul has acknowledged and spoken to the point of what it means to be a "sovereign country" just as American is a sovereign country. But it would appear this is a distinction without a difference for too many of my radio colleagues. How does this happen? Is it intellectually impossible to appreciate all countries are as sovereign as the United States? Would Americans abide Iranian jets enforcing a No Fly Zone over Washington, DC, strafing, bombing, embargoing America into submission to their world view? Recently, I asked Congressman Paul: Where is the morality in pre-emption? He replied, "I don't believe it's there."
(Note to self: Work on developing arguments in favor of No-Fly Zone over DC)
Here's a little experiment to try at the next Tea Party event:
You: I will bet everything I own – everything – that I can walk out on any basketball court play any 5 basketball stars you can name and beat them by 2 points. Wanna take the bet?
Them: BWAHAHAHAAHA! Hell, yeah!! But just how to you figure to pull this off?
You: Simple, along with my $200 "Air Jordan" Nikes, Budweiser-sponsored sweat band and Shaquille O'Neal Official "Big Boy" athletic supporter; I'll also sporting my Kimber CDP .45. Just as the ref tosses up the ball, I'll shoot all 5 guys, thus winning possession, dribble down court and eventually sink a field goal. I win by two points! Tah-dah! Pay up.
Them: AH! But you broke the rules! And you broke the law! Carry guns aren't exactly sanctioned NBA paraphernalia, ya know.
You: Oh yeah!? Where does it say that?
Them: In the rules and in the law, dummy.
You: Oh! Well…Gee…yeah…I guess you're right. Preemptively shooting people to win the game isn't in the rules….hmmm…OK forget it… But while we're on the subject, how do you explain Libya? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Iraq? Where in "the rules" does it say the US has the unobjectionable, unquestionable, unassailable, unique and absolute authority to invade another sovereign country sans their aggression upon us? At least in my basketball bet, everyone agreed to the contest and without the Kimber, there is no question I would have lost everything. You're supporting an unprovoked and Constitutionally un-sanctioned military action against a sovereign country based on lies and self-serving political reasons, killing innocent people who have not taken up arms against us. How is that moral? Legal? Constitutional? Or even decent? The Constitution is America's Rule Book. It places specific "rules on what the government can and cannot do. Our government has been breaking those rules with impunity for a loooong time. Only a distinct minority, headed by Ron Paul – often only by Ron Paul – has even attempted to make Government play by the rules. "Conservatives" and Neo-Cons hate him for reminding them their oft-professed love for and oath taken to uphold and defend the Constitution makes hypocrites of them all.
Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Davis, Belling, FOX News and the Alphabet News Gang cannot or will not answer the dreaded and embarrassing Constitution question. Oh, they do a great job circumventing the facts, tossing out sarcasm, hyperbole and rhetoric with the occasional ad hominem reserved for "those Ron Paul callers" in their non-stop efforts to corrode public opinion – but they cannot make their answer fit in the Constitution. How do you think the "Non Mark", Professor Walter E. Williams would answer Mr. Snerdly?
Thanks to Jon Stewart for his viral YouTube smack-down of the networks recent "Ignore Paul in Iowa" Campaign. The subsequent response from FOX et al is proof positive what can be accomplished with sufficient and immediate push-back via public opinion.
Keep those emails and phone calls coming!
Jump Ball anyone?