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Bloody Microphones)

The secret and shameful thought that rattles around inside the little brains of radio demagogues such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage: “Freedom of speech allows me to say any crazy, demagogic, incendiary, inflammatory, rabble-rousing, grossly untrue thing I want on the radio, and nobody can shut me up!”

Right-wing radio talk show hosts and shock jocks feel free to say whatever they want during their broadcasts, no matter how provocative, dangerous, irresponsible, and false.

Why is this? The reason could not be more obvious: Such flame-throwing, burn-down-the-house rhetoric boosts their audience ratings and public profiles. As a result, radio demagogues make more money – which is what they are really all about.

Unfortunately, others often pay dearly for their hateful dialogue. Certainly, Gabby Giffords is the latest example of this, no matter how insane Jared Lee Loughner may be. And don’t try to tell me that the hateful rhetoric that spews forth daily from right-wing radio had no effect on Loughner.

Don’t Know Whom to Kill? Have You Thought About … ?

In 2010, California highway patrol officers arrested Byron Williams, who was on his way to shoot up the Tides Foundation, an organization that Glenn Beck insanely rants about on his radio show. Williams’ car was loaded with firearms. According to Oakland police, Williams planned to kill as many people as possible at the nonprofit organization.

In 2009, during a bloody firefight, neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shot and killed three Pittsburgh police officers, and seriously wounded two others. Poplawski was an admirer of Glenn Beck. He once uploaded a Beck video to the website of Stormfront, a white supremacist organization. In the video, Beck is ranting (his default mode of expression) about (non-existent) FEMA “concentration camps.” (See thisΒ Beck video on FEMA camps.)

Radio Ghouls

Tragic, right? But do such horrific incidents, or the prospects of more to come, deter right-wing radio talkers such as Limbaugh, Beck, and Savage from toning down their dangerous rhetoric? Quite the opposite. Indeed, although such prophets of deception will never admit it, bloody acts that result from their hateful rhetoric simply reinforce one ghoulish truth: These radio demagogues are enormously effective in getting their vile message of hate out to the public.

And if people are maimed or killed, so what? After all, no one can accurately charge that Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, et al, ever pulled the trigger to shoot someone, right? But then, that’s radio demagoguery for you: constantly yelling “Fire!” at the top of your lungs in a crowded theater.

Here’s something for Limbaugh, Beck, and the other verbal bomb throwers on the radio to think about: Is it possible to imagine a more shameful and dishonorable way to make a living than what you do? I think not. – Mickey Murphy Β© 2011 MMMurphy

Note to readers: This blog post was inspired by the haunting poetry and art at SIPMARTIN’s web page. You can read and see at this link.

Readers’ update: Today, at 2:43 pm, July 7, 2011, Rush Limbaugh had the gall to criticize people who mention him in the context of the Gabby Giffords shooting, something that occurred seven months ago. Why bring this up now? Could it be that Limbaugh’s guilty conscience is speaking? No, he must have mentioned this incident for some other reason. Limbaugh does not have a conscience.

Note to Readers: If you enjoyed reading this post, and agree with its general point of view that radio demagogues are doing vast damage to the United States, please click on the following link: “Why This Blog?” In this brief post, I provide a little history concerning previous U.S. radio demagogues. I detail what are the radio demagogues’ ignoble goals, how they work their black magic, and why they are so dangerous to the continued civic health of our nation, as well as the basic comity upon which our vital public discourse depends. Also, I discuss the mission of the RADIO DEMAGOGUES blog, and offer a simple suggestion that if all Americans followed would finally shut up all of these vile radio reactionaries for good. Plus, I ask for your support by subscribing and linking to this blog, and referring it to your friends. “Why This Blog?” succinctly answers its own question. It is an informative and worthwhile post. Please read it.


About Mickey Murphy

Freelance writer, Vietnam veteran (USMC Combat Motion Picture Team, RVN, 1968-1969), former member, New York City Auxiliary Police, lover of superb writing, sublime poetry, and splendorous music.

18 responses to “Bloody Microphones)

  1. MMADfan

    I think I love you! πŸ˜‰

    I’d foam at the mouth thinking about some of these wingnuts, but then I’d probably begin resembling them, and that would be scary!

    I actually think some of these people, if they aren’t disingenuous actors (and very bad actors, at that), actually must have some kind of mental problem — I mean, facts are facts, and denying them isn’t rational. I’m all for debate, and I think that different people can look at the same set of facts or circumstances and have different ideas about the right or best way of dealing with them, depending on their world view & general ideology, but making up facts out of thin air and denying things that are patently true is just . . . bizarre.

    You can’t even talk to someone who’s that far out in outer space. There’s no “reasonable compromise” with such a person because not only are their world views different from progressives/liberals/moderates/old-fashioned Eisenhower Republicans, but they don’t even recognize the same basic facts.

    Well, I could go on and on . . . and on and on! But I’ll try not to!

    Thumbs up! Love your blog!

  2. Dear MMAD fan:

    After visiting a few of your delightful websites, I think I love you too!

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    By the way, I love this phrasing by you: “I like any animal that doesn’t want to eat me, but am especially fond of cats, border collies, and Jack Russells.” I take care of 11 cats (2 domesticated from feral, 1 half-way domesticated – stinky and messy but we’re getting there – and 8 that are feral, with 3 of these allowing me to pet them – though they run away if I approach them, unless I bring food). Mollio, a border collie, was our dog when I was a kid (in 50s and 60s) and I have no idea what a Jack Russell is.


    • MMADfan

      A Jack Russell is a sort of terrier — a very smart and lively dog. (They are calling them “Parson Russells” these days, but I’ll always prefer Jack Russell.)

      Border collies are great dogs. Very clever, with a lot of personality.

      I’m a feeder of ferals, too, and most let me pet them, though a couple have only gotten to the point of coming onto the back porch while I’m out there with the food, but not letting me touch them — they watch the other cats rub against me and think they must be loco! lol!

      One of my home cats is an adoptee from a no-kill shelter, and another I rescued from the streets as a kitten (in terrible shape). I just lost another cat who’d been a rescue at approximately three-weeks old — much too young. He’d never been very robust, and he had kidney failure at the age of 8. But he was a fabulous cat, and a very happy and loving boy right up to his last breath.

  3. I’m so sorry you lost your cat. The animals we care for become our best friends, and just as dear as children. My cats: Natasha (lives inside, but is an in-and-out cat), Love (ditto), Goldie (wants to spend as much time inside with me as possible but not house-trained yet, but I think she is getting better, Little Love (feral, lets me pet her), Cammie (ditto), and these totally feral cats: PeeBee, Lulu, Tata, Snookie, Sweetie Pie, and GG. All are female and all are fixed (by me) except for Sweetie Pie, a baby I have yet to catch and take to Humane Society. But I will get her. Hats off to any writer who can spend time writing without worrying about making any money from this endeavor! I must work 7 days a week writing to pay my bills. Leaves little time for blogging. But I am dedicated to it, so I find the time. I am now researching a novel on radio demagogues, so these posts fit in well with this project.

    • MMADfan

      I still miss my sweet little chocolate kitty. You’re right: they do become like family, and they are so reliant on us. I felt that I’d let him down when he got so sick, even though I know intellectually that I did my very best for him and there wasn’t any way to prevent his death (not without causing him more suffering for only for a few more months of life, which would have been for my own benefit, not his).

      I love writing, myself, but I go through dry spells, often when other parts of life become very draining. I’m in the midst of writing a novel, as well, set in a part of the world I know rather well, and I’m really liking my characters so far, but I keep finding other things — including other non-income-producing writing — that distracts me from it. I know that part of it is insecurity — maybe it’s no good! (And I tend to be more than a little bit of a perfectionist with myself, which can lead to complete paralysis and inaction if I let it.)

      A novel about radio demagogues sounds fabulous, but I don’t know if I could write something sustained about characters who are so vile. Getting into their skins to write them (which is the way that I tend to write characters) would probably make me feel more than a little sick! πŸ˜›

      On my “mmadfan” blog, I try not to get too “political,” since that’s not what that side of my “alternate (anonymous) persona” is about, but I went ahead and put a link to your site in my blogroll anyway. πŸ™‚

  4. I lost one absolutely wonderful cat a year ago. This was Precious, my only male (feral) cat. Sweetest disposition. He got in a fight, hurt a front paw terribly so he had to limp, and was all chewed up. I took him to vet who tested and found he had feral aids. This, plus the horrible wounds, made vet counsel that I should put him to sleep. Made me sick to do so – but I did. I cried all the way home from vet, which is 30-minute drive from my home. First time I cried in years.

    Congratulations on your novel! You are way ahead of me. I am not writing anything currently, and will not be for at least a year, maybe longer. I am researching 200+ books (all purchased by me for this purpose) on subject of radio demagogues and related issues, e.g., Republican noise machine, demagogues in general, propaganda, radio, history, persuasion, argument, etc. etc. Like you, I am an utter perfectionist (makes it almost impossible to earn enough money from my professional writing because everything takes so long to do) to pay the bills. So at this stage, I am fully backgrounding myself on my topic. I take notes for each book, which I transcribe to a master hierarchal file. Notes are coded: CT = character trait, SE = story element, PE = plot element, and so on.

    As far as getting inside the heads of these radio right-wingers, you are right, this will be unpleasant. Now that I think of it, maybe I will have a hard time writing from their point of view because I think they are all rank opportunists without any morals who will say anything to enhance their profiles. I don’t think they have legitimate points of view. Maybe I can have fun with that!

    That insecurity you speak of is something I feel every day on my new writing ventures (blogs and novel). (Tweets are easy!) Thank heavens, I am finally over it, however, for fee-based writing, something I have been doing now for 43 years. After awhile, you finally know that you know what you are doing.

    Thank you for linking to my blog. I will do the same for yours, but I don’t know how. Any advice?

    Mickey the cat lover

  5. PS: Although my cats live outside, and roam a little bit around the neighborhood (Ft. Lauderdale where it is always nice) they truly are living with me, and on my property. I have two nice benches and two folding chairs set up next to front porch (where I work). Benches and chairs are under numerous trees, so people from street can’t see them too well (thus no thefts). My cats basically live on and under those benches, and in a little house I built for them next to benches. They get food 2-3 times daily (in bowls on benches) and always hang out, as group on the benches and chairs. So, although they are feral, they have their home here on my property, just as I do. The only sensible thing I ever heard Rush Limbaugh say is that cats do not have owners, they have staff. So true. My cats sleep and play all day, clean themselves, and get their food ($100+ monthly) from me. What a great life! No worries and some big dummy buys my food every day! That might be good subject for a novel, the trouble-free life of a cat (female, the males are always fighting). Mickey

  6. MMADfan

    Hi! I’m not all that familiar with the Vertigo theme (though it suits this topic admirably!), but it looks as though you have space in the footer for widgets. You can drag your “Blogroll” widget there — it will be called “Links”. From the dropdown menu in the widget, select “Blogroll.”

    To add, delete, or hide (make private) any links that are in the Blogroll widget (there are a few there by default), go to “Links” in your sidebar. Click “Add New.” Add the title of the blog/site you want to add, the url in the next field, and a description if you want to, then for the category, select “Blogroll.”

    You can have other categories for links, as well, and add other widgets that separate the links into categories, depending on how you categorized the links when you added them.

    I tend to be a bit “widget heavy” on my blog, but I’ve been trying to reduce them — still, I think the ones I have are useful. I’ve removed the ones that either weren’t useful for visitors or were never/rarely clicked on. One thing I like about the Coraline theme is that it lets me have full-width pages with no sidebars, which is good for some of my really lengthy static content, since the sidebars aren’t there to distract the reader, and yet there are still widget areas in the footer, which I was able to use to help page viewers to navigate elsewhere in the blog.

    I rescued an FIV-positive kitty and kept him for a couple months, feeding him & taking care of a few minor infections. I had a friend who wanted a cat, didn’t have any, but needed to move to a cat-friendly apartment. I had to keep him not entirely isolated from my other cats, but I did make sure they all got along so that they wouldn’t get into any fights if I went out & left them alone (didn’t want my cats infected through a bite), and I fed & watered them separately. My friend was finally able to take him, and he lived five years longer until he finally got another illness (I can’t remember what it was at the moment) and succumbed to that. I remember being desperate to find someone who could take him, because the no-kill shelter won’t take FIV’s, and there was one FIV shelter in the next state, but they were full up. Fortunately, he wasn’t terribly beat up, but I cried when I found out he had FIV and I worried he’d have to be put down.

    I could have had Cocoa “put to sleep,” but I decided to wait until he was in clear pain & suffering to do that. It meant a lot of intensive care on my part, but he purred when he ate right up to the day before he died. When he stopped eating, he still purred when he saw me, but I knew then that he’d have to be euthanized at that point. Fortunately, I was spared that: he died at 6 a.m. I was up with him from two a.m on, and his best buddy lay beside him until he took his last breath, then he got up immediately and walked away. He knew his friend had died. I’m getting all choked up remembering. But I can certainly relate to crying all the way home from the vet’s.

    Sorry for the over-long comment! Got a bit carried away . . .

    • Thanks for this info. Vet said Precious was in a lot of pain, and that his wounds were badly infected and would not get any better unless I basically nursed him around the clock. Of course, while he was a sweet cat, he was completely feral and would have gone crazy inside, I think. Anyway, vet said the best thing for him was euthanasia. It broke my heart to do this – but I did. I feel bad about it. If he wasn’t hurt so badly, or so sick, and if I could give him the constant care he would need, and if all of this could somehow be accomplished inside, then maybe I could have saved him. But when I wrote you that I work 7 days a week, I was not kidding. I never take a day off. Not much time for anything except work. So it was not practical for me to take proper care of lovely Precious. I always feel guilty about what I did. On the trip out to vet, Precious was very scared in the cage and was meowing loudly. I kept telling him, “Don’t worry, Precious, don’t worry. I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you. Then, a few hours later, I had him killed. Makes me sick. Maybe I did wrong.

      As far as Rush and his cats, I don’t care at all about that. Adolf Hitler loved Blondie, his German shepherd. In my opinion, Limbaugh is a disgrace, and he is doing great harm to the United States.

      • MMADfan

        I don’t think you did wrong. He would have suffered terribly — and not understood why. He had your love there at the end, and I’m sure that he felt it.

        I know — (re: Rush) — it actually in a way makes it worse. He has responsibilities as a human being, and human potential, and so he’s accountable for the vile spewing he does. I try to avoid labelling people “monsters” because that tendency can take them out of the “human” realm, and I think it’s important to remember that it’s human beings who do evil to other human beings. They aren’t some separate creatures, like Tolkien’s orcs or something. Humanity is capable of great good, great selflessness, infinite compassion, but it’s also capable of a lot of really ugly stuff, and we can’t forget that. Or deny it — like the holocaust deniers do.

        Anyway . . . I’ll try not to take up too much more of your comment space here!

        BTW, if you want to contact me directly, I have a contact form on my blog & we can switch to emails (especially for non-Radio-Demagogue topics, like cats! :-)), if you like.

  7. MMADfan

    Oh, and I agree about Rush. Whenever I think he might be soulless, I remember that he loves his cat. No one who loves a cat can be utterly soulless. Which makes the rest of his behavior all the worse, I think. But at least he loves his cat.

    The ferals I feed, I feed twice, sometimes three times, a day, and they tend to live on my back porch. In the winter, I make sure they have big boxes with newspaper in them, which I change out. They seem to do really well, surprisingly. I think having a decent diet helps. They also don’t need to fight for food, so that reduces their aggression & keeps them from getting injured. I also have the local trap-neuter-release folks come and get them neutered — hoping that there will be fewer of them, but also to make their lives a little better.

  8. What part of the country do you live? Cold? Warm? And do you know if cats eat anything besides cat food (dry and wet), meat, fish, eggs, milk, etc.? For example, do they ever eat veggies? fruit? bread? sweets? Sometimes I worry that maybe I am not giving them all the nutrition they need. Indoor cats get wet food every day, and Goldie and Little Love also often do (they are the bravest and don’t worry about coming onto the porch – Goldie loves it there but sometimes leaves a mess). The outdoor cats get wet food maybe twice a week, but not as much as I would like to give them … just can’t afford it. All cats get dry food twice daily, and usually there is plenty in one of the bowls outside at any time during day. Don’t forget: I want to link to your website but don’t know how.

    • MMADfan

      In the first part of my comment just before the last one I left (!), I did say how to add links to your blogroll/links widget. πŸ™‚ I’m sure that it got kind of lost amidst all my other blather!

      Actually, too much carbs are very bad for cats. A healthy diet for a cat is ideally less than 15% carbs, less than 20% will do, but for a cat who’s been diagnosed with diabetes, they should get ideally around 10% carbs, and no more than 15%.

      I’ve known cats who like things like watermelon and other sorts of “odd” foods, but as a kind of unusual treat. One of my cats love spaghetti sauce. I try to make sure there’s no onion he can eat. He loves it with a lot of parmesan cheese! He also likes string cheese.

      Although I know that cats are obligate carnivores, I was unaware of the problems that a too-high carb diet can cause cats until one of mine was diagnosed with diabetes. Fortunately, after treatment with a particular type of insulin, he actually went into remission. I have to be very careful with what I feed him now, though, and he can’t go back to his old dry food. I found one that’s great for him, though; I do primarily feed him canned food that’s high protein, medium fat, and low carb. But since he’s always loved his crunchies, I was really happy to find one that is actually low carb.

      If you’re interested in it, here are a couple links I found useful: and

      I still feed the porch kitties commercial dry food, usually some kind of Purina kibble that I can buy in big bags. It’s economical & there are a lot of them to feed! I figure that it’s still far and away better than what they could get scrounging in the garbage cans and the dumpster of the nearby Checkers or McDonald’s! I also buy inexpensive store-brand canned food and give that to them occasionally in the summer, but more frequently in the winter when I figure their nutritional needs (and hydration needs) are greater — it’s easy to put out water for them in the summer, and in the winter, I put out hot water for them every morning, which they really enjoy, but which freezes pretty fast.

      I live in the mid-Atlantic, so it’s very, very hot in the summer and pretty cold but not usually snowy in the winter. I will soon be moving north, though! I have a neighbor who feeds the cats when I’m away, and he’ll soon have the job full time! I’ll be sad to leave them.

  9. Thanks for all your nice notes. Yes, I will communicate with you on your blog, although I certainly don’t mind having these comments on my page, even though it is political, and the comments are about cats. Really, I think all of us can learn from our four-legged friends, so hopefully this back-and-forth dialogue will be useful to anyone who reads it. You are a kind person. Of course, you are right that it is not good to demonize our enemies. All of modern psychology teaches that hate hurts the hater more than the hated. Plus, these radio demagogues are also human beings. Having agreed with you on these essential points, and understanding them intellectually, it is my personal failing that I do hate these guys. To me, they are monsters. I remember years ago when Idi Amin was feeding his people to the crocodiles (early 1970s), I was a reporter for a NYC daily, attending a news conference of some kind (don’t remember the subject now). What I do remember is that the reporters had about 30 minutes to wait before the event got rolling, so we sat around and talked to each other. I remember saying to a reporter sitting next to me that if I could find a way to do so, I would love to go to Uganda and assassinate Amin. The guy replied, “What did he ever do to you?” Well, his wretched acts of cannibalism and torture hurt me, even though someone else was being roasted over a slow fire. When I was a kid, I often got into fights (did so at drop of hat), if I saw a big kid hurting a small kid. I could not help myself. This has continued into adulthood where more than once I have injected myself into some physical altercation where a bigger human being (often a man) is physically hurting a smaller human being (often a woman). I think this is why I hate the right-wing radio demagogues as much as I do. To me, they are hurting poor people, and old people, and helpless people, and gay people, and female people, and all the people who have to constantly jump between the rain drops to stay alive and ahead of things. My intellect tells me it is wrong – and self-destructive – to hate these guys. But my heart tells me I am false to what is right if I do not. I am sure this is a screwy way to think, but what can you do? This is the way I think. At 66 years of age, I am not really about to change.

    • MMADfan

      I know what you mean — I actually find the question, “What did he do to you?” more than a little appalling! Does the injury have to be personal? I don’t think so. There would be no justice system (of the sort we know, anyway) if only the victim or injured party could do anything to the perpetrator. Our sense of justice leads us to a system that will not rely upon individuals having to punish a perpetrator — especially a very powerful one. I’m sure there’s a more eloquent and precise way of putting it, but maybe you get what I mean.

      And I think that our compassion for the victims of tyrants or bullies is where our anger comes from. I think that anger toward bullies and oppressors — or hatred, as you experience it — is different from the hatred that comes from the fear of Other, or the insecurity in the face of difference. That kind of hatred (like homophobes, racists, etc., display) has no room for compassion. I think we just need to be careful that our anger toward the oppressors, the violent, the “takers,” and the tyrants does not eat away at our compassion, even by making us cynics.

      But that’s just my take on it. πŸ™‚

  10. eurobrat

    I just want to add my voice and say that I love the idea of a novel about right wing radio show hosts. I’m a fan of political fiction and think there’s not nearly enough of it around. Keep us updated on your blog if the novel ever does take shape πŸ™‚

    • Hi Eurobrat (great name!):

      I certainly will. And although the novel will take time, it will definitely take shape. I am fully committed to it. Thanks.


      • eurobrat

        I hope you post excerpts here when it does happen, I’d be interested to read it!

        I’m from Europe and have a sense of entitlement, so the name came naturally πŸ™‚

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