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!”
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 this Beck video on FEMA camps.)
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 © 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.