Monday, May 05, 2008

Limbaugh and Beck Subvert Our Democracy.

If you know me personally (or read this blog regularly), then you're no doubt aware of my distinctly masochistic practice of listening to talk radio. I'm usually doing so while I'm in my car eating an unhealthy lunch. The combination threatens a fearsome assault on my digestive system. Still I make this sacrifice so that I can hear viewpoints and perspectives that I would not encounter otherwise. I never go so far as watching these talking heads on television- I could not bear their smug expressions as they justify and defend actions and positions that have destroyed our economy and made us the most hated nation on Earth. Yet they provide talking points for a large proportion of our society, so it's often useful to keep tabs on them.

Naturally the looming presidential election has brought out some of the worst behavior that these hacks are capable of displaying. Michael Savage spews his hate-mongering rants in vile streams of lying filth. Sean Hannity excretes his self-satisfying belch of populist pandering. Neil Boortz and Michelle Malkin peddle their FOX-news inspired drivel. But these are only the minor characters in the pathetic pantheon of 'conservative' talk. The key perpetrators of this insidious cult of the status quo are Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. They are particularly dangerous because their listeners invest in them a certain authority that extends past their actual worth. They market themselves more as educators than entertainers.

Of course Limbaugh is the pioneer of this particular cult. He blazed a trail of self-righteous hypocrisy throughout the 90's and has actually achieved an unearned respect as a legitimate political commentator. He is utterly convinced of the authority of his opinions, to the point that he publicizes himself as the benefactor of a god-given wisdom and prescience. However his actual agenda is exposed by his dishonest tactics. His program has been running what he refers to as "Operation Chaos", which is meant to throw the Democratic Primary process into disarray by convincing large blocs of Republican voters to switch their party membership, and thereby sabotage Barack Obama's bid for the nomination. Like most right wing strategists he is convinced that Clinton is unelectable, and thus the GOP's preferred opponent.

The amount of success Limbaugh's tactics have actually achieved can't be accurately determined. The pill-popping fat-man himself claims to have redirected 160,000 Republicans in PA alone. Much of this number is no doubt inflated by his own ego, but it's not beyond possibility that Operation Chaos has made it's mark. While the game Limbaugh is playing undermines the democracy of our electoral system, it is definitively not illegal. The same cannot be said about what Glenn Beck and his cronies perpetrated on the day of the PA primary. He made fake campaign ads for Obama and Clinton, in which he had them slandering each other in crassly negative ways. These 'ads' were an abomination, but in and of themselves not against the law.

Where Beck and Co. crossed the line was in tacking on the prerecorded candidate approval statements (in their actual voices, cribbed from legitimate ads) at the end of the fake 'ads'. That was an obvious crime, constituting blatant election fraud. Had a listener tuned in while those messages were playing, he/she would have been convinced that the Obama and Clinton campaigns produced and endorsed those messages. This type of manipulation is not only reprehensible, but completely unacceptable under current campaign laws. Even though I personally filed a complaint with the F.C.C, I have little hope that satisfaction will be forthcoming. That board is (after all) under the control of the Bush administration. The integrity of our 'democracy' is under assault, as usual.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

I can only imagine the true depths of your disgust with Limbaugh and Beck and commend you for stating your point of view with nominal disparaging comments about the subjects. It is difficult at such a level of disgust to remain objective about the activities of such individuals (particularly Limbaugh). Of course both Limbaugh and Beck would be at the top of the list of free speech proponents, and they have every right to hold claim to their opinions no matter how twisted those opinions appear. It is unfortunate that Limbaugh's ravings have garnered such support, and the media itself is guilty of legitimizing his so called "respect" as a political reviewer. He seems to bring out the worst in human spirit. The only recourse is to continue to espouse the opposite ideology, or at least another point of view for people to consider. Of course, that assumes there is enough intelligence out there to accept a more open-minded point of view.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Cerebus said...

"Michael Savage spews his hate-mongering rants in vile streams of lying filth. Sean Hannity excretes his self-satisfying belch of populist pandering. Neil Boortz and Michelle Malkin peddle their FOX-news inspired drivel."
Gosh, for a minute I thought Ted Agnew came back from the dead to excoriate those "Nattering nabobs of negativism"
Hilarious post, keep it up

3:55 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

Hilarious post? It really just makes me sad. I can't sit through 3 minutes of either Beck or Limbaugh. While your listening to those guys, I'm tuned in to Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz on Air America.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Grant is still the best.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad, why do't you gargle with some razor blades.

Mario!..azienda me...tu se profiono sfacim!"

Grant took Mario and Florio out!

7:05 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

diane,

The problem is that there is no profit margin in honesty.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

anon,

Yeah, Bob Grant is 'great'. I loved it when he made his on-air wish that Ron Brown was truly dead after his plane crash.

His hatred of blacks and rabid defense of the pill-poppin' Rush is also a blast.

anon- by the way, congratulations for posting the most dickish comment on Serendipity during its entire two-year existence.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sick out there and getting sicker. By the way, where are you from, pal?

12:59 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

anon,

I'm from Pennsylvania. Why do you ask?

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think your from around here pal. Go back and say hi to Fidel. I think I speak for Bob as well as John in Staten Island and Carl from Oyster Bay, when I call you a triple A sickola

12:02 AM  

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