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Andy Ostroy Headshot

Why is Liberal Radio So Inept?

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I could sum up the entire difference between political parties by how they position themselves on Sirius Satellite Radio. The left wing channel is called, well, Left, while the right wing channel proudly wears the Patriot badge. Left vs Patriot. That truly says it all.

On vacation, I've had the opportunity to indulge my politics obsession with some daily poolside talk radio, both conservative and liberal. Let's get right to the point: liberal radio is a disaster. It's un-listenable. While the right-wingers are out there relentlessly bashing the hell out of Sen. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in an effort to tear him and it down in their quest for the presidency, our compadres on the left are indulging themselves in sophomoric humor and inane blabbering about nothing in particular. All you need is a 30-second listen and you'll realize just how dreadful and unfocused it is. With the exception of a few ass-kickers like Ed Schultz, Lionel, Rachel Maddow, Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes, the whole lot should be rounded up and shipped to an Ashram somewhere. And here's the other thng about Dems that's infuriating: they finally get a true warrior like Rhodes, but in their spineless quest for political-correctness, they eat their own and can her over some stupid remark during an off-air comedy performance. In all his years of outrageously offensive on-air drivel, has the right even punished, let alone fired, the bloviating Rush Limbaugh? No. They throw him crackers and send him in to do more damage.

To use an American pastime analogy, right wing radio is the 1927 Yankees while libs are the '62 Mets. They've got singularly-focused, rhetoric-spewing vicious attack dogs like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mike Church, Andrew Wilkow, Bill Bennett, Mark Levin, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham. Like their gods Bush and Cheney, most if not all never served our military but shamelessly co-opt it nonetheless. They proudly assume the role of the tough-talking, patriotic all-American, promoting war and the killing of terrorists. Then they vilify and rip apart the military records of any Democrat running for office, even if, unlike them, they are decorated war heroes like John Kerry, Max Cleland and John Murtha. Unbelievably, they get away with it.

They refer to themselves as "command-dude-in-chief" and cultishly greet each other with "You're a great American" and play stirring music like "Let Freedom Ring" and the official anthems of each branch of the military. Yup, they're the rough, tough, rock 'em sock 'em types who like to let other men fight their actual battles. But on radio, they're a bunch of fucking John Waynes (btw, he never served either).

They've schooled at the chafed knee of ruthless GOP operative Karl Rove, and therefore learned the not-so-secret secret of blatantly lying to Americans because they're too uninformed to know the difference. So, these spinners claim the Iraq war's been won, the surge is working, the economy's strong and that polls show that voters are clamoring for more Bush/Cheney/McCain.

And boy do they know how to stay on message. They have laser-like focus. They name their shows "The Stop Obama Express" and make derogatory, racist remarks about Michelle Obama being a "big, mean-looking, angry woman full of rage." They call Barack Obama "baby killer" for his views on abortion. They relentlessly mock him as The Messiah, The Chosen One. They make up song parodies like "The Bush/Cheney Bash" (sung to the tune of The Monster Mash) which lavish praise on these two clowns while deriding Democrats. They incessently use the word "radical" to describe Obama, and utter in rapid-fire succession the names Wright/Flager/Rezko/Ayers to describe Obama's "deep-rooted radical associations." They say he's a Muslim. They hammer home his past drug use. They call him a Communist/Marxist for his "socialist" economic positions. They refer to liberals as "You America-despising pukes" and make up childish, derogatory names for Democrats like "Nazi" Pelosi, Hillary "Rotten" Clinton aka "Her Royal Thighness" and "BJ" Clinton. They call one highly-respected news wire service "HemmoReuters" when it happens to write something unflattering to the GOP.

While these faithful soldiers in the Rovian army are savagely ripping apart the patriotism and character of any Democrat who stands in the way of their insatiable quest for power, their counterparts on the left -- again, with the exception of a few brave fighters, sound like a bunch of stoners and jazz DJ's from the college station. On Sirius's "Left," Alex Bennett, Lynn Samuels and Mark Thompson are the ones who have the least to say. Together with his stereotypical leftist freak listeners, Bennett, an ungracefully-aging hippie himself, offers up more gratuitous profanity than intellectual political thought. It's as if he and his hippie-cool listeners say "shit," "fuck," "asshole," and "douchebag" just because they can. And they say it a lot. And it makes his program unlistenable, unless you're into a bunch of ungracefully-aging hippies cursing a lot about nothing. Samuels on any random listen could be whining about anything meaningless, like the day I caught her discussing snot and boogers. And Thompson, while a smart, passionate guy, has a program so mellow in tone that it can literally put you to sleep. His voice is so smooth and jazzy that he'd be much better off cuing up a Miles Davis album.

I don't mean to riff on any of these folks, as I'm sure they're all fine people off the air. But on the air I want the sort of Viagra-fueled maniacs conservatives have on the front lines, not a bunch of impotent lefties who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Democrats need to fill every single radio slot with 24/7 aggressive spinners. Just check out Fox Radio, Patriot or ABC Radio. There's no wasted airtime on the right. Yes, right wing radio is filled with name-calling high-school-bully types who drone on like programmed partisan robots about the same shit over and over and over again. Should we be like them? You bet. These guys are part of a well-oiled machine that has a very good track-record of winning elections.