News websites come and go -- lately, mostly going -- but rarely do you come upon one that's lasted nearly 14 years.
Prior to The Huffington Post, prior to MediaMatters.com, prior to most progressive news and opinion sites, there was The Albion Monitor. This week, Albionmonitor.net and it's creator, Jeff Elliott published its final issue.
As The Albion Monitor says goodbye, let us all say thanks for a job well done. It leaves the planet better than it had found it. Personally, I give thanks for the honor of having my Lords of Loud column as part of a lineup of only four columnists that included distinguished thinkers like Robert Scheer, Alexander Cockborn, Joe Conason and previously, Molly Ivins and Norman Solomon. While I'll miss writing for AM - and one of the few sites actually delivering a weekly pay check - it's difficult to grieve for the end of something when you realize your work was part of something that actually helped effect change for the common good. Rather than grieve, it is cause for celebration for the time it was here.
While the Albion Monitor has always been an island of credibility amidst a sea of misleads, lies and tortured facts, a few years ago I was asked to write a weekly column based on my love/hate relationship with talk radio and TV. The column became The Lords of Loud. Mediamatters continues to handle the yeoman's task of holding their feet to the fire, but every Monday a new LOL column would appear in AM responding to dregs of talk, mostly on the right, who held sway for the political right wing.
For years the media would let the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Savage, O'Reilly et al get away with murder - or at least attempted murder - of the truth. Their fanatical misrepresentations were given equal weight with the truth in the major media debate, albeit their incessant drumbeat that the media was liberal.
But that has changed profoundly, partly from those of us who pointed out their foibles and partly from their own mutation from propaganda spreaders into preposterous clowns and cartoons. It was insufferable enough to have the O'Reillys and Limbaughs as spokesmen for the right, but then bringing in the Ann Coulters and Michelle Malkins as credible advocates has made their voices laughably shrill.
Clowns to the right of us, jokers to the right.
I once asked a right wing talk show host how he felt when he lied. He told me in all earnestness that he had never lied. Was he a liar or a sociopath so unaware that he knew not the difference between right and wrong? It didn't matter for the result would be the same: a daily feasting on righteous indignation by fawning sycophants.
With their distortions no longer going unrebutted, today the right wing talk radio TV/radio audience and their champions have become more and more marginalized; their political refuse overflowing into social unconsciousness.
Limbaugh mocked Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's.
O'Reilly theorized a kid held hostage kid and sexually abused by a deviant adult somehow liked his abuse.
When Savage derided autistic kids, calling these children, "morons," "putzes" and saying their problem stems from fathers who don't tell their son or daughter, "Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot." My lovely granddaughter Rebecca has been diagnosed with Autism. The Albion Monitor gave me a soap box for myself and my son (Rebecca's father), Ryan, to shine a light on the hateful misinformation of Savage. The result was a shrinkage in his audience and a well-needed increase in Autism-awareness.
While the sane finally withdraw, strident fans remain. No matter how many times the snake oil salesman is exposed for selling a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice as a cure-all, there will still be some who claim that it "done fixed the arthritis." Left are those who don't care if it's the truth as long as their broadcast heros say it is.
I will continue to shine a light on the inanity of broadcast snake oil hawkers through my own site (steveyoungonpolitics.com) as well as other websites and print venues, but the Albion Monitor will be missed.
Less truth always is.
Award-winning TV writer Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful...Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Steppingstones to Success" (www.greatfailure.com) and blogs at the appropriately named steveyoungonpolitics.com