Week Ending: April 20, 2007
The week before last ended with the abrupt cancellation of Don Imus' long running syndicated radio and TV talk shows, following his racially insulting description of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as "nappy headed hos." This week opened with news of the murderous rampage at Virginia Tech. Accordingly, one would suspect that talk radio hosts would lighten up a bit.
Instead it turned out to be business as usual on talk radio, and while a nation mourned the senseless loss of life in Blacksburg, VA, hosts continued to spew insulting and insensitive messages.
It seems like everybody wants to get the last word in on the Imus controversy. First, leading conservative hosts like Hannity and O’Reilly claimed that this has nothing to do with their rantings because Imus is a "liberal." Then there are local market hosts who just can’t let Imus’s racist comments go.
Our worse talker this week is one of these hosts. Austin Rhodes, who does a PM drive talk show for WGAC/580 in Augusta, GA, actually made his egregious comment when he called another station – WAAW/94.7 (which interestingly offers gospel music and Christian talk.)
According to CBS affiliate WRDW-TV, Rhodes said (referring to the Duke sex controversy) "a sex worker with multiple samples of male semen in her body, is what I call a ‘ho’." He then went of to say "as far as nappy hair goes, that's a description of myself, if I am going to say that about myself, I’m not going to be shy about saying it about somebody else either."
The Augusta branch of the NAACP and local church leaders, have calling upon Beasley Broadcasting, which owns WGAC to fire Rhodes.
However, our worser and worst talk show hosts of the week focused on an even more sensitive issue – the horrific shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, which claimed over 30 lives.
Syndicated right wing talker, Neal Boortz attributed the extent of the trajedy to "wussifcation of America". On April 17, after we knew the details of how Seung-Hui Cho carried out his murderous rampage, Boortz asked "how the hell do 25 students allow themselves to be lined up against the wall in a classroom and picked off one by one? How does that happen, when they could have rushed the gunman, the shooter, and most of them would have survived?"
We knew at this time, that the victims were not "lined up against a wall" but were shot as their desks. We also knew by Tuesday, that many of the victims – both dead and wounded – performed heroic acts like pushing doors shut even while Hui was shooting at them.
Given time to reflect on his outrageous comment, Boortz decided to continue his attack on the victimized students and faculty members at VT. In the April 18 edition of his daily program notes called Nealz Nuze, Boortz asked: "How far have we advanced in the wussification of America?" He went on to accuse the victims of being taken in by the "doctrine of left."
"It seems that standing in terror waiting for your turn to be executed was the right thing to do, and any questions as to why 25 students didn't try to rush and overpower Cho Seung-Hui are just examples of right wing maniacal bias. Surrender -- comply -- adjust. The doctrine of the left."
We were ready to make Boortz our worst talk host of the week, but then Rush Limbaugh weighed in (pun intended) on the tragedy, further characterizing the VT massacre as a left wing plot. On the Thursday edition of his program El Rushbo said:
"If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich and all this other stuff -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act."
He went on to say that he (Limbaugh that is) not the 30 plus dead people in Virginia – was the real victim:
"I can tell you from the history of this program, starting way back in the early '90s, when there was any kind of an incident, crime or what-have-you that attracted national attention, in the early days of this program, the drive-by media went out and they tried to connect the perpetrator to this program."
Of course he didn’t identify who the "drive by media" was (is there any liberal talk show host with 600 stations?) or provide any examples of how he or his show was accused by the media of inciting any "incidents" or "crimes."
It looks to us like Limbaugh is the king of the "drive by" media. Is there any part of the United States where you can't hear El Rushbo while "driving by?"
Sorry Neal, our worst talker of the week is the real victim of the Virginia Tech massacre – Rush Limbaugh.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Week Ending: April 20, 2007