Listening to Liberal Radio So You Don't Have To (But You Still Should)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 26, 2006 9:39 AM

I know it's so overdone to say how terrible liberal talk radio is. But have you ever actually listened to it? Please do. Please do yourself the favor of hearing the pure, unadulterated badness. It's the only thing that could cover the Middle East conflict and induce laughter in its audience.

I've taken to listening to 1260 Progressive Talk in D.C. I stopped on it the other day, assuming talk radio had to be conservative. When I realized I was wrong, I was already so enamored of all the crazy, I couldn't let go.

I've had the pleasure of taking in a lot of Randi Rhodes, a bit of Stephanie Miller, and just a dash of Al Franken. And, here's the newsflash-- Franken is the best of the three, by far. Franken is the least crazy of the three, by far.

Just a few examples. When Rhodes spoke about Israel's attack on Lebanon, there was no distinction at all between Israel and the U.S. "We" are attacking Lebanon. "We" are shooting missiles. "We" are killing civilians.

Randi also never mentioned the word "Hezbollah" during a 10-minute rant on a fight between Israel and Hezbollah. She spoke of Irael's attacks as if they were attacks on a sovereign country just minding its business over the border-- not on a terrorist state-within-a-state that's been raining rockets on the Jewish state for years.

Randi spoke eloquently about the nutty right-wingers (giving a shout-out to our own Mike Gallagher) who were lecturing American citizens rescued from Lebanon about their ingratitude. Randi's position is that these innocents, just visiting their families in Lebanon, were ill-used by the American government, indeed.

I think the argument about these vacationing Americans is so illustrative of the difference between the Left and Right. Why, oh why, would anyone ever assume that it's the American government's duty to remove them from harm the moment something befalls the country they happen to be visiting? It's pure benevolence-- a bonus of American citizenship-- that the American military extracted these people and didn't even charge them for the flight.

It is not an entitlement. How pathetic is the person who thinks it is and neglects to take care of his own plan to get himself out of a known war-zone in the event of an emergency. I'm so glad our military does go the extra lengths to keep Americans safe in these situations. They deserve just a bit of gratitude.

Of course, Randi contends that these folks were just people visiting their families and were victimized by a war "no one could have foreseen." That's right. No one could have foreseen a war...in Lebanon. I'm so glad everyone is safe, but to claim that no one could have foreseen a war in Lebanon? Come on.

In fact, the only people who could have foreseen this war are Dick Cheney and the other neo-cons who wrote up the plans in 1996, says Randi. They knew exactly what would happen, and they knew it would happen this summer, and the attacks on civilians are deliberate provocations meant to trigger the WWIII the neo-cons have always envisioned.

Seriously. I'm not joking. This is what she said.

Randi also shared that her house is falling apart. She needs to get the roof replaced and some plumbing problems fixed. But repairing the house brought her much more than a jump in her appraisal value. It brought her a better understanding of what it might be like to be an Iraqi. An Iraqi who comes home, and through no fault of his own, his house is gone because of the hostilities brought to the country by George W. Bush. She, of course, neglects to mention the days when the same Iraqi would come home to find, through no fault of his own, his daughters gone.

So, while Randi kindly acknowledges that it's probably "not Bush's fault" that her house is falling apart, it most certainly is his fault that that Iraqi's house is gone, and Randi can now understand--just a little bit-- what that must feel like.

Really, Randi? Having to buy a freakin' plunger makes you feel like an Iraqi emerging from 35 years of dictatorial oppression and fighting for his life and freedom against an army of terrorists that wants nothing more than to eradicate as many civilians as possible? Let not you accuse the President of a lack of perspective ever again, Randi.

As a bonus of the plunger-buying experience, Randi knows what it must have felt like to be a Katrina victim, too. She made both of these comparisions without irony and without apologizing for minimizing to such a ridiculous degree the life-and-death struggles of others.

I'm just glad a plunger gives one moral authority on so many issues. I'm off to the hardware store.

Now, onto Stephanie Miller-- who is, by the way, very cute but would be cuter if she didn't don such an ill-fitting suit. Perhaps she's trying to understand, just a little bit, what it must be like to be a Katrina victim who comes home to find his clothes gone.

Stephanie and her co-host joked about President Bush's self-congratulatory grin, but their favorite thing about the President is when he says he wants to "educate people." Right, like he can educate people? Get it? Because he's so dumb? Sometimes he says words wrong, too. Man, that never gets old.

Seriously, they still laugh at this.

Stephanie spent much of her show imagining what it must be like to be a civilian in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. To be more exact, she was imagining what it must be like to be a Lebanese civilian. Israeli civilians got very short shrift.

After ranting about the plight of Lebanese civilians for about 10 minutes, she finally conceded: "I see the moral difference. I know Israelis apparently aren't targeting civilians whereas Hezbollah shoots indiscriminately, but does that really make any difference to the civilians who are dead? They're still dead."

Luckily, her co-host quickly got her back on track by reminding her that the Israelis are always shooting missiles on purpose at Red Crescent ambulances. He didn't quite suggest they were eating Palestinian babies, but I'm gonna keep listening.

See? There really is no moral difference because the result is the same-- dead civilians. In that case, I reckon U.S. offensives in WWII Europe are morally equivalent to the World Trade Center attacks. You know, because both killed civilians. Right?

Wow, I'm gonna keep listening. This is just fascinating. I'll report back as soon as I know more.