Saturday, July 2, 2011

Uncivil Discourse

What sort of horse’s ass goes on national TV and calls the President of the U.S. a “dick”?  Mark Halperin does.  Now, for a few weeks, Mr. Halperin will have to take his views somewhere other than MSNBC, which almost immediately suspended him for what he said, and moments later issued an apology to the President.

There’s nothing at all unlawful about calling the President of the U.S. or anybody else a dick.  Our Bill of Rights pretty much guarantees that.  But it’s tasteless, disrespectful to the office, and while it’s the kind of thing people say in every-day conversation, it’s still wrong to do it in/on the forum Halperin had at the time.

And please, don’t tell me “oh, sure, he gets suspended for calling Obama a dick, but if he’d called George Bush a dick, nothing would have been done.”  That would be an infantile false-choice comparison.

Nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal  Boortz told the folks in Atlanta a couple weeks  ago essentially to start shooting thugs and piling up dead bodies to take back the city; this is the sort of thing you hear up and down the AM radio dial these days,  from nationally-syndicated programs carried on hundreds of stations, to local talk-show hosts on puny stations that only cover a few hundred square miles.

Not too much is capable of shocking us any more, particularly if the name-calling is connected in any way to what passes for political discourse these days.  It seems to be a contest of who can say the most shocking or boorish thing, in what my friend Holland Cooke, the number-one AM radio station consultant in the nation calls “living a consequence-free existence.” 

The most discouraging thing to me is that we continue to reward these dweebs with our attention.

(Copyright owner of the image above is The Ohio State University Alumni Association.)


  1. ....start shooting thugs and piling up dead bodies to take back the city; this is the sort of thing you hear up and down the AM radio dial these days, from nationally-syndicated programs carried on hundreds of stations, to local talk-show hosts on puny stations that only cover a few hundred square miles.

    You have more than one example, of course.


    Not Sykes. Not Belling. Not McKenna. Not Savage. Not Limbaugh. Certainly not Hannity. Not Levin.

    So you prolly have other examples.

  2. DAD29 wrote … Not Sykes. Not Belling. Not McKenna. Not Savage. Not Limbaugh. Certainly not Hannity. Not Levin.

    That’s a revealing collection of slimy rocks. Let’s see what’s under some of them:

    Rush the oxyconservative:
    “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.”

    “The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”
    Sean “the Profanity” Hannity (John Cleese gave him that appellation)
    “I’ll tell you who should be tortured and killed at Guantanamo - every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress.”
    Mark Belling? In his alternative universe, he adoringly, if nonviolently, hails Scott Walker for having "crushed the protesters and the Wisconsin 14" on his way to becoming a "looming Republican national superstar." Wisconsin "is a red state now," he crows.
    Charlie Sykes, I'm guessing. Him of "Politicrap" fame. He’s the fellow who cannot mention unions without including the word "thugs.” He brays that state Supreme Court Justice Anne Bradley had it coming, and that Justice David Prosser, who has a documented history of anger management issues, is innocent as a snowflake. There's a high roader for you.
    Vicki McKenna? Ah, yes, the disorderly, firefighter-hating right-wing radio rantress whose 50 hours of court-ordered community service for starting a drunken public brawl from which she had to be physically dragged and locked up, seem stuck to her. Maybe being the top news story for a couple of days has something to do with that.

    Mostly she doesn't actually say much of anything notable these days. Her modus operandi is to distort what others say by presenting out-of-context sound bytes.
    Michael Savage? The racist homophobe? Sterling fellow. He’s persona non grata in Great Britain. The British home secretary once referred to him, saying "I am determined to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred, and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country."

    He got fired from MSNBC for saying on air that "sodomites should choke and die." He went on to refer to a caller as a “pig” and challenged the fellow to sue. He thinks those who disagree with his political psychobabble are suffering from mental disorders.
    Could you be referring to Mark Levin? The guy who thinks monarchy means equality? No, really! Well, sort of. Come to think of it, what did he mean? Here's the quote. We report, you decide:

    "The Statist's Utopia can take many forms, and has throughout human history, including monarchism, feudalism, militarism, fascism, communism, national socialism, and economic socialism. They are all of the same species - tyranny. The primary precept around which the Statist organizes can be summed up in a single word - equality."

    In Mr. Levin's view, Conservatism is "a liberating philosophy" and "the antidote to tyranny." That sentiment will probably be the motto on the money of Fitzwalkerstan one of these days.

    BTW ... You missed a few: Glenn Beck joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi; and the estimable Fox Noise for presenting these chestnuts: Michele Bachmann warning her constituents to be "armed and dangerous" in case anyone tries to reduce greenhouse gases; Ann Coulter saying President Obama's senior health-care advisor "is on my death list" and that Rep. John Murtha should be "fragged."

    You want more? Lots more? Let me know. I've got 'em.

  3. Nice collection of goodies.

    Irrelevant and immaterial to the question, which was 'how many examples of "start shooting and take back the city" can you provide'?

    You blather on (and on and on and on and on) and provide 1 example: Coulter suggesting that Murtha 'be fragged.'

    So now it's TWO examples, more or less, of "death-wishing" Conservatives.

    See? Didn't take 2,000 words, either.

  4. I have more examples. Hundreds, if not thousands. Many that unfolded literally in front of me, like the time a few years ago when I was doing news and the talk show host interrupted to suggest the female member of the city council I was talking about "should be bent over a chair and given the Koby Bryant treatment" (advocating forcible rape of a public official); many which happened on a station I wasn't on, but have been burned to CD for me by friends in the industry; and many which I've only heard while listening.

    The point is not to make a laundry-list. There's plenty of examples, some chronicled above by Mr. Knickerbocker. The point, as stated in the title of the post, is that discourse has become un-civil, and that those who often say the most mean-spirited (if not actually legally actionable on their face) face no consequence for their rhetoric.

    As anyone who's ever owned or been a partner in a broadcast property (not cable, but broadcast, as in transmitting a signal on the public airwaves) can tell you, it's the local licensee who will pay the consequence for the hate-speech, not the speaker.

  5. Well, I'm sorry to hear that you have more examples which are directly responsive to my query, rather than ad-hominems.

    As you know, it goes both ways; the DemPartyWI spokescritter (Zielinski, ex-Milwaukee JS) has advocated violence, and the (D) minority leader in the NJ statehouse wishes to punch out the (R)Gov of that State. And of course, Our President is famous for advocating 'bringing a gun to the knife-fight' and 'get in their faces!' Perhaps he should lead the parade to the Civility Retreat, eh?

    Few have actually followed through, though; in this State,that's the province of Bradley, who assaulted Prosser.

    It's possible that violence will be more than 'mouthed' over the next several months, by the way.