To the Three Amigos — Adiós

entertainment, media, politics Add comments (1)

For the past 8 months I have shared my long drive to work with three men in my car, but never all at once, and never enjoying the advantages of a carpool lane. Before you get any strange ideas, it was only their voices, piped through my speakers courtesy of Talk910 KNEW, a local, and yes, mostly conservative talk radio station here in the bay area.


I can imagine the outcry of my more liberal friends even now, fearing I that I’d be brainwashed by the vast rightwing conspiracy, forced to turn in my gay card and join the Dark Side, with only an intervention at an undisclosed location in Marin country to save me.

But considering the current state of music (don’t get me started, that’s another post entirely), and the unnaturally long commute (anything over 10 minutes) I decided to dip my toe into those murky shadows, to see if that singular toe came out grimy or squeaky clean. I thought it important to see how the other side thinks. “Know thine Enemy” the saying goes, plus I had my trusty light saber just in case it got a little rough.

My morning commute was usually filled by the vocal stylings of one Bill O’Reilly. Part of the “Fair and Balanced” family over at Fox News, O’Reilly always claimed to be “looking out for us.” Self appointed guardian of the common man, I sometimes felt irritated with the presumption we couldn’t look out for ourselves or each other. Often O’Reilly’s grand pronouncements seemed to come from up on high, opinions so inflated that they were capable of affecting policy and public opinion from sea to shining sea.

But despite the seemingly endless and effortless self-aggrandizement, much of what O’Reilly said had the ring of truth, particularly with regards to the liberal media. Time after time he cited examples that painted a very biased media (NY and LA Times in particular), that pushed their barely concealed agenda as fact.

Now I view the press and the evening news with a far more critical eye. Thanks Bill.

During my lunch breaks I would catch Glenn Beck, a largely conservative talk radio personality out of Philadelphia. I enjoyed a lot of the funny segments including “More-On Trivia”, a bit similar to the Jay Walking segment on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Looking back however I feel there was a subtle elitism to the piece, which poked fun, mocked and sometimes disrespected the “common people”. This parallels Beck’s view of the Hollywood Elite and the values and tactics he claims they espouse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making fun of people, even fat and/or gay people (which I am). Political correctness has gone way over the line and we need to take each other a little less seriously. I just think it’s a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black. 🙂

Other than the constant Kerry bashing, and his steadfast pro Bush stance, I enjoyed listening to his show. I would have preferred something a little more neutral, but that’s not who Glenn Beck is, and I can appreciate that. He’s also pretty damned funny.

As for my evening commute, it was filled with loud rumbling and bellows of Michael Savage, easily the most controversial and opinionated of the three, and perhaps of all talk radio. Sometimes a difficult listen, early on I’d change the radio station in disgust, but would always keep coming back as the election fast approached. Savage is definitely an acquired taste.

Despite the continuous patting himself on the back (you’d figure he’d need a shoulder replacement by now), the continuous accusations of verbal theft (others in the media using his catch phrases), and the continuous predictions of future events that will invariably come true (including picking the president by at 51-49 margin), Michael Savage makes for entertaining theater. And much of it is exactly that… theater. Savage excites and enrages people simultaneously. I’ve never heard anyone so adept at pushing people’s buttons. I can be screaming at his sheer idiocy one minute and pounding the steering wheel in agreement the next.

He does begin to wear however like an overly gnawed bone. Eventually you realize you’re not going to get any more “meat” out of listening to him and you need to move on. This coupled with Savage shifting his arguments and disconnecting/cutting off callers to protect his view point grows tiresome and belittles that part of his listenership with a reasonable but contrary point of view. Not everyone has a swastika on his heart. Not every liberal has a mental disorder.

But there are a couple of points Savage hammers with great rapidity that I have taken to heart: protection of our borders and the protection of our language, both important to our national identity, continued sovereignty and safety. His stance on immigration, while on the surface radical to most, makes more sense than I would care to admit. I won’t go into the details as that’s entirely another post and this one has gone on long enough.

So that being said, now that I have put down my three passengers and lifted them back up again, and since the election has come and gone, it’s time to kick them out of the car. While my radio dial will surely cross paths with them again, it’s time to take a breather and hope that there is now some decent music radio to listen to. If not, there’s always my IPod. So until the next election… Adios.

PS. At the time of this writing KNEW910 has dropped Phil Hendrie from their lineup, easily one of the funniest men on talk radio (and deserving of his own post), I am now considering boycotting the station and writing KNEW910 to complain. I encourage all of his fans in the bay area to do the same.

Post by ILO on 11/08/04 at 1:15 pm