To say that our local right-wing radio station, WTMA, offers a veritable plethora of comedic material for its critics is a huge understatement. This station is a gaping gash…a steaming portal, out of which spews a never-ending flow of bumbling buffoonery.
Two local personalities take center stage in the broadcast booth:
Richard Todd: Richard appears to be enamored with the sound of his own voice, has no insight into the wonder of self-effacing humor and doesn’t cotton with anybody who takes issue with him on anything other than road-construction projects.
Mr. Todd is very knowledgeable and erudite when it comes to local issues involving growth and expansion. In this arena he is outstanding and it is very obvious that he does his homework. His spin on politics, however, is rigid, inflexible, and not deeply-rooted intellectually. Richard Todd is very much in-tune with what he needs to say to keep his job, especially in his continual denunciation of public broadcasting entities NPR and ETV.
If Richard had bothered to do a single iota of research on Public Broadcasting he would have discovered that, in the past decade or so, NPR has depended increasingly on corporate funding to maintain its operations. Allstate, Merck, Archer Daniels Midland, Joan Kroc (widow heir to the McDonald’s Corp.), Exxon, the Koch Brothers and many other established business entities have helped to finance this entity. David Koch now sits on the board of directors of WGBH in Boston, one of public broadcasting’s flagship stations.
If anything, public broadcasting is centrist in its presentation of news and commentary and not the far-left ogre that right-wing critics claim. There is no way these corporations are going to provide material support to leftist news and commentary. Follow the money, Richard and, if you have the opportunity, take a look at the Democracy Now website. Corporations are not exactly lining up to support this truly liberal voice in the wilderness.
I would much rather listen to the legion of professional journalists from NPR and the BBC (on SCETV) than to suffer through Mr. Todd’s mutterings on national and international issues. Does WTMA have a correspondent on location in Morocco, London, Shanghai, or Addis Ababa with whom old Richard can conduct in-depth interviews concerning some evolving situation? That’s an expensive economic model. It’s much cheaper for someone to just sit in a broadcast booth regurgitating clodhopper logic into thin air. That’s okay by local advertisers, however, and if it makes money that’s all that counts…unless, of course, you possess a conscience.
Rocky D: WTMA found this guy under a rock at the Bee’s Ferry Landfill, thus the monicker “Rocky”. A northerner by birth, Rocky licked his finger, lifted it to the wind, and immediately wrapped himself in a Confederate Battle Flag. He loves to holler, to scream, to shout, and declare to any nitwit within earshot that Abraham Lincoln was the worst president in US history. When it comes to carpetbaggers this guy is the dog in the manger.
After the Haitian earthquake, I tuned in to listen to Rocky D. I heard him say that he didn’t give a damn about the loss of life and consequent suffering of the Haitian people because they were nothing but “a bunch of lazy bums.” Is this the moral swamp from which WTMA wishes to broadcast?
My guess is that WTMA keeps the Rocky show running because they place a high value on the demographic that he appeals to…a bunch of good-boys stumbling through the woods on opening day of deer season, wildly sucking away at straws dangling from camouflaged beer-caps. They are more likely to shoot a cow or their own foot than they are to drag an eight-point buck out of the woods. Also, they have a lot of bumper stickers. I am very wary of putting too much information there. The only bumper sticker I have is a “Friends of the Library” but I quit two years ago and I couldn’t scrape the sticker off so I just got a magic marker and wrote in “EX-Friends of the Library”. I didn’t want some enraged Rocky fan thinking I was all high and mighty ’cause I liked books so I added the “EX”.
“Don’t Fer-git the Womenfolk”, a voice drawls in my ear, and I am immersed in a mental picture of desperate, nail-biting women camping out in front of THE BIG CHAIN STORE: “Been in this here line nigh on seven hours already… waiting for the AFTER THANKSGIVING SALE that starts in exactly two hours and sixteen minutes. We are soooo excited. I’m here with two of my neighbors, Thelma and Lucille. We all burned a candle and said a prayer that nobody gets squished when they open the door. The fire department got here about an hour ago and they don’t appear none too happy, but they better not git in my way ’cause, come hell or high-water, I am goin’ to get my little Betty Lou the CURRENT MOST POPULAR GIRL TOY!”
Then again, I could be exaggerating for argument’s sake.
Rocky collects pine cones and is a hobby woods-pooper. He claims to have been a stand-up comedian at one time and was probably big on the Skin-Head circuit.
There is one flickering light of intelligence at WTMA. That would be occasional guest host/commentator Jack Hunter (aka/ The Southern Avenger). Mr. Hunter is knowledgeable, articulate, and personable…in addition to being a truly convicted speaker and writer. I say this despite the fact that Mr. Hunter occasionally refers to himself in the third person…”well Jack Hunter thinks…” That is a very grating personality trait that Jack shares with the late Charles DeGaulle.
I also get a kick out of the bashing that FDR receives from Mr. Hunter as well as the other WTMA hosts. What a complete load of historically revisionist crap…yet it seems to have taken root in the over-fertilized globules that pass for brains in some right-wing circles. This metastasized mantra is constantly being regurgitated by right-wing radio. Let’s just set aside Social Security and all of the so-called “communist” economic reforms and concentrate on the ultimate issue involving his presidency. The issue which thoughtful conservatives squirm at but grudgingly recognize: FDR’s policies and leadership were instrumental in winning WWII!
Case in point: Against strong opposition from conservatives, Roosevelt pushed the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. The opposition said that there was no way America would ever need that much hydroelectric power. Just after the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor this first generator was operational. The gigantic project provided the vast amount of power required by the aluminum smelting industry on the west coast to gear up for war production. In addition, Los Alamos was one of the biggest users of the energy provided by what was regarded as vital resources in gaining victory. There’s a reason this dam was heavily guarded and protected by anti-aircraft batteries.
And let’s not forget the WPA dams constructed by the TVA which provided electric power to east coast arms manufacturers.
Had these resources not been available to American industry it is entirely possible that, at the very least, the war would have lasted much longer. One cringes to think of more dire scenarios which may have unfolded. Would Germany have been able to dedicate more military resources to stem the Soviet tide pouring over the eastern front? Would German scientists have been able to assemble a nuclear weapon? Probably. Where would we be then? Would we be goose-stepping to polka music? Would we be cowering in caves…fearful of saki-drenched Japanese soldiers marching around with infants on bayonets (as in Nanking)?
Say what you want about FDR, however skewed and erroneous, but, without him, it is entirely possible that our freedom to discuss and debate issues freely amongst ourselves may have become a quaint relic of better times. Such an outcome may have well suited the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Charles Lindberg (google: The Bund) but it doesn’t sit well with me.
I must also note that I am in fundamental disagreement with Mr. Hunter when it comes to the economic side of his Libertarian beliefs. I don’t want to get into detail concerning my objections to this aspect of Libertarianism (as it has evolved in the US…quite different from the original European model which attaches a huge caveat on the behavior of businesses in that they must exercise compromise for the common good… see YouTube video by Noam Chomsky “Libertarian Socialism”). I wrote an article on this blog titled: “Rethinking Scrooge: Was Tiny Tim The Real Villain?” That article expresses my thoughts about laissez-faire economics as championed by the American Libertarian movement.
Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe that Ron Paul, the de facto leader of American Libertarianism, is the most honest and thoughtful of all of the current crop of Presidential hopefuls. If it came down to a contest between Obama or Gingrich (or Romney or whatever empty suit the Republican bigwigs offer us as a choice), I would vote for Dr. Paul because of his revolutionary stance on ending the pointless drug war as well as the plethora of shooting wars that we have no business being involved in. I also agree that it’s high time for the Federal Reserve to be audited and, if necessary, dismantled.
I wish Jack well in his association with the Ron Paul campaign and hope his efforts on Dr. Paul’s behalf are successful.