One reason commercial liberal talk radio’s never quite succeeded is that NPR is a network with liberal hosts, liberal guests, and liberal callers. This perfect storm of unanimity displayed itself on Thursday’s Diane Rehm Show, when they discussed the push for more gun control. There were no guests from the NRA, just moderate Richard Feldman, who wrote a book about his “confessions of a gun lobbyist.”
On the other hand, Rehm brought on Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of disabled ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to talk up his new gun-control group, as well as an anti-gun New York Times reporter and Ladd Everitt, communications director for the liberal Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. A caller named Bill joined the show to trash NRA president Wayne LaPierre as a draft dodger, and Everitt joined in to make the same accusation of NRA board member Ted Nugent:
BILL: I was a little disappointed in the little bit you gave as Mark Kelly was signing off. You didn't mention -- although a lot of people know this, but a lot perhaps don't -- he's retired military and a recent active astronaut.
REHM: Of course.
BILL: A good brave man.
REHM: Yes, indeed.
BILL: I think you should have added that. But let me tell you one more thing, very quick about Wayne LaPierre, which I didn't know, and I'll bet a lot of people didn't know. He was at the height of his eligibility for the draft in the mid- to late '60s. He spent his whole eligibility with deferment from college. He never served in the military. And here he is the icon of gun rights and all this stuff.
REHM: All right, sir. Thanks for your call. Ladd?
LADD EVERITT: Well, that's true. Wayne didn't serve. It's a little bit cloudy as to why. You know there were certain rumors out there as to why. I've never seen any hard evidence. The example that I think is more salient here is NRA board member Ted Nugent, who's made quite a career in the last few decades of praising the military and acting as if he's their biggest, you know, backer.
Ted is a guy who avoided the Vietnam draft by literally using illegal narcotics and smearing feces on his body before he went in for his physical with the military. And then he bragged about that in an interview with High Times during the 1970s. Now he's a guy acting as if he's the biggest backer of our men and women in uniform. So, yeah, there's some stuff there to be upset about.
The website Snopes.com says the Nugent record is unclear.
But Rehm closed the show with a nod to Bill as she recalled her guests included “Mark Kelly, former member of the military and indeed an astronaut. Thank you all so much.”