Radio talk-show host Bill Press is the tiniest of fish in the radio ocean, but this minnow’s all over the place complaining about the whales. The problem is, of course, that if the market is any kind of measurement, no one knows, or cares, that he’s written a book. So he’s written a column to self-tout “Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America’s Airwaves.”
Press writes about the good ol’ days of civil discourse, but “that's not what we hear nonstop today.” And who’s to blame? “Honest disagreement on the issues has been replaced by a barrage of ugly name-calling from today's ministers of hate on the right.”
OK, then let’s see the evidence. But first, let’s dispense with the Michael Savage examples, shall we? Press cites this phony as screaming to a gay activist, “You should get AIDS and die, you pig!” That is true, but Press doesn’t tell you that a) that was not on his radio show; it was on MSNBC, and b) Savage was loudly condemned by conservatives (like yours truly), and MSNBC was congratulated when he was fired, though some of us also pointed out that MSNBC should never have hired this bigot in the first place. That example is evidence Press is doing a clip job, not a research project.
Besides, it’s Limbaugh that Press is after. He bestows on Rush the title of “Hate Monger Number One.” Why? Horrors. Rush called Elena Kagan a “socialist,” a woman being rushed to confirmation “before her radicalism is understood by the public.” Rush also said Obama is “plotting to overthrow core American values.” I’m not kidding. Those are Press’s examples.
What other “toxic” proof does he have? Sean Hannity asked about Obama: "Is there anything that he likes about this country?" Dear Bill: this might seem more outrageous if Obama wasn’t skipping the traditional Memorial Day observance at Arlington Cemetery so he can be in Chicago.
Press said Mark Levin attacked Sonia Sotomayor as a "radical leftist" and a "bigot." Again, if Sotomayor had not said “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences” could judge better than white guys, maybe she wouldn’t stand accused of bigotry.
Glenn Beck said Obama is "trying to destroy the country" and is "pushing America toward civil war." He warned Christians to leave their churches if they hear the words “social justice.” Honey, hide the kids!
But wait. It’s about to get better. He also writes in his column: “You never hear those kinds of ugly comments from progressive talkers Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, or Thom Hartmann, if you can find them on your radio dial at all.”
Who said this: “You're damn right, Dick Cheney's heart's a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him. I'm glad he didn't tip over. He is the new poster child for health care in this country.”
Who said this: “How can Evan Bayh sit there as an honest player for health care reform when his wife works for an [insurance] industry that is just absolutely butchering the American people?” The same host denounced Mrs. Joe Lieberman: “Does the word 'whore' apply? Are we there yet?”
Who said this: “You rat bastards are going to cause another Murrah Federal Building explosion, you are. And then...maybe at that point Beck will do the honorable thing and blow his brains out. Maybe at that point, Limbaugh will do the honorable thing and just gobble up enough Viagra that he becomes absolutely rigid and keels over dead. Maybe then O'Reilly will just drink a vat of the poison he spews out on America every night and choke to death.” Even the Christian evangelist Franklin Graham recently made this host’s please-kill-yourself list.
Who offered a Limbaugh song parody, with lyrics including these: “I’m a Nazi!...That’s right! I really I am!...I’m a Nazi! That’s right, you’re being scammed! I’m a Nazi! I don’t care about the middle class. I’m a big fat conservative butthead, with the face of a horse’s ass.”
And finally, who said this: “Taking a page right out of a Nazi playbook, [conservative] organizers bus in professional protestors and arm them with instructions on how to take over meetings, shut down discussion, shout over any pro-health care reform speakers, and then post video of the resulting chaos on YouTube. It's mob rule, pure and simple.”
The answers are: Leftwing radio and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz offered the first two pearls. The third comes from the especially vicious left-wing radio host Mike Malloy. The fourth attack, words and music, comes from Randi Rhodes, the former Air America darling.
And the fifth should be familiar to Bill Press -- since it came from Bill Press.