The New Rules

Last night on The Ed Show on MSNBC, guest Heidi Harris, a Las Vegas-based hate radio star, explained it all for me.  You see, people like Dr. Laura can run around shouting “nigger” eleven times on the air, an act of which Heidi primly disapproves, because they’re syndicated, national, and make “millions of dollars.”  It would violate Heidi’s Randian code of ethics to kick up, when everyone knows that in her business one only kicks down.  She seemed rather proud of this odd version of morality, too.  Her incessant barking became almost wistful when she said, perhaps too honestly, that if only she were on Dr. Laura’s “level,” she would be free to criticize her publicly.  Tomorrow is another day.

It’s sad, sort of, to see yet another righty gasbag admit, publicly, that personal beliefs have nothing to do with it; it’s not the principle of the thing, it’s the money.  How can such galling admissions of rank careerism and lack of conviction sit with their audiences, who must go on believing them anyway?  Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and all the rest have repeatedly admitted that their paycheck and fame is all that matters to them, which is fine if you’re, say, Lindsay Lohan, but considerably more problematic when your demented vitriol is absorbed, and increasingly acted upon, by millions of Americans every day.

When Ed points out that despite having 95% of the radio dial in the places where they don’t have 100%, not a single one of the thousands of righty blabbermouths has criticized Dr. Laura, Heidi ducks the question by invoking the magic of the market.  Really.  She thinks, or at least says, that this right-wing imbalance has something to with what advertisers want, when any fool could see that bloated, once-illegal media monopolies benefit substantially from pounding audiences with such rich-fellating nonsense as Heidi’s, whether or not GoldLine coughs up a few bucks to subsidize it.  When Rush Limbaugh comes right out and says that one’s vote ought to be proportional to one’s wealth, it’s easy to see how and why Heidi has a recession-proof job.

The same “market” mentality also shows why Rupert Murdoch was willing to flush hundreds of millions of dollars down the toilet to launch Fox News, and billions to buy the Wall Street Journal in an era when national print media outlets can be had for a dollar. Right-wing journalism doesn’t need advertising, it is advertising.   What it sells, all day long, is the propaganda of top-down class warfare, and that takes some doing in the most unequal democracy on earth, so this kind of demonization of lessers and exaltation of betters must be ladled out to the lower orders with every syllable spoken on the once-public airwaves.

Sadly, but obviously of no concern to Dr. Laura or Heidi, a lot of innocent people whose only mistake in life was to be black, brown, Muslim, poor, gay, liberal, working class, middle class, unemployed, or worse than all that, not even nationally syndicated, must now endure the slings and arrows, and even legal or violent repercussions of the loose and ill-willed talk of a bunch of mendacious money-grubbers who are laughing all the way to the bank.

If anyone could make a better argument for the breakup of media monopolies and the return of the Fairness Doctrine than Heidi Harris just did, I don’t know what it would be.


  1. michlib says:

    Fox ” news ” – invented by rich folks to make the middle class fear brown, foreign, poor, or just plain ” different ” folks while lionizing the rich as the exemplars of how to leech … err, live.
    Let’s you and him fight.

  2. daphne says:

    Several years back, when I was still taking the local, medium-market newspaper, I wrote a letter (actually published as a full-length column) in which I coined the term “Spectacular Nobodies.” If this label isn’t completely self-explanatory, think of it as the circle encompassing the circles “Cocktail Hags” and “have become famous for being famous” which themselves overlap.

  3. Meremark says:

    “… mistake in life … black, brown, Muslim, poor, gay, liberal, working class, middle class, unemployed, or worse,” not to mention disabled, disadvantaged, dreaming visionary, philosopher, intellectual, artist, theoretician, humble, civilly disobedient; and don’t forget the scourge of bad bloodlines which have been ruining this pristine nation with wave after immigrant wave of the French, Italians, Irish, Scots, Germans, Belgians, Armenians, Ukranians, Cossacks, Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles, Asians, Indians, Mongolians, Innuits and Australians among the lowlifes of the human gene pool adulterating this culture they pilfer into, and nothing as awful as the defilements and indecencies among the despicables practicing Protestantism, Paganism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zorastrianism, and Daoists, DaDaists, Animists, Krishnas, Rajneeshees, Jews, and the lowest of the low: inbred Zionists, (charter: “family to intermarry with it’s first and second cousins”), infiltrating American purity and inducing crass contaminants all among us everywhere.

    In the ongoing so-called ‘crass war’ everyone sees, recently I grasped the ultimate motive behind it all. ‘Everyone else is doing it.‘ So it’s an American tradition.

    When T-baggers are charged with racism for their words and deeds, their ‘defense’ is accusing the NAACP of being racist on the other hand, equally unacceptable, to ‘justify’ T-baggers themselves being no worse than everybody else. Like driving 65 in a 55mph zone — “everyone’s doing it.”

    Although, but, except, … NObody else is doing it. Only T-baggers. They don’t blend in. They stand out as unaccepted antisocial sorts. They are the mule-headed, and as sterile as the offspring of a cross between a horse and donkey; (fortunate for the humankind gene pool that the muley are dead-enders).

    The Dr(ear) Laura ‘N’-incompoop episode is reported fullest by Media Matters .ORG just stating how far she is outlandish, not of normal society, and MediaMatters follows its report with a call to action for advertisers to rescind sponsorships of her deplorable psych-afflicted personality.

    It has been a magnificent effort by which Media Matters has obtained the audience-ratings power that can cower the massmedia which harbor anti-American bigots, racists, egomaniacs, isolated recluses, and other substandard Earthlings. Yet Media Matters has done it, and today when they name names and say ‘flog’ then celebrities are lashed to their liar lunacies and tossed in the ebbing tidal undertow, sucked asunder.

    You can tell Media Matters has arrived since all the hate talkers and liars curse the presence of the website. Dr(ear) Laura is done done, she has cooked her own goose.

    Who’s next to fall flat in self-obsession? Stay tuned to Media Matters .ORG — publishing the Village-Idiot registery of offenders, showing which ones reside where in our wide-world community.


    • cocktailhag says:

      Media Matters has certainly come into its own, especially since they got snazzier writers. I used to find the site boring; so addicted to bland factual analysis as to spoil the fun. As the media got worse, Media Matters got better, and it’s about damned time. Keeping track of the horseshit is a full-time job.

  4. dirigo says:

    I mentioned before working in radio, and for a time at a radio station in New Haven. The station was, and is, owned by Clear Channel, an odious broadcast cocoon which helped Glenn Beck, once a morning zoo caterpillar, emerge as today’s mad moth of talk, perhaps now out-rushing Rush (let’s check those sacred ratings!).

    I still regret what radio has become, a thorough loony bin of yak, with nothing but third rail invective for hours on end, aimed at the most malleable segment of the population.

    Radio is a great medium if used right, but it’s been ruined by these people. Sadly, this episode with “Dr. Laura” is just one of many “canary in the coal mine” moments where media critics of good faith must stand athwart media history, such as it is, and yell: “Enough is enough!”


    Doth the “good doctor” protest too much? Well, gee. That’s part of the game ain’t it?

    “I’m not at fault! Don’t blame me. My remarks were taken out of context (that’s a lulu in this case). I make no concessions anyway, or take any responsibility for outrageous utterances because I inhabit, pretentiously and ostentatiously, the precincts of righteous indignation.”

    And so it goes. Ho hum.

    Nothing new here really, except that a form of political speech which at one time – long ago and far away – was known as a “fireside chat,” has been whistled into a national bonfire.