Henry Rollin’s Solution To Right-Wing Media
Henry Rollin takes some hard shots at the right-wing media figureheads and backs it up with some intelligent insights. Could he have the answer to the country’s polarized media?
America has a new name to splash across the front pages of its newspapers and Web sites: Jared Lee Loughner, age 22, accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others last Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.
Almost immediately after the horrific event, which left six dead and 14 wounded, people searched for a reason for Loughner’s actions. Almost immediately, Sarah Palin’s name came up. On her Web site, Palin had posted a map of the United States with marks designating the home states of Democratic politicians to defeat. The marks, some say, resemble crosshair sights, and Giffords was one of the Democrats singled out. The map has been taken off the site, and Palin has sent her condolences to the victims and their families. I hope she’s feeling better.
Since then, popular conservative radio personalities have been talking nonstop to deflect the onslaught of incoming flak from people accusing them of inciting dangerous behavior with the content of their shows.
Meanwhile, no one has been able to determine exactly what may have caused Jared Loughner to walk up to a group of people and start shooting. Thus far, Loughner, who is in custody, has been uncooperative with law-enforcement officials.
For now, with little information on Loughner, we are left to speculate. Is it possible that the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck inspired Loughner to attack these people? Can what he did be classified as radical-right-wing behavior? Is it fair, with so little information on this man, to put the blame on conservative talk show hosts? What about liberal talk show hosts? Until we know more about Loughner, can’t they too be potentially to blame? I’m only trying to be even-handed.
I may be at odds with a lot of people on this, but I don’t think the Limbaughs and Becks of America are to blame for what happened in Tucson last Saturday. I do believe that some of these personalities say some pretty intense stuff that I find myself in complete and strong disagreement with. But I also find it impossible to take them seriously. That is perhaps a mistake on my part. To me, these people are pathetically lightweight.
I saw Glenn Beck in action last summer at his Restore Honor Rally. His speech sucked and his audience looked ancient and out-of-shape. Rush Limbaugh makes money getting simpleminded people to feel good about their intellectually undernourished brain spasms. He’s very good at it, and I scarcely believe a fraction of what he says. Sarah Palin embarrasses herself almost immediately upon opening her mouth to speak or upon moving her fingers to send messages to her dull flock. I just don’t believe these people can really motivate anyone to do anything except misspell words on the signs they take to their corny rallies and vote for candidates who will immediately screw them upon entering office. Past that, I don’t think much gets done.
I could be completely wrong here, but I think there is a much harder-core element in American society that doesn’t listen to these pundits, doesn’t care who is president, and has nothing but contempt and hatred for government in general. I don’t believe it mattered to Timothy McVeigh who was president or who his congressional representative was when he blew up the Murrah Building in 1995.
I know that Loughner had a history of extreme dislike for representative Giffords. I just can’t believe he got that from a map drawn up by Sarah Palin or the bug-eyed-baby ravings of Glenn Beck.
One thing I think we can count on is that no conservative radio personality will be toning down their rap at all. They are now almost forced to keep it up, to show that they are in no way a part of this case.
Again, you might not dig this, but I don’t want them to tone it down. I want them to have the same First Amendment rights that I enjoy. What I want is for everyone else to evolve and stop listening. I want for these talkers to have such low ratings due to non-interest that they are dropped from their contracts and fall into immediate and absolute obscurity. That would be the ultimate victory. The right people would win and the right people would lose. For Limbaugh and his ilk, it would be a defeat so totally crushing that they would never recover. Even if they did, no one would notice.
Immediately, what is to be done? Gun control? Too late. You can always get a gun in America. Censorship? Slippery slope. In my opinion, it always comes down to the same thing: education. You pump up the volume on the smart factor in America and this regrettable and tragic era would be in our collective rear-view with all speed.