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November 30, 2008

AM radio doesn’t preach hate

John Meyer (11/24, Letters, “Fairness Doctrine for airwaves”) accuses AM radio talk-show hosts of preaching division and hate. Could it be that said hosts express a conservative worldview diametrically opposed to the liberal views voiced in most other media outlets? The division exists due to two opposing ideologies; the hosts don’t create the division.

Disagreeing, criticizing, exposing otherwise unreported information and questioning political correctness are not hate. As to fair and balanced airwaves, there are no laws prohibiting liberals from airing their views.

As a consistent listener to talk radio, I don’t hear hosts or callers “filled with hate” toward Barack Obama. Do they disagree with his positions and voting record? Yes! They want smaller government, not more bureaucracy; strong military, not appeasement; free market enterprise, not socialism; adhering to our longstanding Constitution, not rewriting it; lower taxes, individual freedom and responsibility.

If Mr. Meyer would listen carefully to sound conservative principles, he might realize the ignorance of which he speaks of lies in the minds of many liberals.

Antoinette Sluga

Paola, Kan.



Jim - Agreed. And both sides also have people that simply say stupid things occasionally or say things that sound bad when taken out of context. That doesn't necessarily make them divisive hate mongers.

For the most part, what radio I listen to, is tame and callers with differing viewpoints are treated with respect. Sometimes I think they're points are baseless and sometimes I think they (the host or the callers) make a good cases and give me an angle I haven't thought about before. I could say the same for most columnnists, bloggers and posters to forums such as this.

Shutting someone down by name calling or labeling as a hate monger, especially when they're not, doesn't do much to advance your position or credibility.

Sometimes people can make good points if you listen to them.


I'm not denying that ugly and hateful and stupid things are said by the left as well as the right. Both sides have loudmouths that play to the basest parts of human nature.


Jim - Thanks. Never heard of Bill Cunningham, but I'd need more context around his comparison to Hitler. I could see a some grounds for comparison. Hitler was known for energizing crowds with speech and the youth. Hmmm.... Also, seems like that wasn't an uncommon comparison for Bush from the Left.

Now for some documented cases from your side:


From that blog:
"If leftists defend any of the above quotes on the grounds that they’re 'jokes,' they cannot consistently criticize the likes of Ann Coulter for making the same kinds of 'jokes.' But they’ll try. Just watch."

Casaday - Thanks for the brilliant example of "as long as I agree with it, it's not bias."


Any edition of "The News Hour" should qualify. Of course you are correct in that my views are no doubt slanted to the right. However, most on this blog are slanted one way or the other with some notable exceptions.


we were talking about "in the ear of the hearer". Obama has said that Sean H. "has attacked him". Obama is much too smart and careful to induldge in anything I would actually call "hate speech".

Pub 17

Obama can't be the anti-Christ, Reagan was:


I LOVE this site.


Hey Eng:

Can you please site a particular instance of bias on NPR? Maybe I am actually a liberal and I just don't know it but I have never heard an instance on NPR where both conservative and liberal viewpoints were not equally represented. I realize you are conservative and I always respect your views and look forward to your comments but do you think there is a chance that your own political bias leads your view of what is balanced to be well, slanted within itself?

Could it be that NPR chooses to review say, the latest Radiohead release vs. the latest Toby Keith schlock? Well, that's simply a matter of good taste, not political bias.


"If that is the case one might say Obama has made some hate folled remarks about Sean Hannity."

Really? can you give an example?



"Hate speech" is pretty much in the eye of the beholder in all but the most clear-cut, extreme cases. I would say that Bill Cunningham's constant comparisons of Obama to Hitler are stupid and baseless, but not hateful (except for his insistence that Obama wants to gas the Jews). His obsession with the question of whether or not Obama is the anti-Christ is something I would consider hateful.

But people like Neal Boortz ("Muslims are sort of like cockroaches"), Michael Savage (who told a gay caller to "get AIDS and die"), Mark Steyn ("Michelle Obama is Kim Jong Il dressed up in Oprah Winfrey dressing") and Michael Reagan (who advocates the murder of people whose only crime is disagreeing with him) definitely clear the bar, in my opinion.

Then, just today, there's this:


If there's a comparable example of Keith Olbermann saying such things, I'd love to see it.


After years of listening to NPR and the related TV channel and hearing views expresed with which I did not agree, Rush was a welcome relief. And I didn't even have to help pay for him like I did NPR and its TV sister ship. Actuall, the only thing I ever heard Rush say that I regretted was the remark about CC, but that was an unkind and uncalled for remark rather than a hate filled one. But perhaps hate depends upon the ear of the hearer. If that is the case one might say Obama has made some hate folled remarks about Sean Hannity.


"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most of us learn about redefining something to the point of useless generality somewhere around third-course English class. Guess for you that'll come next year some time, Gar'.

Pub 17, can't you make a rational argument? Your frequent use of the ad hominem fallacy is annoying.

Pub 17

Actually, despite the expertise in building models I get paid for, I've heard of podcasts, blackberrys, and whatever that new Sprint phone is, but I'm officially a troglodyte. Sigh. Iggy and the Stooges, quadrophonic sound, my Zenith 286; you kids don't know what fun is.


Pub 17 - Ever hear of podcasts?

Pub 17

Strongly disagree. I don't listen or watch either, mind. But remember that Olbermann's primary medium is TV; he lies, and it's all over YouTube. Radio--are you kidding me?


Pub 17

Except that the right has made an industry of hate speech, EL.
If you count only talk radio then there is more hate speech from the right but because most of talk radio is conservative. But if you include other media, especially the internet, and politicians, there is just as much left wing hate, and just as viscous, as that from the right wing.

I agree with you there is much right wing hate, and I dislike Limbaugh, bot Olberman and others on the left are just as bad.


From the little talk radio I listen to, I haven't heard what I'd remotely consider divisive hate speak. Does anyone have any specific examples of this divisive hate speech that they could share?

I wouldn't classify disagreement as divisive hate speech.

Pub 17

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most of us learn about redefining something to the point of useless generality somewhere around third-course English class. Guess for you that'll come next year some time, Gar'.


The letter writer's point is that you are defining as "hate" any point of view that disagrees totally with your own. From my side, Keith Olberman "spews hate" (to use a cliche of the left) every day, but you won't find me trying to censor him; not while my channel changing thumb still works, anyway.


Yes, I am incredibly optimistic. What's the downside? I invite those on both sides to join me...my world is a great place in which to live.

Pub 17

Except that the right has made an industry of hate speech, EL. You can be proud of Pilonidal Cyst Boy's new contract as proof of the power of the right, or you can point to it as proof that hate sells. If you don't think Rush and his imitators sell hate, start with his remarks about the then-thirteen-year-old Chelsea Clinton and walk towards the present.

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