There is no liberal equivalent to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or, certainly, to Ann Coulter. What national liberal media figure operates remotely in the style, and with the fury, of these personalities? Who would be the liberal counterpoint to, say, Michael Savage?
When it comes to talk radio — where conservatives are packed like sardines along a decrepit and unending strip mall of fuzzed-out call letters — liberals don’t even show up; they are invisible. Air America — notably a satellite, not terrestrial station — was at best lukewarm in its liberal righteousness. But Air America doesn’t even exist anymore because it lacked not the courage of its convictions but the shamelessness and pure rage needed to rally and recruit apostles — or, say, dittoheads — of angst and ignorance and fear, posses, in essence, ready at a moment’s bleating to brandish a phone or pen (if literate) and shake a local congressman’s tree.
Anyone who would coin the tasteless and dangerous phrase “femi-nazi” to dismiss and demean a perceived threat is someone who must be given wide berth, so to speak. In the case of Mr. Limbaugh that would be both figurative and literal. It’s like avoiding eye contact with a suspicious-looking figure on a street corner: it’s better to be safe than robbed or killed.
MSNBC’s liberal orientation, but for an exception here and there, withers in the face of Fox News and its discordant pack. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow give good fight, but ultimately lack the intensity, the overheated fervor, and the sheer sense of absolute righteousness of Hannity and O’Reilly. And with Hannity you get audio and visual. Oh boy!
But ultimately the battlefield is talk radio, and it is unquestionably true that the language of the ranting hosts is incendiary — and almost always inaccurate and misleading, but that’s another issue. Liberals largely don’t, or can’t, play with the same intensity.
The conservative talk show horde is about fear and denigration and, of course, money. It thrives on the language of insurrection and revolt. It thrives on name-calling and innuendo. It basks in anger and misinformation. It calls the President “Hussein” or Barry. It places, or engenders the placement of, a bullseye over a map of the electorate. Out of the miasma of talk radio’s blah blah blah is born the Tea Party, many of whom don’t believe the President is a U.S. citizen and, absurdly and without irony, want to abolish the very programs — Social Security, see Rand Paul — that they depend on and benefit from.
And then conservative talk radio chastises the liberal media for daring to suggest that it bears some responsibility for this country’s political and social divisiveness. This is blatantly yelling fire in crowded school room and then just for the hell of it actually setting it to flame.
And being indignant and accusatory about the whole affair at the end of the day.