Friday, July 11, 2008

Savage Nation = Sewage Nation


Nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage, who vehemently opposes the Fairness Doctrine, Thursday gave a good reason why we need one.

The man who calls liberalism a mental disorder and is the third most popular host int he country, spouts his own insanities regularly, most of them veiled and not so veiled hate speech.

Thursday he claimed the fires in California were set by Iranian terrorists. His proof? Well, he said, if the rangers who patrol the forests caught a Middle Eastern terrorist with a blowtorch, "the mean-faced, clip-haired, wide-waisted woman would have to consult a 50-page manual about what to do" and would never make an arrest.

Plus, he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had once made a speech saying that Islam would light a fire in the West.

Now, I know that most intelligent people put this guy's rants in the same category as those supermarket tabloids that tell you that Laura Bush was impregnated by aliens, and so his talk should just be categorized as freedom of speech and ignored.

And the Fairness Doctrine, which requires stations to give equal broadcast time to both political sides, is cumbersome and convoluted at best.

But such irresponsible and incendiary speech really argues for it. There is a tendency to believe the electronic media, more than, say what you would see in a supermarket checkout line. Because the airwaves are owned by the people and licensed by the government for them, there is an expectation that what is broadcast has been checked out and found responsible by the government and its agency, the Federal Communications Commission.

Consciously, or unconsciously, what you hear powerfully beamed over 50,000 watts has an implicit ring of truth (despite all the ads promising larger penises or wealth from the skies).

No one expects to hear something so irresponsible, and so damaging, as a claim that Iran is attacking the U.S. It's in the category of Orson Wells's "War of the Worlds" broadcast, and frankly, responsible broadcasters would pull that plug on Savage just for throwing out a statement like that with no proof.

You have an option though.Don't listen. And don't buy Rock Star energy drink, which his family owns.

For more info: www.mediamatters.org, www.salon.com for a great profile on Savage