A cynic could argue that the invective sputtered on right-wing talk radio is simply entertaining shtick designed to create controversy that attracts listeners and advertisers. Yet to hear the noxious rantings of those most targeted on the AM dial — women, lesbians and gay men — is especially disturbing in the context of the 2008 election cycle that broke race, sex and gender barriers on both sides of the political spectrum.
Colorado Media Matters recently documented a number of hateful examples that exemplify how derogatory local radical conservative talk radio has become:
What is this clown now, some sort of a bad ass? What are you gonna do, Obama, come to Denver and try, key word try, to whip my white ass? Son, you are not some sort of macho tough guy, trust me. You are just another blowhard, make-believe thug who wants to be the most powerful man on Earth. You’re a far-left, terrorist-hugging politician, not the bad-boy gangsta you want people to believe you are.
Referring to a National Enquirer report alleging that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has an illegitimate child with “his mistress,” a “blonde divorcée,” Coulter told Caldara during his July 23 broadcast, “I just think John Edwards is an incredibly creepy individual and the very definition of faggy.” Coulter’s remark echoed her reference to Edwards as a “faggot” during a 2007 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
During a discussion about same-sex adoption on his June 17 630 KHOW-AM broadcast, co-host Dan Caplis repeated his contention that gay “conduct is not natural,” adding that “that conduct is immoral.”
Discussing the California Supreme Court’s decision invalidating a state statute banning same-sex marriage, Newsradio 850 KOA’s “Gunny” Bob Newman on May 15 asserted that “under the crushing tyranny of the left, America will legalize gay marriage at the federal level — or at a minimum recognize gay marriage in states with such laws.” and that “[s]ome Americans fear that this will lead to legal human-animal marriage.” Newman similarly warned of “[l]egal polygamy” and “[l]egal marriages between [parents] and their offspring.”
Appearing as a guest on the June 16 broadcast of Jon Caldara’s Newsradio 850 KOA program, Ann Coulter asserted that women aren’t “concerned with how capital is generated and created,” and claimed that women’s suffrage “explains the destruction of America.” Her remarks echoed those in a 2007 blog posting that quoted her as saying, “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.”
Discussing the January 21 CNN Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, Caldara during his broadcast that evening asked Coulter whether it was “fair to say” that Clinton “got bitch-slapped tonight.”
An audio montage produced by Media Matters of America highlights some of the more egregious statements by national talkers including “Gunny” Bob mouthing off about fighting Obama.
Colorado accomplished many notable firsts in its own political landscape this year — African-American lawmakers Terrance Carroll and Peter Groff are leading the Colorado House and Senate, Jared Polis is the first openly gay man to be elected to Congress, more women are rising to leadership roles in the General Assembly, and the state helped elect an African-American to the presidency.
Perhaps another precedent to reach for is to hear the local conservative talk radio scene rein in its malevolent ignorance and actually offer listeners political discussions of substance predicated on truths.