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The Radio Republicans: Got Emotion?


(guest blog by Taylor Marsh)

Via Glenn Greenwald we get a fascinating flurry of traitorous tall tales. But let’s focus on Ken doll Sean Hannity’s cabin boy, Mark Levin, for a minute. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Levin, he’s the guy who played Hannity’s boy in the Alec Baldwin radio fracas. The likes of Levin and other radio Republicans are now taking out after Mary McCarthy. It’s interesting to note that Levin is obviously reading Jane Hamsher at firedoglake, calling Dana Priest "McCarthy’s stenographer." Sound familiar? It won’t stick like "Steno Sue." (*see update) After all, we are talking about Dana Priest, a reporter who is committed to telling the story straight, the way reporters are supposed to work. But for the likes of Hannity, Levin and the radio Republicans, led by Rush, if someone doesn’t back Bush, they are not only not telling the truth, but a traitorous partisan, in other words, a Democrat.

As for Hannity’s cabin body, Levin only wants one thing and it’s not to report the facts. That’s not what they do on right-wing radio, where Levin now resides thanks, no doubt, to his Hannity hook up. Levin is now just another cog in the Republican wheel meant to transport the right-wing radio crowd to the polls. He’s responsible for revving up Bush’s base regardless of how it’s done. Facts have nothing to do with it, truth a niggling annoyance, as you’ll see in Levin’s meanderings. The right-wingers on radio use only one tool to inspire their listeners: EMOTION. Facts only get in their way.

If she leaked she must be charged. I wonder what Schieffer would say then? I suppose he would urge that she receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After all, the Washington Post’s Dana Priest, who apparently served as McCarthy’s stenographer, was just awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

I must say, however, that the media’s sickening hypocrisy knows no bounds. They came to the defense of Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, who worked behind-the-scenes to get her husband that “fact-finding” trip to Niger. They demanded an investigation into who “leaked” Plame’s identity to Bob Novak — which ensnared their own reporters. They hoped they would critically wound the president, and they failed. Clearly Plame was not undercover and the revelation of her identity was not a crime. Lewis Libby now stands accused of lying about a crime that never occurred and the media think that’s a good thing.

Now comes Mary McCarthy, who apparently leaked real classified national-security secrets and the media largely dismiss it or defend it. They have no curiosity about McCarthy, the extent of her leaks, to whom she leaked (beyond Priest, did she leak to other reporters, members of Congress, other governments?), how she secured top security posts, and her ties to the Clinton administration. Surely there is every reason the government should pursue this investigation at least as vigorously as the Plame matter has been pursued. Dana Priest, among others, should have her day before a grand jury.

Who is Mary McCarthy?

All this blog babbling would be bad enough, except for the last line where Levin suggests there are traitors everywhere. The inference, coming at the end of a long wail about Democrats, is that the traitors among us are "over there," in the Democratic Party. The only purpose of this kind of rhetorical drive by is to get everyone pumped up, which will continue on radio stations throughout this country. It will begin by using Clinton, because whenever the Republicans are in deep trouble that’s where they run. Then, after Clinton is intoned, the likes of Ken doll Sean Hannity and his cabin boy, with a little help from the newly lobotomized Laura Ingraham, will intone the tactic of fear.

Be afraid of Democrats, because they are traitors and undermining this country. It will be utilized on radio to rev up the base, where Karl Rove has used right-wing radio for years to pump up the EMOTION of right-wingers, because that’s what gets voters to the polls and right-wing radio listeners vote. The same tactics are continued on "Christian" broadcasting networks throughout the country. It is quite simply the most formidably dangerous weapon the Republicans have to wield against Democrats come election time.

Pat Buchanan, on "Face the Nation" today, outlined the strategy I believe will be used going forward, especially on right-wing radio. The Republicans will attempt to make the 2006 election a competition between conservatism and liberalism, while using Mary McCarthy and the non-existent Democratic traitors among the Administration as Bush boogeyman.

Whatever you do, don’t laugh. I know it sounds preposterous, because conservatism has utterly failed, with one of the right’s own testifying to that fact in a new book. But in mid-term elections turn-out is notoriously weak. Right-wing radio listeners vote. So, if Republicans on radio can pump up the emotion and make their listeners frightened enough of the ghost of some phantom liberal villain, Karl Rove’s precinct captains, which is the way Rove refers to his right-wing radio listeners, just may come out in droves. It could make the difference. It has before.

NOTE: I’ve been studying radio since the mid-1990s, having been interviewed across the country for over 10 years (including TV). In 2002, I moved from L.A., after a certain conglomerate colossus told me they wouldn’t put a Democratic female on the air, to launch my own show, with the help of my co-executive producer. It lasted less than 6 months. Even though it was right before the mid-term elections in 2002, I couldn’t get the Democratic Party pr team in Nevada interested in aiding our cause by coming on radio with me. I went to every Democratic party luncheon, dinner, made phone calls, you name it, but they couldn’t have cared less. Today, the Democratic Party remains clueless to the power of terrestrial radio across this country. As long as they remain so, Republicans will have an advantage we simply can’t overcome. Emotion is what gets voters to the polls. Right-wing radio reaches tens of millions of people every day pumping up that emotion. Air America is great, but it’s not enough. By the way, I’m still trying to get back on the air. Believe me, I’m not alone.

UPDATE: FDL reader Pattern Recognizer informs me through comments that Atrios coined "Steno Sue." My apologies to Atrios for the unintended slight.

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Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh

Taylor is a political commentator and radio personality who has been interviewed by C-SPAN's Washington Journal and all across TV and right-wing radio. She's been on the web for 10 years, going to blogging in late 2005. Taylor is affiliated with The Patriot Project, writes for Huffington Post, as well as Alternet. Her radio show debuted in 2002, which she now brings to her blog Mon-Thur, 6:00 p.m. Eastern or 3:00 p.m. Pacific. One of her passions is painting and creating political art. The graphic at the top of her blog is taken from the expressionist flag art that hangs in her home. She was born in Missouri, and has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and some points in between.