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Neal Boortz: give Mexicans a box of our nuclear waste

Jesus. The racist bile flowing from the right about The Brown MenaceTM  is heinous. Radio talk show host Neal Boortz is spewing godawful crap like this over the public airwaves. (Media Matters):

BOORTZ: I already have received at least one brilliant email today about the immigration problem, because apparently out on the West Coast they’re having a problem — they’re having some demonstrations over the disposal of nuclear waste. You know how the left loves to — “Ah, you’re poisoning.” This person sent me an email, said when — when we defeat this illegal alien amnesty bill and when we yank out the welcome mat and they all start going back to Mexico, as a going-away gift let’s all give them a box of nuclear waste. Give ’em all a little nuclear waste and let ’em take it on down there to Mexico. Tell ’em it can — it’ll heat tortillas. Or something like that.

You see, folks, you need to take a problem like this, and you can combine several problems and come up with solutions just by combining them, can’t you? I love it. I love it. OK, go home. Here is a lovely parting gift. A home tortilla warmer. Yeah, “Media Myrmidons” will have that one by tomorrow.

And this one from June 18 is sickening:

BOORTZ: I mean, it’s clear. There is no intent to shut the border down. None. If there was, they [Congress] would do what the American people want them to do: pass a law, appropriate the money, and fund it — to build a double fence along the Mexican border, and stop the damn invasion. I don’t care if Mexicans pile up against that fence like tumbleweeds in the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. Let ’em. You know, then just run a couple of taco trucks up and down the line, and somebody’s gonna be a millionaire out of that. But there’s no intent in this — what, taco truck — OK — I gotta — I gotta tell you why that’s a — back in a moment.

Media Matters has contact info for Boortz.

[UPDATE: RadicalRuss hijacking the post here.  This talk radio thing is my bailiwick, so I just had to pipe in.  Please check out The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio, a new report by the Center for American Progress (and co-authored by my executive producer, Paul Woodhull).  Basic facts after the flip…]

Our analysis in the spring of 2007 of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners reveals that 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive.

Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk?10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.

A separate analysis of all of the news/talk stations in the top 10 radio markets reveals that 76 percent of the programming in these markets is conservative and 24 percent is progressive.

Of the top ten media markets in the United States, three (Philly, Houston, Dallas) have 0% progressive talk on the airwaves per day, with a fourth (Atlanta) having only 4%.

Furthermore, progressive talk is the fastest growing and most profitable sub-genre of news/talk (c.f. Talkers Magazine), yet programmers routinely eschew progressive talk for conservative talk.  At my home station, AM 620 KPOJ in Portland (what you might call a “liberal” city, if you have a gift for understatement), when it switched formats to Air America and progressive talk, it jumped from #23 to #1 in the ratings.  Yet still, Clear Channel, which owns KPOJ, still broadcasts conservative talk on the KPAM, KEX, and KXL stations it owns in town.  3-to-1 conservative-to-progressive, ad KPOJ is whupping the ratings of all three.

Ed Schultz, the #1 progressive talker in the nation (and an unimpeachable judge of progressive talk radio talent, natch) regularly whups Sean Hannity in head-to-head ratings in Denver, Portland, San Diego, and elsewhere.  But Hannity has 300 stations and Ed 60-some.  Worse, progressive talk usually gets parked in the ghetto of substandard station-power (5,000W or less) that can’t be picked up clearly beyond ten miles.

This is not a “Fairness Doctrine” issue; though the Rightie Talkers are trying to say it is.  Nobody wants a return to the Fairness Doctrine, which mandated that stations have a politically-balanced lineup.  No, we actually don’t mind that there are 24/7 Rush/Hannity/O’Reilly/Savage/Boortz stations out there.

We just want a level playing field.  Check this list out:

Appendix B?Conservative and Progressive Hosts Examined in Analysis

Chris Baker, Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett, Neal Boortz, Jon Caldara, Pat Campbell, Howie Carr, Dan Conroy, Bill Cunningham, Mark Davis, Jerry Doyle, Dr. Laura, Larry Elder, Dave Elswick, Mark Fuhrman, Mike Gallagher, John Gibson, Dom Giordano, Sean Hannity, Paul Harvey, Roger Hedgecock, Bud Hedinger, Hugh Hewitt, Fred Honsberger, Rusty Humphries, Laura Ingraham, Rollye James, Susanne LaFrankie, Lars Larson, Mark Levin, Jason Lewis, G. Gordon Liddy, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Lonsberry, Roy Masters, Mike McConnell, Michael Medved, Bill Meyer, Dennis Miller, Matt Mittan, Tom O?Brien, Bill O?Reilly, Joe Pags, Janet Parshall, Dennis Prager, Quinn & Rose, Michael Reagan, Michael Savage, Todd Schmitt, Michael Smerconish, Tom Sullivan, Phil Valentine, Lynn Woolley.

Air America, David Bender, Alan Colmes, Jim DeFede, Jon Elliott, Rick Emerson, Thom Hartmann, Lionel, Rachel Maddow, Bruce Maiman, Mike Malloy, Stephanie Miller, Bill Press, Lee Rayburn, Randi Rhodes, Mark Riley, Betsy Rosenberg, Ed Schultz, Sam Seder, Al Sharpton, Stacy Taylor, Young Turks.

Notice any difference between the two lists?  Yeah, and that’s why there was a contest and that’s why I’m on the air now.  It’s a lot easier to be a rightie talker; you don’t need to worry about facts or civility and you can be a whacked out drug addict while working.  I know if all I had to do every Saturday morning was roll out of bed and hate on some brown people and gays, I wouldn’t have to do the hours of prep work I do each week.

The solution?  Repeal of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that was passed by the greatest Republican president* of all time.  When that act passed, it allowed behemoths like Clear Channel to gobble up stations.  They had 40 stations before 1996, now they have 1,200.

When you have 1,200 stations, your main priority is cost cutting.  So, which makes more fiscal sense, cultivate, develop, and advertise a different local talent in each one of your media markets that would match the prevailing attitudes and politics of the area, or take your already cultivated, developed, and advertised Sean Hannity and pump him out on more stations?

Righties like to say: “Conservative talk just sells better because that’s what people want.”  KPOJ’s ratings call bullshit on that one, but also, if the only thing on the airwaves is conservative talk, you can’t claim high ratings for conservative talk as a mandate for more conservative talk.  That’s like noting that everyone who ever goes to Taco Bell prefers Pepsi over Coke… Taco Bell’s owned by Pepsi, they only sell Pepsi!

Besides, the demographics don’t support that assertion:

This argument is misleading on numerous fronts. Although talk radio audiences tend to be more male, middle-aged, and conservative, research by Pew indicates that this audience is not monolithic?43 percent of regular talk radio listeners identify as conservative, while 23 percent identify as liberal and 30 percent as moderate.

The ideological breakdown of the country as a whole during this same period was very similar?36 percent conservative, 21 percent liberal, and 35 percent moderate.

The other key is returning local oversight to talk radio.  The airwaves belong to the people, and it was presumed that the FCC would grant rights to those spectra in trade for the stations acting “in the public interest”.  Stations had to renew licenses every three years, and announce the upcoming renewal, and hold public meetings where we could comment on the station and whether it was serving our interests.  Combined with local ownership, it meant that if Joe Stationowner broadcast nothing but “nuke the gay baby whales” programming into the heart of Berkeley, an army of Birkenstock-wearing tree-huggers could come to the renewal process and protest, and the FCC would seriously reconsider granting that renewal.

But now, after 1996 TelCo, licenses are renewed by merely affixing a stamp to a renewal postcard.  No meetings, no public input, and that license renewal is good for eight, not three, years.

It’s well past time to break up the media behemoths just like we broke up AT&T.  There is no meaningful competition in talk radio.

And if there were, we progressives would kick their asses!

* I know, Clinton was nominally a Democrat.  But it’s hard for me to call someone who stiffed labor (NAFTA, GATT, WTO), abridged civil rights (DADT, DOMA), and escalated the imprisonment of poor and minorities and the decimation of our Bill of Rights (a.k.a. The War on Drugs; Clinton took us from 200K pothead arrests to over 700K in just eight years) a true Democrat.  I think we have two parties now: Republican and BatShitCrazy.  I’d love to see more real Democrats, like Kucinich or Feingold.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding