Danehy: Lessons learned from morning talk shows

Isaac Asimov once inadvertently summed up the essence of right-wing talk radio when he wrote about what he called “the cult of ignorance in the United States.” There is “a strain of anti-intellectualism” in our culture and politics that is “nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

For the past few weeks, I have been out on the road in the morning, listening to crackpot radio, to which I am sadly addicted. The Host and his call-in listeners prove Asimov’s contention on a daily basis.  

The Host is really good at what he does, which is mostly keeping the white folks in a constant state of rage. We don’t want Afghan refugees in Arizona! They’re an even darker shade of brown than the Mexicans!

Some lowlights from the past few weeks:  

• So, this woman calls in and identifies herself only as someone who “works in the healthcare industry.” She’s railing against the school district and the school because her son had been exposed to someone who was COVID-positive and it was keeping him from participating in football practice. 

She just kept on wailing, “Let the kids play!”

The Host tried to guide her to a strong finish by asking if her son was actually sick and she said, “Well, he’s had COVID. He has no sense of smell or taste, but he has no symptoms.”


Here’s hoping that her position in the “healthcare industry” doesn’t go beyond cleaning out bed pans.

• For days on end, he ranted about how school districts were breaking the law by installing mask mandates. But after it was announced on the news segment of his own show that the courts had ruled that laws cannot be implemented retroactively, he continued to claim that districts were breaking the law, which was, you know, a big fat lie.

• The Host: “School districts are flaunting the law.”

People flout the law, they don’t flaunt it. We shouldn’t use big words if we don’t know what they mean.

• There was a situation at Walden Grove High School where parents were verbally abusive and threatening a school administrator, and police had to be called. So, The Host launches into this tirade about school officials, rants on and on, then finishes with, “And that Superintendent of the Vail District (John Carruth) is the worst. He’s just terrible.”

Well, he may be, but Walden Grove is in the Sahuarita District, not Vail.

• One morning, he spent an entire segment on how some clown in Israel claimed that Ivermectin could be used to treat and perhaps even cure COVID-19. This de-wormer is just the latest completely-fake “miracle” cure to sweep through the Moron-o-verse. 

The next day, The Host starts off with, “Israel did a study on Ivermectin…”

No, Israel DID NOT do a study on Ivermectin. Some guy in Israel experimented on some people and then wrote a paper that has since been debunked because it’s fraudulent.  

Sometimes he just engages in half-truths. After the completely-expected backlash against the Ivermectin/COVID hoax, he started saying things like “Ivermectin is completely safe for people to take…” or “The CDC recommends that people coming to the U.S. from the Middle East should take Ivermectin…” Both of those statements would be true if he finished the sentences with “…to treat head lice or scabies.”

• Quick question: Is it 3rd grade or 4th grade where people stop thinking that intentionally mispronouncing somebody’s name is funny? He wants people to take his rage seriously and then he does stupid stuff like that. And, big surprise, the names he intentionally mangles are those of women, not men.

Also, you can hate on Sharon Bronson all you want, but many of us remember that freak morning storm. Her almost drowning that day will NEVER be funny.

• Seeing as how I’m an American and an adult, I know that (even in these horribly fractured times where expectations of common decency have all but disappeared) there are two things that you never, EVER call somebody unless that person has been convicted of that offense in a court of law.

You don’t call somebody a child molester and you don’t call somebody a traitor. He thinks it’s cute to call elected officials who are sincerely trying to protect the health of kids “child abusers.” That’s a bitch move.

Now he has taken to calling the President of the United States a traitor. He even whines, “Why isn’t anybody else joining me in calling (Biden) a traitor?” Well, it’s probably because his listeners, no matter how bent out of shape they are on other matters, know that that’s crossing a line. If they were decent professionals, the people who run his station would suspend him and bar him from ever using that word again. But, in this case, they’re as gutless as he is vile.

• Finally, we’ve all suffered through 18 months of COVID, made exponentially worse by the previous administration’s unwillingness to accept COVID as fact and then to deal with COVID in a responsible manner. So, when the crappy August job report (made crappy by COVID) comes out, what does the anti-vaxxer, anti-mask cheerleader for Team Death recommend as a solution? More COVID! 

He claims to be a critical thinker, but he acts like a critic of thinking. 

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