Chapter 15

* * * * * * * * * *

I heard the expression "Hate Radio" recently.
Not being much of a hater, I don't understand what that means.

Public radio is often shamelessly dishonest and cheerfully contemptuous, but I wouldn't call them "hateful". Rush Limbaugh is usually about the most cheerful guy on the air, and his whole message is about personal success for everyone. That's certainly not hate. Sean Hannity is a flag-waving dummy, but he's consistently good-natured, and frequently invites liberals to be on his show. Glenn Beck is just about the funniest guy I've ever heard, when he's not all wound up about something, and he's all about people being fair and constructive and good and making up their own minds. That doesn’t sound much like hate.

Who else is significant on air? Michael Savage? He's obnoxious. Maybe you could call him a hater, but the existence of one second-rank guy hardly establishes a genre. And "Savage"? Really, now. You know what his real name is? Michael Weiner.

As tiny as left-wing talk radio is (not counting NPR), I do have buttons on my radio for it and I am one of the few who do listen. Ed Schultz is relatively big for a Leftie show but I haven't had much opportunity to hear him where I live. The Leftie female hosts that I hear tend to say things like "He's a (dirty word)" and "She's a (even dirtier word)". Randi Rhodes does try to keep the proceedings clean but she gets into name-calling as well as anyone, frequently describing people as horrible or disgusting. Stephanie Miller is only for people who like crudeness; she's a real toilethead. Alan Colmes takes calls from listeners and picks fights with them and calls them stupid.

Is that hate? It's probably worse than making fun of public figures the way that Limbaugh and Peter Sagal do. We could probably say that for the most part Rightie talk radio is kind of cheerful and hopeful, and Leftie talk radio is kind of bitter and resentful -- at least in the shows in the markets I've lived in.

I think that there are some people who just normally think in the currency of hatred; and whenever they see or hear anything that they don't understand, "hate" is the only way they can explain it to themselves. Like the little kid who, when being corrected for some wrong action, decides that mommy "hates" her. The kid doesn't know any better.


"He's the kind of guy who meets everything that he doesn't understand with anger and hatred -- and there are a lot of things that he doesn't understand'.