Talk radio, xenophobia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Sep 18 06:41:30 MDT 2001

In the morning before leaving my apartment, I keep switching between 3
popular talk radio shows--mainly as a way to keep track of mainstream
America. Two of the shows feature well-known "shock jocks": Howard Stern
and Don Imus. Stern says things like, "We should take all their oil and
then turn their countries into parking lots." Imus has a different style
entirely. Using a "good old boy" folksy approach, he interviews "inside the
beltway" figures like Senator John McCain or media powerhouses like Howard
Fineman of Newsweek and gets them to spew up all sorts of racist and
reactionary garbage. For example, during the O.J. Simpson trial, Senator
D'Amato did a garishly tasteless imitation of Judge Lance Ito that probably
led to him being voted out of office.

The third show, "Curtis and Kuby," is an attempt to capture the success of
various shows on television that pit a "leftist" and a "rightist" against
each other. Curtis is Curtis Sliwa, a founder of the Guardian Angels, an
auxiliary police force made up mostly of minority youth that the SWP--in
typical excess--dubbed an incipient fascist movement. Sliwa's politics are
a mix of Rush Limbaugh and Archie Bunker. Kuby is Ron Kuby, a leftwing
lawyer who used to be partners with Bill Kunstler and who takes on the same
kinds of unpopular cases, including some of the people who were involved in
the first terrorist attack on the WTC.

Kuby is generally very good, but you can tell that he is bending under
pressure. This morning he allowed that a military response was
"appropriate" but only warned that this would not be like an old John Wayne
movie, with the US cavalry going into the Kush to teach the heathen a
lesson. When a cop (WABC, which also features Limbaugh and a host of other
rightists, is very popular with cops) called in to defend "racial
profiling" of Arabs, Kuby said that this was understandable under emergency
conditions but would be considered illegal under normal conditions. In
other words, he was saying that the law can be bent. If this is coming from
Kunstler's protege, then we are in for some dangerous times.

While walking to the bus, I got another dish of racist tripe thrown in my
face. There was a huge poster at a bus stop shelter for something called
"Campaign for a Responsible Population Policy," a closed borders outfit.
Their website is at: It included a long list of
sponsoring organizations, including something called the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society. The Sea Shepherds spearheaded the drive to deny
Makahs the right to hunt whales. Their main partners were rightwing racist
politicians in Washington State.

Methinks we are entering into a period when class lines will be tested

Louis Proyect
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