A couple of days ago, I submitted a fairly timely and newsy post, I thought. I had just heard Charlie Sykes call Al Sharpton a "pimp" on his radio show, while he was discussing the Imus imbroglio. The use of "pimp" referring to strong, flamboyant African-American man is certainly as offensive as Imus calling some basketball players "hos".
In fact, it was worse. The Imus incident happened because he was egged on by his incredibly stupid producer to say something about people he knew nothing about, based on their physical appearance in some sports footage. In contrast, Sykes chose to use his racial slur against someone he seeks to belittle, on purpose, with premeditation and malice.
My post fell in the blogosphere like a leaden balloon on a bright summer day. I got some comments and a couple hundred people checked it out, but I didn’t get the post linked on WisOpinion (always a disappointment, but that often happens when I pick on one of their other featured "bloggers") and surely no acknowledgment from Sykes or anyone seeking to defend his wacky racist antics.
One of my favorite wing-nut tactics is when they point out supposedly progressive bloggers or commenters that have written something so outrageous that they can use it to slur all Democrats or lefties. The most prominent recent example is when somebody dug deep in the Huffington Post comments section to find celebrations of the bombing outside of a compound where Dick Cheney was staying in Afghanistan. "This is the Democratic base!" they exclaim, when such comments are nothing of the sort. In fact, like the phony "lefty" callers that provide comic relief on local and national wing-nut radio, such comments are left by probably plants – someone pretending to be left just to give the left a bad name.
But they ignore the effective progressive voices, because they don’t have an answer for them. Although I know I am being read by them, they refuse to engage. As I have always contended, the wing-nuts are repelled from honest debate like Superman from Kryptonite. Sykes or Belling wouldn’t let themselves get caught in a even-up public debate if their life depended on it. The radio emperors would be exposed without their clothes. They hide in their corporate studio cocoons and their safely-constructed TV-show panels. If they said half the stuff they do on the radio in public, they’d get eaten alive. They are the wimpiest tough-guys in show business.
So, now, for his sins, the relatively progressive Imus has been sacked – banished to the false futuristic promise of satellite radio, no doubt. But Sykes (with his "pimp" calling) and Belling and (with his "wetback" comment) remain on the air and untouchable. Is Milwaukee really this desperate for media personalities that we have to put up with these divisive poisonous personalities? Can’t we do better? Shouldn’t we try?
P.S.: Speaking of (not) engaging, I called in to the Belling show this afternoon. He was exercising his remarkable intellect on the Iraq war, which is always good for a laugh. I was calling to say he actually was very close to the Democratic position of pulling the troops out of harm’s way in Baghdad and keeping some in the country (read: redeploy) to fight Al Qaeda and protect borders. The screener put me on hold, eventually told me I was "next", then clicked in to tell me he was "sorry" and the line went dead. I don’t know why they even bothered to pretend I was going to get a chance on the air with Belling, who is a notorious debate-wimp. Several years ago, I actually got on the air and he was in trouble dealing with an honest debate. Suddenly, he asked me a question and then cut me off. On the air, he actually pretended like I was still there, and pretended that I couldn’t answer the question. These are the kinds of people we are dealing with – paranoid, manipulative wimps with microphones.