WASHINGTON — For a couple of years now, I have been talking about the Kultursmog, the utterly polluted state of our political culture. Those who pollute it are the liberals. Kultursmog is the only form of pollution that they approve of, but they do approve of it mightily, and of course, they are the chief contributors to its noxious fumes. Now they are using it to kill off an American value prized by millions of Americans down through the centuries, free speech. As I say in another context, we are watching the death of liberalism.
Through Media Matters for America, MSNBC, Think Progress and various other outfits, the liberals are trying to kill off talk radio. They have made feints in this direction for years — for instance, in encouraging the return of the Fairness Doctrine, which is anything but fair. Now they are aiming at the heart of talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, and, as collateral damage, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and the whole conservative camorra. As I mentioned last week, Rush — in the course of his 15 hours of dialogue each week — made a joke of dubious jocularity about the felicitously named Sandra Fluke. All hell broke loose. To my surprise — and I suspect to Rush's — it turns out that his joke was almost tasteful and indeed elevated in comparison with the tasteless scurrility directed at conservative women.
The clown Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a "dumb t---" and a "c---." He jokes about Rick Santorum's wife using a vibrator. Ed Schultz has called Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut," anticipating Rush's reference to Fluke. Keith Olbermann is as foul, and doubtless there are others. This is the language regularly resorted to by the left, and one would think that these revelations would put an end to the orchestrated crisis over Rush, especially because it was a liberal, the admirable Kirsten Powers, who turned up these instances of garbagespiel. But no, the crisis continues.
I can understand why. Talk radio is almost exclusively conservative radio. For some reason, liberals cannot make it in the talk show market. Even when they come up with heavily subsidized formats, such as Air America, the liberals flounder. This is, I suspect, because they cannot talk about politics without assuming a grim voice and interlacing their dialogue with scatological references. Have you ever heard them? Have you read their blogs? They have sewers for brains.
On Tuesday, my colleague Jeffrey Lord, on The American Spectator's website, connected the dots. Using the indispensable Daily Caller, he pointed to the Caller's evidence that Media Matters virtually writes the scripts for such MSNBC eminentoes as Al Sharpton and the dolt Schultz. Moreover, it does it with a vast mound of George Soros' money. Most of what Sharpton and Schultz say is mendacious and infantile, and sometimes it is worse. Lord presented for Spectator readers some of Sharpton's indigestible morsels. The morsels came from before he linked up with Soros and MSNBC, but that is all the more reason he should not be posing as a commentator on cable news. He has absolutely no claim to being a journalist. Perhaps he can claim to being a personality, but if that is the case, the way he became a personality is similar to how the late George Wallace became a personality. It was through racism, and as a personality, Wallace did not get far.
On the Spectator's website, Lord has preserved the tapes of Sharpton inveterately using the N-word. He uses terms such as "white interloper" and "cracker." He refers to Aristotle — yes, that Aristotle — as "a Greek homo." So far to the left has the Kultursmog gone that it finds Rush controversial but Sharpton a budding Walter Cronkite. In truth, as Lord has demonstrated, Sharpton made his way to national fame as a racist rabble-rouser.
Talk radio is afflicted by several thousand social isolates sitting around the house in their underwear tapping out irate messages to the sponsors of Rush and his cohorts. They do it on their digital tools, Twitter, Facebook, the blogs. They rely on the same mentality as the Occupy protesters. Their complaints to sponsors amount to dirty tricks. They are not clients or customers. They are a pain in the neck but nothing more. Eventually, this too will pass, but in the meantime, things will be tricky for talk radio — unless it mounts a counterattack on Media Matters for America, MSNBC (whose owner is Comcast) and Think Progress. Just a thought!
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Death of Liberalism." To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.