Friday, August 4, 2006
Personal Asides: Rating the National Radio Talk Shows Harold Henderson: Ageist
As a political talk radio fan (it has to be since it has its own outlet on WLS-AM) this Blog manages to catch a good deal of the palaver every day. It has made for its own purpose anyhow, a rating of them. See if you agree. If youre not conservative, you wont be interested in this since all of those this Blog favors comes down on the side of the right (pun intended).
WLS Rush Limbaugh still gets (*****) five stars and the highest rating. While liberal snobs regard him as the red-neck smash hit, Limbaugh matches superb information-gathering with adroit bite-sized argumentation that helps enormously in debate. A phrase-maker, he has invented the designation drive-by media which eloquently explains the predicament this nation is in with as yet still superior numbers going to the major networks and newspapers. This Blog finds Limbaughs pretended egotism a great put-on and, unlike others, is not put-off by it. Rarely does he orate without facts and his analysis is shrewd, pointed and delightful.
WGNs Milt Rosenberg gets (*****) as well but in another context. An academic with deep-rooted convictions, knowledgeable in philosophy, science and general wisdom, Rosenberg supplies an enormous amount of ballast in support of generally conservative social views. He can be witty, deft and sometimes cryptic.
WLSs Sean Hannity (***) is combative, persistent and an excellent debater. This Blog doesnt get from him what it derives from either Limbaugh or Rosenberg but his knowledge is steady, reliable and thoroughly grounded.
WINDs Bill Bennett (*****), an academic and lawyer is on par with Rosenberg, adding his own seasoned experience as professor, secretary of education, drug czar and outstanding innovator of the famed K-12 course of home study which this Blogs daughter, Mary applies with the youngest of her eight healthy kids. Hes on at 5 a.m. which is a bit of a disadvantage but his guests and learned discourse opens your eyes as you rise.
WINDs Laura Ingraham (****) is a stunning looker but that doesnt help on radio. She should be on TV and why her initial spurt on cable didnt take is a puzzlement. On radio she is too shrill for this Blogs continuing taste because she seems to start new topics with a youngsters ooooeeee! A little too much into contemporary music for this senior citizen. Yet shes very informed as a lawyer and former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. She has a way of allowing one to invade her personal life which is touching and displays enormous self-confidence. This Blog worried when she came down with breast cancer, endured her chemo, suffered when her fiancé took off (either that or she ditched him) and enjoyed it hugely when she was stopped for speeding, found the Virginia state highway patrolman cute and didnt get a ticket. She spends too much time on the introductory promo to her show which contains snippets of prior broadcasts. Takes too much time and is repetitive.
WINDs Dennis Prager (***), an expert on sociology and tradition as well as Judaism and Christianity is a scholar and adroit conversationalist. Sometimes the disquisition gets a little involved with more delineation than perhaps this Blog has patience forbut Prager, from Los Angeles, is probably the best-rounded host of them all: an expert in music, ancient texts, semantics, manners, mores, morals.
WINDs Michael Medved (*****) is a Renaissance Man because he knows film criticism, economics, politics, history and is so intimately involved with the Middle East that he could well double as a talking head expert, is a good writer (his book Right Turns details his conversion from a Bobby Kennedy supporter who was on hand as an eyewitness to the RFK assassination). Medved makes the worlds best, most scholarly defense of Israel drawing not just on his own experience but that of his brother who is a scholar in Jerusalem. One criticism: hes too invitational to the nuts who call him. No need to urge them to call including members of the Flat Earth Society: theyll call anyhow. But, this Blog learns something whenever it hears Medved.
WINDs Michael Savage (*) is too much for me. Hes a paleo-con, of course which pleases some readers of this Blog; is almost violently argumentative but as they say, like a stopped clock is right twice a day. Once in a while he comes up with a brilliant aphorism but frequently when hes on a tirade this Blog turns him off.
WINDs Hugh Hewitt (**), taught this Blog the little it knows about running a Blog with his masterly book on the subject. He should be better and more essential than he is: a law professor, evangelical, writer in World magazine. Most often he stays away from personal comments while giving the play to his guests (something this Blog has been accused of). For some reason he hangs on the phone with nationalreview.conline editor who is usually evasive.
Notwithstanding that my friend, Harold Henderson, at Chicagos weekly dispensatory, the Reader, which publishes the most scatological stuff in the city, is an ageist, one who regards people of a certain years as over-the-hill with his remarks on the Reader Blog about old man Roeser, ahem only kidding he has shown this Blog the good taste of reproducing some of its views on Jim Thompson and giving a link to it (which is appreciated) and he asks if Thompson was as venal as U. S. prosecutor as he has become in his conduct of personal affairs. Answer: no. This Blog knew him fairly well when it headed Project LEAP which was devoted to fighting vote fraud and he was admirable in the way he contributed his time and judgment to LEAP s complaints. Thompson always impressed this Blog as one with gargantuan appetites. For fame, nothing could suffice but that he be presidentrather like Teddy Roosevelt in that regard (whom this Blog knew when both were children). When Thompson became convinced that certain obstacles prevented him from running for president, he turned to the private practice of law which opened up an avenue for acceptance of each and every dirty and tattle-tale grey prospective client who came along.
On a subordinate item, as to whether Thompson is liberal, Henderson says that when one is as far right as is this Blog, anyone else seems left. But this Blog defies Henderson to point to one thing that Thompson has done as governor that is conservative. He is indistinguishable from regular Democrats in every particular: spending, taxation, social policy. Now he isnt a Howard Dean by any means but he certainly would be equivalent to, say, Richard M. Daley. His great and good friend, George Ryan, whom he has defended against charges of corruption, has renounced his former pro-life stand, has urged cessation of the sanctions on Cuba, has come out against capital punishment (although I doubt if Thompson shares this view) and has been immaculate, if that word can be misapplied in sacrilege, in his conception of liberalism. Of course Thompson has defended him pro-bono because, as many surmise, Ryan could unload a lot of stuff about Thompson.