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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Radio Hate

It goes without saying that the National Socialist revolution, which is modern and intent on action, as well as the popular upheaval we have led, must change abstract and lifeless methods in the radio. The old regime was content simply to fill empty offices or change the faces, without however changing the spirit and content of public life. We on the other hand intend a principled transformation in the worldview of our entire society, a revolution of the greatest possible extent that will leave nothing out, changing the life of our nation in every regard.

This process, which has been visible to the layman in the last six months, was naturally not random. It was systematically prepared and organized. We have used our power in the last six months to carry out this transformation. We spent the period before 30 January in winning power, having then the same goals that we have carried out in the six months since we took power.

It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio and the airplane. It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio.

-Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, "The Radio as the Eighth Great Power," 1933

Of course, the Nazis haven't been the only people to use radio to spread their ideology of hate. Beginning in 1992, Radio Rwanda began broadcasting anti-Tutsi lies, accusing them of unprovoked killings and stirring up ethnic hatred among the Hutus. What began as political cover for a corrupt government losing popularity and with it power, ended as a genocide with radio stations broadcasting the locations of Tutsis in hiding. Radio in Rwanda has since been referred to as "Radio Hate."

You see where this is going, a lunatic shooting up a church Sunday.

A man who the police say entered a Unitarian church in Knoxville during Sunday services and shot 8 people, killing two, was motivated by a hatred for liberals and homosexuals, Chief Sterling P. Owen IV of the Knoxville Police Department said Monday.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement," Chief Owen said of the suspect, Jim D. Adkisson, 58. "We have recovered a four-page letter in which he describes his feelings and the reason that he claims he committed these offenses."

The letter hasn't been released to the public, but United Press International reports the shooter's reading list; "Investigators said they found copies of Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder by radio talk show host Michael Savage, Let Freedom Ring by radio and TV host Sean Hannity, and The O'Reilly Factor, by radio and TV host Bill O'Reilly." The title by Savage is unintentionally ironic -- clearly, Adkisson is a madman. And a right winger.

-Continued after the jump-

But two people are dead after a stupid and brutal killer walked into a church with a shotgun while children were performing a play. He was looking to kill liberals and to keep killing them until the police killed him.

Already, I've been seeing comparisons to Matthew Murray's shooting spree at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The suggestion is that conservative congregations have been targeted too. But that shooting was in revenge for being denied a position at the church. The comparison is inapt.

The fact is that right wing radio has always attracted the crazies. In 1995, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) reported on Colorado radio host Chuck Baker, who discovered that "more callers were associated with the 'patriot' movement than the Republican Party." It was this "patriot movement" that resulted in Timothy McVeigh's bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City.

"Suddenly, Baker began discussing the need for an armed revolution to take out the 'slime balls' in Congress and bureaucrats 'who are too stupid toget a job.'" FAIR reported. "The topics Baker addresses are the 'patriot' movement's obsessions: the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound in Texas; the FBI's assault on Idaho tax-resister Randy Weaver; a secret national police force under Janet Reno's command; spying black helicopters, microchips planted in babies, finger-printed drivers' licenses."

"One listener who didn't just sit there was Francisco Martin Duran," the report goes on. "On Oct. 29, 1994, the self-professed fan of Baker and Limbaugh fired nearly 30 bullets at the White House. The pickup truck he drove to Washington bore the bumper sticker with the Bakeresque message, 'Fire Butch Reno.'"

The far right is basically reactionary -- when they believe things are good, they're quiet. When they believe things are bad, they go crazy.

That same FAIR report relays an incident where talk radio host and former Nixon criminal G. Gordon Liddy gave advice on killing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents to militia-types. "They've got a big target on there, ATF," LIddy told his audience. "Don't shoot at that because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots... Kill the sons of bitches."

What brought all of this on? Bill Clinton was president. The paranoia that simmers on the right boiled to the surface. The UN was going to take over the US. Morons took George H.W. Bush's term "a new world order" to mean a single global government and not a reference to the new global hierarchy created by the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton was a stooge for this "New World Order" (it got capitalized, somehow), sent by the UN to take our guns away.

Clearly, these militia-types hated Bush the elder as much as Clinton, but Clinton was the president at the time and right wing radio was happy to exploit the fevered paranoia for personal and political gain. Worse, they gave these morons a toehold in American culture -- these days, you're more likely to see the term "New World Order" used in the global conspiracy sense than used correctly. And it's expanding into anti-immigration groups who believe that Mexico is quietly invading the US.

These people believe that a "NAFTA super-highway" is being built and the US is moving toward a "North American Union," similar to the European Union, complete with a Euro-equivalent currency they made up and dubbed the "Amero." Of course, none of it is true. But that doesn't stop media personalities like CNN's Lou Dobbs from exploiting this paranoia.

I could go on. The paranoia is nearly bottomless; abortion as an African-American genocide, Barack Obama as the "terrorist candidate," and hurricanes caused by a government weather machine. Nothing is too insane.

Now, with Barack Obama looking pretty solid for November, the crazies believe that things are getting bad again. And, for every nutball theory, there's a media personality ready to endorse it, implicitly or explicitly.

And then, when some crazy bastard takes them up on it all and believes that liberals are the living embodiment of evil, these same personalities deny any connection.

As a President Obama becomes more and more likely, expect things to get worse. If Obama actually sits in the White House, expect the '90s all over again -- with people stockpiling guns and bombing abortion clinics. Of course, the First Amendment protects the yack show hosts. As long as you're not saying "kill someone!" you bear no real responsibility.

But the best way to fight bad speech is with more speech. When the crazies start coming out of the woodwork again and right wing media embraces them, I suggest we drop the names they give themselves -- patriots, militias, armies of God, etc -- and call them what they really are.

The terrorist right and "Radio Hate."


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