Remember the dust-up over John Edwards's two hires, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan? You know, the personal vendetta and charge for their firings led by bigoted Bill Donohue? That's right, the same Bill Donohue allowed yesterday by Air America host Lionel to repeatedly lie, make racist and homophobic statements and otherwise spew dishonesty unchallenged and unquestioned by his all-too-willing host. But the worst claim - the worst - made by Donohue was that he, unlike others, doesn't call for the firings of his group's targets. Sure you don't, Bill.
I would be remiss if I failed first to point you to posts about yesterday's shameful episode on Air America penned by Marcotte and McEwan, two friends and fellow bloggers subject to the kind of Donohue-led personal vendetta that the bigoted asshole himself yesterday denied in host Lionel's warm, loving embrace. I can't stress enough the insanity of the truly awe-inspiring Donohue claim - a claim unchallenged by Lionel - that he doesn't call for his targets' firings. Oh yeah? Here, for your reading pleasure (and I hope the reading pleasure of those asleep at the switch with Lionel's "show") are specific passages - quotes from Donohue himself - from four Catholic League press releases over an eight-day stretch earlier this year:
February 6: "John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots. He has no choice but to fire them immediately."
February 8: "John Edwards has apparently decided that there is more to be gained by aligning himself with the cultural left than by standing on principle and firing the Catholic bashers on his payroll."
February 12: "John Edwards had better fire Marcotte and McEwan immediately. As I said last week on TV, these two foul-mouthed bigots are loose cannons with no particular loyalty to Edwards. I was just proven right." (From a release titled " EDWARDS BLOGGER STRIKES AGAIN: THEY MUST BE FIRED NOW!)
February 13: "It is not enough that one foul-mouthed anti-Christian bigot, Amanda Marcotte, has quit. Melissa McEwan must go as well. Either Edwards shows her the door or she bolts on her own. There is no third choice - the Catholic League will see to it that this issue won't go away.
"The Edwards campaign is in total disarray and the meltdown will continue unless McEwan is removed from his staff. The fact that Marcotte had to quit suggests that Edwards doesn't have the guts to do what is morally right. He has one more chance - fire McEwan now." (From a release titled "EDWARDS NEEDS TO CAN McEWAN")
Sweet Jesus Christ Dressed as Bill Donohue, there can't be a more textbook example of a blatant, hypocritical, gutless fucking lie than that. And yet it was allowed to see the light of day today - on Air America and on more than one occasion. I repeat, on Air Fucking America. The entire premise of Donohue's appearance on Lionel's show was as bogus:
Hold onto your hats, we've got Bill Donohue from the Catholic League. He asks: why is it ok to bash Catholics when there's outrage every time someone hints at insulting Islam or Judaism.
Marcotte, in her post, knocks this ridiculous notion out of the ballpark, but, for a moment, let what happened yesterday settle in: On a show from a progressive radio network hosted by a "talent" apparently important enough to unseat true progressive and friend of the netroots Sam Seder, a known bigot and enemy of everything the network claims to stand for was given ample time to repeatedly lie, make racist and homophobic comments and avoid any and all scrutiny of his own sad record. What's more, by not doing his homework and instead insulting his audience for not getting it, Lionel did himself and his network a tremendous disservice. Tacitly endorsing disgusting bigotry is, in my mind, not a progressive ideal.
And you can spare me the replies that I must have a problem with airing all sides of an issue, a problem with the notion of equal time. Bullshit. I'm all for opposing opinion and for the idea of it being welcome on Air America. But what I'm not for is hosts uncritically allowing guests to repeatedly make easily-refuted claims. I'm also not for hosts allowing guests to make bigoted comments and then criticizing those who have the temerity to call them bigoted. Look no further than Thom Hartmann as an example of an Air America host who welcomes opposing viewpoints. Hartmann regularly spars with those holding contrary opinions, only he does his job and challenges them using intelligence and class, two concepts lacking in the host warming his chair each morning.
When new Air America president Mark Green trumpeted the new "Air America 2.0" in March, he wrote the following:
But [Air America will] be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over - or as Robert Frost once wrote, "a liberal man is too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel." For all those who worry about messianic misleaders governing on a right wing and a prayer, Air America 2.0 will be an answer. For all those fearful of plutocracy and theocracy, the pro-democracy hosts of AAR's programs will be an answer. If the conservative media continue to spout propaganda and call it news, there's now the alternative of truth, justice and the Air American way.
Boy, Mark, that sounds good when you write it for The Huffington Post, but it turns out a bit differently in practice, doesn't it? I'll cut through your self-congratulatory rhetoric and instead offer you this: It's all about legitimacy. The legitimacy Air America seeks and the legitimacy the network grants its most vocal defenders and most frequent listeners. To achieve the former, it's not smart business to insult the latter. And yesterday, we were all insulted. I hope you're happy with your choice to replace Seder. In time, I suspect you'll be as pleased as those responsible for bringing Jerry Springer on-board. Is it too much to ask that the progressive radio network be, well, progressive? I sure hope not.
Don't take this sitting down. Lionel's Web page can be found here. To contact the show, call 212-871-8283 or write at email@example.com. For another feedback form for Lionel's show, click here. Also, contact Air America itself at firstname.lastname@example.org.