(Don't have time for the whole diary? Just want the audio/Cliff Notes? Skip to the last video.)
Mark Levin is one of the more abrasive right wing talk show hosts on the radio, especially with regards to his treatment of liberals. Even so, Levin's response to the call I made a couple of hours ago is just stunning for its cowardice, dishonesty and gratuitous use of a particular anatomical-based insult.
My night began when I tuned into Levin on my local DC AM talk radio station. Levin, the nations third most popular political talk radio host (behind Limbaugh and Hannity) was spouting a bunch of typical conservative bile, when he suddenly detoured to plug a right wing blog network that he said was doing excellent work documenting the hiring decisions at Eric Holder's Department Of Justice. According to Levin, Obama's Attorney General is illegally filling career posts at the DOJ with left-wing zealots, while (one assumes) refusing to hire conservative lawyers to fill career posts. Levin went on to bemoan the unfairness of it all. Of course, according to Levin, if a DOJ led by a conservative had tried such a thing, we'd never hear the end of it. Instead, Obama gets away with all sorts of lawlessness, and the media ignores it.
My phone fingers started itching. I knew that Levin worked in the Reagan DOJ as Chief of Staff to AG Edwin Meese. It's inconceivable that he wasn't keenly aware of the Alberto Gonzalez/Monica Goodling scandal in which Goodling admitted to breaking the exact laws Levin was accusing Holder of violating. Levin could hardly be more shameless!
Here's what I heard just before I called:
I got through and told the screener that I wanted to ask Levin why he wasn't so concerned when Goodling admitted to breaking the law. I was put on hold, and listened to the program through my speakerphone for the next 70 minutes or so.
In that time, a caller asked Levin how they could do a better job of getting the message out. As a liberal, I'm always bemused (and a little frustrated) that conservatives get away with calling the media liberal. It's an enormously useful construct for them, but it's an Orwellian BIG LIE. Here's is that caller and Levin's response to her:
About 40 or 50 minutes later, Levin finally took my call. I had been dwelling on the inanity of conservatives complaining about their inability to "get their message out" so I decided to bring it up with Levin and tie it into a discussion of the Holder/Goodling controversy. My goal was to enlighten Levin's audience by informing them of the power of the conservative propaganda catapult at the same time I provided them with an example of conservative dishonesty.
Alas, I never got the chance. Levin muted my line, called me an "A-hole" three times, and then gave me about 2 seconds to begin a response so he could hang up on me with his signature going-away insult.
What is notable about his response, aside from its rank obnoxiousness, is that Levin was almost waiting for a call from me; he was expecting it. For some reason, the fact that I've called Hannity and Limbaugh threatens Levin and he was watching out for me. Sure, I've had some interesting discussions with Limbaugh and Hannity and other talk radio hosts (I'm looking at you Bill O'Reilly), but my conversations have always been honest and respectful. It's revealing that I was so easily able to expose Mark Levin's paranoia, and just by phoning his show, bring out his cowardly and bullying nature.
I mentioned that Levin is the nation's 3rd largest political talk show host, but now that this is on the rec list, I think it's appropriate to dig into that a little more.
I just want you to think about this for a second... He's on the air for three hours, five days a week. If you were to combine John Stewart's, Stephen Colbert's, Rachel Maddow's, Lawrence O'Donnell's and Ed Schultz's audiences, you might - on a really good night - come close to the number of people Levin has hanging on his every word. Aside from Hannity and Limbaugh, nobody else on the planet speaks regularly on politics to such a large audience. And this is the quality of the discourse.
Is it any wonder this country is in such trouble?
BTW: Levin was correct when he cited the numbers. Limbaugh's at ~15-20 million. Hannity reaches ~14-15 million. Levin (joined at this level by Beck and Ingraham) does about 8 million.
One more thing... How did Levin get to be so big? I can't vouch for the truth of this, but what I've been told is that Hannity insisted as a condition in his contracts with local stations that Levin's 1st hour be carried immediately following the conclusion of Hannity's program. Essentially, Levin mooched his way to the top. Funny story, huh?