Truth died on my radio Wednesday.
I thought I had one more day, but when I turned on my radio in the kitchen on New Years Day I realized within a few seconds that truth had died on what had been my favorite station. The choking of what started out as a beacon of hope, San Francisco's Green 960, was now complete. The last gasp of factual foundation was silenced, with the duck tape of CORPservative power stretched tight over a motionless mouth.
Instead, in those first few seconds I heard Sean Hannity saying, "I think this era will be remembered for the rise of radical Islam." I'm pretty sure that this was a phrase crafted by Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, or a Koch brothers proxy. It was a statement made to stand alone without substantiation, as are most propaganda salvos. I turned my trusty unit off, knowing that my need for AM access during the cooking and snacking processes had ended. A ritual that had delivered equal parts vital information and consternation into my world had been snipped.
It was the same every morning; after I put the toast into the toaster, Green 960 would always plug me into what would be important for the day. But Romney's minions changed that last summer. Since Bain Capital owns Clear Channel, and thus 960 AM, the station lost its "green." Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann lost their live spots to -- gulp -- Glenn Beck and a financial show. Miller and Hartmann were pushed out to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., instead of airing locally at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. They changed their hopeful station tagline, too, to the drab, "Opinions, finance, advice." My guess is that Romney wanted to limit the scope of his gaffs, like his "47%" comment as November closed in.
So I entered the kitchen with iHeart radio on my iPhone, drawing from progressive stations in Denver, Asheville, N.C., and Minneapolis. My kitchen radio stayed silent thereafter in the morning. It still was the first thing I reached for when it came time for a midnight snack.
Progressive radio locally didn't start until noon with Randi Rhodes, followed by Norman Goldman who consistently won his time slot against conservatives on other channels. But that didn't matter. He's been banished, along with all progressive voices on 960 AM which now calls itself The Patriot. Randi has been saved the axe and moved to 910 AM, KNEW's other frequency, and still will be live for the second and third hours. Her syndication is through Premier Networks, the same folks that distribute Rush Limbaugh. LA is losing their national progressive talkers too, to join Portland, Ore. and Seattle as liberal areas who have lost their sole progressive talk stations to a third sports talk station in an over-saturated market or a non-English station.
They say it's just a business decision. That talk radio as a whole is suffering, and these were the lowest-hanging fruit. But that's hogwash. These stations will suffer financially for abandoning the left. But that's OK with Clear Channel. They may already be $300 million in the red, but keeping a GOP majority in the House is more important. So truth must not flow. Too much hypocrisy and corporate favoritism within the GOP power brokers that can't become common knowledge. Too much liberal infrastructure to allow unity on a broad range of issues. Keep them focusing on their own little slices of the progressive pie; don't let them focus on Keystone Pipeline, racism, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership on consecutive breaths.
KNEW 960 shifted into propaganda mode weeks ago. After news of their format change was out there, they ran spots to say that Randi was "moving up to the big leagues" to 910 AM or "being promoted." Belittling the left is crucial in maintaining the level of arrogance, division, piety, and patriotism required for effective lemming guidance.
But I think the cat is already out of the bag. We are approaching a tipping point when actual conservatives will finally realize just how the "liberal media" has been parroting the precise talking points to use their patriotism and religious fervor against them. They will realize that the super-rich have made them strident serfs, tending to the financial bounty of the 1% by backing the CORPservative Republicans who are out for CEOs not Average Joes. While corporations and billionaires shield America from tens of billions in tax revenue, the induced austerity on average folk leeches from their paltry abundance. Some conservatives will understand, in time, that they have been played like the sucker who buys a baggie of baking soda from a back-alley coke dealer. To this point, even when they snort the stuff their minds tell them they're high because of the bullhorn of substantiating rhetoric in their faces. Meanwhile the body knows the kick is absent.
And that's the disconnect that is about to dawn on well-meaning conservatives. And Clear Channel has to slow down the inevitable as long as possible. The dots are getting so close together that the Republican rank and file soon won't be able to avoid connecting them. Global climate change? Record cold, heat, drought, and tornadoes. Job creators? Nothing that's made their lives better; stagnant wages, jobs sent overseas, and Main Street drying up. Obamacare? No exclusion for pre-existing conditions. No lifetime cap on what insurance will pay for your care. And for many, big savings.
Right-wing radio spreads Swiss cheese Christianity with gaping holes where compassion should be. Live and let live can't be allowed the same weight as punishing promiscuity. Helping the poor must give way to the Calvinistic modality where the rich got that way because of being closer to God.
And the villains the GOP mouthpieces point to, the "Democrat Party," have the gaul to talk about helping people. But sooner or later, conservatives will realize that the poor can't eat bootstraps. Consumer protection is not a bad thing. Women have a right to choose, even if the results are gut-wrenchingly sad. And trickle-down is really a power vac held by billionaires.
These awakenings are happening. Clear Channel knows the fuse is lit. By limiting the flow of truth, they just make it a little longer. If they're lucky, it will still be sparkling next November.
But truth is winning. And that's bad for some Democrats, too, because the corporate alliances of the DLC members, the Democratic Leadership Council, will be brought to light as well. And if truth happens fast enough, progressives will take their places in the primaries.
The fissure between tea party and mainstream Republicans means that truth is gaining momentum. The wacko right may win in the primaries, but many will be cannon fodder in November. The GOP lost big time on the government shutdown and debt ceiling debacle. If they are to cave to the Ted Cruz's of the world and use the debt ceiling as the gun to America's financial head, it can't be with us all watching. Or listening.
So as of Jan. 1, tens of millions of liberals lost their direct pipeline to info over the airwaves. Ironically, iHeart Radio is owned by Clear Channel, and that's what I'll use to vault over their informational barricades.
And every time I turn on that kitchen radio and find it on FM instead of AM, it will strengthen my resolve to spread truth any way I can.