Limbaugh, Fluke, and Clear Channel: It’s not about Left vs Right
Last night, as comments were flying through the Twittersphere with regard to the fallout caused by Rush Limbaugh’s despicable comments about Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, a couple of interesting tweets by Jeff Sharlet caught my eye. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the author of the NY Times bestseller The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, and (as I was soon to discover) an even more recent book called Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country In Between.
Anyway, later I came upon lawhawk’s page about Advertisers Bailing on Rush, and the following reminded of what Mr. Sharlet had said earlier:
Limbaugh’s advertisers are choosing to no longer associate with him and some of his former base are distancing themselves from his statements. So far, Clear Channel (which is owned in part by Mitt Romney’s former company Bain Capital) is standing behind himAfter thinking about it for a while I decided to write this page, as much to help me organize & process the info for myself as to share it with others. I’ve put Mr. Sharlet’s tweets in chronological order in a dialog format because he was also responding to a couple of other people and it simply makes it easier to follow what he was saying. BTW, he was also promoting his book and mentioned it several times in his tweets. I removed those references because they were redundant in this context and I’ve linked to the book in question twice on this page. If you’re interested in following him, he’s @JeffSharlet on Twitter. If you prefer to view the tweets in their natural habitat, here’s the one where it all started:
Want to know more about who profits from #Limbaugh? Check out my essay on Clear Channel, “Rock Like F**K,” in Sweet Heaven When I Die.
@JeffSharlet: “‘Where ever you go, we’re there,’ Clear Channel boasts, a slogan Big Brother wld have envied.”
@JeffSharlet: Clear Channel is about as MSM as you can get.
Here’s a Google Books link to the chapter Mr. Sharlet is referring to in his tweets, Rock Like Fuck. Naturally, it’s not the entire chapter—if you want to read the whole thing, then I guess you’ll have to buy his book. I just downloaded the Kindle version.
IMO, what the above all boils down to is this: The rampant incivility & intolerance that seems to be getting exponentially more vicious & partisan by the day isn’t really about Left vs Right, it’s about the privatization of our airwaves by corporate media whose sole concern is making a profit. It’s about the money. As evidenced by the Clear Channel executive’s comment to Mr. Sharlet, we—all of us, left, right and center, rich & poor, believers and unbelievers, educated & ignorant—are regarded as little better than a pack of hungry dogs to whom these companies will toss any scrap they think we’ll scarf up, no matter how putrid and unhealthy it is.
That is intolerable. It’s immoral. It’s downright evil in its soulless disregard for the welfare of the citizens of this nation. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will lead to the utter debasement of our society at every level.
I urge every American who truly loves this beautiful country of ours to pause for just a minute, take a deep breath, and realize that we’re all in this together. Regardless of whether or not you liked President G.W. Bush’s past policies or President Obama’s current ones, if our country implodes into a shambles we ALL still have to live in it.
President Bush wasn’t an evil man, he was simply an imperfect one who happened to be our President—like all of us, he made some good decisions and some bad ones. Likewise, President Obama isn’t the Anti-Christ, nor is he some frightening Manchurian candidate hell-bent on destroying America—like all of us, he too is simply an imperfect person who has made some good decisions and some bad ones.
You conservatives want your America back? Fine, I want mine back too. I’m a Muslim and a minority female and a liberal, and this is every bit as much my America as it is yours. It’s OURS. And you know what? If everyone doesn’t step away from the edge of the precipice and understand that real soon, then it’s going to be everyone’s fault if this great nation of ours crumbles.
You want to know who your real enemies are? Turn on the radio or the TV and listen to what they’re saying. No, I mean really listen:
• Are they feeding you actual hard news or just cherry picking parts of it and wrapping it in the opinions they think you prefer to hear? How can you tell? Well, for one you can try tuning in to several different sources. The other thing you can do is educate yourself about how to differentiate between spin/framing/opinion and fact, something I plan to focus on in later pages when I have time.
• Do the news programs you watch tell you where to go for more information? The news station’s own web site does not count, nor does a partisan web site or periodical. We’re talking objective 3rd party information here, not just confirmation from sources who also have a stake in the game.
• Do the things you hear make you feel angry or afraid? Why? Open your door and step outside—everything seems pretty normal, doesn’t it? Kids outside playing, deliveries being made, people going about their business, everyone apparently unaware that the sky is falling…Does that jibe with what you’re hearing? If not, then either the vast majority of Americans a.) don’t have radios or TVs, b.) are too stupid to comprehend what they see & hear (unlike you), or c.) you’re being lied to. Apply Occam’s razor and then think about which of the three scenarios is most likely.
Your fellow Americans are not your enemies; the corporations who make a profit by hiring people to feed you negative things damned sure are. Despite Mitt Romney’s claim to the contrary, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission aside, corporations are not people.
If a corporation breaks the law it cannot be physically imprisoned. A corporation has no soul. A corporation has no conscience. A corporation will not sacrifice itself to save another. It isn’t born, nor does it live, marry, have children, suffer from old age or die—at least not in any sense but the metaphorical. A corporation is nothing more than a legal entity designed to limit the financial liability of its shareholders. It’s a money making machine that will chew you up, spit you out, and move on to the next profitable venture with nary a backward glance.
Ask Mitt Romney, he knows. And while you’re at it, ask him about Bain Capital, which owns Clear Channel Communications, which in turn owns news talk stations that feature programs by people such as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levine, and the current object of (almost) everyone’s ire, Rush Limbaugh, to name but a few.
Funny how those guys are all popular with people on the right, yet the right-wing base for the most part dislikes Romney. Hmm, if I was on the right I’d be a little suspicious since the money he earned at Bain helped fund most of is political campaigns. Granted, Mr. Romney no longer works for Bain, but he did depart with a very nice golden parachute. If you’re part of the GOP base that dislikes “Mittens”, it must really chafe to know you helped get him where he is today.
Oh, and my friends on the left? Remember Air America Radio? Clear Channel had their finger in that too.
I’ll leave it at that for now. Thanks for reading.
UPDATE: I want to make it clear that I have nothing whatsoever against corporations and people like Mitt Romney making tons of money. What I DO have a problem with is corporations casting all ethical considerations aside and chasing after the almighty dollar with zero regard for the harm they’re doing to the very people who’ve made them wealthy. A select few gaming the system at the expense of everyone else is just flat out wrong.