Hate Radio?

While their agenda is different from mine, I’ve generally seen the Center for American Progress as a thoughtful, center-left institution. They employ talented, decent folks like Steve Clemons and Steve Coll (now their president and CEO). Think Progress, the blog of their “Action Fund,” has generally followed suit, despite most of its authors being quite young and thus not having had their enthusiasm tempered much by wisdom.

But, of late, Think Progress has been writing at the Media Matters level of hackishness. Take, for example, assistant editor Satyam Khanna‘s piece “McCain Refuses To Condemn Ingraham’s Attacks On His Daughter,” which is currently making the rounds at memeorandum.

Khanna repeatedly uses the phrase “hate radio” to describe rather benign talk shows, including Laura Ingraham’s. Unless her style has changed drastically since last I listened, she’s much more polite than anything one is likely to find on, say, Air America.  Indeed, despite the occasional sophomoric insult, such as seen in the Meghan McCain flap, Ingraham is much tamer than Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert.

The piece continues, charging, “in the past, McCain has courted the extreme right of the GOP, granting an interview to Ingraham as late as October 2008. Throughout the presidential election, McCain, long considered too liberal by the extreme right, frequently appeared on hate radio shows, and he has a history of defending the bigoted remarks of right wingers.”

What is it that makes Ingraham part of the “extreme right?”  The other “hate radio shows” linked include Hugh Hewitt’s and Bill Bennett’s.  What makes them hateful?  We’re not exactly talking about Michael Savage here, much less David Duke.

It seems “hate radio” is a favorite Think Progress buzzword;  Google returns 5,770 results on their site.  Apparently, any Republican-leaning talk show qualifies.

Which “bigoted remarks of right wingers” did McCain defend?  The link takes us to McCain’s condemning remarks made by John Hagee but noting that “I will say that he said that his words were taken out of context, he defends his position. I hope that maybe you’d give him a chance to respond. He says he has never been anti-Catholic, but I repudiate the words that create that impression.”

As to why McCain didn’t weigh in on Ingraham’s jibes at his daughter?  Who knows?  Maybe he figures Meghan’s doing just fine on her own?  Or, maybe, since she’s no longer his little girl but rather someone casting herself as a political pundit, he figures it would undermine her if he weighed in?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Pete Burgess says:

    James, just adolescents pounding their chests. You know how people, in the presumed safety of their automobiles, act like the toughest guys in the world? (Road rage, hand signals and the like) Bloggers can behave in similar fashion.

  2. Jay C. says:

    James, as much as we want to believe that Think Progress is a level-headed body, and I think it is, to a great respect, but this is just another example of that PW vs. PP fight over RL (sorry, avoiding Googlebait at this point) is all about. There is a methodical effort on all fronts—coordinated or not, I really dont’ care—to frame the public discourse on their terms, on their “truth,” and on not on the facts as they stand, which may be too inconvenient once taken in context. I’m glad you’re calling these folks out.

  3. sam says:

    There is a methodical effort on all fronts—coordinated or not, I really dont’ care—to frame the public discourse on their terms, on their “truth,” and on not on the facts as they stand, which may be too inconvenient once taken in context.

    And that differentiates them from their counterparts on the right exactly how? I mean, “framing public discourse on their terms” is the MO of all the political internet right or left, no? (Or maybe you were being inclusive with the ” PW vs. PP fight over RL”, which I’m afraid I didn’t get–if you were being inclusive, please disregard my question.)

  4. Ben says:

    I only read Media Matters a couple of times a month, usually following a link, and they seem to do a pretty good job posting the “offending” content in thorough context, though I can’t speak to the accompanying commentary. Some examples would be helpful.

  5. sam says:

    BTW, I hope

    As to why McCain didn’t weigh in on Ingraham’s jibes at his daughter?

    was intentional.

  6. Bithead says:

    I am unsurprised by any of this.
    It strikes me Jay’s observations are correct… this is yet another narrative maintainence attempt. (I will admit being puzzled by his reaction, but another time for that)

    It does seem, though, when the pressure is on, even the supposedly “thoughtful” leftists go to what they know best.

  7. sam says:

    I was going to pass on this, but

    It does seem, though, when the pressure is on, even the supposedly “thoughtful” leftists go to what they know best.

    That’s rich coming from you, Bit. If y’all haven’t read Bit’s blog, head on over there. But if the sound of fingernails being drawn across a blackboard sets your teeth on edge, you might want to skip it.

  8. Jay C. says:

    @sam: I was talking about Protein Wisdom vs. Patterico’s Pontifications over Rush Limbaugh, James’ thoughts on the matter are clear on this site. Now as for “framing the public discourse on their terms,” I’m more angered at people on the Right who are all too willing to cede ground to the Left, for want of playing nice, being labeled as honorable, whoever the hell knows what motivates them. This is the equivalent of unilateral disarmament.

    @Bithead Just curious, what about my reaction is puzzling?

  9. Billy says:

    Now as for “framing the public discourse on their terms,” I’m more angered at people on the Right who are all too willing to cede ground to the Left, for want of playing nice, being labeled as honorable, whoever the hell knows what motivates them. This is the equivalent of unilateral disarmament.

    By this logic, I take it that you do not begrudge the left utilizing a similar tactical approach?

  10. Jay C. says:

    Billy, it’s been a while since I’ve seen higher profile left bloggers give intellectual and rhetorical ground to right wingers. The more obscure ones, in greater numbers, however, are able to propagate a meme in a manner that I still find, to this day, amazing.

  11. sam says:

    @Jay

    Buddy, I’m at a loss with this:

    I’m more angered at people on the Right who are all too willing to cede ground to the Left, for want of playing nice, being labeled as honorable, whoever the hell knows what motivates them. This is the equivalent of unilateral disarmament.

    I don’t see any high-profile right bloggers ceding anything to the left–certainly not here nor on the Volokh Conspiracy, nor on Eunomia, and the list can be extended. (being reasonable != ceding ground) And there’s Malkin and her like who treat blogging as a right/left death match. Could you give some examples where ground has been ceded?

  12. Raoul says:

    Finally a post I can disagree with! JJ-FYI your opinions as of late sound like a centrist democrat. BTW- good post above remembering Susan Butcher. Now as to Ingraham- she is certainly softer than her cohorts but she still is pretty much out there. According to Digby, the real issue is not her, after all, she really is not that insightful, but McCain’s non-defense of his family. Also, comparing a political show to two comedians? I wonder two things, 1- why don’t conservatives have comedians 2- why is talk radio dominated by the right. I cannot put my finger on it but there must be a correlation.

  13. Bithead says:

    @Bithead Just curious, what about my reaction is puzzling?

    Your assertion that “Think Progress” is a level-headed body, mostly. I’ve never found them so, being rather the antitheses of both thought and progress.

    But if the sound of fingernails being drawn across a blackboard sets your teeth on edge, you might want to skip it.

    (Chuckle) That you find it so is among the best indications I could get that I’m exactly on track. Thank you.

  14. sam says:

    (Chuckle) That you find it so is among the best indications I could get that I’m exactly on track. Thank you.

    You know, I forgot the compliment you on the new design (for those who didn’t see the old one, think Yellow Pages, but less interesting). Not that the content has improved, mind you.

  15. Bithead says:

    Both designs you speak of are by the same author. I chose the first based on layout, not color combos per se’. I liked the layout, but as you say the clors were an issue.

    The layout with the more recent design is exactly the same… only the colors changed.

    As to the content, I can’t help but think that you would think nothing shy of parroting Democrat Underground would be satisfactory.

  16. sam says:

    As to the content, I can’t help but think that you would think nothing shy of parroting Democrat Underground would be satisfactory.

    On the contrary, they bore the shit of me. But that you would say that goes to the heart of it. You live in a for-or-against universe.I don’t want to sound patronizing, but the thing that gets me about you is that you’re obviously a very bright guy (your stuff on music is first-rate), but when it comes to politics, you’re so effing predictable. There’s never a hint of tentativeness in what you write, never hint of nuance–it’s all eristics all the time. Now, I’m pretty partisan, but I like to think I’m educable. A while back I was shooting my cybermouth off about banks and loans and pretty clearly displaying my leftoid ignorance. Drew came along and schooled me. And I appreciated that; it did change my way of looking at things. But with you, I’ve gotten the impression that you will never, ever admit to being wrong about anything political (not even admit the possibility). It’s almost as if you think that changing your mind would somehow cause you to lose your soul. And that’s really the reason you catch a lot of flak. If you’ve got a my way or the highway attitude, don’t be surprised if some folks want to run over you every chance they get.

  17. Jay C. says:

    @Sam. “Eristics,” without referring to a dictionary do you mean harpy-like? If that’s the case that IS my word of the day. WRT to ceding ground, there’s a difference between, DrJJ here giving CAP a little bit of props, and reasonably picking apart their arguments, versus accepting prima facie a meme propagated by the left.

    Let’s dig up a corpse here. Recall the Limbaugh “I hope he fails” brouhaha. The meme was that that was all that RL said and meant, and that the Left was so successful in changing the normative status of that statement that Patterico’s main thesis was that the nature of RL’s discourse wasn’t necessarily good for the Right. To this Protein Wisdom responded, and I summarize extensively, that by accepting as true the meme of the Left and that by arguing from where he did, Patterico painted himself into a rhetorical corner where his opponents get to make the rules for the discussion, and unilaterally at that.

    Another example, when I get into a discussion with a friend over the role of government, I like to rag on the Dept of Educ. His trap is to say that the Dept of Educ garners some good, which he enumerates. But he proposes it as fact, which I challenge each step of the way. That he says that the products of DoEd are good is not proof of their good. I challenge the truth of his proposition, not the proposition itself. It drives him nuts, and this is me not “ceding ground.” If I accept as true the benefits that he mentions, then there is no logical way for me to argue against their continued existence.

    Cutting through the nuance, basically I’m major bullheaded.

    @Bit, I can be naive about liberals.

  18. Bithead says:

    You live in a for-or-against universe

    I live in the universe that is. That universe doesn’t grab hands round the campfire sing koom-by-yah, thus magically calling the force of Ghia to fix the world’s wrongs.

    (your stuff on music is first-rate)

    Thanks. Been thinking about doing that stuff again, but frankly it was never added as anything but a little frosting on the cake. My schedule is weird enough now that I don’t get to do nearly as much as I’d like of it, anymore.

    but when it comes to politics, you’re so effing predictable.

    Shrug. Say rather that what I write about has a predictable quality to it.

    But with you, I’ve gotten the impression that you will never, ever admit to being wrong about anything political (not even admit the possibility).

    The reasons are simple enough. I lean toward writing about principles and then apply them to the discussion at hand. If you’re not sure of your principles, they’re really not much good, are they?

    If you’ve got a my way or the highway attitude, don’t be surprised if some folks want to run over you every chance they get

    What you fail to understand is I welcome that. Because they almost invariably fail.

  19. anjin-san says:

    Bill Bennett’s

    I have never seen Bennett say anything that made him sound like like anything other than a pretty serious and thoughtful person. Some of his remarks are straight spin, but that is hardly an exclusive of either party. I don’t hold with many of his views, but I certainly have respect for him.

    Oh but wait, I am just a leftist, moonbat liberal, so I must be wrong somehow…

  20. Bithead says:

    Second pass, having thought of something…

    You say:

    but the thing that gets me about you is that you’re obviously a very bright guy (your stuff on music is first-rate), but when it comes to politics, you’re so effing predictable. There’s never a hint of tentativeness in what you write, never hint of nuance–it’s all eristics all the time. Now, I’m pretty partisan, but I like to think I’m educable

    And I respond with a stament about arguing from principle being the reason for your problem with my political writing.

    Let me clarify that statement a bit by way of comparison… I should have done that the first pass.

    I stated… last January, I think being the most recent time, that Music is perhaps the most subjective thing one might expose themselves to. Something one says about music may be subjetively true, but not nearly as often are they subjectively so.

    Principles, on the other hand, are not so. They are by their nature, OBjectively true.

    I wonder if that transition doesn’t have you screwed up a bit.

  21. Bithead says:

    Bit, I can be naive about liberals.

    I thought it a polite nothing, in truth.

    BTW…. Interesting, how your comments to Sam, seem to parallel somewhat my comments about objective truth vs the subjective.

  22. LaurenceB says:

    It was my misfortune to tune in to Laura Ingraham’s show on one particular day last year shortly after a newspaper article had appeared which described a downturn in “remittances” to Mexico. I don’t remember the exact words used in the article, but the tone of it was (quite naturally) that this was a calamitous thing to happen to many Mexican families that depended on the wages earned by their family members in the United States.

    Ingraham’s response to that article was to mock and laugh and celebrate the fact that these poor families were worse off. Playing violin music in the background, she alternated between hysterical laughter and sarcastic weeping.

    It was physically sickening — and I eventually just couldn’t stomach it any more and turned it off.

    If that’s not “hate radio”, I don’t know what is.

  23. Bithead says:

    LaurenceB, why does your entire rant not mention once the laws being broken by the poeple in question?

    Lessens your rant, I suppose.

  24. anjin-san says:

    I lean toward writing about principles

    That would be meaningful if your core principal was not “people who disagree with me are always wrong and to blame for all the world’s ills”.

    It’s ironic that you practice the same thing you accuse liberals of, basing your world view on some sort of wish fulfillment. That is to say, if you just keep blaming Democrats for everything you perceive to be wrong in the world, your fantasy will translate into reality.

  25. anjin-san says:

    LaurenceB, why does your entire rant not mention once the laws being broken by the poeple in question?

    Have you ever broken the law? Done an illegal drug? Gone over the speed limit? Claimed a few bogus deductions on your taxes? Drove home when you had one beer too many?

    My guess is that you have. Does that mean that we should all cheer if your family was to suffer some sort of misfortune?

    You really are the perfect modern “conservative” bit. Small minded, utterly lacking in compassion.

  26. Bithead says:

    That would be meaningful if your core principal was not “people who disagree with me are always wrong and to blame for all the world’s ills”.

    When they told me your were a projectionist, I thought you worked in a movie house.

    You really are the perfect modern “conservative” bit. Small minded, utterly lacking in compassion.

    They want in? Fine by me. Do it legally, and you’ll be welcome. Explain to me what isn’t compassionate about that.

  27. Jay C. says:

    Here, here Bit I know you can defend yourself on your own, but I have to say something. Anjin-san you lay the ad hominem pretty thick. Sorry, but the attacks no less invalidate Bit’s statement that laws have been broken. Ingraham’s cry-me-a-river routine is exactly the kind of thing that irritates liberals because it removes sympathy from criminality. I’m not going to go on OTB and say that Ingraham’s reaction is over the top and you know why? Because that’s your job as a liberal. I will not contribute to your efforts to do so.

    You ask if “we should all cheer” in the face of someone else’s misfortune. That is neither mine, nor Bit’s to answer. It is in Ingraham’s capacity to do so. It’s in yours to call it hate radio if you want. It’s in mine to call you out on it.

  28. LaurenceB says:

    First: I sent three remittances to Guatemala two weeks ago. The first two were to the stepmother and the mother of some kids whose father recently passed away. The third was to help defray the costs of his funeral. (I know… “Cry me a river.”) The point is… if anything I did was illegal, that’s news to me.

    Second: Do Jay C and Bithead and Ingraham have any idea how bad this looks to normal people who haven’t had their compassion surgically removed? You guys make me proud to say that I am no longer a Republican!

    Third: Why can’t we stick to the subject? Dr. Joyner wanted to know if his impression of Ingraham was mistaken. I’m providing what I think is a very compelling data point. Feel free to provide your own counter point. Has she spoken out against hateful attitudes? Has she used her show to perform some remarkable act of charity? If so, feel free to share.

  29. LaurenceB says:

    By the way, I listen often to Bill Bennett, and he is definitely not “hate radio”.

    The best of conservative talk radio is Medved, in my opinion – who is not only not “hate radio”, but is also intelligent and independent.

    I don’t listen to Air America, so I can’t comment on it.

  30. Jay C. says:

    LaurenceB, I won’t speak for what Bit was referring to, but a careful reading of the comments thread shows the ff:

    1. Per your report in Ingraham’s show, she was celebrating the downturn in remittances to Mexico.
    2. Bit spoke about breaking the law.
    3. Somehow there’s a leap between remittances per se versus remittances by illegal aliens.

    IF Ingraham’s cry-me-a-river routine made no distinction in #3, then Ingraham just demonstrated some major paleocon leanings, something which I don’t align with.

    By the way, I’m not a Republican. I find too many Republicans too theologically motivated for their own good and find liberals to be the type of folks I fled from the Philippines, which by the way still is home to family members of mine to whom we remit. If that statement isn’t enough FTW for you, I don’t know what is. I’m more a libertoid gadfly.

    WRT point 3, every media personality will fluctuate in behaviour. That said, polemics != “hate radio,” and the campaign to equate the two is what brought me into the discussion in the first place.

  31. anjin-san says:

    That would be meaningful if your core principal was not “people who disagree with me are always wrong and to blame for all the world’s ills”.

    When they told me your were a projectionist, I thought you worked in a movie house.

    So I guess my remark of a few minutes ago was just so subtle for you to understand:

    I have never seen Bennett say anything that made him sound like like anything other than a pretty serious and thoughtful person. Some of his remarks are straight spin, but that is hardly an exclusive of either party. I don’t hold with many of his views, but I certainly have respect for him.

    Really bit, are you actually a simpleton, or do you just play on online?

  32. anjin-san says:

    Do it legally

    That still leaves us with an interesting question Bit, have you ever broken the law? If the answer is yes, perhaps you should dial the scorn down a notch. If not, well you should be interviewed on “The Factor” because you are pretty darned special.

    Mind you, I am not defending illegal immigration, my people came over on boats, did everything legally. My grandfather worked all day, and took a trolly across town to night school to learn English. He could discuss American history and the constitution far more intelligently than most folks who were born here. In a better world, everyone would do it that way. But this is the world we have to work with.

  33. Bithead says:

    So I guess my remark of a few minutes ago was just so subtle for you to understand:

    Subtle wouldn’t be the word I’d use.

    That still leaves us with an interesting question Bit, have you ever broken the law?

    Has nothing at all to do with the issue at hand. DO try to stick to the topic.

  34. glasnost says:

    James, this post was pretty dissapointing. I’m agnostic on the ThinkProgress point you’re making – that example was ok, I guess – but Media Matters is, from everything I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a bit – *extremely* disciplined and factually oriented. It uses no rhetoric or ad hominem whatsoever. It just keeps track of, and publicizes, false statements, contradictions, conflicts of interests, and obvious power imbalances.

    So you’ve criticized thinkprogress for broadbrushing laura ingraham.. and in the same breath you’ve done the exact same thing to mediamatters.

    subpar.

  35. anjin-san says:

    Has nothing at all to do with the issue at hand. DO try to stick to the topic.

    In other words, you give yourself a pass when YOU break the law. If a Mexican does it, they deserve to suffer. Got it.

    Subtle wouldn’t be the word I’d use.

    Bit, your little game of duck & cover when you embarrass yourself is getting tiresome. You should man up sometime…

  36. James Joyner says:

    I only read Media Matters a couple of times a month, usually following a link, and they seem to do a pretty good job posting the “offending” content in thorough context, though I can’t speak to the accompanying commentary. Some examples would be helpful.

    and

    Media Matters is, from everything I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a bit – *extremely* disciplined and factually oriented. It uses no rhetoric or ad hominem whatsoever. It just keeps track of, and publicizes, false statements, contradictions, conflicts of interests, and obvious power imbalances.

    My problem with Media Matters is that their very mode of operation requires constantly making mountains of moleholes and manufacturing outrage.

    Take a quick look at the stories highlighted on their front page today.

    Limbaugh joined by other conservatives standing up for AIG against “mob rule”

    CNN’s Bash falsely claims recovery bill language required AIG bonuses “to stay in place”

    Time cites NRSC attack on Dodd over AIG bonuses without noting that several GOP senators reportedly opposed executive pay restrictions

    It’s quite true that they don’t call names in any of these stories. But they’re all breathlessly touting non-stories as stories.

  37. Bithead says:

    In other words, you give yourself a pass when YOU break the law. If a Mexican does it, they deserve to suffer. Got it.

    Amazing, that you’re not a circus act with the logical leaps you make, sans evidence. Amazing. Like a train wreck…