Waiting for the Host to Step in

By Jeffrey Page

Much of what passes for political discourse on talk radio makes no sense and often sounds like nothing but expressions of barbarity. But the hosts are not journalists; they’re entertainers. If what a caller says rubs a nerve in the audience, that’s show biz. Truth? Doesn’t matter. Accuracy? Who cares? Good taste? You must be kidding.

Still, every so often, a caller will say something so outrageous, so beyond the pale, that you expect the host to chime in and put a stop to what amounts to full-throated slander against someone the caller and/or host don’t like.

Over the weekend, I caught a few minutes of the Larry Kudlow show on WABC. I always thought of Kudlow as an intelligent guy.  Conservative? You bet. But not a bomb thrower. He seemed like a decent man and so I was astonished at what he allowed a caller to get away with in an attack on President Obama.

It was Greg from New Jersey calling, and Greg was in rant mode.

President Obama is “charting the course to America’s ultimate destruction,” Greg said.

Really? I don’t think Obama is capable of such a thing for any number of reasons, most notably Malia and Sasha. Or was Greg suggesting that Obama would sacrifice his own family so that he could destroy America? Does Greg think Obama is insane? I waited for Kudlow to say something. But nothing.

Greg wasn’t through. The president, in his appearance at Fort Hood after Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 people there, expressed “selfishness, divisiveness and arrogance,” Greg said but did not elaborate.

Greg said President Obama thinks we Americans have too much of the good life – did you ever hear Obama say that? – and what he really wants to do is take away our wealth and spread it around the world.

“He hates this country, Larry,” Greg said, still unchallenged.

“He hates Americans,” Greg said. Not a word to stop the embarrassment Kudlow was bringing on himself and his program by refusing to say something as nonconfrontational as “What on earth do you mean by that?”

“He hates the fact that we live good,” Greg said.

“He’s been brainwashed since early childhood into Marxism and communism,” Greg said, and I pictured Obama’s grandmother reading him a bedtime story from “Das Kapital”: “Time for beddy-bye. Goodnight sweet Barack, goodnight. Give Grandma a kiss and always remember that ‘Capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of nature, its own negation.’ ”

Greg didn’t say how he knows all this, Kudlow didn’t bother to ask.

“He’s heartless,” Greg said.


Come on, Kudlow, you know this is ridiculous. You know it’s time to put a stop to this. But he didn’t.

“Look at his eyes,” Greg said. “There’s no soul in that man.”

Finally, Kudlow was heard. “You’re getting very personal,” he told Greg.

A sage observation. But he never told Greg that he thought he was nuts. He never questioned Greg about heartlessness and evil eyes.

These talk show characters have the same First Amendment rights we all have. But don’t they also have an intellectual obligation to step in and inform Greg and his kind that they sound crazed and that it’s time to end the monologue?

“I don’t like to be personal,” Kudlow said.

The next caller was Lou who said Obama is taking us down the road to socialism.

Jeffrey can be reached at jeffrey@zestoforange.com


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