Joe Conason blogged about how racist Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are. Keith Olbermann has accused Neal Boortz of the same. The trend is that conservative talk radio and television news shows are soaring in ratings while the liberal media outlets sulk under the table waiting for a scrap to hit the floor, and they don’t like it. The truth is everyone is vying for ratings.
I was a senior in college when I first saw a bigot on television. It was on January 12, 1971. It was a Tuesday night and I had gone to the empty family room on my floor to use the oven. The TV there was on, although there was no one watching. More and more students had TVs in their rooms, so we were losing the camaraderie of watching and discussing current programs, news, and events. Two screeching voices came on singing the most horrible song I had ever heard, and I had to check it out. I sat down with my “dinner” to watch the premiere of All in the Family, and I was shocked! I was watching a young black man making fun of an old white bigot and hearing that white bigot talking about "spicks and gooks and pollocks"! During the first commercial, I ran up and down the hall and we filled the room for the rest of the show.
Archie Bunker’s show held the top slot in ratings for over 5 years (The Cosby Show and American Idol are the only other two to ever do so), as America gathered to watch Archie, the Dingbat, the Meathead and Mr. Jefferson debate race, homosexuality, women’s lib, rape, divorce and impotence. No subject was off limits for Norman Lear and the excellent cast that he had brought together.
My father and I often discussed the show. We weren’t sure why it was happening, but we knew the whole nation either loved Archie or loved to hate him. Bigoted Americans evidently never realized the irony and satire of the show, so they championed behind his stance on issues. Liberated Americans did understand the satire, and championed the stance of those around Archie. Those clueless Americans with no agenda just loved the humor and were amazed by the topics that were exposed. Regardless of the category, everyone entered the discussion at the coffee pot or water cooler every Wednesday at work.
So why don’t we love bigoted show hosts or a bigoted president?
The behavior of those media provocateurs over the past few months is almost beyond parody. They call the president a racist, even though there is no evidence of prejudice on his part and much evidence to the contrary.
I beg to differ. In these last few months, the FIRST person to “play the race card” was the President when he, after admitting that he was uninformed about the details of the arrest of Professor Gates, said the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” because of racial profiling. President Obama, with a few inappropriate and unsolicited sentences, ushered in the Gates-gate, put “beer summit” in the dictionary and killed any chance of his administration being post-racial.
Conason and Olbermann will point to the past of Beck, Limbaugh and Boortz and accuse them of mimicking black dialect or expounding on black stereotypes or playing the music from The Jeffersons, also a top rated show. These guys are selling books, playing the ratings game and entertaining while they enlighten us. (They are not, Bette, inciting genocide!) But the liberal pundits never mention Obama’s past when he was steeped in socialist and communist communities. And, since he has thumbed his nose at his own promise of transparency and buried the records of his past, no one can completely follow a paper trail on the president. But we can follow public records and testimonies of those that worked with him, follow the teachings of Rev. Wright, read the works of Holdren and Sunstein, and read about the corrupt Chicago Health Initiative that made Michelle Obama wealthy at the behest of Valarie Jarrett… and on … and on… and on… They never point out his lies. They never point out his ineffectiveness, weakness, or inexperience that has destroyed our economy and weakened our position on the international stage.
So, we don’t laugh at his antics or love him like we did the dear, bigoted Archie Bunker.