Friday, August 20, 2004

A Blue Stater Travels Through Red States, Part I

My family -- myself, my wife, Heather, and three-year-old son, Alexander -- are on a family vacation. From our home in New Jersey, we will spend the next two weeks primarily in "red states" -- Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. The purpose of these posts is not to denigrate the locals, for in fact I have family scattered about the South, and three of my favorite cities are New Orleans, Charleston and Memphis. Instead, what follows over the next few days are observations along the way. My regular fodder -- attacking examples of GOP spin and the conservative stranglehold on our media -- will continue upon our return to New Jersey Sept. 3rd.

Dateline: Southern Virginia

The Marks have stopped at a rest stop along Interstate 95, past Richmond, Va., but not quite at the North Carolina border. My three-year-old son, Alexander, needs to use the restroom, and he's asked for help from my wife, Heather.

I figured I'd fiddle with the AM dial and see if I could catch up with some news.

Easier said than done.

My choices were:

-- Two stations featuring Rush Limbaugh's mid-afternoon spew.

-- A local Rush wannabe, demanding that a caller trust the Swift Boat vets over those who served with John Kerry. The wannabe's reasoning? Two hundred fifty people have signed up with the Swift Boat vets. Kerry only had nine people backing him. "Who do you trust?" The guy says several times. I'm thinking that the caller agrees with me -- that it makes sense to trust Kerry, and not the guys backed by a Bush buddy -- and that must have irritated the heck out of the host.

-- Someone discussing The Gospels.

-- Two Spanish stations.

-- A local sports talk station, discussing football. I didn't stick around long enough to determine which team.

Now, sure, people have televisions and newspapers in these parts. But a lot of people -- truckers, salesmen, shopkeepers, cooks, bus drivers, etc. -- have the radio on all day. And while folks in Blue States like New York and New Jersey have a wide variety of choices falling under the heading of "news and information," in this stretch of Red State America, a listener would have little chance of hearing objective news, let alone news with a "liberal bias."

No wonder so many people in these parts support Bush-Cheney '04.



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