Thursday, January 12, 2006

Savage, Limbaugh Use "Theater Of The Absurd" To Rant Against Liberals

Anti-liberal radio host Michael Savage created a mythical liberal straw man tonight for his listeners.

Savage plucked two seemingly apolitical stories off the wires in order to set up a rant against three "libs" -- Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

It was theater of the absurd. Here's a brief synopsis of each. (As I didn't tape the show, I paraphrased what Savage said in italics):

THE CASE OF THE FLYING SHRIMP

The family of a deceased man is suing the Benihana restaurant chain, claiming the man died from a series of events starting when he ducked to avoid a flying shrimp piece tossed by a hibachi chef. According to the family's lawyer, the man later needed neck surgery, developed an infection, and died.

Savage followed by essentially saying the man's family had no case against Benihana (for the record, I agree, based on the information given.)

But if Kennedy, Feinstein and Schumer had their say, the family would probably win their case. I'm surprised they didn't starting asking Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito whether he would side with the shrimp or with the dead man, Savage bemoaned.

THE CASE OF THE OILY HANDS

A prisoner enters a courtroom, opens a bottle, and rubs his hands with the bottle's unidentifed contents. He then shakes hands with three courtroom officials, who later get sick.

The man claims the liquid was olive oil, but no one is buying it. But these three libs would probably side with the prisoner, Savage exclaims.

"Do you now see what we're dealing with, with these libs?" Savage asked his listeners.

But what are we dealing with in this theater of the absurd that passes for anti-liberal talk radio? Two essentially fake tales of the burden created by having Kennedy, Feinstein and Schumer in the Senate.

Creating a mythical liberal straw man is a common trick among anti-liberal radio hosts.

One recent example of this, as related earlier on JABBS, came a few weeks ago, when Rush Limbaugh offered his own theater of the absurd:

THE CASE OF THE DEAD SEATTLE MAN

Limbaugh related a story about a suburban Seattle man who was dead on arrival at an area hospital's emergency room. He had a knapsack, in which there were homemade video tapes showing the man engaging in bestiality.

Limbaugh related the story over several minutes because he thought it was funny. But he also wanted to use it as a platform for building the mythical liberal straw man.

After finishing the anecdote, Limbaugh segued into wondering aloud -- assuming on behalf of his audience -- that the man and his friends were liberals.

Why turn the apolitical into an anti-liberal statement? To link bestiality with liberalism -- much the same way Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and other conservatives suggest that those who support gay marriage today will support marriage between man and beast tomorrow.

Just typing it out I'm amazed that this stupidity passes for anti-liberal talk radio.

Let's hope that the roughly 22 milion people who listen to Savage or Limbaugh daily -- more people than the number watching the nightly news on ABC, CBS and NBC nightly -- are smart enough to recognize theater of the absurd when they hear it.

10 Comments:

Anonymous ash said...

We can hope, but anyone listening to these crackpots on a regular basis is probably too immersed in this crap that passes for political dialogue to do much more than regurgitate it.

BTW Is it not the ACLU defending Limbaugh's right to keep his medical records private? Has he ever come to grips with that little piece of cognitive dissonance?

7:51 PM  
Blogger Dave Nalle said...

I'll give you credit for being fairly astute in referring to Savage as an 'anti-liberal', because he's definitely not a conservative. He's a very strange mix of quasi-leftist and extreme reactionary - super intelligent and very knowledgable, yet totally driven by opinion and vitriol. Rather disturbing to listen to.

As for the use of straw man arguments, I guess you missed the Alito hearings today, or was your discernment just turned off? The democrats at the hearings were raising straw men who they called Alito and attacking them instead of questioning the live person they had infront of them. It's not a technique which is unique to right wing talkshow hosts.

Dave

11:14 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Then Savage should have made that point. Even with sarcasm, he could have made a valuable point, defended Alito, and probably had some credibility with listeners tuning in who are not fans of the show.

Instead, he says something ludicrous, designed to infuriate his listeners into hating liberals. How does that benefit anyone?

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Dave Nalle above:
How where the Democrats creating strawmen in questioning Alito?
It sounds like you've been listening to Republican spin oints and the right-wing biased MSM reports on the Alito hearings.
Is it because the Democrats questioned Alito on his touting a discriminatory organization he once belonged? Is it because they questioned him for at one point openly expressing anti-abortion views and the ability of the executive branch to run roughshod over the laws? And for a record showing strong favortism over police over individual rights?
I believe the Democrats were well substantiated with facts in questioning Alito on these concerns. Although the MSM and the Repugs may downplay the significance of the questioning, this is the guy who could have the swing vote in determining citizen's rights and the future of our Democracy for the next 30 years or so.
Let's hear some support to back up your view.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Paul R. said...

Above all else, Dr. Savage is a nationalist, who quite frankly is disgusted by 30 years of liberalism that has turned every criminal into a victim and every God-loving patriot into a right-wing extremist. His shrimp scenario is simply being used as an example of how backward liberalism is. Kennedy and Schumer are more concerned about whether Alito will work to stop the killing of unborn children, than they are about terrorists chopping off American heads. It's just sick.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a simple-minded and completely baseless characterization of Kennedy and Schumer's concerns.
They are concerned with good cause about whether Alito will uphold the constitution and protect citizen and workers' rights.
Alito has expressed views and handed down opinions predominately favoring the executive branch over congress and the constitution, and the federal government over the rights of citizens and workers.
Whether you consider abortion "killing unborn babies," even in cases of rape and incest, should be the topic of another discussion. However, abortion has been decided as a constitutional right, and EVERYONE should be concerned about a judge with a background that could suggest an agenda to change the constitution, whether it be abortion, executive power or citizen and workers' rights.
That is the true concern of the Democrats in challenging Alito's nomination.
There is absolutely no substantiation behind a claim that Democrats are against terrorists. None. Nada. It is simply a Republican talking point and spin. That is what the Repugs want the public to believe under the old standby: if you say it enough, people might think it is true.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops. I meant to say above it is a baseless claim that Democrats are not against terrorists.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wonder how anyone could think that democrats are not against terrorists. that's like saying democrats revel in the killing of unborn babies or that we love serial killers. we want blood! your blood, babies' blood, we want to wallow in the corpses left by murderers! we ourselves want to die! yes! give me death!

it's just stupid. recognizing the fact that everyone is a human, innocent until proven guilty by a group of their peers, or capable of making a choice instead of having your private parts regulated by the government is everyone's right, whether you agree with the morals of each situation or not.

how would you (republicans) like it if i told you that you couldn't do something just because i didn't find it morally satisfying? how would you like it if you were accused of mass-murder and were then railroaded straight to an execution? how would you like it if your daughter was raped and had to choose between a back-alley cut-up or having a growing reminder of her rape following her around for 18 years? how would you like it?

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah, i must say that dave nalle looks pretty damn creepy. creepy, dave! kind of devil-like. is that really you? woof.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous ash said...

You say straw man, I say legitimate and serious issue

You say nationalist, I say isolationist.

Thank you, anon. at 9:43.

5:54 PM  

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