You know how these things get started. It's a slow news day and a coupla' reporters are sitting around playing the age-old game of WHAT IF. So it was inevitable that one of them might speculate about what President Clinton would do when he left office.
Just as it was inevitable that another might suggest, "What if he went back to Arkansas and ran for the Senate?" And so a rumor grew until it hit the ear of Jeffie Toobin who announced it to the world.
Not all of the media fell for it, to their credit, but the ones that did chewed endlessly over it. "What would happen? How would Hillary react?" It ignited talking heads to specious speculation, and columnists to write everything ridiculous as if it were sublime.
It sure fit right in with the GOP's instructions to the party faithful to call in to their local talk programs to broadcast their hate-Clinton-linked-to-Gore Campaign. In case you don't read Repugnant Lists and fax/mailouts, their strategy is to keep reminding people that Gore is attached to Clinton's hip and his negatives.
Talk radio is grass roots politics and it plays to the anger most Repugnants have. No matter how hard they tried for the last 6-plus years to get Clinton out of office, he continued to thwart their efforts. In their view, they have cut off his head many times but he just sprouts a new one. To the Clinton haters who call in daily to their favorite hate radio program, a Clinton reincarnation as senator was Armageddon all over again. Anyone who has ever heard a hate radio call-in program is aware that the main emotion displayed is hate, the usual voice tone is whine and the main topic is Prez Bill and First Lady Hillary. We used to wonder what these people would do once Clinton left office, but thanks to Toobin, we wonder no longer.
A local program, hosted by right-wing-nut, Marq, took it up first thing. What a caterwauling ensued as each caller tried to outdo the other in dire predictions and venom. Marq, whose hate for the Clintons causes him to get so excited on the air that he soils himself, gleefully read a pundit's columns to encouraged the callers.
Who are these people, who live among us, who continually and maliciously "BARE" FALSE WITNESS over the airwaves? We call them the "Rychus Ones" because they claim to be champions of God, church and country.
They insist that there must be prayer in schools and hailed the vote that ordered the 10 Commandments to be hung in every classroom. They demand that ALL birth control be eliminated, especially women's choice, so "the country can get back to normal." Of course, they claim that a guy has the Constitutional Right to pack and own all the guns he wants to, and especially, that everything that goes wrong in the world is Clinton's fault.
They hate Hillary for a variety of reasons, mostly given to them by Jerry Falwell. The thought of her as a senator makes them catatonic -- but, hey, any smart, competent woman does. Although most of the calls to the program are the daily gripers, there is the occasional caller who makes a different point.
These calls are usually rare gems -- a ray of light in a dark place. It happened one day after Marq and a particularly vicious caller had endlessly played their head trips of the past years of Monica and the Oval Office -- drooling at the mouth over all those delicious, once forbidden, descriptive words.
The next caller politely suggested to Marq that the subject had already been hashed and rehashed and it was time to move on and deal with real problems. Marq accused her of being a "Clinton lover" and challenged her to justify being one considering "the terrible thing that he did." She advised him that, "just because you think someone is in the gutter does not mean that you have to get down there with him. It happened. It's over. Let's move on."
If you think this changed anything, you've never heard hate radio. For her pains, the woman was vilified by the callers who followed. These people are firmly entrenched in their beliefs and feed off from each other's hatred. Anyone with a different opinion is just wrong. Their gurus are Limbaugh, Liddy and Falwell -- independent thought is neither necessary or required.
Not that hate radio callers need much help keeping their craniums inserted in their rectums, they also often get support for their beliefs from a mass media that is more intent on producing CREATIVE REPORTING than reporting FACTS. During the recent ruckus with Serbia, usually, whenever they reported something positive that happened, they attributed it to NATO. When they suspected or theorized a bad action, they attributed it to Clinton. It was Clinton that ordered the bombing of the Chinese Embassy but it was NATO that forced the surrender of Serbia, for example.
Whatever happened to balanced reporting? Some T.V. and radio news programs now cover "all 'W', all the time." Compare the time given to other candidates and you have to wonder who is running the country. Is it still a place where we each vote our own personal choice, or is our choice preordained by media hype?
"W" has already introduced himself as "The President of The United States," and the army of reporters covering him (who would tear Al Gore apart for clearing his throat) think it's cute. CNN reported that there was nothing bad in his past because their reporters had looked and couldn't find anything. Gosh, where are Matt Drudge, Linda Tripp and the rest of the vast right wing conspiracy when you need them?
Copyright 1999 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: twanda@ConnRiver.net.
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