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Friday, November 04, 2005

How to stop "partisan bickering" - step one

The other morning I was listening to WIZM, the only non-sports talk radio in La Crosse. I listen in the morning because they often announce and provide news about local events and issues. On this particular morning, the host, Mike Hayes, was interviewing local political science professor, Joe Heim.

Hayes was asking Heim why there was so much partisanship and "partisan bickering" and why politicians had to resort to smears and gotcha politics.

I don't remember Heim's response because I started thinking of the WIZM daytime schedule:

Every weekday morning there's a short (three minute?) Rush Limbaugh bit where he distorts, lies and calls anyone who disagrees with him all manner of nasty and hateful names - from "feminazi" to communist sympathizer, pinko, wacko and more. His tone from beginning to end is disrespectful and undemocratic. In other words, he doesn't lay out facts and state his side of the argument, rather he twist and distorts the facts and then calls anyone who doesn't agree with his twisted distorted conclusions a commie, facist, terrorist sympathizer or worse.

Then, for six full hours every weekday, WIZM broadcasts Limbaugh and the equally shrill Sean Hannity. Six hours daily of distortion and demagoguery, thirty hours per week of one-sided biased slanted shrill partisan opinion.

But wait, there's more!

On the weekends we get three hours of Mike Gallagher and three of Drudge. So in all, WIZM is contributing to the polluted "partisan bickering" atmosphere to the tune of at least 36 hours of programming per week. (And I'm not counting the right-leaning Jim Bohanon who hosts a program every weeknight.)

Now, if WIZM really wanted to be fair and contribute to non-partisan discussion and debate, it could replace Limbaugh or Hannity with a talk show giving a different point of view like Ed Schultz or an Air America program.

Personally, I'd love it if WIZM carried the daily award-winning news program, Democracy Now which interviews guests from all across the political spectrum and discusses important news stories that get no coverage on most other news programs.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, if Mike Hayes truly wants an end to partisan bickering and gothca politics, he ought to take a look at his own station's contribution to the polluted political atmosphere.

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