As you may have heard, conservative attack-radio douchebag Michael Savage went postal again the other day, responding to the news of Ted Kennedy's brain tumor by taking to the airwaves with a rant that once again revealed the vicious, inhuman gutlessness of this country's so-called silent majority -- students of the P. Diddy Institute for Higher Etymology would surely recognize this as a prime bit of bitch-assedness. First he played clips of Ted Kennedy singing, interspersed with (Kennedy in-law) Arnold Schwarzenegger's infamous "It's not a tumor" clip. "The poor guy's been suffering for years, you know?," Savage said of TK. "Unfairly he's been accused of alcoholism, but we see now that it was something much more deep-seated."
Then he did something even more unforgivable: he played Dead Kennedys' "California Uber Alles," compounding the sacrilege by actually singing along. (Click here for the full clip, courtesy of MediaMatters.) A convergence of loony-fringe hatemongering and punk rock shibboleth-busting: is this where it all ends up?
We doubt that anyone would be ignorant enough to think that Savage is anything approximating an actual Jello Biafra fan, nor that anyone would be silly enough to think that Jello Biafra was in any way supportive of Savage. But we wanted to get Jello's thoughts on the matter anyway, so Phoenix Editor Lance Gould raised him on the phone. Here's what Jello had to say:
I haven't read the details yet, but I'm aware of what Michael Savage did. Obviously he took my song way the hell out of context and did it deliberately. But the bigger issue is Savage himself and how the hell he gets away with stuff like saying this, and saying that people with AIDS should be put in concentration camps. And then when people protest at the station, he calls on his own listeners to come down and beat them up.
It scares the shit out of me that the most popular radio talk-show hosts are all foaming-at-the-mouth, ultra-bigoted blabbermongers whom only North Korea or the Nazis could love.
But like it or not, Savage is the third-most popular radio-talk show host in this country behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Nobody from the other side is represented or promoted well enough by the big right-wing-owned radio networks to compete. That's one of the ways they mindfuck the country into being so dumb they vote for people like George Bush, Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The real issue here is why aren't the big candidates calling for media reform? Once upon a time there was a law on the books called the Fairness Doctrine, and it said that if somebody like Savage or Limbaugh or that skull woman Ann Coulter said something completely fucked up and dishonest on the air, somebody else was allowed to come on the air and reply to them without being told to shut up every 15 seconds by a power clown like Bill O'Reilly. That law was on the books for 50 years but was allowed to expire in the late '80s when a Democratic-controlled congress failed to override President Reagan's veto of the law.
The damage was further compounded when your friend and mine Bill Clinton rammed through the Telecommunications Act of 1996, further deregulating how many radio stations and media outlets one corporation can own and what they can do with them and they greenlighted their long-held agenda to throw public interest out the window. And the volume and impact of the Rush Limbaughs and Michael Savages multiplied exponentially with nobody on the other side being allowed to reply. In large areas of rural and small town America, this is the only radio anyone is exposed to. That's the problem. We need to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. John Kerry had a golden opportunity to fire back at the Swift Boat liars and use that as a platform to rally the public to demand media reform. But true to form, he was too chickenshit to do it.