Nov 28, 2007
When Is Calling Someone a Wacko Not Name-Calling? When Beckmann Does It
In the world of conservative radio host Frank Beckmann, calling someone a “wacko” is not name-calling.
Last week Beckmann, who hosts the morning show on WJR-AM, was railing against the international scientific body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that just issued a report that said, "warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” His take on all those who believe climate change and global warming are serious problems is that they are environmental wackos. “They have really gone over the edge; that’s why I call them wackos,” Beckmann said. “I’m not into name-calling.”
Why he does not consider calling someone a wacko as rising to the level of name-calling I have no idea. But after about a month of monitoring his show for two and a half hours a day, I have begun to see how his conservative Republican bias manifests itself despite repeated denials and claims that he is fair and balanced.
His conservative guests outnumber other guests by a wide margin, and when he does have the conservatives that reflect his views and opinions on, he rarely has anyone from the other side to counter what they say. They can rest assured they will not be asked any tough questions or challenged, and chances are very good that Beckmann will agree with everything the person has to say.
A perfect example of that was at play Tuesday when Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter was a guest in what turned out to be little more than a 10-minute campaign infomercial. Duncan’s quote that, “We (Republicans) are the party of the middle class” really surprised me; not so much that he said it but that it went unchallenged. It’s Republican tax cuts over the years that benefited the richest 5 percent in this country at the expense of the disappearing middle class that has created a huge and widening gap between the rich and poor and shrunk the middle.
Beckmann’s support for the Iraq invasion is pretty clear, and that’s reflected in his choice of guests, including author and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, who was on the show Tuesday. His support for the war is so strident that Peters has been described by some people as being from the “Diplomacy Be Damned, Shoot the Bastards" wing of the Republican Party.
The same show also featured an interview with John Howell about a boycott of the anti-Iraq war film "Redacted." You can be sure that neither Peters nor Howell got any tough questions.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, was on the show. McCotter was riled up about people in his district receiving robo-calls about the inability of the federal government to hold Communist China accountable for its repeated violations of fair trade policy. He was there to complain about the “Great left-wing attack machine,” and he had a receptive audience. This is the first time I have ever heard of this alleged machine. McCotter, and Beckmann too, seem to believe only Democrats and liberal groups use “attacks,” as he calls it.
I wonder where they were during the Clinton presidency when rich guys like Richard Mellon Scaife were offering rewards for people to dig up dirt on the Clintons through the so-called "Arkansas Project." I wonder if McCotter has ever been publicly accused of murder, rape or drug smuggling like Clinton was.
He also made the ridiculous statement that Republicans don’t use robo-calls.
McCotter’s biggest complaint was over the McCain–Feingold Act and what he calls attack ads by faceless, liberal groups that receive unknown financing. The McCain–Feingold Act is a bipartisan campaign finance bill that tried to regulate so-called “soft money.” Getting the bill passed was a hard-fought battle, and it has not been very successful at regulating soft money, but apparently McCotter thinks it does not go far enough. If he has a bipartisan proposal to improve it then he should propose it.
“When Frankenstein turns on them, then perhaps we will see something done with the wonderful McCain–Feingold Act that so many liberals and well-intentioned people want to make politics more transparent and free of money,” he said.
Beckman’s agreement that only Democrats engage in attack ads was very interesting. “They say we have the American Family Values and the political right that finance campaigns,” he said. Apparently, the word "we" means Beckmann includes himself in the Republican Party.