Long before there were the liberal voices of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, some of us remember the cable news network’s march to war in Iraq.
We were getting reports from embedded journalists, placed with invading U.S. troops by the late Jerry Nachman, then MSNBC’s editor-in-chief.
Just some of the media cheerleading exposed in Bill Moyers’ outstanding program, “Buying the War” – interviews with media executives and personalities who readily admit to such unquestioning support of the Iraq invasion. (Watch Moyers’ PBS program HERE.)
Back in those days, MSNBC fired Phil Donahue, whose voice was too liberal, and canned its rising star Ashleigh Banfiled for daring to speak out against the war before a college audience.
Then, the cable network hired Michael Savage to spew his radical-right venom. Granted, Savage’s MSNBC stint didn’t last long, which only showed the lack of vetting by network suits. Were they really shocked to find one of the vilest shock jocks on air was offending viewers?
It didn’t come as a surprise a few days ago, when I caught Petrie Hosken’s “London Comment” (LINK) on CBS’ early morning news show, “Up to the Minute.”
Seems British Government Minister Jacqui Smith has compiled a new list of persons banned from entering her country – a list which includes Michael Savage.
The ever acerbic and downright delightful Petrie had this to say about the government minister’s manifesto:
“His views are disgusting, his conspiracy theories are ridiculous, his talent is non-existent and frankly why anyone would listen to him is totally beyond me. But Michael Savage, one of your so-called shock-jocks, is no threat to me or the rest of the free thinking, intelligent Britons who inhabit my country.
“So why has the British government minister charged with our homeland security banned him from ever travelling to our shores? This woman, Jacqui Smith, has just produced a list of vile, dangerous and hate-filled people who are not welcome here. Your Michael Savage is on that list.
“I can't help thinking that there is a hidden story here. That Jacqui Smith is being duplicitous with this list of the damned. If Michael and the homophobic American Fred Walron Phelps, Sr., and his daughter Shirley were not on that list, would Britain be exposed as mainly having an Islamic fundamentalist banning order? The fact that Michael Savage spouts ill-informed, ignorant and basically stupid bile on the American airwaves is only an issue if you listen to it.
“Britain is well used to stupidity - we have a plethora of hate-filled ignoramuses already here, and most of us simply choose to ignore them. Those who choose to give these idiots some credibility will do so anyway, using the Internet to fuel their extremist views. Savage is nothing to us - he is the ignorant dirt on our free walking shoes. We are clever enough to see his conspiracies for what they are and his pathetic views expose an uncontrolled fear that we would just laugh at.
“At best, Jacqui Smith has displayed a total disrespect and disregard for our ability to accept free speech for the good and the evil it brings. At worst, she is just stupid enough to think we can be fooled by a list with a few token white, non-Islamic idiots on it.
“There are probably hundreds of people we should be banning from this country. Not least a few of our own radical citizens, but to ban a man as ridiculous and pointless as America's Michael Savage is, well, both ridiculous and pointless.”
Oh, that we could all marginalize these vapid, vile and vicious voices of the radical right with such British pluck and aplomb.
BONUS: View Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” HERE.