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Twelve years of unmerited influence and half-truths swathed in red, white and blue patriotism met its demise this past Tuesday with a dagger to the heart served up by revelations from the Iraq Study Group substantiating that everything right wing talk radio had said was right about the Iraq, was wrong.
Born the day Rush Limbaugh mid-wifed Newt Gingrich's Contract For (On) America, RWTRR lived a healthy and wealthy life duping a great portion of the America public into voting against their own best interests.
Right wing talk grew larger and louder over its lifetime, adding names like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Dennis Prager and many more imitators. They each spent three hours a day catchphrasing words and thoughts - no matter how rickety their evidence (if any) - that the mainstream media would give equal time and space along side the truth.
All of a sudden, the truth was only worth 50% of any issue.
Enabled by a gullible mainstream media hoping to hitch itself to the growing Lords of Loud audience, the Rove-inspired red-herrings were greased up even more by talk radio's band of Professor Harold Hills and shoved charmingly down America's throat. And, as with all great con men, these snake oil salesmen sold hole-cloth, betraying the public trust and making fistfuls of dollars doing it.
To be fair, they had to. It's was a Catch-22. If they had trusted their audience with the truth, they'd have no audience.
But November's election and the ISG report finally drained life-giving oxygen from a lying heart. Not only did the public begin to understand they were being duped, but even the FOBIJB (Friends of Bush including James Baker) could no longer ignore the tide. Of course there will continue to be FOBIL (Friends of Bush Including Lieberman), but they will sustain escalating losses, just as the LOL are losing audience in droves.
But the one-two punch of November's mid-terms compounded by the Iraq Study Group's revelations, knocked a terminal hole in any credibility right wing talk may have had left.
Limbaugh admitted he was shilling for Republicans who didn't deserve to be elected, then attempted to hush the death knell rung by the ISG by recasting it, oh so hysterically, as the Iraq Surrender Group. Get it? He changed one of the words. Second-rate comics who are dying on stage always go for the insipidly obvious and as with the comics, it never gets the audience back.
Hannity has gone off the deep end calling everyone else but himself wrong. He persists on telling liberal callers that we found WMD even though Bush doesn't seem to have gotten the same intelligence Sean has while Curt Weldon and Rick Santorum were voted out of office whipping the same dead horse.
Beck asks an American Congressman to prove he's not working for the enemy.
Prager believes the same Congressman holding his bible will bring down American civilization.
O'Reilly can't drum up many recruits to fight this year's War Against Christmas, and how many times can you hear "look at me" with out re-tasting last night's dinner?
And Savage...? Well, just "Savage."
Oh, they'll keep some listeners, but they'll be talking to a choir who doesn't care that they're hearing to a bunch of cloutless charlatans who never had the balls to serve our country but have no problem sending other families into life-changing horror; fans who don't care their heros had it wrong, and had it wrong over and over. And when it came to the war...dead wrong.
Now any relevance these cascading Lords of Loud might once have had, if not dead, is on life support. And if there are some in the legitimate media who still choose to give these mongrels of misrepresentation any time, space or air, they do it at the risk of their own relevance.
Right-wing talk show relevance was never married but leaves behind soon to irrelevant offspring: Dick Morris, Bernie Goldberg, Tom DeLay, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, David Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, Michelle Malkin, General Tommy Franks, Oliver North, James Dobson, Whitewater, Swift Boaters, Flip-flopping, Terri Schiavo, The buses, Outing covert agents as appropriate government behavior, WMD, Saddam's close relationship with bin Laden, If you're against the war your against the troops, If you're against the President's policies you're against America, Activist judges are making laws, "Making progress," Tax relief benefitting the middle class, No child left behind is a success, Republican legislators appreciating veterans, Pharmaceutical companies writing drug bills will benefit the public, Stem cell research causes baby cloning, and Wars against Christmas
Memorial services will be continued, sadly, three hours a day. All donations should be made to Fox News.
Steve Young is author of the "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" and can be read every Sunday on the LA Daily News Opinion page