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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Good news on the AAR Front in Eugene

   By Marion Delgado at 12:01 AM

Our local "AAR station" KOPT announced that local host Nancy Stapp is moving to the morning show, replacing Dave Wooten and Liz Kelly. Why is this good news? The answer is complex. Let's start with a guest op-ed in our local alt-weekly, the Eugene Weekly:
Talk the Talk: How the right wing is usurping Eugene's progressive radio.
Shortly after Air America came to Eugene, Churchill Communications LLC (owned by the "development firm" Arlie & Co.) added two local shows: The Afternoon Edition, hosted by proud liberal Nancy Stapp (she rocks!), and the AM Edition with Liz Kelly and Dave Wooten, both registered Republicans.

"There have only been two — yes , count them — two liberal presidents in the U.S. in the past 30 years," said the voice on the radio. "Why do you suppose that is? Is it all conspiracy? It's because you guys won't own up to anything, and the American people see that." This was not Rush Limbaugh or Shawn Hannity, it was Eugene's own Dave Wooten, of KOPT 1600's AM Edition on Oregon's "progressive" talk radio.

This was not friendly advice to advance the progressive movement; this was a frustrated 30-year Republican catching some heat from progressive listeners. He does a fairly good job of hiding his contempt for liberals on air, but is a bit less disciplined online. News flash for Dave and fellow R's: After four years of disaster, Dubya refused to "own up" to one mistake during the debates.

Dave certainly has other "progressive" views and ideas. He's suggested dealing with Oregon's public education budget shortfall by cutting teachers and through corporate sponsorship of our schools. What does Dave think about all of us liberals complaining about the Bush administration? "The liberals are doing or have done everything they accuse the conservatives of doing," he said. He also thinks most liberals are "angry and yes, whiny."

During a recent on-air call, I brought up bio-diesel, a plant-based renewable fuel. Neither Liz nor Dave seemed to know a thing about it. After suggesting tax incentives that would motivate people not to consume material goods, Dave's response was, "Why is consumption so bad? What's wrong with buying things that bring me joy?" He obviously doesn't get it. Not thinking about the impact of your daily decisions on the world is what's "so bad." Not taking responsibility for your actions is what's "so bad."

Progressive means knowing about and using alternative fuels and transportation. It means adding teachers to reduce class size, not cutting back on them. Progressives don't favor corporate sponsorship of public schools Progressives know that there are major problems with Americans' consumption habits. Progressives get angry and take a stand when their country is hijacked by religious right-wing war mongers and our credibility around the world has been flushed down the toilet.

This was, I think, in response to Dave Wooten's constant question "how do you define progressive?" as expressed here by Dave in his own words In an op-ed in our daily, The Register-Guard:

I'm confused. I am told almost daily that a progressive is a person who hates Bush and the war in Iraq. Isn't bringing democracy to a people oppressed by a brutal dictator social change by a government? I am told that a progressive calls for the firing of a government official before an investigation into any wrongdoing comes to a close. I'm told that a progressive applauds those who blow up SUV's in protest of the government.

By the way, there are 3 lies in that last sentence. Take a look at the op-ed above the one I'm linking to.

First no one told Wooten to applaud anyone; this is what people asked Dave:
But why did he get 23 years? He damaged three SUVs, causing $40,000 in damages. No one was injured or even put at risk. How did this crime result in a sentence exceeding that of most murderers?

It's such a good question, Dave decided to lie rather than answer it. He created a ridiculous Sean Hannity-style strawman demand he never received, then whined about that fictitious demand.

Second, Jeff Luers wasn't "blowing up SUV's[sic]" but setting SUVs on fire. Blowing up is more Hannitizing - it suggests "terrorism" - which is the GOP line on environmental, animal rights, and PEACE activism. Dave is spinning like a good GOP top.

Third, Luers wasn't doing it "to protest the government," but the SUV industry. SINGLEHANDEDLY, the SUV industry, by avoiding CAFE standards for passenger vehicles, REVERSED ALL THE POLLUTION GAINS SINCE THE 1970s. SINGLEHANDEDLY. If that fact brings Dave joy, he deserves more than a scolding, and thank God, he seems to be getting it. The SUV industry has contributed significantly to global warming and to energy depletion. SUVs endanger other cars, and for the most part, also their drivers. Etc. As Ted Rall pointed out, they were designed to resemble threatening animals and intimidate other people. If there's an industry besides the nuclear weapons or the crack cocaine industry that can justifiably be called "evil," it's the SUV industry. And it's not the goddamned GOVERNMENT, Dave. Again, GOP tops like Dave spin everything to make unpleasant corporate actions "the government." And since anarchists are the new communists (Black is the new Red), make it "protest the government."

And look at this from the editor's note after the op-ed:

Editor's Note: Josh Welch e-mailed EW Tuesday morning to tell us that the AM Edition hosts told him it wasn't good for him to bring up their affiliation with the Republican party. He also said that after he made comments criticizing Arlie & Co. and John Musumeci on air, hosts at the station will no longer accept his phone calls and have referred him to the station's general manager.

And let me add, only because I didn't want to run the ENTIRE article on this weblog, I left out some nice things Josh said about the Liz Kelly and Dave Wooten show. I think civility failed to prevent a disconnect from developing here between the morning show, mostly thanks to Dave, and the listeners. I love local shows as much as the next person (I did local talk radio host duty for years in Alaska), but frankly, given GOP dominance of talk radio, the crying need for someone to balance half the show being liberal and the other half conservative does not exist, even here in Eugene. Moron.

For people who want centrist liberalism, there's the Al Franken show, and most days, Randi Rhodes. And Ed Schultz, alas. And Stephanie Miller, long time GOPer whose father ran with Goldwater in 64.

Good riddance, Dave, and I hope you go somewhere where you replace a REPUBLICAN show, in which case you'll be doing some GOOD for once - instead of what I call "Ed Schultz duty" - where a liberal, progressive or non-conservative Democratic show is replaced with Ed Schultz, who's a McCain/Lieberman centrist at best - the result being a net loss of liberal radio time. Ed Schultz is never brought in to replace a conservative show, and that's why I wish he didn't have a show at all. It's not censorship. It's not intolerance. It's the ability to see facts for myself. The same is true in spades for people like Dave.


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