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You have to listen for the love on those right-wing talk radio shows where the hosts end up screaming at their invited guests like an angry child with a broken Xbox on Christmas morning. But there is a method to their meanness.
Be it Bill O'Reilly or The Savage Nation, a specific set of rules and strategies of right-wing punditry is followed to show faithful listeners that the talk show hosts' opinions are far superior than those of their guests. What better way to infiltrate the machinery than by learning their rules from the inside? Recently I was asked to be a guest on right-wing talk radio shows. That's right bubba, I got booked on as the Bay Area moonbat liberal, with hosts ready to extend their claws and tear me a new one.
My virgin foray into conservative punditry was on "Michigan's Most Listened to Christian Talk" -- The Bob Dutko Show on WMUZ-The Light.
Other guests on the Bob Dutko Show bill: a guy with "scientific" proof that the Earth is only thousands of years old, not billions, which would make evolution impossible. Host Bob Dutko states, "Which, by the way, scientifically, I agree with. Not just because the Bible says so, but that's what the science actually says. We're not going to deal with emotion, we're going to deal with fact and science!"
OK, imagine Rush Limbaugh but with a Jesus twist -- that's what I'm up against.
Show needs an "I don't take shit from anyone" catchphrase. Dutko's: "Fearlessly Defending the Faith!"
Must use hard-rock intro music -- further showing you don't take shit from anyone!
The show's theme, a Christian version of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," plays.Then my introduction: "Right now let's get to a guy who is not shy about criticizing President Bush or any other Republicans or conservatives for that matter," Dutko says. "He's a flaming liberal. I can't give you the subtitle of his book. It has a cuss word in it, and I'm not going to do it."
The word, by the way, is "ass" (as in Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America). In the imagination of the Christian listeners I'm sure they're thinking the cuss word is "motherfucker" and are immediately plotting this flaming liberal's eternal damnation. One pundit point for Dutko!
Immediately get your guest on the defensive, working up his emotions so he'll come across as a blathering idiot.
"I think you got a double standard going here," the Fearless Defender of the Faith rants, in regard to Target stores saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." Target wanted to include other religions' little holidays in order to cash in on their non-Jesus-believing consumer dollars.
Yup, I took the bait and made the rookie mistake of immediately criticizing Bob Dutko's asinine view of his boycott of Target stores.
"You're saying that's leaving out the poor Jew or atheists or whatever," he adds about other religions' Grinch-like stealing of the religious holiday, like it was little Cindy Lou Who's last can of Who-hash.
My response to their inclusion: "Why not give the little guy a shot?"
It seems Bob Dutko fears that saying "Happy Holidays" will somehow lead to back-alley abortions being performed in Target dressing rooms.
"Why not educate the Jews and the atheist and everyone else that there is in fact a holiday called Christmas. And it is a national holiday. That it is based on a historic figure named Jesus Christ who was born," he lectures like a high school principal. "What's wrong with educating people on that reality?"
My response: "I think people are aware that Christmas takes place."
Dutko's: "If I go into a store and it's run by a Jewish person and they put up 'Happy Hanukkah,' the cross around my neck is not going to melt. I can handle somebody saying to me 'Happy Hanukkah.'"
Summary of Applied Punditry Tactic:Jews got that crappy Adam Sandler animated Hanukkah movie didn't they? That should be plenty for those greedy bastards.
Use an unrealistic extreme and compare it to the guest's argument.
The Fearless Defender of the Faith argues against homosexuality being taught in schools -- especially in a positive light -- and then explains why it is OK for Christians to shun gays. "You want a Hindu to be a good Hindu? Do you want Hindus to now start eating cows?!
"If you respect other people having their beliefs, why not respect Christians having their beliefs as well?"
This is becoming like talking to a guy who thinks Spider-Man really exists and can point to all the exact issues of Marvel comics to back up his claim.
Summary of Applied Punditry Tactic: Shoving a hamburger at a Hindu is like pushing a penis toward a Christian man.
Only read the press release, the book jacket, and a few highlighted paragraphs to formulate your knee-jerk arguments.
"We're continuing our talk with author Harmon Leon. His book is Republican Like Me; kind of targeting and attacking if you will Christianity, conservatism, Republicanism, but in a humorous-type way, satire and that type of thing."