Tag Archives: conservative media

Time to put politics aside to wish this man well

I have stated my share — maybe more than my share — of disagreements with Rush Limbaugh over the years.

I won’t go there today.

Limbaugh is arguably the most well-known radio political talk show host in the United States. He announced today he has “advanced lung cancer.” He is taking some time off the air but vows to return soon to continue his ultra right-wing commentary on the issues of the day.

It would be my hope that all of us, even those of us who do not listen to Limbaugh, could set aside our political differences. I want to wish this fellow well as he fights this hideous disease.

Many of speak of a return to political civility. Limbaugh isn’t one of them. He rants, rails, vents and bloviates at everything and everyone with whom he disagrees. Were he to read my blogs, he would level his invective at me as well.

This isn’t the time to rant. It is a time to understand that the United States of America is a beacon for those who seek to speak their mind. They are unafraid of those who oppose them, just as they welcome those who favor them.

I want to salute Rush Limbaugh for his fearlessness. It’s an American tradition.

I wish Rush well. I want him back in the game. I want him to continue offering his world view just so I can continue to disagree with him … respectfully, of course.

Hoping we can declare ‘ceasefire’ in phony war against Christmas

Donald Trump vowed when he ran for president that he would ensure that business employees wish their customers a “Merry Christmas,” as if he had the authority to issue such a mandate.

Well, he got elected, of course, and he has kept up the “Merry Christmas” mantra during his time in office. Never mind, naturally, that many millions of Americans don’t celebrate Christmas. Why? They are of different faiths, but that doesn’t faze the president even though he was elected to represent all Americans.

Conservative media have made a lot over the years about the phony “war on Christmas.” They suggest that media liberals have made wishing everyone a Merry Christmas a form of insult, that they have guilted Americans into wishing folks the milquetoast “happy holidays.”

I have never taken offense to the “happy holidays” greetings, even though I do celebrate Christmas … but that’s just me. Nor do I have any problem wishing people a Merry Christmas. I did so today to a young woman in an Allen, Texas, restaurant who served us a wonderful meal. She accepted my salutation with a broad smile.

So, with all of that I want to declare my hope that we can declare a ceasefire in this idiotic war on Christmas nonsense. There is no such media war. Donald Trump can wish Merry Christmas all he wishes. That’s fine.

It’s also fine with me if a business employee wishes me a “happy holidays.”

This is not a time for conflict, division and rancor. It’s a time for joy, peace and tranquility.

A glimmer of sanity emerges from GOP congressional leadership

How about this bit of sanity from the ranks of senior Republican congressional leadership?

It comes in the form of pushback from GOP politicians against conservative media pundits who have questioned the patriotism of a decorated combat veteran who has testified about what he heard in real time when Donald Trump spoke to the Ukrainian president.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified today that he heard Trump ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a personal political favor and that he expressed concern about the propriety — even the legality — of that overture.

Conservative media pundits have actually questioned whether the combat veteran, who was wounded in combat in Iraq, is loyal to the United States. I should add that Lt. Col. Vindman came to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was 3 years old. He has dedicated his life to public service.

It turns out that senior GOP politicians are standing behind Vindman. They are calling him a patriot and a war hero. As U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., noted, you can question what he is saying, but his patriotic credentials are out of bounds. “You can obviously take issue with the substance and there are different interpretations about all that stuff. But I wouldn’t go after him personally. He’s a patriot,” Thune said.

I hope such wisdom silences the right-wing media hyenas who have attacked this dedicated soldier. It might, but I won’t hold my breath believing they will heed this bit of political advice.

Conversation (continued) …

I’ve told you already about a fellow I met the other morning. We covered a lot of ground in the 10 or 12 minutes we chatted.

It centered mostly on the congressional hearing involving FBI agent Peter Strzok and his role in the Robert Mueller investigation into the “Russia thing.”

He mentioned he has been retired for 20 years. Then he asked me if I was retired. “Yes,” I said. “I’m a retired journalist. I was a member of the ‘Mainstream Media,'” I added.

He nodded. “Ahhh, that explains why you’re a liberal,” he said.

I stopped him. “No, sir. My job didn’t define me. My inherent bias is what informs my world view,” I told him.

He had described himself as a “libertarian,” who wasn’t aligned with Democrats or Republicans.

It dawned on me a long time ago, but his assumption that my more progressive/liberal tendencies are a result of my occupation drives home a key point.

Conservatives are winning the war of ideologies. They have succeeded in tarring media representatives and outlets as inherently “liberal.” The “liberal media” get blamed for all that is wrong with journalism.

My own view of the term “mainstream media,” though takes a different approach. I long have considered the “mainstream media” to be a much more diverse bunch than the way conservatives label them. I include many conservative-leaning outlets among members of the “mainstream media”: Fox News, The Weekly Standard, The National Review all belong to the MSM; I also might throw in Breitbart News just to get folks’ pulse to race a bit.

Indeed, I worked for three newspaper groups with ownership that was decidedly not liberal in its outlook. Scripps League Newspapers was run by an elderly scion from the E.W. Scripps newspaper empire; then I went to work for the Hearst Corp., another right-leaning outfit; my career ended while working for Morris Communications, which was a far-right-leaning organization led by a man who is the product of the “old South,” if you get my drift.

The media are as diverse as any other craft.

The gentleman with whom I had this exchange over the weekend likely didn’t intend to paint us all with such a broad brush … but he did.

I don’t yet know if I’ll see him again. If I do, I might take the time to inform him of my own view of what comprises the “mainstream media.”

I suppose I could ask him: If the “liberal mainstream media” are so powerful and pervasive, how do all those conservatives keep getting elected to public office?

About that ‘war on Christmas’

There once was a time when I never felt a twinge of self-consciousness when I wished someone “Merry Christmas.”

I’d go to a retail store. I would make a purchase. I’d take my merchandise. I would wish the store clerk a Merry Christmas. He or she would respond in kind; maybe the clerk would say it first and I would respond.

No big deal. It’s what we did.

Then came this goofy “War on Christmas” mantra. It came from conservative media talking heads and writers, who got their underpants knotted up over an alleged conspiracy by the liberal media to downplay Christmas references during this holiday season.

In my mind it served to highlight what we many of us knew all along, which is that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Our nation’s population comprises many more non-Christians these days: Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc.

So, where do we stand today?

I do not take one tiny bit of offense when someone wishes me “Happy Holidays.” Nor do I flinch when they say “Merry Christmas.” I take both greetings the same way: as expressions of good cheer during a cheerful and joyful holiday.

Donald John Trump Sr. declared in 2016 while campaigning for the presidency that retailers would again wish customers a Merry Christmas if he were elected president — as if the office gives him the power and authority to mandate such a greeting.

Give me a break!

I guess I am left to offer a derisive word of “thanks” to those media talking heads for holiday-shaming us by declaring the existence of some phony “war on Christmas.”

There’s never been a war, unless you discount the hyper-commercialism of the holiday and the mayhem created by the first Friday after Thanksgiving. That’s where the alleged “war” is being fought.

Hey, let’s all have a happy holiday season.

Shall we?

‘War on Christmas’ about to commence

Listen up, my fellow Americans. Many of you are less than a week away from going to war. Against Christmas. Yes, I’m talking about you Black Friday shoppers.

You’ve heard the refrain from conservative media talking heads about the “War on Christmas.” They blame the “liberal mainstream media” for the open warfare, suggesting that the “happy holiday” greeting subverts the Christmas meaning.

It doesn’t do any such thing.

No, the real war on Christmas will be “fought” on retail sales floors all across the United States of America. The first shot in the next big battle in that war will be fired around midnight next Thursday/Friday. That’s when department stores fling open their doors to allow thundering herds of shoppers to pour into their buildings to look for their kids and grandkids’ perfect toy.

Here’s the best — or the worst part: There might be violence inside those department stores. Someone will grab the last fashionable toy off the shelf just ahead of someone who had his or her eye on the same item; they might exchange words, with the individual who wasn’t quick enough accusing the quick-draw artist who grabbed the item of cheating. They might exchange four-letter words and then fists might start flying.

Well, that isn’t exactly the Christmas spirit, is it.

But the war will commence anyway. Shoppers will tell media representatives about how chaotic this Christmas season has been. Some of them will bitch about the crowds and the rudeness of their fellow shoppers.

This will go on for a few days after the start of the Christmas Shopping Season.

I’m not shopping on Black Friday. I have many reasons for staying away. One of them involves the potential scenario I’ve just described. A more important reason is that my wife and I are accelerating our plans to relocate to points southeast of Amarillo, Texas; we’ll be too busy to do any Black Friday shopping.

Look, I get that some folks actually enjoy the pandemonium that occurs on Black Friday. I’m just one of them.

I made a pact with myself years ago to never again let Christmas get the better of me. I intend to go with the flow again in 2017 — of course, when I’m not doing what my wife tells me to do as we continue our relocation prep.

As for conservatives’ belief there is a liberal-led “war on Christmas,” I’ll simply say that it’s a canard. It’s a talking point.

What’s more, I take zero offense when someone wishes me a “happy holiday” when I make a purchase between now and Christmas.

What does offend me is the sight of the mayhem that is going to erupt on Black Friday.

There shouldn’t be this kind of angst at a university

I detest stories like this, reports of so-called “liberal intolerance.”

Actually, I am forced to acknowledge that such intolerance is real and it exists in the most unsuitable places: colleges and universities across the United States.

Ann Coulter, a fiery conservative columnist and TV pundit, was supposed to speak to students at the University of California-Berkeley. Then the school canceled her appearance, citing “security concerns.” UC-Berkeley took back the cancellation and then rescheduled Coulter for another date.

Coulter might not speak after all. She contends she has scheduling difficulties that will keep her otherwise occupied.

When did universities become so exclusive?

Students who want to hear from Coulter now are threatening to sue the school.

Good grief, folks!

All of this is a symptom of the intolerance that grips colleges and universities. There can be little doubt about that, in my view.

Coulter is provocative. That is her shtick. She likes to stir people’s emotions and she’s quite good at it. Coulter also is a darling of the conservative media in America and is no friend of liberals, many of whom run our nation’s major university systems — such as the University of California.

This kind of uproar shouldn’t exist at these institutions of higher learning. Security concerns? Are they real or imagined?

Universities should be a place where all points of view from across the broad political spectrum are welcome. Should every student, faculty member or college administrator embrace every point of view expressed? Of course not. But neither should they reject them outright because they might be, oh, politically incorrect.

All this hubbub about “security concerns” regarding Ann Coulter looks and sounds like a dodge that masks the real motivation, which is to silence a leading conservative voice.

We can argue until we all run out of breath about whether Coulter deserves the standing she enjoys among conservatives. The fact is that she is part of a political movement that isn’t to my particular liking. She still deserves to be heard.

After she speaks, then let the students and their professors argue among themselves about what she has said. Who knows? They might learn something from each other.

Has the ‘war on Christmas’ recommenced?


I have grown weary of conservative media’s bogus assertion that liberals have declared a “war on Christmas.”

Fox News usually leads that chorus. And of the Fox commentators, the lead griper usually is Bill O’Reilly.

I have run out of ways to declare such a “war” doesn’t really exist the way that conservative media portray it. I’ll just re-post this earlier blog to make the point once more.

It’s from Nov. 30, 2013. I believe it holds up to this day.

Frenzied shoppers declare war on Christmas


Phony ‘war on Christmas’ about to re-commence

war on xmas

On Nov. 30, 2013, I posted a blog item about the bogus “war on Christmas” that the conservative media keep telling us is occurring.

I’ll share it again here:

Shoppers declare war

The right-wing media no doubt are going to remind us yet again that secular society has declared war on the spiritual significance of the Christmas season and that Christians shouldn’t fall for what secularists are trying to foist on us.

Starbucks is the latest bogeyman. I keep reading something about those simple red coffee cups where one can order their “venti” peppermint mochas with a double shot of espresso and extra whipped cream. No mention of Christmas on the cups. They’re just red. I guess some folks are upset by it.

I will continue to maintain until the moment I check out of this world that the real warriors in this phony war are those who do battle on the retail floor with others in search of the cherished toys for their children or grandchildren.

Who are the instigators of this ridiculousness? The retailers.

Blame them, will you?


Why the fixation over labels?

Conservative media continue to be fixated over the White House’s refusal to refer to the terrorists with whom we are at war as “Islamic terrorists.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson got the third degree on Fox News Sunday over that question.

His answer: Islamic State terrorists don’t deserve to be dignified by any reference to Islam.


I’ve long wondered when this silly argument is going to cease. I’m believing now that it will never end.

From my standpoint, it makes no difference if we call these monsters “Islamic terrorists,” or “violent terrorists,” or “garden-variety terrorists.” What matters — or what should matter — is what we’re doing in the field to fight these groups.

We’re stalking them. We’re killing them. We’re taking some of them prisoner. We’re subjecting them to serious interrogation.

Isn’t that enough?

However, it doesn’t seem to be among those on the right who keep insisting that the refusal to label the bad guys as “Islamic terrorists” somehow makes the fight less, well, heartfelt or sincere on our part.

I continue to believe our deep-cover agents, special operations personnel, Homeland Security and CIA analysts are doing all they can do to ensure that we avoid a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. No one anywhere can predict the level of success in avoiding another dastardly attack.

If we get hit once again, it won’t be because the White House doesn’t hang the correct label on the forces of evil with whom we are fighting a war.