As much as I loathe the sound of my own voice... Liars, distorters and men of ill-repute must be confronted…
February 22, 2006 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Annoyed by the Bill O'Reilly's and Rush Limbaugh's of the world? So is Mike Stark, and he goes out of his way to get on the air on their shows. And then, of course, writes about it in his blog, Calling All Wingnuts, which includes mp3 clips of his escapades on conservative talk radio airwaves.
posted by Mijo Bijo (51 comments total)
Weird. I listened to the first one (the O'Reilly Factor's take on Carter v Reagan) and it just seemed like he called up, stammered out his point, and was effectively silenced (albeit by a disengenous as always O'Reilly), which seemed to hurt Stark's point...
posted by jonson at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2006

I read this story this morning and thought (again) how it is that the neocon agenda really manifests -- not in wingnut talk shows, but in the lives of innocent people who don't deserve the burden forced upon them.

Sorry, Mijo Bijo, but I just don't want to read about Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh any more...
posted by at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2006

So he calls up these guys and lets them shout him down? What the hell good does that do anyone? Does he really think he's going to talk some sort of sense into them? The O'Reillys and Limbaughs of the world thrive on this kind of attention.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2006

Yeah it appears Stark got rhetorically hammered and kinda sounded like an idiot. Which what these guys are experts at... so I'd say calling them on their turf is stupid.
posted by tkchrist at 11:54 AM on February 22, 2006

The context of the story I linked to above is that the British Columbia government is presently made up of neocons who are doing everything they can to offload the public costs of health care and introduce private health care.
posted by at 11:55 AM on February 22, 2006

Really, as much as I'd like to appreciate this kind of effort it's pointless. The cult of personality around these characters is so huge, and their method of dealing with opposing opinions is systematic and impenetrable - you're on their turf, their finger is on the switch. You utter a completely coherent thought, they hang up on you and pigeonhole your character over that single statement and then say "See, folks, and this is what I was talking about"; as they continue on to their next deranged non-sequitur.
posted by prostyle at 11:57 AM on February 22, 2006

O'Reilly counters his point with "America looked foolish". So...when we stand up to terrorists, we look stupid. When we negotiate, we get things done. I guess.

He's coming at each of these with a significant disadvantage, since every host can just shut him up whenever they want. I think he does a pretty good job.
posted by graventy at 11:59 AM on February 22, 2006

I agree with the general sentiments in this thread - it's time to ignore the Coulters, Limbaughs and O'Reillys. I don't care whether they're insane, evil, or a mixture of both - arguing with them is futile. Let the Al Frankens and Jon Stewarts deal with them.

(isn't it weird that the only seemingly sane people left in the media are the clowns?)

I'd like to say, pay more attention to sites like Daily Kos, HuffPo etc, but they also focus too goddamn much on the hysterical screechings of neocon pundits.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:59 AM on February 22, 2006

Sorry, Mijo Bijo, but I just don't want to read about Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh any more...

What if the story went something along the lines of, "Two prominent talk show personalities were found dead in a Malibu hotel room this afternoon, apparently having suffocated when they attempted, as part of a bizarre, experimental sexual tryst, and apparently as a bit of a break from the norm, to see how far they could fit their head up each others' asses."
posted by wakko at 12:03 PM on February 22, 2006

What if the story went something along the lines of, "Two prominent talk show personalities were found dead in a Malibu hotel room this afternoon, apparently having suffocated when they attempted, as part of a bizarre, experimental sexual tryst, and apparently as a bit of a break from the norm, to see how far they could fit their head up each others' asses."

Yeah, OK. That I could manage. ;-)
posted by at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2006

I thought these were going to be prank calls.
posted by jefbla at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2006

(isn't it weird that the only seemingly sane people left in the media are the clowns?)

It's more than weird, but I think we have the corporate owners of the media companies to thank for this. I sometimes come away from the daily show wondering why these stories aren't really covered by any of the networks.

I will occasionally flip around the cable news channels and am truly amazed at the lack of depth. Unfortunately, some (if not most) folks in the US get all of their "news" from just one of these sources. I know that fox is a convenient whipping boy around here, but when I've tuned in there I'm greeted with some bizarro news world, where what should be important isn't and what they consider important is totally inane, in my opinion.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:12 PM on February 22, 2006

The danger of ignoring pundits and loudmouths and those who preach from the books of hate and selfish greed is that you are not there to inform their audience of the error of their teachings and the folly of their ignorance. For every pundit selling hate on the airwaves, there is a citizen lost in the wilderness, being fed lies and deceptions to fill his world view with paranoia and fear. For every story of how evil "liberals" are there is a new recruit that will blindly swing at your head when you tell them that their demi-god is lying to them.
Never ignore the man on the soapbox, he's trying to tell you his view. If he convinces everyone else that he is right, when he tells them to kill you, it will be your own fault for not listening and taking action to prove him wrong, again and again. Yes, it is tiresome, yes it is loathsome, yes, it requires that you listen to their drivel. But better to listen to their drivel and counter it with sound facts and provable ideas than let them dominate the air and the printed word with their version of history, their version of who is right and who is wrong, their version of torture, their version of how you should live your life. This does not just apply to the neocons either. Ask Al Franken to stop ranting and cracking jokes and come up with what is wrong with the views espoused by his nemesis. Where does his judgement come from.

The best example of this has, unfortunately, been the Daily Show, and to a larger and more detailed extent, Penn and Teller Bullshit (really only 2 or 3 episodes, namely the one where they attack the PAtriot Act and the Drug War, but they also did a great episode on Recycling that made me giggle with glee).

What this guy is doing is commendable. He just needs help from these socalled "experts" in the opposition to get a coherent message to defeat the rhetoric and spin that saturates the daily lives of the isolated and ignorant who would view the world through the dark glasses and paranoid musings of the lazy and the directionless status quo.
posted by daq at 12:29 PM on February 22, 2006

daq, the problem is you can't successfully disarm them by attempting to rebut their arguments one by one on their own turf. I've read accounts of debates wtih creationists in auditoriums packed with evangelicals that go better than, for example, Arianna Huffington's recent skirmish with Hannity and Coulter.

It's just not productive. It's walking behind the elephant, and you can't clean up all that shit, even with a steamshovel.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2006

Ah, but the point, fleetmouse, is that it's not good enough to just give up. Yes, it smells bad, and there is not a lot you can do on their own shows, but Keith Olberman did a pretty decent job, using his own show (mind you, not all of us have our own shows, I'm just pointing out an example) to pick apart O'Reilly's own lies, using completely contextual references to things that O'Reilly said. I'm advocating showing more support for the champions that are willing to put a sense of perspective on their counter arguements. The thing we hear the most from most of the Huff-po and Kos crowd is too much "can you believe he said _that_. I was so offended. I'm going to tell all my friends how offended I was." And what does that accomplish. Absolutely nothing. Notice that no matter how hard O'Reilly tries, the footage of him attacking the kid who lost his parents in the WTC towers (I'm bad with facts, can you tell?) easliy shows how rabid O'Reilly is. Watch it with the sound off. It helps with things like this. Watch his head shake. His jowls rumble. How much emotion he puts into his "dressing down" of the kid. This is not the act of a reasoned, sensable, thoughtful position. This is animalistic. This is venting of anger and rage and above all, fear. Shine a light on the motivations for someone saying "I support our president because he looks presidential when he talks about killing terrorists." What. The. Bloody. Fuck. Question why people need to feel more than think. Show that they are just hot air. Show they have nothing behind them but money and status. No substance. Nothing to improve the world, to make life better. Killing terrorists. Great. And that puts food on my table how? Am I eating terrorists this week? Is that it? Engage on reality. Let them bring up abortion. Do you eat aborted fetuses? No? Then it's just a smoke screen. Just a plea to "Pay attention to ME! I'm important", while life goes on, and their paymasters direct everything with a blind eye to the rest of the worlds needs or wants.

Sorry. I'm in a bit of a strange place right now. I think I'm going to go listen to smarter people talk about how the world could be great if we'd stop being distracted by the wills of selfish people.
posted by daq at 12:49 PM on February 22, 2006

...the problem is you can't successfully disarm them by attempting to rebut their arguments one by one on their own turf.

Unfortunately, I think that's probably true. Humiliation and mockery (à la Jon Stewart) are probably more effective.
posted by at 12:50 PM on February 22, 2006

does anyone know what kind of script he is using to play the mp3's that is just wonderful the way it pops out over to the side, i want to use that on my own blog.
posted by stilgar at 12:56 PM on February 22, 2006

daq: nice roast, well done
posted by elpapacito at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart = Rush Limbaugh

Just facing the other direction.
posted by HTuttle at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2006

Humiliation and mockery do nothing but create a sense of "difference". What about those who don't understand the jokes? Do you just leave them behind in their ignorance to listen to and probably agree with your target of mockery?

Metafilter went through a strange transformation not long ago (within the time that I've joined up) where it used to be a strange place of a few "conservative" (well, not really, but dios and ParisParamus were very good at drawing out the idiotry of many of the lesser informed, or more reactionary posters) members would, either by design or accident, insight a huge wave of posting on the blue by people who found it so easy to mock and ridicule, but could not come up with a coherent understanding or answer to the original statements. Sure, laugh at the presidents strange use of vocabulary. That really helps his speach writers and handlers. You'd be suprised how much it helps them. It gives them the tools to use for more misdirection, more obfuscation, more secrecy, and in general, more control over your lives. This whole wire tap controversy should have ended this presidency. Instead the army they have amassed over the years of dittoheads and apologists, more than willing to put forth the latest talking point for any and everything have spread and insinuated their views into everything.

Strange example. Anecdotal, almost entirely, but bear with me. Do any of you watch "24"? I'm sure you do. You probably love it or something. Me? Can't do it. I just can't. And the only reason I can't is because of the commercials for the show. That and that "Prison Break" show and the "OC". These are shows that appear, due to the way they are advertised (and face it, all broadcast television is nothing but glorified advertising). Prison Break in particular makes me think of something written by a 15 year old who thinks Eminem is the epitome of a man, has a mullet and thinks it makes him look hot, and has fantasies about killing people who "look funny". I get the same impression from the writing (of the commercials) for "24" only now they are over 21 and have watch too many James Bond movies while eating mushrooms. Time dilation is not your friend. The gimmick for 24 is going to wear thin soon enough (real-time shows always do, mainly because they rub against the grain of "all lifes problems solved in 30 or 60 minutes).

Ramble ramble ramble.

WTF were we talking about again?
posted by daq at 1:06 PM on February 22, 2006

HTuttle, sorry, no Jon Stewart = entertainer with writers.
Rush Limbaugh = commentator who thinks he's funny (and unfortunately, there are people who appear to agree. But, you know, dittoheads would probably agree with Hitler if they thought it would make them feel better about their lives).

Yeah, I Godwin'ed it.
posted by daq at 1:09 PM on February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart is nothing like Limbaugh.

What exactly are the points of comparison you're using? They both use humor? They both have hair?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2006

I'd Godwin that too.
posted by jenovus at 1:12 PM on February 22, 2006

Limbaugh doesn't admit he's providing fake news.
posted by Happy Monkey at 1:18 PM on February 22, 2006

I don't know why people have trouble with this:

Bashing on the government is one of your rights as a citizen. Some might even say it is a duty of the citizenry to point out when the government is screwing up.

If you only bash on the government when it is run by Democrats, and support it no matter what it does when it is run by Republicans, then you are a propaganda arm of the Republican party.

Limbaugh has been on long enough for us to know what he is. Stewart has only been on the Daily Show during the current administration, if I recall correctly, but certainly the Daily Show was bashing on the government back when Clinton was president too.
posted by jlub at 1:20 PM on February 22, 2006

Stewart = humorist.

Limbaugh = right wing running dog apologist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:03 PM on February 22, 2006

Stewart = funny on purpose

Limbaugh = funny by accident
posted by Carbolic at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart = Rush Limbaugh

Just facing the other direction

But at least the left-hand side of the equation is funny.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:43 PM on February 22, 2006 Humiliation and mockery (à la Jon Stewart) are probably more effective.

Yep, this'd be a lot more interesting and effective if Stark played the superfan and tried to out-wingnut the O'Falafel's and Gasbaugh's of the airwaves. Something along the lines of audio version of Jesus' General. When it comes to bursting the groupthink bubble, satire is a much sharper stick than earnest argument.
posted by oncogenesis at 3:45 PM on February 22, 2006

Something along the lines of audio version of Jesus' General.

I miss "Right and Early" with Marc "The Shark" Maron on Radio Halliburton [mp3].
posted by Opposite George at 4:25 PM on February 22, 2006

First: This guy's a serious loser. I mean, seriously. Your hobby is spending hours on the telephone trying to get on-air with talk show hosts who disagree with you, so you can spend 20 seconds pointlessly arguing with each and post the audio to your blog? Jesus Christ, dude. Get a girlfriend. Or at least some shoes.

Second: I only listened to three clips, but scroll down and listen to the Limbaugh clip that's tagged with a conversation between Stark and Limbaugh's screener. Forget the bit about the screener and just listen to the clip: Limbaugh's absolutely right, and he totally pwn3zz0rs Mike Stark.
posted by cribcage at 4:26 PM on February 22, 2006

Awful. I'm embarrassed on behalf of the stammering idiot.

I, too, would love an audio Jesus' General.
posted by blag at 4:44 PM on February 22, 2006

Perhaps I'm missing some subtlety here, but it seems that this guy is not helping his liberal cause that much, to listeners out in radio land. He calls up, stammers and stutters his way through some argument, and even when his arguments *are* right, the talk show host is such a better speaker, that it sounds like the caller lost the argument.

The script to play the MP3's, however, is awesome.
posted by arrhn at 4:47 PM on February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart, in fact, is absolutely not the opposite of Rush Limbaugh. He is a comedian first and foremost.

Let's look at this way. What do you think will happen if an ass-brained liberal got elected to office in 2008? What do you think he'll do? Anything stupid happens in the news, no matter who does it, he'll be there. It's his bread and butter.

He seems anti-conservative now because conservatives are so firmly in charge at the moment. Why make fun of the underdog, what's it going to affect? But mark my words, put a liberal president in the White House and suddenly all the neo-cons will be posting to their blogs about how Stewart has suddenly come over to their side, and the HTuttles of the world will suddenly forget what they said three years before. It is in their best interest now to paint Stewart (and despite the fact that he has writers, he also ad-libs a lot so you can be fairly sure he means what he says) as being a wonk because that's the way the organized right is trying to discount opposing voices.

But even many conservatives think Bush has set many dangerous precedents. You don't have to be Ted Kennedy to see the damage being done here. And I have no doubt that if an unprincipled Democrat, Bush's opposite number so to speak, wins the big contest in 2008, that instead of healing the damage done it'll be used for all the more partisan butchery in the name of reversing his shameful legacy. I sincerely hope, if that happens, that Stewart's still around to mock.
posted by JHarris at 5:02 PM on February 22, 2006

Limbaugh's absolutely right

thanks for self-identifying as a dumbass
posted by Hat Maui at 5:47 PM on February 22, 2006


s/that much/at all/ -- I hope to G-d this fella's just an exhibitionist and doesn't actually think he's changing any minds (though his comments on the O'Reilly/Jimmy Carter call pretty much quash those hopes.) I think he may be borderline delusional.

(and a debatable one -- s/liberal// -- I understand what you're trying to say but his efforts would be just as futile if he was a freeper calling different shows. Or maybe, as a bleeding-heart myself, I'm just trying to justify having such a hard time accepting him to the team.)

And yes, that script totally rocks.
posted by Opposite George at 6:02 PM on February 22, 2006

Wordpress Flash Audio Player plugin
posted by blag at 6:33 PM on February 22, 2006

I read this story this morning and thought (again) how it is that the neocon agenda really manifests -- not in wingnut talk shows, but in the lives of innocent people who don't deserve the burden forced upon them.

What on earth do the excesses of a socialized medical system have to do with the Neocon agenda? If the Neocons had there way she wouldn't even had medical care in the first place.
posted by delmoi at 10:42 PM on February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart = Limbaugh?

This might be a shock, but I used to listen to Limbaugh when i was in middleschool/highschool. I thought he was funny, but there is really no comparison.

For one thing Stewart isn't a perpetual lier with no regard for the truth.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 PM on February 22, 2006


My name is Opposite George and I'm a Rush Limbaugh addict. I listened to my last Rush Limbaugh show 13 1/2 years ago.

I discovered him right out of college (I'm 39,) thought he was funny and tuned in when I got the chance. His show made quite an impression on this listener - somebody who'd worked in radio a little and had been a fan of the medium since he could walk - he had a unique gift and took advantage of it. To me, there really was nothing else like him at the time (except maybe Howard,) and I was willing to overlook some of his more distasteful material.

It was only after I started realizing how one-sided and, well, just bogus his show was, and how little the truth seemed to matter to him or his listeners, that I gave up on him. My growing up a little and getting a little smarter probably helped, too. Anyway, this realization hit me in the months leading up to the 1992 election. So that's about 2 years lost.

Or, as a fellow bleeding-heart big-time radio fan colleague used to say, "I used to love Rush until I realized how dangerous he is."
posted by Opposite George at 11:39 PM on February 22, 2006

And let me add, I think he's lost almost all of his edge as he's become more establishment. I doubt even my 23-year-old dumbass self would have found the current incarnation appealing in the least.

(At least that's what I want to believe.)
posted by Opposite George at 11:44 PM on February 22, 2006

Did you two children have a rebuttal to offer, or are you busy drooling on yourselves? Limbaugh mentioned a study done by an independent group that was reported by the Washington Times. Stark argued that the study shouldn't be taken seriously because the newspaper (not the independent group) takes money from Reverend Moon.

If you'd care to put down your Al Franken books and share exactly why Stark was right and Limbaugh was wrong, I'm listening. But I've got a hunch you didn't even listen to Stark's clip. You just decided Limbaugh must have been wrong because he's Rush Limbaugh and you read somewhere that he's bad.
posted by cribcage at 5:43 AM on February 23, 2006

the newspaper ... takes money from Reverend Moon


The newspaper is wholly owned by "Reverend" Moon and is his personal propaganda mouthpiece, at a financial loss of many millions a year.
Geez, cribcage, telll us about this "independent" group now. Can you be trusted to get that straight or will your bias show again?
posted by nofundy at 6:25 AM on February 23, 2006

Bill O'Reilly basically called himself a pinhead recently.

November 30, 2005:
O'REILLY: These pinheads running around going, "Get out of Iraq now," don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, "Ah, he's not such a bad guy." They don't get it.
February 20, 2006:
There are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them. And I don't -- we're never gonna be able to control them. So the only solution to this is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible.
In his defense, I suppose there's a difference between "now" and "as fast as humanly possible." I don't know what it is, though.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:48 AM on February 23, 2006

Did. You. Listen. To. The. Clip.

No? But...but you're arguing about it. And you're telling me that I'm wrong, even though I did listen to the clip. And you're telling me that I'm biased.

Help...irony meter...clipping...into..."Hypocrisy"...
posted by cribcage at 8:07 AM on February 23, 2006

Why'd you bring up Al Franken?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2006

By the way, O'Reilly spent a half-hour on his show denouncing personal attacks and listing example after example after example of liberals name-calling. Then a caller was put on the air and protested, "But Bill, I hear you call people 'pinheads' all the time!"

O'Reilly explained that "pinhead" was a catch phrase he used on the show. Therefore, it was different.
posted by cribcage at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2006

the washington times doesn't do reporting, it does propaganda for myung moon (and indirectly, for right wing establishmentarians). period, end of report. to deny that is to advance the propaganda agenda.

same with limbaugh. he's not engaged in any honest reading or assessment of facts or ideas. he's a blowhard propagandist, pure and simple. he's not interested in the truth whatsoever, and the only manner in which he can be right is maybe, MAYBE, when he gives the time over the air. but i don't really trust that either.

so yeah, i stand by my earlier comment. and i have never read anything about limbaugh that colors the opinion of him that i've formed based on the source material of his own goddamn show. it shouldn't take a thinking person much more than 10 minutes of limbaugh every couple years to realize he's a petty, poisonous propagandist.

oh, and a drug addict. i forgot that part.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:38 PM on February 23, 2006

Limbaugh didn't "deny" anything about the Washington Times, which you'd know if you had listened to the clip. He said that, since the newspaper only reported the study and had absolutely nothing to do with its production, Stark was foolish for trying to impugn the study by attacking the newspaper. I realize you're probably not well read, but surely you've heard the aphorism, "Don't shoot the messenger."

I'm sure you're proud to stand by your original comment, and I'm happy for you. It only proves you're a clown. Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, and Michael Moore might be partisan puppets and bomb-throwers, but none of them are the AntiChrist™ and every word they speak isn't necessarily wrong. And the acolytes on either side have no business sitting at the grown-up table.
posted by cribcage at 12:58 PM on February 23, 2006

there you go again.

equating limbaugh and hannity with franken is stunningly disingenuous -- if you can't see a difference between them aside from your dopey notion that they're just two sides of the same coin, well, you're simply a dumbass.

i'll allow that michael moore engages in his own fair bit of propaganda, but i could also point out several examples of moore's earnest truth-seeking and also several instances when he was absolutely right (remember the "fictional times" speech at the oscars? i posit that that was pretty spot-on, especially given the forced removal of scales from some eyes as iraq descends further towards hell).

not sure what grownup table you're thinking of -- is it the one where rush says that donovan mcnabb is getting a free pass from the "liberal media?" or the one where sean hannity is finger-diddling ann coulter under the cloth napkin in her lap?

neither limbaugh or hannity are the antichrist, and no one has said anything of the sort. they're just in the service of lies and propaganda. if you want to project that as being part of some dumbass biblical end-times scheme, go right ahead. but it's not what i or anyone else said.

and for the last time: the washington times doesn't "report" anything, no matter how hard they try to dress their propaganda machine in the bespoke finery of a legitimate news organization.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:35 PM on February 23, 2006

meaning that whatever the "study" that they were "reporting" on has to say will only have legitimacy to the extent that it's reported upon by a real news organization, and as a cite, the WT is worthless.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:38 PM on February 23, 2006

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