Monday, July 22, 2013

Forum: Who's Your Favorite Talk Show Host and Why? Which One Do You Like Least?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on an issue of the day. This week's question: Who's Your Favorite Talk Show Host and Why? Which One Do You Like Least?

The Colossus of Rhodey: I have two national radio favorites. I like Rush Limbaugh primarily for his humor and perspective on media bias. Some of his comments and bits are incredibly funny. One that I will always remember from years ago was a comment about former CA representative Tom Lantos. Lantos, a Democrat, was complaining about something regarding the GOP (as usual) and suddenly Rush yells "STOP THE TAPE!" There's a few seconds of awkward silence and then he calmly says, "Is it me or does Lantos sound like a classic James Bond villain?" I almost drove off the road I was laughing so hard because it was sooooo spot-on! (Lantos had a thick accent as he was born in Hungary.)

For intellectual discussion and demeanor, I like Michael Medved. Not only is he very smart, but he is very fair. While driving home from Kentucky last week I had him on the radio for a few hours. The subject, obviously, was the Zimmerman verdict. Michael had on a guest who believed differently than he, yet despite the polar opposite opinions, the conversation and demeanor towards callers were polite and respectful.

On television I like Bill O'Reilly. While I think he yells a bit too much and tends to get angry at the drop of a hat, his honesty and no-BS attitude are very refreshing. And, with me being very anti-media bias, Bill is right up my alley, especially with regular guests Bernie Goldberg and Dennis Miller.

My least favorite host is probably Sean Hannity. While I certainly feel Sean is very fair and polite (overall and to guests with opposing views), his shows (radio and TV) are way too repetitive in terms of topics. Not to mention Sean rehashes many of the same talking points day after day after day.

For what it's worth, when I say that my least favorite was Sean Hannity I'm not even considering any leftist radio/TV hosts. I think that goes without saying!!

The Noisy Room: My favorite talk show host on television and on radio is by far, Glenn Beck. Beck is extremely accurate in what he sees coming down the pike. He also combines research, news, politics, morality and humor in a way that I thoroughly enjoy. I feel that Glenn Beck speaks from his heart and does his level best to check and double check his facts. He tells the truth whether it hurts or not, but in the end, he works very hard to propose solutions and bring Americans together. He is not only a man of God, he is charitable and giving. The sign of a truly good human being. He is also a man who is not partisan, but takes his truth and facts wherever he finds them. And although he claims to not be a journalist, that is the true trait of a good newsman. I admire Beck because he always strives to do the right thing, no matter what it takes. It's a pity more are not like him. He is a dedicated student of history and is unafraid. He is someone I would be proud to call a friend.

My least favorite is Bill Maher, who bears a strong resemblance to the rear end of numerous animals. He is hateful, mean-spirited, spiteful and just plain evil. I can no more bear to listen to him than I can the Marxist-in-Chief. He's not funny or entertaining -- he's gauche and abhorrent to me.

JoshuaPundit: I don't watch television, but what I see on the 'net of Jon Stewart almost always cracks me up even though I don't agree with his politics. He simply understands funny, something that's a bit of a lost art these days.

When it comes to radio my two favorites are Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. What they have in common is that they are Classic Liberals who believe in freedom, human dignity, the Constitution and man's right to define his or her own destiny.I identify with that a lot.

I originally started listening to Rush during the Clinton years, when Hillary was yammering on about the Vast Right Wing conspiracy and a lot of the media followed along by demonizing him. I naturally tuned in just to see what the fuss was about.

I was certainly not as much on the right side of the spectrum back then. So my first impression was that I could see he was smart, that his facts were mostly correct, but I thought his conclusions were really mistaken. In the beginning, I kept listening just because hearing someone with that perspective was interesting and because I wanted to see how he would spin things when events proved him wrong.

Much to my surprise, the opposite happened. Almost all of what he predicted came true, and it turned out that his speculation on the motives and practices of the Left, particularly when it came to the Clintons was spot on. And he's continued to have a great track of the most astute commentators on the American scene. He's a deep thinker and you can reliably depend on him to look at a facet of a given issue that hasn't occurred to you.

Mark Levin, again is scary smart and seems unafraid to tackle the current regime. Being a lawyer he sometimes gets a bit pedantic, but his knowledge of the Constitution and his ability to get to the main issues at stake are a real treasure.

I also enjoy Dennis Prager for a lot of the same reasons and for the quality of his interviews with his guests.

Least favorites? I've never enjoyed listening to stupid people. Geraldo, Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller (who used to actually be quite witty and funny before she got the Air America disease), I'm looking in your direction.

Liberty's Spirit: Talk shows…wow…having grown up in the age of Phil Donahue and Oprah I was addicted to talk shows at one time. I had found them informative and they actually brought to light many issues that weren’t discussed in the age of noncable news. But sadly this medium degenerated into the sordid and depraved. As it lost its audience it lost any vestige of importance or relevance by resorting to attracting the lowest common denominator of society. Also the more openly leftwing they became (Donahue for example) the more irrelevant they became. Finally once Oprah endorsed Obama for President and used her bully pulpit to campaign for him, there was no real reason to care what she said about anything. Admittedly, however, her “most favorite things” shows were always a lot of fun.

I also do not watch The View. I did when it first started, simply because of my misplaced respect for Barbara Walters. The View is hyperbole and ignorance exemplified. At one time there were interesting and multi-pronged discussions, but as co-hosts were replaced it became obvious that those with any true educational value need not apply. It is self-righteous self-important overwhelmingly Leftist indignation. Barbara Walters, once thought to be the epitome of the female journalist has degenerated into a partisan hack. I found her admittance that she had an adulterous affair, which she thought made her a great person, one to be lionized, to be disgusting. All she did was prove that she is an immoral, and self-righteous. Furthermore, the fact that today the new co-host is Jenny McCarthy, whose greatest claim to fame other than posing nude for Playboy, is promoting an ignorant and debunked view that childhood vaccines cause autism. Sadly, due to her celebrity status, McCarthy has had a big hand in bringing back many almost eradicated deadly childhood diseases in first-world-nations, such as measles. She has, through books and affiliation with Generation Rescue, added to vaccine fearmongering, and the promotion of medically disproven and dangerous therapies. Her addition only adds to the proof that The View has simply degenerated into nonsense and irrelevance, gearing itself to the low-information-voter.

Now turning to talk radio I had thought I would find interesting, introspective and informative news when listening to conservative hosts. At first I did find it a highly regarded step into another arena for information. That did not last long. Quite frankly talk radio has degenerated into a whining, complaining symbol of self-important nonsense, especially since Obama won reelection and on social issues. The ranting and raving of talk show hosts is embarrassing. Not one offers any answers. They have latched onto the negative of society and continue to stoke the fire of discord. I do not find them any different than their Leftist counterparts. I have yet to find any radio hosts that truly talk to disagreeing callers with any respect and argue with true intellect. They seem to need to score points with derogatory insulting rhetoric and bullying tactics.

Today I generally do not watch nor listen to talk shows. I try every once in awhile the Sunday morning shows and continue to be sorely disappointed. They are partisan and break no new ground. Boring comes to mind. For my news I find it on line. I mostly read the WSJ and even peruse the liberal websites like, NYT, Washington Post, Huffington Post and Daily Beast (just to see what is being said and the tenure and tone of the argument).

I find the most interesting avenue for information is today’s news bloggers. Not for their own opinions but for the stories they bring out and their investigative reporting. I follow news sources; bloggers, editorialists, writers, magazines and newspapers on twitter for my news and rarely, if ever, watch any programs (straight news or talk) on television. That is not to say that most commentators on line, are any better at criticism nor challenges as their radio or television partners, nor do they necessarily offer anymore of an honest discussion. But at least when you argue back they can't shut you up. You have the same medium that they do to state your opinion and argue your points. A bit of a more level playing field so to speak.

Virginia Right!:  My least favorite talk show host is easy. All of the liberal ones.

But when the question is which right leaning talk show host is my most and least favorite, the answer (obviously) will be different. And starting with my least favorite I would have to go with Michael Savage. It is rare when I can listen to this man for more than a minute or two without reaching for the radio buttons. Savage must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. He takes absurd to a new level and is probably the only radio or television talk show host that exceeds the pompousness of Rush Limbaugh completely without merit.

But as to a favorite, I would have to say it is a tie.

Mark Levin and Greg Gutfeld are almost as opposite as it gets, but they would have to be the top of my "best of the best" list.

Gutfeld can make a point with such an absurd analogy that his commentary is (often) both entertaining and enlightening. He often comes across as nothing more than comic relief, but there is a lot of depth to the absurdity that comes out of his mouth. Often, to make a joke out of a serious topic is either in poor taste or impossible to pull off. Gutfeld manages to make it work. And he has a serious side, but he hides it well.

And Mark Levin, what can you say. Is there anyone on the air today that is more knowledgeable, more passionate or insightful than Levin? While he has a keen sense of humor, his stirring and heart felt monologs make you want to wave the American flag and pitch in and help fight the good fight. Levin understands where we have been as a nation and more importantly, the danger of the road we are now on.

The Glittering Eye: I don't know that I'm the best person to answer this question. I don't know that I've watched talk shows a dozen times since Carson retired. Today's crop of hosts seem too needy to me--they want to be the center of attention too much. Or maybe I'm just not interested in their guests. I'm not sure I care what Justin Timberlake or Gwyneth Paltrow's political opinions are. I've tried to watch The View just for cultural enrichment so to speak. I could stand about two minutes of it.

On the radio I listen to exactly one talk show: Sound Opinions, the one and only (to the best of my knowledge) rock 'n' roll talk show. I don't know much about popular music or even listen to it but I do like to hear knowledgeable, informed people talk about the subject of their interests.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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