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The good news is that the ratings for Phil Donahue’s MSNBC talkfest were so weak they forced the program’s unceremonious termination; the bad news is that MSNBC gave this raving anti-American, pro-Palestinian leftist a platform in the first place, reconfiguring its entire nighttime lineup around him and terminating the program hosted by the pro-Israel Alan Keyes in the process.
The contrast with Keyes was never more clear than the night when Donahue hosted the Jewish pro-Palestinian activist Adam Shapiro and his Palestinian wife, Huiwaida Arraf, and conducted the interview as if on bended knee — at one point cooing to the couple, “You take our breath away,” and at another gushing, “…Man and wife; holy cow….I’ll tell you, this is unbelievable…”
Donahue’s most recent audience may have been minuscule, but make no mistake: when they look back at the social and cultural meltdown that preceded and ultimately abetted the demise of American civilization, future generations will take special note of the singularly mendacious influence of this pioneer of daytime television talk.
Indeed, it is not too strong a statement to suggest that it was Donahue, more than any other media figure of the 1970′s and 80′s, who softened up the moral underbelly of Middle America, leaving it all too vulnerable to assault by the forces bent on a complete eradication of traditional norms and values.
While it’s true that Donahue was hardly the first and certainly not the last media star to push a particular agenda on a more or less captive audience, he nevertheless was uniquely situated to capture the hearts and minds of the legions of (mostly) women tired of the usual mind-numbing slop routinely served up on daytime television.
And, truth be told, his program, certainly in its earlier years, did stand a few intellectual notches above the spinning wheels and video pulp that littered the landscape of television’s morning and afternoon wasteland.
But in short time the Donahue show became the most slanted and misleading program aired on a regular basis; indeed, a steady diet could leave a viewer wondering whether there was still a solitary well-adjusted Caucasian of moderate taste and modest demeanor to be found anywhere in the country.
Yes, the gang of grotesqueries was all there: A collection of perverts, narcissists and out-and-out psychotics, with Donahue himself in the role of glorified ringmaster presiding over a circus in which specimens of the most exotically deviant lifestyles regularly took center ring, invariably in the company of some trendy sociologist or pop psychologist armed with misleading statistics and glib justifications.
All of the above, it should be noted, occurred years before the onslaught of the talk show vulgarians — Oprah and Sally and Geraldo and Montel and Jerry and Jenny and Ricki, not to mention the dozens of others whose efforts were, mercifully, much more short lived — who focused the attention of critics on the phenomenon that came to be known as “trash TV.”
The phrase may have been coined for the sleazemeisters who followed in Donahue’s wake, but trash TV of the daytime variety had its genesis on the Donahue show — though Phil, in contrast to his television progeny who shamelessly blamed their excesses on an increasingly dumbed-down pool of viewers, shrewdly couched his penchant for the lowest of the lowbrow in the highbrow rhetoric of political correctness, employing the sensitive cadences beloved by liberals:
We’re expanding horizons! Exploring neglected areas of the human condition! Raising society’s level of tolerance! Moral equivalence! Egalitarianism! Multiculturalism uber alles!
Making of a Space Age Liberal
According to his 1980 autobiography, Phil Donahue grew up a rather repressed young man, terribly inhibited and plagued by all manner of monstrous neuroses caused by the strict Catholic ambience of his childhood.
Poor Phil apparently felt shackled by the moral absolutes that informed church doctrine — so much so that his struggle to cast off all traces of his religious upbringing would last well into adulthood.
Then along came the Sixties, wondrous decade of self-indulgent baby boomers
proclaiming that they — not their mothers and certainly not their fathers — knew best about how the world works, or ought to work, and never mind five thousand years of recorded human history and the customs and conventions that developed over millennia.
This flouting of traditional standards, coupled as it was with a sniveling disregard for all forms of authority, found a home in the hearts of college students across the country (not all, or even most, but enough to attract the kind of heavy — and largely celebratory — media coverage that served to permanently identify an entire generation with the burgeoning counterculture).
But callow, college-age youth were not the only Americans to fall under the spell of the anti-establishment, revolution-for-the-hell-of-it pied pipers of the countercultural left; there existed no shortage of adults who, lacking the perspective and wisdom usually associated with age, loudly let it be known that, hey, maybe the kids were on to something.
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.
The topics are “The Reagan Strategy,” and the “Iran Time Bomb.”
The fact that ObamaCare was sold with lies multiplies the political resonance tenfold.
Terrorists are not folks and Americans were not attacked but murdered in a despicable and cold-blooded act of terrorism.
Released prisoner: “[In prison] we’d chat, talk, eat, drink, joke and play throughout the day.”
It would still be too hazardous for an Arab government to accept Israel’s nationhood.
Ignoring the wages of “forgiveness” in South Africa and Gush Katif, Rabbi John L. Rosove usurps the Genesis story of Joseph and his brothers.
Singling out Israel is not only malevolent, it is absurd.
The term “apartheid” is often used by advocates determined to achieve their own goals for their own purposes.
The arrest of a businessman is part of a campaign by the PA to intimidate and extort money.
To date, all the Bedouins’ legal land ownership claims that reached the courts have failed.
“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”
Israel’s R&D expenditure is higher than any western country.
With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.
As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.
George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.
Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.
Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.
Oscar “Ossie” Schectman, who scored the first basket in the history of the league that evolved into the National Basketball Association, died last week at age 94.
It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? And yet it seems like the conversation was never really interrupted, as I’ve enjoyed, in the three and a half months since this column last appeared, many an interesting exchange, via e-mail and phone, with some very intelligent readers.
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