Talk radio update

Talk radio was all over the Fast and Furious controversy, especially in light of the Obama administration’s claim of executive privilege with respect to some documents a congressional committee wants.

Mike Huckabee devoted an hour and a half to the topic, mostly along the lines of this is an important controversy and you should be concerned whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. He never persuaded me that even he would care as much if the parties were reversed, much less that I should, and even if he had, so what? I don’t need ideological persuasion on this issue; I need evidence.

But I shouldn’t complain because Huckabee devoted one segment of his 90-minute diatribe to Andrew Napolitano, whose opinions I respect. Napolitano made what sounded to me like a pretty persuasive case that executive privilege shouldn’t apply in this case, although he didn’t quite answer all of the questions I would have liked to ask. So 15 useful minutes out of 90 minutes of talk radio — that’s a darn good ratio.

Michael Smerconish tried to take a balanced approach, as always. He didn’t say much I hadn’t heard, some of it from him when he was subbing for Chris Matthews on MSNBC the day before. But it’s always so quirky to hear balance in talk radio that it never fails to take me slightly by surprise.

No such surprises on Hannity, of course, whose sole interest appeared to be in pinning the whole scandal on President Obama. Even guest Karl Rove wasn’t willing to go that far, so I guess that counts as balanced from Hannity’s point of view: insane speculation that makes the president look bad balanced by sane speculation that makes the president look bad.

Even Hannity had a useful segment when he had on Austan Goolsbee, formerly part of Obama’s cabinet. Goolsbee appeared to want to make the point that both parties should work together, but this effort was immediately sidetracked by Hannity, who noted that it is all Obama’s fault, except for the parts that are the fault of Democrats in general.

This forced Goolsbee to defend Obama, so we had 15 minutes of Hannity bouncing his usual talking points off Goolsbee, who really is a pretty sharp fellow and was able to blunt the attacks without ever getting back to his main point. Too bad.

Single moment on NPR that was better than everything on talk radio all day: an interview with Mike Wilson, who mentioned the title of his book: “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison.”


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