James P. Lubinskas, American Renaissance, January 1999
In a culture dominated by liberal assumptions, Americans have to look hard for the truth about race and immigration. They can find it on the internet, on some cable-access channels, occasionally on C-Span, and sometimes on talk radio. Of these, radio is by far the most popular medium and has the greatest impact.
The current reach of talk radio is relatively recent. Although some hosts, like David Brudnoy in Boston, have had devoted followings for years, talk radio began in earnest in the late 1980s, and by 1993 Rush Limbaugh could claim over 20 million listeners. Mr. Limbaugh’s success drew many imitators, and by the mid-90s other conservatives such as Oliver North and Gordon Liddy had programs. Talk radio reflects America. Although broadcasters are constrained to some degree by liberal taboos, they hire hosts who can win audiences, so programming is generally conservative. National Public Radio, which goes to Congress and its listeners rather than the market for support, is relentlessly leftist but in commercial radio, liberals like Jerry Brown and Mario Cuomo have failed to develop sizable audiences.
Because there is so little straight talk about race in the mainstream media, talk radio is a good gauge of how Americans feel about it. And since hosts reflect their listeners, they themselves are considerably more representative of popular opinion than are the editorial pages of the New York Times or even the New York Post.
What do some of the major personalities in the business think about the issues that most affect the country’s future? AR asked seven well-known talk-radio hosts about their views on race and immigration: David Brudnoy, Larry Elder, Bob Grant, Ken Hamblin, Michael Medved, Al Rantel and Michael Reagan. They are all on the right but range from standard “Reaganite” conservative, to libertarian, to views close to those of AR. Mr. Hamblin and Mr. Elder are black. We asked to interview Rush Limbaugh and Gordon Liddy but they declined.
All the hosts agree that talk radio is important because it is so open to dissent. Ken Hamblin calls it “the unfiltered voice of the American people,” who are tired of writing letters to their local newspapers that are altered or ignored. Al Rantel says radio offers “the most opportunity to the average person who cannot get on television or in the newspapers.” Larry Elder points to the number of dissident magazines and Internet sites and says that “talk radio is only a part of the move away from liberal dominance of the media.”
Mr. Grant, however, discovered the limits of talk radio’s openness in 1996 when he mentioned the AR conference that was to be held later that year in Louisville. “These are outstanding speakers,” he said, “and if I can, I’m going to take my microphone down there and tune in.” This infuriated a lefty group called Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), which took out an ad in the New York Times accusing Mr. Grant of “bigotry” and of promoting “white supremacy.” WABC, which had just been bought by the Walt Disney Company, soon fired Mr. Grant even though he had the highest ratings at the station. He quickly landed a job at another New York broadcaster, WOR, and his program is as popular as ever.
All the hosts criticize affirmative action and most get hate mail when they do so. David Brudnoy, for example, is a favorite target of Harvard’s white liberals, but Mr. Elder has had what may be the worst experience with hate mail — probably because he is black. A Los Angeles group called Talking Drum Community Forum stirred up an intense campaign against him and distributed scurrilous fliers to sponsors. The fliers claimed, among other things, that Mr. Elder thinks it appropriate to refer to blacks as “niggers.” At the height of the campaign he even got death threats. Mr. Elder invited representatives of the group to appear on his program to debate the fliers, but they refused. Several sponsors withdrew support and the broadcaster cut his air-time from four to two hours a day. However, replacements failed to match Mr. Elder’s ratings, and he is now back to four hours.
All of these program hosts are critical of American immigration policy. Mr. Brudnoy and Mr. Medved both brought up the 1965 immigration act, which they blamed for opening the door to Third World immigration. Mr. Brudnoy calls the act “a catastrophe” and says we now need a moratorium for at least 10 years. Mr. Medved says the 1965 act boiled down to the question of, “Should Anglo-Saxon culture be dissipated or should it be respected?” He believes the act was a badly mistaken attempt at “social engineering.”
Mr. Rantel says our current immigration policy is “out of control” and points to the disastrous Mariel boatlift from Cuba that filled Miami with criminals and mental defectives from Fidel Castro’s jails. Mr. Hamblin has actually accompanied INS agents patrolling the border and has seen Mexicans crawling up through sewers in San Diego and even shooting at agents.
Mr. Reagan says legal immigration is as much a problem as illegal immigration, and notes that terrorists have been let in legally. He also decries widespread unwillingness to assimilate, pointing out that if he went to live in Mexico, he would think it only proper to learn Spanish and adopt Mexican culture. Of those non-whites who do not assimilate he wonders, “why did they come here in the first place? We will go to hell in a hand basket if we become multicultural.”
Even Mr. Elder, who calls himself a libertarian, criticizes immigration policy because many people come for welfare rather than to work.
How will America change if whites become a minority? The majority of the hosts said it will change for the worse. Mr. Grant said that “our European customs will eventually be supplanted.” Mr. Brudnoy also predicts that Third World values will push aside Western civilization. Mr. Reagan, who lives in California, has already seen the effect of “group rights trumping individual liberty.” Mr. Hamblin says he has been to places like Haiti and Puerto Rico and wants none of it. He notes that many Haitian and Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the U.S. resemble Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Mr. Rantel and Mr. Elder say we will change but not necessarily for the worse. Mr. Rantel says that “as a universal nation, America is always evolving. As long as we maintain good values it will be O.K.” Mr. Elder claims that whites need not worry about becoming a minority so long as government does not overtax or over-regulate. If private property is respected and the police offer whites the same protection they do to all other groups there should be no problems. He is not concerned about the quality of new citizens but does worry that Mexicans tend to vote heavily Democratic.
Mr. Medved says racial numbers-counting is “stupidity,” and claims that Hispanics are primarily white. “This is the heart of our confusion over race;” he says “this idea of a non-white majority is a mistaken notion.” He thinks current immigrants, particularly Hispanics, will assimilate if we just treat them like the European ethnics who came at the turn of the century.
The hosts are split on whether it is legitimate for whites to develop racial consciousness. Mr. Hamblin believes whites have no choice but to do so in the face of Asian, Hispanic, and black consciousness: “Whites really do not know about the extent of anti-white racism . . . Whites should take it seriously,” he explains. Mr. Brudnoy thinks growing white racial consciousness is inevitable. “People are reactive. Why should we glorify the Third World and not us? Whites will not roll over and play dead.”
Mr. Grant and Mr. Reagan see a double standard at work with regard to racial consciousness. “We have been given a great legacy,” says Mr. Grant, “but those who want to preserve it are[called] ‘racist.’” He says we should not hesitate to defend our culture but that “as long as we are afraid, it won’t happen.” Mr. Reagan stops short of advocating white solidarity, but observes that “only whites are blamed for having racial consciousness.”
Mr. Elder disdains all racial consciousness, saying that people should concentrate on living responsible lives. “It is not in anyone’s best interest to think of himself as a racial group member.”
How much importance do these men give to their own racial identities? Most say it is a part of who they are but does not define them. Mr. Rantel and Mr. Reagan both say they recognize themselves as white, but that they are primarily American. Mr. Grant says he is proud of his European heritage because “my ancestors have contributed as much, if not more, to world civilization as any other group.” Mr. Elder says “I am just Larry Elder,” and that being black is only one of many things that make him who he is.
Mr. Medved describes himself as “an American of Jewish ancestry and Jewish faith.” Mr. Brudnoy says he usually thinks of himself as white when he faces racial harassment or hostility.
The Importance of Race
None of the hosts disputed the fact that there are racial differences in IQ but most doubt there is a genetic basis for the differences. Mr. Grant says “I know too many smart black people and too many dumb white people.” He believes academic achievement is “definitely a cultural thing,” and thinks Asian children are academically successful because their parents value education and hard work.
Mr. Hamblin thinks affirmative action and the acceptance of illegitimacy and immorality in the ghetto make blacks less competitive. He points out that Jews and Asians have faced discrimination but do not demand quotas, and believes that if blacks knew they had to compete to succeed, they would work harder and do better.
Mr. Reagan is not sure whether IQ differences are genetic, but he marvels at the academic success of poor Asian immigrants who barely speak English. He worries that a genetic argument could play into the hands of the left: “They can say that without quotas, minorities will not be able to compete.”
Mr. Brudnoy is the best informed about IQ and heredity. He thinks there is a strong genetic component to intelligence and that heredity explains at least part of the racial differences. “IQ tests have been validated and they do demonstrate ‘g.’” He defends intelligence testing for entry into universities and dismisses claims of “test bias” against blacks. “SAT scores actually over-predict black performance,” he says. He doubts that IQ scores can be altered by manipulating the environment and he assigns The Bell Curve to his students at Boston University, where he teaches a course on the media.
Mr. Medved declined to speculate on whether IQ differences have a genetic origin, saying, “The issue is too complex for the few lines you are going to quote me on.”
Charting the Future
Do these talk radio personalities see more or less racial conflict in the future? The optimists slightly outnumbered the pessimists. Mr. Elder recommends a libertarian, pre-“civil-rights era” approach to solving racial conflict — that is, respect private property and freedom of association, and let people do business, live and go to school with whomever they wish. He adds, “I am an optimist, anyway. I just expect to be treated well by others.” Mr. Rantel does not dismiss the problem of race and says that, “as long as people are different there will be conflicts.” Still, he claims he is a “Ronald Reagan conservative,” who is naturally optimistic about the future.
Mr. Grant and Mr. Reagan are mildly optimistic. They see less racial strife in the future if we end affirmative action and if new immigrants assimilate.
Mr. Medved is mildly pessimistic. “There has never been a society free from racial strife and conflict. Ethnicity will always have a part to play.” He concedes that ethnic pride is good, but if taken too far it can lead to violence. He believes there is a real American identity and that newcomers should assimilate into it.
Mr. Hamblin and Mr. Brudnoy are very pessimistic about the future. Mr. Hamblin says there is a chance of violence and bloodshed on the level of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Mr. Brudnoy is not worried about North Asians “who tend to have values similar to ours,” but says “we [whites] are the target of hostile attitudes from blacks and Hispanics.”
Although some of these conservatives have views that may seem ill-informed or naïve to AR readers, they reflect a significant departure from conventional thinking. These men are completely free of the “blame-the-white-man” mentality so common among public figures. None places Third World practices above Western civilization and none has anything but contempt for the multicultural nonsense prevalent in the media and academia. Though they have different views of the importance of race, they are refreshingly open to discussing it. It is men like these who help talk radio chip away at the rigid liberalism that has for so long set the boundaries of acceptable discourse.