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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let's Not Forget the Rest of the Story

Paul Harvey: Everyone's favorite homespun racist, homophobic neocon.
Forgive me if I don't get caught up in all the flowery tributes being offered up for Paul Harvey. First of all, he was less than the highest example of journalistic integrity. Many of his stories were urban myths, if not outright fabrications, passed off as actual fact. Others were true stories distorted to fit his political viewpoints.

The very style that he is so revered for was stolen from Bill Stern, something that he never acknowledged until previously unavailable tapes of Stern's "Colgate Sports Reel" were discovered showing that his style was a virtual copy of Stern's previous broadcasts. But, if plagiarism and deceptive reporting were his only transgressions, I could overlook him as yet another stuffed shirt who championed style over substance. However, it's the hatred and fear-mongering that makes all these Paul Harvey tributes painting him as the embodiment of Americana so inappropriate.

Among other things, Harvey supported McCarthyism, sought and was a finalist for the VP nomination of the segregationist American Independent Party alongside George Wallace ("Hardcore Harvey railed against homosexuality, left-wing radicals and black militants"), and characterized the Watergate scandal as a "media overthrow of the United States government." Plus, like any good right wing blow hard, he was a war-mongering hypocrite, who himself avoided serving during wartime.

The fact that he received a psychiatric discharge from the Army during WWII, after intentionally injuring himself to avoid serving in the infantry, didn't prevent him from being a vocal supporter of the Vietnam War. However, he did have his famous change of heart about the Vietnam War when he declared to Nixon: "Mr. President, I love you...but you're wrong." I'm sure that it was just a coincidence that his son, Paul Jr., had been drafted into the army and subsequently chose to declare himself a conscientious objector rather than go to Vietnam and that didn't have any effect on Paul Sr.'s sudden epiphany about the merits of the war.

More recently, he had a return to his blood thirsty roots during an appearance on the Larry King Show when he spoke of how it bothered him to hear about military planners' efforts to avoid killing civilians, and even more so, when he broadcast this nostalgic remembrance of America's past slaughter of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans as a key to our prosperity, during which he encouraged nuclear and biological warfare against innocent civilians:

I've been choking on something for weeks. Lets get it, up and get it out, for what it's worth. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American people, he said the American people he said, and this is a direct quote, "We didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy." That was his response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. That we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. And that reminder was taken seriously and we proceeded to develop and deliver the bomb even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a single blow, World War II was over.

NewYork's September 11 Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill was not here to remind us that we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. So following the New York disaster we mustered our humanity, we gave old pals a pass even though men and money from Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for the devastation of New York and Pennsylvania and our Pentagon. We called Saudi Arabia our partners against terrorism and we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and we kept our best weapons in their silos. Even now, we're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies, more moral, more civilized. Our image is at stake, we insist.

But we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. Once upon a time we uh, elbowed our way onto and into this continent by giving smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans. Yes, that was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever and we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. And so it goes with most great nation-states, which feeling guilty about their savage pasts, eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry, up and coming who are not made of sugar candy. Paul Harvey - Good Day! (read transcript)
But then he did have a really folksy voice and a soothing delivery.

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Kelly W. Patterson said...

Absolutely Wrench,

Not just a supporter, but an outright proponent. It offended him to hear that avoiding the killing of innocent civilians might be a consideration. And now because he finally died we are supposed to hold him as some sort of hero and symbol of what's great about America.

Arizona Packers said...

Loved readding this thank you

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