October 23, 2009

My Forty-Five Seconds of Fame

Category: News — Ira @ 6:51 pm


“One may smile and smile, and be a villain.”

William Shakespeare: Hamlet

Well, it’s been a wild week. Probably unlike any I’ve ever experienced before, or ever will again. My fleeting seconds of fame on CNN came and went like a speck of dust in the wind. Here briefly, then whoosh, gone forever. Old musty details in today’s wildly accelerating 24-hour news cycle. (For those out of the loop, the link to the CNN piece is here.)

It was wild, to see myself on film. My grand debut. Broadcast to the world. A bit anti-climactic, and strange. Overall, I probably shouldn’t complain too much. They did an OK job. These people are drive-by media, professionals who without any qualms whatsoever routinely destroy the lives of ordinary citizens. So I consider myself lucky. I got through relatively unscathed.

It was strange too, to see what they chose to run. It’s a bit like writing a story, I suppose. Often when I write, I’m not sure exactly which details will emerge. The story grows organically. I think the CNN people did the same thing.

When Carol Costello interviewed me, 80% of the conversation was focused on Rush. What did I think of him? Does he influence my beliefs? Do I think he influences elections? And so on. I also strongly stated my political beliefs. Libertarian. A huge fan of Ron Paul. Pull our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop policing the world. And so forth.

I thought my answers were OK. Fairly articulate. Reasoned. Calm. But now no one will ever know. Because on the film I never mentioned Rush at all in any way. Or Ron Paul. Or my libertarian views. Others discussed Rush. But not me.

What did I think of the video? Well, it seemed like from the locals, talk show host Bob Durgin, who was interviewed solely because I mentioned him, got the most air time. And he was good. Entertaining. Very outspoken. Second most air time went to Big Blue, I think. My truck was a gleaming star. Glad I washed him the night before, and dusted the dashboard. I came in third, for all of about forty-five seconds. Fading out at the end, walking from Big Blue. Then back to Carol Costello and her condescending smile, to close it out.

I grade it a C or C minus. There is no question in my mind the three-segment series was designed and produced as a hit job on conservatives in particular and talk radio in general. They smiled and smiled while filming me, but villainy lurked in their hearts.

I don’t think they succeeded. And two things especially irritated me.

It was all so dramatic. First, Carol Costello breathlessly proclaimed that by 3 PM, I’d already listened to conservative talk radio for EIGHT hours. Strongly implying that I’m either a wacko or a slacker, or both. Which I didn’t exactly appreciate.

Two days later, however, columnist Denis Keohane on American Thinker knocked that little implication right out of the ball park. And he linked to my blog. Great guy.

The second irritation was by far the most egregious. And that was my final brief on- camera comment. Where Carol Costello dramatically intoned that I know all about anger. Which was silly. I wasn’t angry during the interview. I didn’t look angry while making the comment. But there I was, stating that I trust no politician in this world, Republican or Democrat. Well, I don’t. Except Ron Paul. Which I stated clearly at the end of that sentence, as PART OF the sentence. And Jim Clymer, the Constitutional Party chairman. I said that too. But they sliced out my tribute to both of these fine men. Thereby making me say something I had not said.

I’ve long been suspicious of what I saw and heard on TV news shows. Sound bites are sound bites. Isolated, lacking context. They can make you say anything they want you to say. That’s what I’d heard, and what I believed. Now I know.

But I’m glad they played it the way they did, rather than the opposite. Better to be known as virulently distrustful of all politicians than trusting them more than I do. In my opinion, only a fool trusts politicians in general.

The Monday morning segment unleashed tremendous turbulent waves out there on the internet and talk radio. I’m sure Rush didn’t see me, but his people did. He raged at length about it on his show that very afternoon, thereby garnering about two million more viewers to watch the program who otherwise would never have known it even existed, which was probably exactly what CNN was secretly hoping for. He was particularly irate at the frizzy-haired psychiatrist who piously opined that Rush is a bully. That was a new one. Strange. I never felt bullied. But then, what do I know? I gaped at her onscreen. Tried to imagine briefly what it would be like to come home from work every night to someone like her. It was impossible to visualize, too terrible to grasp. I’d rather be divorced.

Rush also went after my friend-for-an-hour, Carol Costello. Called her a stalker. As I’ve said before, 80% of her interview with me focused exclusively on him. She seemed locked in. Maybe she is a stalker. The interview was actually over, and Bob the producer had to yell for her to ask me about Bob Durgin, the local talk show host. So she did. My answer to that question was one of the few things you heard from me on the segment. After my vocal cords were strained and tired. Strange. Talk about Rush and my political views for twenty-five minutes, ask one question about Bob Durgin, then go with the answer to that one question.

To be fair to Carol, she discussed the interview in much more depth on her blog. I don’t know who made the final decisions as to what was seen on TV. Maybe Bob the producer.

So there it was and that was it. A grand adventure for a country hick like me. You bet, I’d do it all over again. But I’d be just a bit wiser the next time.

And now, a few words on a most neglected subject. Sports. My Jets, after a stellar 3-0 start with their star rookie quarterback, have slackened lately. Lost three in a row. Including last week’s loss to lowly Buffalo. However, I didn’t have to endure much ribbing from the guys at work, who were pretty quiet and hanging their heads after the Eagles’ loss to the even lowlier Raiders.

The Jets, at least, have an excuse. Rookie quarterback. He’s learning. He’ll grow. And he will win. On the other hand, if the ageing McNabb doesn’t perform for the Eagles, they’re done. Andy Reid can mumble all he wants. The Eagles are one-dimensional.

And that brings us to the Phillies. Back again to the World Series this year. Their arrogant thuggish fans are popping out of their hovels like rabbits. Crooning and crowing and wearing silly red outfits and waving flags. The evil Yankees managed to blow it last night, but they will prevail. It’ll be them and the Phillies. Evil empire versus the thugs. For me, it’s like a choice between the Russians and the Chi-coms. I hate both teams.

Should the Angels happen to pull it out, I’ll definitely cheer for them. But if it’s the evil Yankees, I’ve decided to cheer against both teams. Cheer every error, every out. For both sides. Which is not exactly conducive to mental stability and calmness. What’s that continuous dull roar I hear in my head at all hours? Cognitive dissonance?

Maybe I need to schedule a session or two with that frizzy-haired shrink after all. Oops, scratch that thought. I’d rather go insane.



  1. Big blue did shine up like a new penny.

    I had to listen to “American Morning” for three mornings on the way to work. Carol’s sweet little voice came on just outside of Trenton every time. On Monday morning, I thought the boys were all sound asleep in the truck, but when we got to the job, one of them asked, “Are you any relation to that angry man on CNN?”

    It was all in good humor. We thought you represented talk radio listeners proudly.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — October 23, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  2. Fall Greetings on a foggy Saturday morning. I am glad that you didn’t convert to Facebook completely.


    Comment by Gisa — October 24, 2009 @ 2:54 am

  3. Keep up the good work I enjoy reading your blogs, I’m an old friend of Willie & Lavern Hershberger would like to meet ya some time.

    John H.

    Comment by JR Hostetler — October 25, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  4. Wow – very cool stuff Ira. Congrats on making it to the big time. As for what they chose to show, hey, that’s out of your control. But the fact that you can post your whole interview here is great ;) I loved it.

    We share a lot of the same views (Ron Paul 2012!) and I enjoyed seeing what you had to say.

    Comment by DJ — October 27, 2009 @ 7:39 am


    The jbs dvd Behind the Big News (no longer available at ShopJBS.org) was the best short expose of “news” reality. But we all know by now, anyway. What to do is the question.

    Comment by LeRoy — October 27, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  6. Uncle i am dissappointed by your phillies rant. I’m pretty sure that over sunday lunch a few wks back you had agreed to cheer for the phils if they play the yanks… hmmm, but i wouldnt want you to have to be part of the “thuggish fans” so never mind. (:

    Comment by Elaine Wagler — November 1, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  7. I thought you looked perfectly happy and bubbly in this interview. I took the comment about you listening to Talk Radio for 8 hours as a positive. Honestly, my first thought was admiration. “How can his brain process both tasks at the same time regardless of how long he listens to the radio?”

    Speaking of Liberterians, Ron Paul is the guest speaker at a homeschool mega conference in Ohio at the beginning of April, 2013. I thought it would interesting to hear him, but I’m unable to attend.

    Ira, that was mean the way you talked about the psychiatrist. One thing you should never do is berate a woman by the way she looks. It makes you look like a disrespectful creep. Focusing on what she said would have been enough.

    Comment by Francine — January 23, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

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