Tag Archives: Tom Bauerle

#Obamacough?

13 Oct

(Starting around 0.38s)

“If you’re loving your Obamacough…if you’re loving that respiratory infection, it’s not a mystery – it comes from Obama’s children. If you’re enjoying that, why don’t you call Brian Higgins’ office and thank him for it, and ask if he’ll help pay your medical bills for whatever your doctor may have given you to counteract said cough.”

What is he talking about? What does this mean? What “Obamacough” did “Obama’s children” cause people in WNY to contract? Why should Brian Higgins pay for anyone’s medical bills, given that everyone in New York is mandated to have health insurance coverage nowadays either through their employer, through the exchange, or through Medicaid? 

In what way is this responsible? What sort of radio station is this, exactly, this WBEN? I mean, I get Bauerle saying any old oddity – that’s his job – but when it crosses the line from commentary into crackpot tin-foil hattery, doesn’t someone step in and do something about it?  

I mean, I know Obama is a public figure, and so are his kids, to a degree – I don’t put it past any right winger to leave Obama’s kids alone – but what evidence is there to back this up?  Isn’t this sort of the very definition of “actual malice” set forth in Sullivan v. New York Times

 

Bauerle: Now in Life & Arts

14 Jan

That was quick. 

The Buffalo News’ scary-important follow-up story, detailing that (a) Tom Bauerle was back on the air at WBEN on Monday; and (b) the town of Amherst is denying FOIL requests seeking reports of last week’s incident, was published in the Life & Arts section. Sunday’s story, by contrast was FRONT PAGE ZOMG. It didn’t take long for this Page Six gossip column to be relegated to the section where you’ll find the Golden Globes, a psychic, the Buzz, and a plan for an art barge on the Erie Canal. 

It would seem that the information the News obtained from two unnamed police sources was likely an improper release of private personal information, and cannot be corroborated. 

Though The News filed a Freedom of Information request regarding the 2:50 a.m. incident on Jan. 8, Amherst Town Attorney Thomas E. Jones issued a denial letter Monday.

“No crimes or arrests are reported,” Jones said. “The records do contain medical and other personal information concerning the subject. It is our opinion that the release of the report would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy as defined by the Public Officers Law.”

The relevant parts of the FOIL read, 

2. Each agency shall, in accordance with its published rules, make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that such agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that:

(a) are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute; 
(b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article;

2. (a) The committee on open government may promulgate guidelines regarding deletion of identifying details or withholding of records otherwise available under this article to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. In the absence of such guidelines, an agency may delete identifying details when it makes records available.
(b) An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to:

i. disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment;
ii. disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a medical facility;
iii. sale or release of lists of names and addresses if such lists would be used for solicitation or fund-raising purposes;
iv. disclosure of information of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such information is not relevant to the work of the agency requesting or maintaining it;
v. disclosure of information of a personal nature reported in confidence to an agency and not relevant to the ordinary work of such agency; or
vi. information of a personal nature contained in a workers’ compensation record, except as provided by section one hundred ten-a of the workers’ compensation law.
(c) Unless otherwise provided by this article, disclosure shall not be construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subdivision…

…(2) Nothing in this section shall require disclosure of: 
(a) personal information which is otherwise prohibited by law from being disclosed; 
(b) patient records concerning mental disability or medical records where such disclosure is not otherwise required by law; 
(c) personal information pertaining to the incarceration of an inmate at a state correctional facility which is evaluative in nature or which, if disclosed, could endanger the life or safety of any person, unless such disclosure is otherwise permitted by law; 

So, when I suggested in comments that the HIPAA law might apply, I was wrong. It was the FOIL itself that appears to expressly prohibit release of information concerning Bauerle’s psychotic episode. “Karma” doesn’t make it newsworthy. “Bauerle is an asshole” doesn’t make it newsworthy. The fact that his guns were confiscated under the NY SAFE Act – something with which he said he would never comply – is newsworthy, however. 

I asked you on Sunday to consider what it was that made the Buffalo News’ original Bauerle story newsworthy. I explained that Artvoice didn’t reach the same conclusion, and explained why.  Several people misinterpreted my article as a criticism of the News – it wasn’t. Many people left comments here and on Facebook, and some of them were thoughtful and persuasive. Many of you understood that I wasn’t necessarily saying the News was wrong for publishing the story, but asking people to ask themselves, or explain, why it was newsworthy. 

Some of you pointed out that Bauerle’s hatred of the NY SAFE Act, and the fact that firearms were involved in the underlying incident that led to Bauerle’s police involvement made it relevant, together with his prominence in the community. I found that to be among the most persuasive arguments. 

However, I had a lot of people pointing out this WNYMedia.net article as a good counterpoint. I didn’t find it persuasive at all. In fact, it underscored my perception that many people in favor of publication were simply happy that an enemy had been exposed, and performed some mental gymnastics to justify it. Let’s take a look. 

If your social media news feeds are anything like mine, you’re probably scratching your head a bit at this faux empathy being kicked around today surrounding Tom Bauerle.

Fortunately, we don’t share that empathy.

I’m not sure there is any site in Buffalo who has criticized Tom Bauerle and WBEN more over the last 12 years.  Today, anyone familiar and fed up with WBEN’s resident whack job finally got the small verification we’ve been waiting for :

I don’t understand how someone can so quickly determine another person’s motives (here, “faux empathy”), but WNYMedia’s Marc Odien cannot read minds. He argues that it is impossible/incompatible/inconsistent to, on the one hand, hate things that Bauerle has said; and, on the other hand, believe that he deserves some modicum of privacy with respect to a health issue. I disagree. Over the past 10 years, I’ve written more than my share of “oh my God, look at this horrible thing that Tom Bauerle said” posts. So when he has a personal crisis, that’s front page news? 

But instead of celebrating a possible final reprieve to all the hate, racism and conspiratorial nonsense Western New Yorkers have to endure on a daily basis, anyone criticizing him, including the Buffalo News, suddenly became the villain.

Police report or not, of course this is newsworthy!

1. The police have been called to his house 13 times since November 18th. Anytime public resources are used that much in a short period of time, it certainly worth scrutiny and reporting:

The “villain” crack links to a Tweet that Chris Smith posted: 

 I had a similar reaction. In fact, when we recorded this Trending Buffalo podcast on Thursday January 9th, we considered talking about the Bauerle story, and agreed not to, because there’s a difference between criticizing crazy opinions and openly mocking what appeared to be mental illness.  No one accused anyone of being a “villain”. On the contrary, I merely asked people to think about it.  Chris merely asked people to be human. You know – “Buffalo, it’s the people” and “good neighbors” and whatnot. 

So, WNYMedia.net declared that, “of course” it’s newsworthy. The first rationale is 13 police calls. No one’s seen the reports. No one’s heard the 911 tapes. One source told the News that it was 13 calls since mid-November. Not all of them from neighbors. If true, it seems like a waste of police resources, and possibly a neighborhood issue. Point taken. Does Bauerle’s celebrity make that a front-page story? 

2. Whether you listen to WBEN or not, a lot of people around here do and often relate to the nonsense spewed over WBEN airwaves. Regardless of what you think of Tom Bauerle, his ranting and raving on WBEN since 9/11 has caused irreversible damage to society and falsely influenced thousands of other WNY’ers to buy into and believe his brand of craziness.

I don’t know what this 2nd rationale is supposed to mean, except to say that Bauerle is a right wing asshole and therefore he is a right wing asshole. So, because he’s said horrible things on-air, he has forfeited all rights to privacy? That seems unreasonable. 

Linking to the audio from Bauerle’s paranoiac rant of December 30th, Odien continues, 

3. Have you heard this?  Heads should roll at WBEN as to why this was allowed to continue for 17 minutes:

Saying Mental Illness is a “serious” matter is like asking if a “bear shit’s in the woods”.  OF COURSE IT IS !!  But that doesn’t negate the newsworthy of a trusted and influential radio personality officially going off the deep end. I have people very close to me who deal with mental health issues daily and of course mental illness isn’t something to “joke” about.  (except on twitter apparently)

Since they are not reporters, our friends and colleagues at Artvoice thought reporting on the Bauerle incident amounted to joking about mental health and instead published this post claiming they “knew all about” Tom Bauerle’s recent plunge into the mental health pool, but decided to take the high road:

Should heads roll at WBEN over that clip? Maybe. I’ve complained to Entercom and WBEN numerous times about some of the horrible things I hear on that station. They love it, when they don’t ignore it. 

Odien acknowledges that mental illness is “serious”, but concludes that, here, its seriousness is outweighed by the “trusted and influential radio personality” is “going off the deep end.” But he’s been going off the “deep end” on the air for years. The only person writing regularly about those episodes? Me. Didn’t we just go through a charade about mental illness being “serious” before dismissing this episode with a throwaway euphemism for an apparent psychotic episode?  It all detracts from the underlying thesis that this all scary-important information for the public to know.  

Odien goes on to cast doubt on whether Artvoice had the story at all. We did. He quoted the second paragraph of my story and went on to say,

Please… If you believe that, then I’ve got a Tom Bauerle conspiracy theory to sell you

The moment I heard the gist of what had happened (from two completely unrelated people), I tweeted this: 

When we began looking into it, I posted this: 

After we decided that this was more TMZ than Artvoice, I concluded with one of Bauerle’s declarations from the December 30th broadcast: 

Quoting from the part in the Buffalo News article where Bauerle supposedly told a cop that Cuomo’s spies had magical shoes that left no prints in the snow, Odien writes, 

The WNYmedia archives are filled with posts, articles, funny pictures, videos and podcasts calling Tom Bauerle and his ilk “batshit crazy”.  What’s been OK for the last 12 years is now suddenly a taboo subject according to your alternative news source?

However, this is a personal medical matter and one affecting perhaps his neighbors, but not you or me.

Maybe on the surface.

But what Tom Bauerle represents to this community and tea-baggers everywhere should not be minimized.  Nor should we minimize putting mentally unstable person on public airwave spewing hate, racism and other ridiculously false political claims in order to justify a warped political agenda for more than a decade.

So, this is a matter of critical public import because Bauerle had a breakdown of some sort and he has a hateful on-air persona? (I Googled “Batshit crazy” + “Bauerle” and it’s not a common combination, and not one that I have ever used). Calling someone “batshit crazy” because he espouses opinions that are batshit crazy does not give me license to mock and expose him if it turns out that there’s a genuine psychiatric problem. There’s a difference. 

Artvoice stopped looking into it; the News canvassed the neighborhood – notice the News went to the neighbors, not vice-versa. I took to Twitter to mock the mockables – shoes with no footprints and Treebeard surveilling Williamsville radio guys.  But that was it.

A guy running around the neighborhood with a loaded gun, thinking trees are out to get him is a problem, for sure. If you’re in the immediate area. But is it one that needed front-page coverage by the Buffalo News? Is every neighborhood disturbance to be in the Buffalo News now?

As I explained, I didn’t take a shot at or criticize the News for doing their job, I wanted there to be a conversation about what people thought made the story newsworthy. 

Alan Pergament took to his blog to blast WBEN’s handling of the whole thing, and added this: 

I sympathize with Bauerle and hope he gets help.

But anyone who doesn’t think this story has journalistic merit needs to go back to Journalism 101.

The Bauerle story fits several textbook criteria of what makes news –  including prominence, conflict,  timeliness, proximity and novelty.

Additionally, Bauerle is an influential voice in the community and should be held to a higher standard. He has constantly used his daily show to oppose Gov. Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act.

However, politics is a secondary issue of this story. The primary issues are the safety of the community and how a radio station can keep a guy on the air who has exhibited such bizarre behavior without giving him enough time to recover.

Shame on WBEN management for apparently failing to realize that it crossed the line of worrying more about the bottom line than of the health and safety of its own employee, its staff and the community.

A lot of people think that Kate Middleton’s baby bump, or Kim Kardashian’s most recent pronouncements merit journalistic attention. Some think it’s important whether the separated Eliot Spitzer has a girlfriend whom he *gasp* might be sexing.  The question of journalistic merit is an interesting one; hence, Sunday’s post. 

But one unifying theme among the people defending the Buffalo News against non-existent criticisms is that it’s important because Bauerle has said crazy things on the air. Well, yes. He has. Where have you guys been

Almost exactly a year ago, for instance, Bauerle decided that the U.S. Government was a “greater enemy than al Qaeda.” There was a sitting NYS Assemblyman on the phone, who remained silent as he said it.  I wrote about it at length here. The Buffalo News didn’t deem that to be newsworthy. Neither did WNYMedia.net. 

WNYMedia and The Buffalo News did not write anything when Bauerle gleefully, but incorrectly reported that Americans now predominately fear the government. They didn’t write anything when Bauerle suggested that Islam is “not compatible” with Western Democracy

When Bauerle devoted an entire show in 2009 to the topic: are liberals “insane”, “psychotic asshats” who want to “destroy America”, the Buffalo News wrote nothing. During that same show, Bauerle  spoke approvingly of a new civil war in America, hoped for an armed, military coup against the federal government, and suggested that the military side with the “people”, rather than with the “liberals”. The Buffalo News’ newsworthiness radar was broken. WNYMedia paid attention because I wrote about it there

When the brother of blogger Mike Blake made a phony phone call to Bauerle’s show and was subsequently the target of harassing texts, the Buffalo News was silent. Nary a peep from the News about this or this or this; you get the picture.

There have been quite a few outrageous outbursts on hate radio in the last several years, and suddenly now it’s important? What Bauerle said on December 30th is downright tame compared to his earlier suggestion that al Qaeda was better than Obama. 

So, I’m not the person to lecture about the horrible things that WBEN has allowed on its air. Pergament’s criticism of WBEN management is beside the point, 

Additionally, Bauerle is an influential voice in the community and should be held to a higher standard. He has constantly used his daily show to oppose Gov. Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act.

Yes. I have acknowledged that this is a good argument in favor of disclosure. 

However, politics is a secondary issue of this story. The primary issues are the safety of the community and how a radio station can keep a guy on the air who has exhibited such bizarre behavior without giving him enough time to recover.

How can you reach this conclusion without a medical degree or an examination of the patient? Bauerle expressly addressed this on Monday, explaining that he was medically cleared to be on the air, that WBEN gave him unlimited time to get himself right, and that he was on-air of his own volition. He sounded perfectly normal. 

I don’t know. It seems to me that a lot of the arguments in favor of publication come from a base, ‘screw that guy’ place. Many other arguments are, ‘we should know because we deserve to know’. That’s not enough for me. Whatever. 

Hatred of All Muslims: A Fringe Republican Platform Plank, On the Air in Buffalo

27 Jul

Yesterday, a rabid Islamophobe appeared on a local Islamophobe’s radio show. We all know this guy – his name in German means, perhaps appropriately enough, “little peasant”. He enjoys his cats and gardening. He hates Obama, thinks all liberals are insane, thinks that the government ought to be overthrown, and hates nothing more than the second-largest religion in the world. His guest yesterday is just as stupid.

He hates that religion and its adherents because a very small minority of people who practice it are terrorists and seek to murder Westerners, especially Jews in the West and also in Israel. He also enjoys pointing out that liberals who stand up for things that he considers to be quaint anachronisms – things like “freedom” and the “Constitution” – don’t criticize some of the Islamic customs and laws that subjugate women. The little peasant, however, ignores that Sharia law is not applicable to non-Muslims, and cannot be imposed upon them, either, unless one lives in an Islamic theocracy. Luckily, we live in a secular democratic republic – not a theocracy. So no religion’s laws can involuntarily control anyone’s life.

The little peasant and his guest went on and on about how the proposed Cordoba House community center/mosque set to be built two blocks from Ground Zero – a project that is overwhelmingly supported by the Mayor of New York City and the surrounding residents – is a criminal “triumphal” mosque and and affront to decency, democracy, etc. Their point of view is supported and echoed by the two Republican candidates for Governor of the State of New York, who are tripping over each other to see who can use stronger language to heap scorn and hatred upon not just that project, but Islam generally.

The “mosque” nontroversy is emblematic of a recent rise in Islamophobia. Thanks to 9/11, it is socially acceptable in certain circle to say things about Muslims that are not dissimilar to the race-baiting lies spread during 1930s Germany about Jews. There are a billion and a half Muslims on this planet, and a miniscule number of them advocate for any kind of holy war against Christians, Jews, or the West.

We can easily demonize the governments of places like Iran, but anyone who recalls last year’s green revolution also recalls the overwhelming desire that the participants in that revolution had for a normal life in a normal country. Because that’s what most people want – a normal life in a normal place.

Why is it that this rise in Islamophobia has occurred, and become more vocal and prevalent in recent weeks or months? TPM’s Josh Marshall originally wrote that it might be war fatigue, but I don’t buy that.

Instead, I agree what a TPM reader wrote here – that George W. Bush was very careful not to demonize all of Islam in the wake of 9/11 and during the Iraq war. The war was against al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. Against Saddam Hussein and the insurgency. He always was responsible enough to maintain that Islam as a religion, as a culture, was not our enemy and would not be made to be.

Now that George W. Bush is gone from office, gone from politics, the radical hate wing of the Republican Party is free to spew the most vicious anti-Muslim lies it wants with impunity. Anyone who dares oppose these shriekers is labeled an apologist for terrorism and misogyny.

The weak, feckless excuse for “leadership” in the Republican Party / Tea Party has enabled the vicious Muslim-baiters to spew whatever reckless hatred they want, and there’s no one to stop them. The little peasant – who doesn’t understand the irony inherent in criticizing the “mainstream media” on the most-listened-to talk radio show on the biggest AM station in the Buffalo-Niagara region – is at the forefront of the local effort to paint all Muslims as al Qaeda sleeper agents, machetes at the ready to kill your family, and burqa on hand to cover your women.

Yesterday’s cavalcade of hate spewed on the little peasant’s show was not just factually ignorant, but ultimately irresponsible. In a normal world, the community would come to the defense of the overwhelmingly normal, law-abiding Muslim community living and working among us in Western New York. In this world, we get Cheektowaga septuagenarians calling in to see if they can out-hate the octogenarian Muslim hater who just called in from Tonawanda.

From 9 – 12 It's WBEN HateRadio 930

9 Dec

The homophobic Washington Times has been engaging in a Beckian witch hunt against Obama’s openly gay safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings.  Most recently, it published an opinion piece that started out with a disclaimer, because it’s not that often that a major metro daily discusses fisting on its OpEd page.  The Washington Times is incensed over an incident that happened in Boston almost a solid decade ago.

Now, let’s stop for a second.

There is no debate or question over two very important facts, going forward:

1. Kevin Jennings never taught 14 year-old kids about “fisting”; and

2. Kevin Jennings had no idea that “fisting” would be a topic of discussion at the 2000 conference at Tufts sponsored by the organization he led.

Most of the “facts” that the Washington Times and others rely upon are predictably false.  So now we turn to Tom Bauerle’s continuing descent into birther wingnut madness, which has now devolved into patent homophobia.

I was exiting a parking ramp today when my satellite radio cut out, so I switched to WBEN. There was Tom Bauerle predictably ranting about something that’s easy for cretins to rant about – the 100 year-old pedophile who is being released to a halfway house.  A topic like that is gold to a lazy, uninspired hate talker like Bauerle, because it provides him with a platform to repeat the ways in which the pedophile should be executed.  Yeah, the “pedophiles are bad” hour with Tom.

But then he said something quite odd. He said that the pedophile is qualified for a high-level appointment in the Obama White House.

Oh.

Bauerle cited today’s Washington Times OpEd to draw the parallel.  But in 2000, Kevin Jennings was head of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network which held a conference at Tufts about issues specifically related to the gay experience in America.

One of the workshops, titled “What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class: Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21,” was run by two Massachusetts state Department of Education staffers and a state DoE consultant.

Basically, during the workshop, students asked a lot of very explicit questions about sex, and received explicit answers.

Jennings himself was not present for that workshop, nor was he the one giving the answers that had Bauerle so in a tizzy – questions about fisting. But Bauerle called Jennings a “pervert”, and equated him with a pedophiliac serial child molester. Bauerle feigned being disturbed about bringing this topic up at 11:00 am on the publicly owned airwaves. It was particularly lame when Bauerle made a gerbil joke to his producer before going to a commercial break.

Bauerle took his sweet time describing what fisting is over and over again, and equated the talk held at the 2000 conference to the brutal, criminal, physical rape by an old man of a 4 and 7 year-old girl.

I recorded a portion of the show, and literally the few minutes I recorded sum up what Bauerle repeatedly claimed over and over again. He was like a broken record.

Bauerle Show 12/9/09 Close

But here’s the thing. A discussion about an explicit sexual act in response to a conference attendee’s question at a workshop for gay sexuality is not the same as raping two pre-teen girls.  Kevin Jennings did not rape any underage kids. He did not fist any underage kids.  He did not order or condone anyone raping or fisting any underage kids.  For Bauerle to equate something that happened at a conference to the rape of two little girls isn’t just disingenuous, isn’t just insane, it’s deliberately provocative, designed to create or reinforce an animus against gay people in a large conservative audience.

Gay people are not pedophiles; pedophiles are not the same as gay people. Pedophiles are not the same as consenting gay men who engage in sexual activities you may not choose to engage in, or to like, or to understand.

It wasn’t News Talk 930 this morning during the mulleted one’s show – it was Hate Talk 930. As with his disgusting seditious talk back in the summertime, Bauerle has taken his influence, and fed his audience ignorant half-truths, designed to inflame. He wants his audience to hate all the things he hates, and in his sick, twisted world, Obama coddles pedophiles. Or something.

Someone get Bauerle fitted for a pair of clown shoes, because he’s gone off the deep end, and frankly I think the Bauerle advertiser boycott should be taken up by our friends at Outcome Buffalo and PinkBflo.

Bauerle gets on the air every day and declares jihad against anything and everything, parroting dumb shit he read on Alex Jones’ site or WorldNetDaily.com. He mainstreams misinformation and stupidity.  He has a right to say whatever he wants.  We have a right to demand better on the public airwaves in this community.

Boycott Bauerle’s advertisers. Listen to locally owned stations like WECK 1230.

Maybe I was Wrong About the Crazies

30 Sep

I have previously posted a lot on healthcare. As the healthcare debate ended up stuck in the mud during the post-Obama speech period, I decided I’d wait to post again until Something Happened. Well, Something now did Happen, as liberals once again failed at the act of governance with Baucus’ knife in the heart of the Public Option. I was writing the post on that subject in my head when I made a mistake this morning. I turned on Tom Bauerle, and after listening for five minutes, had a revelation.

grinch

Maybe I’ve been wrong about the Birfers, Freeners, Screamers, and Teabaggers the whole time. Maybe, just maybe, its the duty of every sentient human being in this country to denounce this crap daily until rationality (not unanimity) is present once again in our country.

My God, what are these people smoking? The only thing more terrifying than the rhetoric was the knowledge that the people on this show live in my city, and may someday interact with my children.

Today’s topic on Bauerle was ostensibly about the evils of vaccinations, and how terrible it is that New York would force state healthcare workers to receive the H1N1 Flu Vaccine, or face disciplinary action. Bauerle and every single one of his callers, (as Pundit has discovered, no dissention in the echo chamber) see this an invasion of their personal liberty because 1) no one can tell me what to do with my body, 2) all vaccines are unsafe and untested, and 3) Obama is a dictator.

Obviously a sense of irony is not a prerequisite for this group. I assume most are Pro-Lifers, but the fact that Argument #1 is the main Pro-Choice defense is lost on them. As well, lets for a second ignore Argument #2 – I only have time for one crazy conspiracy at a time. Instead, lets look at #3.

Somehow the topic of vaccines in NY was a perfect segue into a discussion of Obama the Foreign Dictator. Forced vaccines would lead to, among other things, the institution of martial law, forced birth control, the canceling of the 2012 election (Obama would declare himself President-for-Life), Communism and Hitlerism. Proof that this would happen? That Obama received student aid as a foreign student and is spending $1M to fight the release of his birth certificate. Also, his trip to Copenhagen to fight for Chicago to get the Summer Olympics is about Union kickbacks to his funders, and national healthcare is bad.

Of course, most of these things are mild compared to calling Obama the Anti-Christ based upon some numerology. To me, its easy to dismiss a couple websites that I think Alan spends too much time perusing. But somehow hearing it on the radio today, on a “news program,” made it a lot worse.  WBEN may not be CNN, but its audience is much larger than Birfer conspiracy groups. Judging by the content, no wonder most the commercials were for hypnotic weight loss and “miracle” anti-aging cream.

 I’ve previously thought that this fringe too will pass – ignore them and they go away. But their influence and size is growing, not shrinking. And as Tom Friedman points out:

The American political system was, as the saying goes, “designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” But a cocktail of political and technological trends have converged in the last decade that are making it possible for the idiots of all political stripes to overwhelm and paralyze the genius of our system.

We need to tamp down the idiots. Republicans, Conservatives and those on the Right have a special obligation to do this, because these people claim to be on our side (though many claim the Republican party has let them down too). What John McCain did with the crazy woman at one of his town halls, we need to do every day. Correct. Refute. Inform. Advocate.

This doesn’t mean Obama has the right policies. I don’t care for many of them. But call me old fashioned – we should respond with ideas, not fear mongering lunacy. Silence is becoming acquiescence.

The Note to Bauerle's Advertisers

17 Jul

Greetings.

I notice that you are a sponsor of Tom Bauerle’s radio show on Entercom’s WBEN AM-930.

I am a registered Democrat living and spending money in WNY.  On July 16, 2009, Mr. Bauerle devoted his entire 3-hour show to the topic: are liberals “insane”, “psychotic asshats” who want to “destroy America”.  During the course of his July 16th show, he spoke approvingly of a new civil war in America, hoped for an armed, military coup against the federal government, and suggested that the military side with the “people”, rather than with the “liberals”.

While Mr. Bauerle has a right to say whatever hateful nonsense he wants, and Entercom has a right to air it, I wanted to be sure that you were aware of what sort of “discussion” your company was underwriting with its advertising dollars.

I realize that decisions regarding radio advertising are made months in advance, but for the time being I will be sure to avoid patronizing any business that advertises with Entercom, including yours.  I simply refuse to spend my money with a company that would underwrite a radio host calling half the population insane and psychotic.  I will urge other Democrats to do the same.

If you choose to reply, I will publish it at wnymedia.net.  If you don’t, I’ll point that out, as well.  Thank you for your consideration and time.

Alan Bedenko

(Please feel free to copy and use this, making whatever changes you see fit).

UPDATE:  The (incomplete) list of Bauerle advertisers is posted here.

Tom Bauerle Goes Full Wingnut

16 Jul

Yesterday, Tom Bauerle‘s Facebook status asked, and I paraphrase, “are all liberals psychotic asshats, or is it just me”.  I commented, “wow”.  Little did I know it would be today’s show topic.  I called in.  I said, “Tom, do you really think that people who disagree with you politically are ‘psychotic asshats'”?  He replied, “Yes, especially you.”

*click*.

That was it.  He hung up on me.

Now, I wasn’t aware that Bauerle was such a mental coward that he would not engage in a debate over his theorem:  that all liberals are “psychotic asshats”.  I thought the purpose of raising a point of view, or selecting a topic for a radio call-in show was, you know, to solicit calls from people to discuss the topic.   Yet, I did not hear any other dissenting calls make it through this morning.  It was all, “attaboy Tom”, calls, which make for uncompelling, intellectually dumb and dishonest radio.

After being hung up on, Bauerle attacked me personally on-air as being “insane” and the “worst” “psychotic asshat”, and that this was evident from all the “drivel” I write on this site all day.

So I called back to defend myself.  After all, if you’re going to say that “Alan” is an insane, psychotic asshat, you should have the balls to let me defend myself. When the screener picked up, I said, “Really?  He’s going to hang up on me and then attack me..”

*Click*.  The call screener hung up on me too.

Now, we were cruising on Awesome Street.

So I continued to listen, unable to participate in an off-the-deep-end, one-sided diatribe by Buffalo’s top-rated radio host.

At around 9:52, Bauerle suggested that a new civil war was in order, advocated for secession, and suggested that liberals want to put people like him and Jim Ostrowski in concentration camps.

Around 11:14, Bauerle advocated for an armed, military coup of the United States government, and wondered whether the military would “side with the people” to, I suppose, wipe out the anti-American liberals.

I’m not kidding about any of this.

During the course of the show, I expressed myself on media that cannot hang up on me – places like Twitter and Facebook.  I referred to Bauerle as a coward for hanging up on me rather than attempting to defend the pitiful point of view he was spouting.

At 11:02, after I started listing the advertisers who were paying Entercom to permit Bauerle to accuse liberal democrats of being “insane” “psychotic asshats”, he sent me a message via Facebook:

Re: Leave me alone.  Message: you are nuts.

Well, perhaps I’m nuts, but I don’t go around using public airwaves to malign political opponents as “insane”, “psychotic asshats”.  I replied:

I think hanging up on me was a pussy move.  Your screener hanging up on me when you engaged in ad hominem attacks on me was a cowardly move.  If you can’t debate your own point, that’s pathetic for a call-in show host.

He then defriended me on Facebook, and said on the air that he would be doing the same with any liberals who were his friends on Facebook.

When I saw this, I wrote:

Hahaha! Coward can’t defend his own position!

He said on the air that he found it funny that people got all huffy when he defriended them on Facebook.  But I wasn’t huffy.  I was laughing at him.

His final response, which he echoed on the air:

“Coward? I can kick your ass lib”

He repeated that one on the air, too, and people started buzzing me to tell me.  I consider that particular message to be a badge of honor.

When I attempted to respond, I could not.  The coward had gone one step further and blocked me on FB. How typical of silly, insecure people – get the last word and block my reply.   Reasonable people don’t behave that way; toddlers do.

Yet, consider the cowardice here – Mr. Bauerle is not a prizefighter, he ostensibly operates in the arena of opinion, ideas, and speech. Yet, he is mentally unable or unwilling to debate and defend his points of view when confronted with opposing arguments but is quick to resort to gradeschool fisticuffs.  Nothing I said threatened violence on Mr. Bauerle, nor could it have been construed in that way.  Yet that’s where his mind went.

(As an aside – I recognize that I have, in the past, banned a few commenters from my site.  But it was not because they disagreed with me, but because they engaged habitually in off-topic attacks on me and others.  Disagreement I will always allow.  Viciousness I won’t.)

I guess I should be ultra-vigilant, given that the biggest talk show host in Buffalo just called me an insane psychotic asshat, talked on the air about armed insurrection, and then took the conversation into the realm of violence.  Classy? Obviously not. But more ominously, for all I know, some unhinged, well-armed lunatic heard Bauerle today and decided he’d go all Washington Holocaust Museum on that “Alan” who was being mean to Tom.  Or on any liberal in general.

I don’t know whether today was all just some insecure little act by someone who didn’t get enough hugs from mommy, or if he’s even really serious about all this junk.  I don’t think it matters, though.

What we heard today on WBEN was a shift in programming.  It’s not enough now to just be a lite version of a Rush Limbaugh clone.  You have to now go full wingnut and parrot the paranoid talking points of a Glenn Beck to be considered credible among the Freepocracy.  If ACORN, George Soros, and Birther crap don’t get a mention on any given day, you’ve abdicated your duties as a wingnut talk show host in 2009.

Hey, radio’s a business.  I know how it is.  If Bauerle doesn’t go full wingnut, someone else probably will.  Maybe this is just schtick to maintain the ratings.  Maybe he’s really completely lost control of himself.  One is unconscionable.  The other is scary.

Then consider how the tables have been turned in just under 10 years.  Back when the Republicans were in the majority and Bush was President, it was considered downright treasonous to suggest that invading Iraq wasn’t a swell idea.  After all, they had WMDs and were buds with al Qaeda.  Right?  So, any Democrat who dissented on that point was labeled anti-American.  But when the utter mismanagement of the Bush Administration leads to the democratic election of Barack Obama, and a majority Dem house, and a majority Dem Senate, all of a sudden it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable for right-wing yappers to advocate for violence, armed insurrection, civil war, and to demonize the opposition with poorly chosen psychobabble.

No, I don’t think Tom Bauerle or Jim Ostrowski should go to a concentration camp, because I’m not a Nazi.  (Bauerle, however, today defended his frequent and ironic violation of Godwin’s Law by saying, well the Nazis didn’t kill Jews right away.  Thereby ignoring the fact that Mein Kampf was released in 1925.  You know, Hitler’s book basically detailing his “kill all Jews” strategy?  That one.)  Nor do I lend much credence to any of the other strawman arguments Bauerle haphazardly erected today.

But I do think that some inquiries to Bauerle’s advertisers are called for.  Do Vastola Heating & Air and Toyota think that all liberals are “insane”, “psychotic asshats”?  Do Apnea Care, Tylenol, and Niagara Fallsview Casino Hotel agree that maybe 50% of their potential customers are “insane”, “psychotic asshats”?

Here’s the list of local Bauerle sponsors, as taken from his own site:

See, the interesting this is that I have myriad home improvement jobs that I need done this summer.  I need a garage door panel replaced.  I need a duct cleaning.  I need some general construction repairs, painting, and a checkup of our furnace and A/C.  I’ll be sure to use vendors who do not financially enable cowardly talk-show “hosts” to refer to about 1/2 the population insane psychopaths.  Perhaps you’ll do the same.  Perhaps you’ll inquire of the aforementioned advertisers whether they condone the speech that they’re financially underwriting; whether they agree that about half of their potential customer base are “insane”, “psychotic asshats”.  If they do, then they should be denied asshat business.

And be sure to ask WBEN  Program Director Tim Wenger all about Entercom’s thoughts on insanity, psychosis, and asshattery. (And also Entercom’s HQ at 610-660-5610).  If anything else, I wonder how great a business decision it is to have one-sided talk shows that hang up on people who disagree.

I already subscribe to Sirius in one car, and XM in the other.  I’ve got loads of alternatives, and Stern’s been pretty compelling and funny lately.

If you do contact any of the above individuals or advertisers, please be concise, factual, and polite.

And Tom, because I know you and everyone else at WBEN with a computer will be reading this:  keep your hands to yourself, and have the balls to defend your point of view.