Letter: Advent of hate radio gave us Donald Trump

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Advent of hate radio gave us Donald Trump

I have difficulty placing all of the blame for today's irrational political discourse squarely upon the shoulders of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Yes, I have questions about Trump as evidenced by his actions and words, ideologies and beliefs. But we ought to recognize that we have been, and still are, experiencing an upheaval in our political processes and institutions that has been brewing for a long, long time.

I lived in the 1960s. I was drafted in the 1960s. And throughout the 1960s I endured all the domestic strife, fear, anger, and divisiveness of an era that divided friends, families, neighbors, and communities. As the Vietnam War continued to drag on, I watched as police rioted in Chicago, as churches burned in Dixie, as cities were set ablaze during the long, hot summer, and as fires and shootings threatened Washington, D.C.

That experience impacted me to such an extent that I never ever want to see this country divided like that again. The healing was slow but steady right up until "hate radio" reared its ugly head.

In the mid-1980s, a new form of radio programming was thrust upon the airwaves featuring personalities whose forte was ridicule and scorn and whose goal was to create disunity and dissension under the guise of free speech. Hate radio was born, and with it the derision and divisiveness that we are experiencing today.

The early 1990s saw both the content and delivery of hate radio grow in its ferocity in a manner matching the nationwide growth of hate radio's audience. It grew from the controversial to the belligerent to the inflammatory, and thus forced the FCC to "review" the talk show industry.

Shying away from a free speech defense, the industry instead put forth the proposition that talk shows are entertainment and talk show hosts are "entertainers." So it is that with the FCC's acceptance of the industry's explanation for the behavior of talk show hosts as "entertainers," new role models were defined, the doctrine of "the responsible spokesman" was vacated, civility and respect were retired as American values, and hate radio took its place as a powerful, unimpeachable player in the American political system.

Donald Trump did not do it, he did not cause it, nor did he create it. Donald Trump simply seized it!

The political Donald Trump is little more than the manifestation of years and years of the ridicule and scorn, disunity and dissension that hate radio has successfully perpetrated upon the American people.

Algird Sunskis, Lanesborough


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