Until this weekend, Michael DeWayne Brown (aka “Brownie,” of George Bush FEMA fame, who botched the federal response to hurricane Katrina) and David Sirota (a progressive author and former political operative) co-hosted a radio show in Denver called The Rundown. Sirota was a Schweitzer employee and Montana resident for a while, hence my Colorado blogging interlude.
The station, Talk Radio 630, is owned by Clear Channel, the right-wing radio behemoth conglomerate that owns pretty much every radio station in America. And the show is aired amid a roster of other right-wing talk, so Sirota has been one of the lone liberal voices on the station–until this week, when Sirota left the program suddenly. It is now Brownie’s show solo.
There are several theories about Sirota’s departure. The first is that he was kicked off the show for suggesting, in an interview with Don Lemon on CNN after the Newton school shooting, that mass shootings are carried out disproportionately by white men, and for further suggesting that we should ask critical questions about the reason for this distinct racial profile of a mass shooter since that’s what we do to other groups. These are points that merit discussion, but cause rage among conservatives. The second theory is that Sirota was badly outclassing Brown (who was not doing a heckuva job representing the conservative viewpoint) so badly that the radio station had to shake things up to appease the conservative audience. And the third theory is that Sirota couldn’t deal with a bunch of mouth breathers calling in every day babbling unintelligibly, so he skipped out.
An interesting wrinkle in Sirota’s departure is that the radio show had very high ratings.
But if you ever happened to listen to the show online, you observed distinctly that Sirota was indeed constantly outwitting the dense Brown; and it clearly made for a hostile relationship between two of them on air.
Brown is not an intelligent man. He is, like most right-wing radio personalities, someone whose intellectual output consists of spouting FOXNewsisms and little else. Listen to him talk and you will quickly understand that his legendarily pathetic, disorganized handling of the New Orleans Hurricane was not some mishap befalling an otherwise qualified officeholder. Rather, it was the work product of a giant dunce, one of many put by George Bush into high positions.
Also, I suspect that for the same reason that Hannity jettisoned his liberal sidekick Colmes some years ago turning Hannity and Colmes to merely Hannity, right-media producers are generally moving away from the cross-fire type of format. They’ve found that right-wing audiences do not like it one bit when a liberal outwits a conservative on the air, preferring instead a unilateral format to an adversarial one, preferring to hear unchallenged propaganda rather than a conversation that could hash out some truth. Conservative audiences get very upset by liberal arguments (or just logical arguments) to which there are no good rebuttals. They get irritated by the whole business, and turn the dial.
So the jerk Brownie now has a solo act in Denver, penciled in somewhere around the Limbaugh show and other inane programming. I’m sure he’ll do just fine.