March 30, 2011
[Peter Brimelow writes: The Federation for American Immigration Reform's annual "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" talk radio fest will be held in Washington D.C. next week. I was planning to go again, but just discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that I am not invited. Ask FAIR why not.]
By "Edward Bernays"
The title of this article is taken from a 1999 cover story in Jared Taylor's American Renaissance about talk radio. The main point of the article: talk radio had emerged as one of the few places where Americans could freely discuss racial issues. AR noted:
"In a culture dominated by liberal assumptions, Americans have to look hard for the truth about race and immigration. They can find it on the Internet, on some cable-access channels, occasionally on C-Span, and sometimes on talk radio. Of these, radio is by far the most popular medium and has the greatest impact."
In what would be unthinkable today, seven of the most popular talk radio hosts of the time—Michael Reagan, Larry Elder, David Brudnoy, Bob Grant, Michael Medved, Ken Hamblin and Al Rantel—all gave interviews to AR and candidly discussed their views on affirmative action, immigration, race and IQ, whites becoming a minority and other racial issues. Not only did these mainstream hosts—including two blacks—give interviews to AR, they also gave answers that would likely get them fired. AR editor Jared Taylor had been a regular guest on some of these programs and at least one host—Brudnoy—was a subscriber to the publication, and reviewed Taylor's book Paved With Good Intentions favorably in Human Events.
In fact, Jared Taylor was a regular on talk radio throughout the 1990s. He even appeared on national TV shows such as Donahue, Scarborough Country, Hardball with Chris Matthews and other popular programs. C-SPAN broadcast at least two of AR's bi-annual conferences and also two press conferences where Taylor was a speaker. AR's groundbreaking Color of Crime (1999) [PDF]report was actually discussed on the Rush Limbaugh Show (though not by Limbaugh: even more impressive, black guest host Walter Williams summarized the report favorably to Limbaugh's 20 million listeners).
Discussions of The Color of Crime were such a hit on talk radio that in several cities, the producers heard Taylor talking about the report on a competing station and called to book him on their own programs. A press conference at the National Press Club to discuss the report was widely attended and resulted in a CSPAN broadcast and national print coverage.
For many Americans, occasions such as this were the first time they heard someone arguing for the interests of whites as a group. Responses to American Renaissance from interested listeners were in the thousands and the magazine netted many new subscribers from these debates and appearances.
Heading into the new millennium, the media appearances slowed a bit. But they really came to a halt around 2004. The change was dramatically apparent by 2005, when an update of Color of Crime provoked only a few radio interviews.
Taylor told me recently:
"The irony is that media appearances dried up just as listeners were becoming much more interested and sympathetic. In the early 1990s, callers would rage at me just for talking about the unfairness of racial preferences. Ten years later, after a discussion of what is at risk if the country turns majority non-white, listeners would surprise even the most conservative hosts by calling to say, 'I agree with everything Mr. Taylor has said.' Is it a coincidence that the megaphone is being taken away just as the audience starts to get the message?"
Peter Brimelow, who unlike Taylor was an established MSM journalist when he began writing about immigration in 1992, and who was considerably in demand after the publication of his Alien Nation in 1995, also reports that media invitations abruptly ceased around 2004. Brimelow believes, partly because of his study of the evolving War Against Christmas, that there is co-ordinated systematic blacklisting—facilitated, ironically, by the internet.
In 2008, American Renaissance attempted to revive media interest in racial issues with a campaign of pitches. Numerous media advisories were sent to a talk radio/TV list of 500 producers and hosts from around the U.S. This list included national shows as well as smaller regional and local programs but takers were few. Several pitches resulted in zero interviews.
Around the same time, VDARE.com initiated a small media relations program that included weekly talk radio pitches. Unlike AR, VDARE.com does not explicitly defend white interests, focusing instead on broader American interests. Moreover, the website sticks primarily to immigration-related issues as opposed to topics such as IQ, black-on-white crime and other taboo subjects. This does not stop Media Matters, the $PLC and other well-funded witch-hunters from labeling VDARE a white supremacist site. But it did make it somewhat easier for Peter Brimelow and the writers of VDARE to land more radio interviews than Taylor.
From 2008-2010, VDARE.com writers were occasionally featured on nationally syndicated shows such as The Lars Larson Show, The Curtis Sliwa Show and—before the host apparently changed sides on immigration—The Lou Dobbs Show. VDARE.com columnists also appeared on bigger local shows such as The Ron Smith Show in Baltimore, The Mike McConnell Show in Cincinnati and the Radio Free Rocky D program in Charleston. (By far the most open-minded: Talkback with Chuck Wilder on the CRN Radio network.)
But despite this modest success, most pitches only netted 2-3 interviews on smaller stations, in contrast to Taylor in the 1990s. (The VDARE.com PR program was suspended in 2010 because a key donor reneged on its annual grant).
So how did open discussion of racial and immigration issues go from being relatively acceptable in 1999 to being forbidden only a decade later?
Time has played some role. Looking at the seven established hosts interviewed in the AR article, three are now retired (Rantel, Grant and Hamblin) and one is dead (Brudnoy). Younger hosts coming into the business apparently feel their careers will be in jeopardy if they violate racial taboos.
There is some speculation that corporate consolidation in the talk radio industry has led to fewer outlets and more Politically Correct centralized control of guest lists.
But the overwhelming reason: PC taboos have simply grown more intense—and better organized—over the past decade. Black crime and the racial aspects of immigration were certainly controversial issues in the 1990s, but they were not proscribed like they are now.
It is not just talk radio that is less open to debating racial issues. In the 1990s, major publishing houses released books such as Paved With Good Intentions, The Bell Curve, Alien Nation, The End of Racism, Hating Whitey and other books that challenged racial orthodoxy. None of these books would be touched by a major publishing house today. In fact, Taylor has been shopping around a sequel to Paved With Good Intentions to publishers big and small for several years with no takers—despite his first book's commercial success. (AR's New Century Foundation will publish the book soon, with the title White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century.)
Another sign of the times: the American Renaissance conference, last held in 2008 has been scuttled for two straight years now after hotels backed out of contracts due to political pressure and death threats—which the law enforcement authorities were unable/ unwilling to counter. While AR events always attracted protesters, they previously went off without incident and attracted a fair amount of press coverage. In significant contrast, no Main Stream Media outlets even reported the suppression of AR's conferences in 2010 and 2011.
The 1999 AR talk radio piece ended with the following in regard to the seven radio hosts interviewed:
"Though they have different views of the importance of race, they are refreshingly open to discussing it. It is men like these who help talk radio chip away at the rigid liberalism that has for so long set the boundaries of acceptable discourse."
Some talk radio hosts still talk about illegal immigration (as they will at FAIR's upcoming Feet to The Fire radio fest—possibly explaining why FAIR itself no longer talks much about reducing legal immigration). They will occasionally gripe about racial double standards. But talk radio is no longer "chipping away" at liberalism with regard to race, immigration and America's changing demographics.
What this means is that the internet is now the last bastion of straight talk on race, demography—and America's future.
Sites like VDARE.com, American Renaissance now have a greater readership than ever, in part exactly because talk radio no longer discusses their issues. Newer websites and blogs such as Alternative Right, View from the Right, Half Sigma, Nicholas Stix, Uncensored, Mangan's and many others freely discuss and debate the latest racial controversies, research and issues on a daily basis. Podcasting and streaming video mean that the electronic MSM faces technological as well as intellectual obsolescence—exactly as has already happened to the print MSM.
Of course, this means that leftist thug groups like Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to VDARE.com) would like nothing better than to shut down websites they don't agree with. VDARE.com is likely at or near the top of their list. Given the racial loyalties of our current president and Attorney General, we can be sure censorship of "hate speech" websites would have strong support in high places.
Hopefully, in a decade's time, we will not look back at today and marvel that websites like VDARE.com could freely criticize the demographic displacement of whites and AR could openly discuss black-on-white crime.
Edward Bernays (email him) was widely eulogized as the "Father of Public Relations" when he died in 1995. For his sins, he writes from Washington D.C.