K.A. Straughn's defense of Glenn Beck and company is certainly persistent (Letters, "Prove or apologize," Nov. 4, Gazette):
I simply maintain that regular listeners to Fox radio's shock jocks are attracted to the apocalyptic ruminations of skilled personalities who present themselves as patriots exposing dangers to America. I find, however, that, whatever their message of the day, it ultimately leads back to support for politics and policies that serve corporate profiteering and America's wealthy minority, not the multitude of Americans struggling to get through tough times, who benefit from regulation of society's economic and environmental affairs.
Australian multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch owns Fox, and doubtless has a say in the themes emanating from the network. Do they arouse division? Millions were listening when Glenn Beck famously said on the public airwaves that he thinks President Obama just doesn't like white people (Obama's mother is white). During the Clinton administration, Rush Limbaugh's attacks on the first family included "jokes" about teenager Chelsea being "ugly." Limbaugh explained, "It turns out her real father is Janet Reno." To advocates for gay rights who called in to his show, Michael Savage spit out the vile retort, "I hope you die of AIDS."
My impression remains that the daily dishing from the Fox network supports wild suggestions about President Obama, environmentalists, Muslims, Hispanics, feminists, gays and advocates of labor rights and liberal politics I heard on Fox the suggestion that Americans should blame environmentalists for the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Incredibly, millions actually believe that Obama is a foreign-born, Muslim socialist, and were persuaded to vote for "real Americans" who parrot similar suggestions and fears about diversity.
I lay this dialogue to rest, with a prayer that Americans of all stripes " regardless of politics, nationality, religion, race or sexual orientation " can pull together in dialogue toward solving critical challenges facing America and the world. We are in a serious recession, the result of deregulation of our financial and mortgage institutions and the uncontrolled greed of those who took advantage and ripped off billions at the expense of millions. We really do face global environmental challenges on the only planet we will ever be stewards of.
Building a world where every person has a reasonable hope for life's most basic rewards " access to education, health care, clean water, clean air and safe food " calls for working together, not dividing in fear and anger. Fabulous wealth typically supports a narrow political agenda, one that I see served by the personalities who make Fox their home. The values that can save humanity from division, anger and greed are typically expressed by quieter voices, calling for a respectful listening out of favor in today's politics.