New York radio host Ron Kuby, who went off the air this week after eight years, makes a convincing argument in Newsday as to why the end of the "Curtis [Sliwa] and Kuby" show is a loss even for those who disagree with his opinions.
I admit to having a soft spot for the ultraliberal civil-liberties lawyer, who gave me a sympathetic quote for my 2004 New York Post op-ed opposing my alma mater's banning Handel's "Messiah." (He also inspired my [far-from-complete] spiritual autobiographical series "How I Became the Catholic I Wuz.")
Kuby is right on the mark when he explains why listeners took to him:
As an avowed communist, atheist and civil rights activist who is pro-choice and anti-war, it would take me a while to win the respect and affection of the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity fans who made up much of the WABC audience. From the start, I decided not to mimic from the left the nasty, contentless name-calling of right-wing talkers.I wish him all the best.
No matter how loathsome one finds President George W. Bush, calling him a war criminal over and over neither entertains nor edifies. Likening America to Nazi Germany is the verbal equivalent of flag-burning; it so enrages the audience, they will not think about the legitimate points you are trying to make.
Thoughtful, logical explanations of my views - words forming sentences and sentences becoming paragraphs, always making clear what my sources were and why I believed them - would over time win the respect of listeners, even when they disagreed with my conclusions.
Thanks to Kevin Walsh for the tip.