A Quiet But Persistent Bias

Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder of Air America’s Majority Report kind of irritated me today. Okay, it was mostly Garofalo. Several times during their broadcast she referred to Republicans as “crackers” and “rednecks”, each time commenting something to the effect of “and by that I don’t mean to disparage Southerners.” Look, if you feel that you have to follow those kinds of comments with a disclaimer, then there must be something to it. There’s a common theme on Air America of a quiet but persistent bias against Southerners. It’s nothing more than a small comment here, a hillbilly joke there, but it’s present. It probably says a lot that whenever I hear any of the commentators on any of the shows mention a Southern state I am already bracing for the worst.
Now, I freely admit that the liberal (no pun intended) use of the words “cracker” and “redneck” by Garofalo is probably the most acidic so far (I would compare it to someone using the word “nigger” and then saying “by that I don’t necessarily mean black people”), but there have been little comments on all of the shows I’ve heard on Air America. I assume this might have something to do with the fact that Air America has a disproportionate number of comedians, and that comedians always go for the easy Southerner joke in a pinch, so it’s probably ingrained. But it’s still annoying.
Besides the obvious reasons that this kind of stuff would annoy me, it also annoys me because on the surface it might seem to validate Conservative claims that Liberals are biased against people who live outisde of the big cities; that they think anyone who lives outside of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. is an inbred, uneducated, racist homophobe who votes Republican out of tradition rather than because of any inherent understanding of the issues. In short, it makes them sound like the “elitists” that The Right accuses them of being.
Come on. Lets consider some middle-of-the-road Republican who is tired of George W. Bush (they do exist) and has checked out Air America to see just what those Liberals are really all about. What does he hear? Janeane Garofalo referring to Republicans as “crackers” and “rednecks”? Janeane Garofalo angrily positing that anyone who could vote Republican is not intelligent? Yeah. I’m sure that’ll leave a good taste in his mouth. Shit. I’m on board and I’m beginning to think that Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly have it right on at least a few points.

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