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In the 26-day interstice between the bombings in New York and Washington and the US militarys latest foray in the Middle East a remarkable and unprecedented redirection of media rhetoric occurred A shift from stories and information of dubious importance to all-war-all-the-time programming overtook radio talk-show hosts and parts of the print-news biz While its hard to say whether this represents any kind of improvement in the general state of things--the jingoism and fear-mongering that have replaced the trivial passions of airwave conservatives are hardly topics that allow for much debate or make for compelling news--it is nice to know that right-leaning media can tacitly admit that their peacetime concerns were petty and utterly disposable The medias preoccupation with backing George W Bush save the journalists who got fired for criticizing him the occasional BOONDOCKS strip or the every-now-and-then letter to the editor has had the strange side effect of neutering the hysteria-spewing mad dogs of the far right Anybody heard from Matt Drudge lately The trend has played out locally at WBAL Radio 1090 AM Baltimore home of Rush Limbaugh The finger-pointing liberal-baiting rhetoric with which WBAL has unfortunately become synonymous has been replaced with news and a paucity of reactionary answers There have been no suggestions that the US bombing of Afghanistan be called Operation Parking Lot and only a smattering of blame for the terrorist attacks has been laid at the feet of whipping boy Bill Clinton Of course the station has kept up the banner-waving so prevalent among other media these days with longtime professional patriots like Bruce Elliott and Alan Walden around this was inevitable In the immediate aftermath of Sept 11 Ron Smith BALs self-proclaimed voice of reason actually took on a reasonable timbre As callers weighed in with all kinds of attack-related thoughts and emotions Smith delivered something less than answers with something more than substance in a measured sympathetic tone Smith even
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