Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thom Hartmann

Yesterday afternoon at 12 noon, I was traveling south on the New York State Thruway. As I was getting off exit 15, merging onto Route 17 and entering New Jersey, I had the radio tuned to Air America, waiting for the Thom Hartmann Program to begin. Thom can only be described as an island of wisdom in an ocean of stupidity. His is the most enlightened and informative program in the history of the medium. His calming and cheerful voice has been conveying the Progressive message since he replaced Al Franken in the 12 to 3 PM time slot almost two years ago. He is articulate; he is passionate; and he communicates his ideas minus the venom and anger that has become the norm in recent years as far as talk radio is concerned.

So you can only imagine my shock and anger when - at three o'clock sharp - they announced the premiere of....the Ed Schultz Show....HUH??? Surely this must be a mistake! Right? Right??? I grabbed my cell phone and called the two numbers that are listed in the Manhattan directory for Air America Radio. No answer. Fine. I then called the "on the air" line. The guy who answered the phone told me in no uncertain terms that Thom Hartmann was no longer being broadcast on W-WRL (Air America's New York affiliate). "Call up the station and lodge a protest", he told me. "You bet I will", I replied. He was obviously as outraged as I was.
Last night I emailed Thom and asked him the musical question: "What the hell is the matter with Mark Green???" Green is the general manager of Air America Radio. In reply, Thom told me that it wasn't Mark's idea to give him the sack. The blame there belongs to a company called Access 1, which owns W-WRL: "Mark assures me that they are working on finding a station in New York to carry my show....As soon as that happens, we'll announce the heck out of it." I can't tell you how flattering it is that a person whom I consider to be one of the most important living Americans would take the time to personally answer an e-mail from a regular schlep like me. And it's not the first time he's done so either.
For the Record, let me say that I am not trying to besmirch the reputation of Ed Schultz. "The Fat Red Head", as he calls himself is a staple of the talk show circuit on cable television - MSNBC in particular. He is bright, funny and well-informed with respect to the issues that matter most to regular Americans. I've listened to his program before and it cannot be denied that he is good - very, very good. I look forward to listening to him on Air America Radio. Having said that, let me say this:
As good as he is, the the guy is no Thom Hartmann - not even close. That should not be held against him. There is only one Thom Hartmann. Like the man on Madison Avenue once said, "Accept no substitutes".
Thom's encyclopedic knowledge of American history is one of the reasons why his program is so important. It amazes me that so many of these half-witted right wingers who have held a monopoly on the people's airwaves in recent years have not even the most basic understanding of the history of this country and the lessons that may be drawn from a careful study of it.

Back in 2000, I literally had to pull over to the side of the road while I listened, jaw agape, as one of these brainless twits criticized the current Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, for his actions during the Democratic Convention riots of 1968! This knucklehead didn't have the sense to realize that the Mayor Daley of 1968 was long dead - having died over two decades before - and that the present Mayor Daley was his son! I'm not makin' this stuff up, folks! That's the beautiful thing about the Right: They're soooo dumb! That is what makes these silly bastards so entertaining! I'm gonna miss them when they go.

What makes the Thom Hartmann Program so valuable is because Thom knows where the United States has been and - more importantly - he has a pretty good idea where it's heading. He can intelligently explain the all-too-real parallels between the America of 1929 and the America of 2008 - and why we are spiraling towards a similar economic meltdown that crippled this country for the entire decade of the 1930s.

He can tell you why Theodore Roosevelt was the last real Republican "maverick" and, a moment later, he will produce an actual audio recording of Teddy's voice from his ill-fated Progressive Party campaign of 1912, speaking of, "a square deal for every man and every woman in the United States...."

Unlike the Sean Hannitys, the Rush Limbaughs, the Michael Weiners and the Ann Coulters, Thom has not only read the Constitution, he understands it! He can site any amendment, quote it verbatim, and explain, simply and with great insight, why that particular amendment might or might not have been a good thing for the country he loves so well. Thom does not attempt to inflame our emotions. He seeks to appeal to our reason and common sense - much in the same way another "Tom" (Paine) attempted to do over two centuries ago....

Which reminds me: What's with the "h", Thom???
He is a thoughtful, fair and polite debater who will not go into the gutter with a guest - no matter how strenuous his opposing argument may be. Last week, a woman espousing some silly economic theory argued the merits (or lack thereof) of her case with Thom for an entire fifteen minute segment. Later on in the broadcast, after the debate had ended, a listener phoned in to rake the poor, misguided gal over the coals. Thom would have none of it. "She's no longer here to defend herself", he gently explained to the caller. He refused to criticize her in her absence. That's what I call "class". Thom has it in abundance - a gentleman to the manor born.
If you appreciate Thom Hartmann's contribution to the national political dialogue half as much as I do, give the good people at W-WRL a shout and voice your displeasure. Don't get crazy and threaten an advertising boycott - that would only be counter-productive. For all its faults, let's not forget that the place is an oasis in a desert of disinformation and propaganda. Just let them know that you're saddened by this turn of events and that Air America in New York has been severely diminished by his departure. Here are some people you can get in touch with:
(212) 871-8100
Program Manager, Rennie Bishop:
Access 1 Communications:
(212) 714-1000
Thom is a national treasure. His is a voice which desperately needs to be heard and the American people are desperate to hear it. As he says at the closing of every program:
And remember, my friends:
Democracy begins with you!
Activism begins with you!

Thom Degan
Goshen, NY
Here is a link to Thom's website:
by Thom Hartmann
"Cracking The Code"
by Thom Hartmann
Anything by Thom Hartmann

POSTSCRIPT, 4/17/12:

Sadly, four years later Air America is no more. But W-WRL is still here, and Thom Hartmann can be heard every afternoon from three to six. His program immediately follows the Ed Schultz Show. The best of both worlds! Immediately following Thom's broadcast is the Randi Rhodes Show which I also highly recommend. The gal is a scream.

For more recent postings on this site, please go to this link:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan


At 8:53 PM, Blogger Phil said...

I'm not surprised that the half-wits on the right wing (which is frequently wrong) lack a fundamental understanding of U.S. history; the time they should have spent studying it they spent trying to rewrite it.

Anyway, Tom, I share your sentiments about Thom Hartmann. National treasure, indeed!

At 5:09 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

I found out today that the Hartmann program is available on Sirius. I am going to have in installed in my van just so I can listen to him. With no static!

At 5:30 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

hitThom Hatman on Sirius???!!! I'm gonna have it installed in MY van so I can listen to him with no static!!!

At least we still have Keith Olbermann! When they take Keith off the air, I will send my Dish Network equipment back, and blow the dish off the roof with one of my many high-caliber firearms!

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Fabianna said...

I just retracted a comment, that was me, but Stoney13 you are kind of scary......

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...

And on my local progressive station (WINZ, owned by right wing Clear Channel), Ed Schultz was dropped for Thom Hartmann.

Go figure.


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