Thursday, November 13, 2008

Influential Talk-Show Host Shifts Position: Cheney To The Hague

by: blueness

Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 03:56:00 AM EST

For 30 straight years KGO has been the most listened-to AM radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area. From dusk till dawn, it can also be heard throughout the entirety of the west coast, from Canada to Mexico. KGO pioneered the talk-radio format, long before it was seized and exploited by the rightwing noise machine. The station employs local, non-syndicated hosts, all of whom consistently rank first in their time slots. Hosts run the left-coast political gamut, from the vacuous, muddle-headed centrist Ronn Owens, to the fiery renegade Ray Taliaferro, who contends that a close reading of scripture discloses that Jesus was gay, and most commonly refers to George II as "that idiot out of Texas."

Occupying the 7-10 p.m. time slot is Gene Burns, who has been in radio for more than 40 years, the past 14 at KGO. Burns is a recently lapsed Libertarian; he sought the party's presidential nomination in 1984, but, after supporting John Kerry in 2004, this year he made the great leap, and registered as a Democrat. He is a pedant, and something of a blowhard, but is extremely influential with more moderate listeners put off by the station's fire-breathing lefties. Burns has consistently opposed impeachment proceedings against George II and Darth Cheney as frivolous and unwarranted: these men have not, to his mind, committed impeachable offenses. Challenged by callers contending that these men approved the torture of fellow human beings, Burns has maintained that the United States has not tortured; even waterboarding, to him, does not constitute torture.

Wednesday night, all this changed. After viewing on his local PBS affiliate the documentary Torturing Democracy, Burns told his listeners, he realized he had been wrong. The United States has tortured. It has also engaged in extraordinary renditions, for the purpose of torture. While Burns still believes impeachment to be a non-starter, he has concluded that, in the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in other sites overseas, Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and should be brought to trial before an international tribunal at The Hague. With the expectation that, in the course of Cheney mounting his defense, he may implicate George II as equally culpable in the commission of the same crimes.

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