McClellan: Radio personality's blunder shows we'll believe anything that conforms to our view - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

McClellan: Radio personality's blunder shows we'll believe anything that conforms to our view

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:51 pm | Updated: 12:29 pm, Tue Sep 4, 2012.

Are you as depressed as I am?

No, not about the DBacks’ up and mostly down season and not about the Cardinals’ inability to find a quarterback or a line to protect him.

No, I’m depressed about this year’s election, the most disturbing election in my memory.

I’m a political junkie, have been since I was a kid in 1964 and my parents plastered an AUH20 sticker on the back of our ’63 Rambler Classic station wagon.

But this year, I have to admit, I’m starting to tune it all out. And if a fan of politics like I am is, I worry about the new voters and the casual voters.

This should be an exciting election, given that we have two very different visions of government competing for president. We should have a robust debate about those visions.

We should, but instead we get innuendo, distortions and flat out lies.

Romney kills women and Obama is creating welfare queens are just two of the whoppers campaigns have assaulted us with.

Some would say that politics has always been this way, and there is some truth to that. But the assault today is constant, and from a variety of weapons, including for the first time, social media.

Locally, we are blessed with the Republican Congressional campaigns, which have devolved into “I’m more conservative than you are.”

Which is ludicrous, when you look at the two contests. Can you really separate Ben Quayle from David Schweikert? Paul Gosar from Ron Gould?

Please. All are four peas in the same pod, fiscal and social conservatives who would be reliable tea party congressmen.

But you wouldn’t know it from the bombardment of advertising.

And the various media echo chambers know their part in this. Fox and MSNBC do nothing more than preach to their respective choirs, mirror images of each other, slicing the world into the small reality they want to portray.

So it’s especially depressing this year to see this continuous assault on our intelligence. For me, that assault reached its nadir with an attack on a local politician by a radio personality, Jim Sharpe of KFYI.

No one listening to KFYI expects to hear anything approaching the truth.

After all, this is a station that has featured Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck and Michael Savage, all practitioners of the Half Truth.

But complete fiction?

Leave that to the locals, in this case, the station’s morning guy, Sharpe -- who recently ranted and raved for a full segment about Tucson state senator Linda Lopez.

Her crime?

An about-to-be-published magazine interview where she ripped into the military, including servicemen, at one point saying that the troops “can go bleep themselves.”

One problem.

It was all made up. No interview. Fictitious magazine.

In fact, the source was a so-called satirical website.

To his credit, Sharpe had Sen. Lopez on this morning and apologized profusely for his terrible mistake. Good for him.

But why did he make that mistake?

Because he wanted to believe it.

It conformed to his view of the world — or at least the view he wants his listeners to believe.

So when a Democrat goes off on the military, it fit with his narrative that Democrats are anti-military.

And instead of doing some research (which, by the way, would’ve taken less than a couple of minutes — I googled “Linda Lopez” and “military” and one of the first sites noted that the story was on a satirical website), Sharpe bought it.

His colossal blunder is indicative of what’s happened in our country: We’ll believe anything that conforms to our world view, contrary facts be damned.

“Don’t confuse me with the truth; I have my own reality.” That’s the American motto, circa 2012.


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