22 Nov 2002 Senator Tom Daschle Should Praise, Not Attack, Talk Radio Hosts and America’s Diverse Media
Responding to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s November 20 statements claiming “Rush Limbaugh and all of the Rush Limbaugh wannabees” are responsible for violence and threats of violence, Amy Ridenour, President of The National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, made the following response:
“Public officials that believes that frank discussions of public policy issues are tantamount to incitements of political violence should resign. They are unfit for office.
“Talk radio is America’s town hall. It has, and deserves, an honored place in our national discussions. Talk radio hosts, listeners and callers are the backbone of America — an asset, not a threat. Talk radio listeners are truck drivers, parents, mothers, doctors, teachers and soldiers. They are young and old; rich and poor; powerful and weak. They are the people Daschle claims to represent. They are not dangerous. It is not irresponsible to discuss public policy issues within earshot of them.
“Daschle complained that talk radio creates a ‘foment [sic]’ that ‘pretty soon becomes physical rather than verbal.’ He complained that he and other policymakers get threatening mail.
“Senator, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. There probably isn’t a talk radio host or opinion columnist in America who hasn’t had a threat or nasty e-mail. The difference between them and you is that they don’t whine. Oh, and another difference: they don’t feel threatened by diversity of opinion.”
Ridenour is president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan Capitol Hill think-tank established in 1982. She has been a guest on hundreds of talk shows since the 1980s.