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Saturday, Mar. 28, 2015

Huckabee's No Paul Harvey

Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011, at 9:29 AM

"Hello, Americans...Stand by for News!"

For more than 40 years, millions of listeners heard that greeting and listened intently as Paul Harvey began his daily "News and Comment" radio broadcasts.

Harvey's distinctive voice and writing style, those dramatic pauses and his ability to mix news of the day and news of the weird made his broadcasts a constant hit, no matter how tastes changed and other media types went in and out of style over the decades.

When Harvey's voice was silenced by death in 2009, America lost a true one-of-a kind. But his daily shows were a goldmine for Citadel Broadcasting, which pedaled them to more than a thousand radio stations who carry hourly ABC Newscasts.

Citadel employed fill-ins as Harvey got older and dealt with medical issues, and tried out a number of people to replace him after he died.

A dark horse won the job. Former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was given Harvey's time slots.

Huckabee is a congenial guy and Citadel calls "The Huckabee Report" one of the fastest growing radio programs in the country.

I call it the most irritating radio program in my world.

That is, because people tune in expecting to hear the same type of quirky newscast Paul Harvey delivered.

Instead, Huckabee uses the platform to launch daily attacks on President Obama, all Democrats and some of the Republicans he may face, if he runs for President again next year.

It is true that Paul Harvey was a very conservative, family values kind of guy and he freely stated his opinions on issues of the day.

But Harvey was non-partisan. He loved to go after politicians of all parties who failed to keep their promises, or kept their jobs to serve themselves instead of citizens.

Like many, Paul Harvey started out a staunch supporter of the Viet Nam war, but eventually became a critic of President Johnson's failure to find a way out of it.

Harvey loved President Nixon and President Reagan, but he criticized both for the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals.

Huckabee, however, uses his broadcast as a bully pulpit to daily lash out at Democrats and feather his own political nest.

This rant is not a defense of Democrats. It is about the damage Huckabee is doing to the profession of journalism. I have heard him call his reports a "newscast," That is an insult to true journalists everywhere.

A real news reporter leaves his or her opinions at home and strives to fairly report the news, not slant stories to fit his or her benefit or beliefs. Mike Huckabee and his bosses at Citadel have apparently never heard of journalistic ethics.

A recent news cast is a good example. Huckabee began by talking about the latest winter storm causing misery, adding he hadn't seen a "snow job" like this since he dealt with Arkansas legislators as Governor. A blanket insult of state lawmakers. Ha. Ha.

He went on to talk about "musical chairs" in Congress. Democratic Senator Jim Webb had announced he would not seek re-election. Huckabee blamed "Obamacare" for forcing the Virginian to the side lines and expressed fervent hope a Republian will now win the seat. He then mentioned an apparently less important news item. Republican Rep. Christopher Lee had abruptly resigned after "allegedly sending an inappropriate communication to a woman." (Lee was the Congressman who posed shirtless, flexing his muscles while taking a picture of himself to e-mail to a woman he was trying to bamboozle.) No big deal to Huckabee, since Lee "did what Republicans do and resigned after a sex scandal" (implying Democrats don't?).

With candidates already lining up for the 2012 Presidential race, many Huckabee supporters are puzzled why he has been slow to enter the race.

Why should he, when he can attack fellow candidates at will through "The Huckabee Report" and his weekly Fox News cable network show, plus rake in cash from both shows and selling t-shirts and coffee mugs and hats and books on his Web site?

The minute Huckabee announces he is a candidate for President, he will have to step aside from his cushy radio and television jobs, which give him free exposure to millions of voters. He will have to start raising millions for political ads and hit the political trail, a nonstop, nonpaying "job."

Whether Huckabee is a Republican attacking Democrats or a Democrat attacking Republicans, it is simply not fair to other candidates who don't have the luxury of free airtime and face time to brag on themselves and attack others at will.

All I can say is, Mike Huckabee is no Paul Harvey.

As Paul would say, "Good Day!"

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I used to call this blog "Stranger In Town" but time goes by quickly. After a year in these parts, I realize people will still say, 'he's from off' but I now proudly claim I am a "Stranger No More"! After a lifetime in living in big cities, small town life has produced surprises, good and bad but, after more than a year, I love it (most of the time!). I promise to keep on writing about stuff that interests me and things I think of to complain about. I hope you will continue to check in occasionally to read and comment.