Paul Harvey and J.Edgar Hoover

Before Rush, even before Morton Downey Jr., there was Paul Harvey.

In the 1980’s I was working in a factory pasting up business cards. Every day I had to listen to Paul Harvey’s unctuous voice on the radio. The room was small and I was newly hired, so I had to put up with it. I have to admire Harvey’s talent for insinuation, his use of inflection and tone to convey so much more than you would read in a transcript. He could be fatherly and reassuring, or contemptuous and sneering. He slid the commercials so smoothly into the stories that you would find yourself believing that he bought each and every one of the products he shilled.

My BS detector went off regularly, also my racism detector. He was unmistakeably a right wing tool.

Now the Freedom of Information Act opens the books on Paul Harvey and J.Edgar Hoover. Harvey wasn’t much of a journalist, mixing entertainment with news and not trying too hard to be factual. But he had a persona of a regular guy. No one knew he was taking his scripts from the F.B.I.

Why should we care about a deceased radio flack? Because Paul Harvey was a pioneer in faux news.

Today you can channel surf and land on what looks like news, only to find it’s Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. Fox Network covers extreme right to center right. Hate radio is a tried and successful formula. Now corporations will be able to produce infotainment that endorses a political agenda and broadcast it prior to elections. They are persons, according to the Supreme Court, and mere mortals just better move over.

This court ruling is just another gift that keeps on giving from the Bush administration. To see how far they went in compromising the free press, see my prior post, ‘Ministry of Truth’.

If it sounds too nice and neat to be real, you are probably right to doubt. I feel a little vindicated that my BS meter was well-tuned thirty years ago, when I suffered tedious hours at a boring job, forced to listen to Paul Harvey lying through his teeth.

Also, thanks to FAIR for their continued exposure of faux news of all kinds.

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3 thoughts on “Paul Harvey and J.Edgar Hoover

  1. There’s some law of physics that says if you have a really boring factory job that keeps you stuck in a small room with people you don’t like, one of them will own the radio. That was my introduction to Paul Harvey.

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