Friday, June 21, 2013

What Happens in Vegas: A Grumble from a Long-Time Resident

One weird thing about living in Las Vegas is that though our city is decidedly blue (as is the state in Presidential elections of late), political talk on the radio is exclusively from the red. [And just a side-note, isn't it funny how conservatives have come to be called "red," when the "reds" used to be their outright enemy? Anyway. . .] Liberal talk radio is a rare animal I'll grant you, a genre that includes only a handful of programs, but we don't get any of them in Las Vegas. I'm always amused that so often "the media" is depicted as a liberal entity, where underdog conservatives have to fight to have their voices heard.

So, if I want to listen to news commentary in the car, I have to resort to some Bluetooth/podcast setup, or I have to tune in to conservotalk on the terrestrial radio. And since I'm only in the car for 15-20 minute stretches, I can manage to do that without going completely nuts. The most popular station in this format is KXNT (with both an AM and FM version), and they run Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as you'd expect. But in drive-time, they scuttled the unlistenable Mark Levin to tape delay at night, in favor of a series of local hosts. There was a young team of "Radio Star" winners who were later dumped, a long-timer who got unceremoniously fired, and the current guy, a dolt named Kevin Wall.
Click image to embiggen.

Wall is clearly a pro at talking on the radio, I'll give him that. He can vamp to fill time. He can bail out of a phone call, or ill-thought-out train of thought. And if you're not paying attention to the actual sequence of words coming out of his mouth, he sounds just fine. But in my listening experience, I've yet to discover his area of expertise. His depth of knowledge on any particular subject is. . .well. . .shallow. When he interviews a guest on the phone, things go well as long as the guest is basically let go to talk about their subject. Things go somewhat awry when he starts peppering them with questions, veering into tangents that invariably lead to blind alleys. But like I said, he's good at steering back on course, when he realizes he's hit a pot hole.

On Thursday, the interview subject was most friendly, the honorable former mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. On this occasion, I found myself annoyed several times in the course of a couple of sentences. First up, Goodman and his wife Carolyn (the current mayor) are loathe to disabuse anyone of the false notion that the city of Las Vegas is the entire valley, including the strip. It's not. The Goodmans' jurisdiction ends north of the Las Vegas Strip, including the Stratosphere and downtown, but not the megaresorts. Kevin Wall on the other hand, seemingly isn't even aware of this fact. When talking to Goodman (or other city officials), he regularly tosses in references to areas clearly outside the city, cluelessly. 

Wall, of course, eventually turns everything back around to something negative about President Obama, and I guess that's a talent too. So, he asked Goodman about his "run-ins" with the President. And just as Goodman rarely admits he wasn't the mayor of the MGM Grand, he continues to perpetuate the myth that Obama told people not to come to Las Vegas. I've covered this subject before, because with Goodman, it is well-traveled. As you can see if you go to that link, what Obama actually said was both conservative and true. Both statements Obama made were about fiscal responsibility! Not taking a junket on the taxpayer's dime, and not blowing money you don't have. Yes, "Vegas" was in both quotes, but the context wasn't just glossed over, it was ignored.

These things were annoying enough for me to remember them hours later, and decide to write this post. But I really wasn't surprised by them. Kevin Wall is a guy hired to perform the role of "conservative talk radio host," and does it ably if not smartly. Smarts are obviously not a job requirement. Oscar Goodman is a fast-talking mob lawyer turned politician; a self-promoter who is selling a book about those things. He's always played loosey-goosey with facts, preferring truthiness instead.

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