Letters: Great American propagandist

Readers respond to Mike Thomas' profile of Paul Harvey, and to Amy Reiter's report on Joan Rivers and her Sept. 11 politics.

By Salon Staff

Published September 28, 2001 7:00PM (EDT)

Read "Brilliant Careers: Paul Harvey" by Mike Thomas.

It's hard to believe you could print an entire paean to the original reactionary, self-aggrandizing, vicious, fringe, far-right propagandist of the 20th century, and say nothing of his politics. Let's imagine the same feature on Adolf Hitler: "Fiery as ever, Hitler continues to bask in his regular-guyness, because those are the kind of guys the Sudetenland breeds: regular ones, middle Germans with broad shoulders (if only figuratively), vegetarian tastes and a deep-seated disdain for intellectual haughtiness. In short, he continues to convince legions of listeners that he is one of them."

To do a completely uncritical profile of this evil man is beyond comprehension. Shame.

-- Joseph Byrd

It was my honor and pleasure, while I was manager of an ABC station in Amarillo, Texas, to spend a morning with this friendly and wonderfully talented broadcaster in the fall of 1953. After a reception for Harvey, sponsored by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, Paul asked me to have breakfast with him at his motel the next morning. When I arrived he had breakfast waiting for me and during my visit, Paul asked, "Isn't it unusually dark for this time of the morning?" Then he wondered if we were experiencing one of those famous West Texas dust storms. I said, "It beats me, I've only been here a few months." The radio and TV operations were about five miles out in ranch land and visibility was near zero. When we finally arrived, Harvey immediately started writing his noon broadcast.

A few minutes later he came in my office asking, "What do cattle do in one of these dust storms? He wanted to see for himself, and off he went in a Jeep with one of our news men. Several local dignitaries were on hand to meet Paul and hear his broadcast, which was fed from our TV studio. When Harvey walked into the studio he was greeted with "WELCOME PAUL HARVEY" written in the dust on the floor of the studio. I'll never forget the day I got to know the greatest broadcaster America has ever known.

-- Stan Wilson

If Paul Harvey comes on the radio and I have no time I will simply turn the radio off. If I have time, I contact the sponsors he names on the show and ask them why they would select such an uncredible spokesman for their product. Paul Harvey's shows are not "news and comment." They contain so many half-truths, innuendo and falsehoods his show should be "Stories from Paul Harvey." Harvey remembers and still lives in a time where the husband worked and the pearl necklace- and dress-wearing wife stayed home to take care of two kids (one boy, one girl) in a quiet suburban neighborhood. It must be painful for him to see the changes that have taken place and how far he has been left behind.

-- Thomas Grinnell

Read "Nothing Personal: No swimsuit? No lawsuit" by Amy Reiter.

Good for Joan Rivers. With Jesse Jackson playing at being a diplomat once again, and Jane Fonda making ridiculous comparisons to Vietnam, all we need right now is another group muddying the waters by shifting the focus from the real victims of this tragedy to the racial victimhood that has been promoted ad nauseam by some minority groups in our country. Joan is right to boycott Sister Sledge. In Joan's own words, "Oh, grow up!" I certainly do not condone any kind of uninformed and ignorant discrimination, retaliation or violence against Arab-Americans. However, does that mean we need to hear more sappy songs from the whiners of the world about their "oppression" and how unfair life has been to them? We are all victims in this calamity, until we resolve to take action as one people to ensure that it never, ever happens again. Forget about racial groups and let's each work as individuals regardless of race, creed, color, etc. to do what we can.

-- Bob Harter

Salon Staff

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