Yesterday I had to head up to Manhattan from my home in South Jersey (2+ hours each way). I filled the time doing what I often do by listening to the various conservative radio shows. What an experience.
It started off with the often entertaining Glenn Beck. Interestingly enough I had gotten up yesterday to news of a major rift that happened between Beck and members of the show The View. Apparently Beck was on the same train as Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters and Steve Kroft (of 60 Minutes) for the trip down to Washington for the correspondents dinner. Beck was due to be a guest on The View and this was discussed. The trouble starts with how Beck described this interaction. Watch the appearance.
On his radio show Beck starts off by claiming that Walters and group had reserved seats on the Amtrak train. You can’t reserve seats on this train so that part of the story needs to be resolved. He then states that Walters approached him to introduce herself. He describes this by using a ridiculing voice for the others and a reserved, surprised voice (and words) for himself.
Whoopi calls him out on this on the show by replaying Beck’s commentary for him and then calling him, flat-out, a “lying sack of dog mess.” The following minutes of the show Beck clearly tries to weasel out of the situation by back-tracking, etc. He fails miserably.
Now back to my listening to his show. He’s going on with his annoying producer about the experience on the show and continues to ridicule everyone involved. He’s decided to reduce this down to the most basic of issues. He claims that the only thing wrong is that he got the order of who said hello first wrong and that this is all that happened. It isn’t. Beck clearly took this exchange, twisted it to his own preference of order and tried to turn it into something he could use on his show to boost his own ego and to denigrate Walters and Goldberg. He also seriously insulted Walters during the show as a has-been with nothing better to do.
Glenn, give it up. Your denials and continued ranting on this just make you look worse than before. You screwed up. You made a mistake. You lied about the exchange. Apologize and move on. Instead he’s now demanding an apology from everyone on The View. Best of luck there.
So then on the return trip I get to listen to Rush Limbaugh. This is always a treat as my BS meter never lasts more than a minute or two with this guy. Virtually everything he says can be torn apart with the most basic pondering of the facts.
One of the things he’s been going on about recently is how President Obama‘s new push for higher fuel efficiency is going to negatively impact everyone. He claims that these moves will result in everyone having no choice but to buy smaller, inconvenient, unwanted cars that he disparagingly refers to as “putt-putt” cars or “clown” cars.
The biggest point he tried to make was that this move would cause far more deaths because the cars aren’t as safe as bigger cars. What he fails to point out is that, if he’s correct and we all end up driving these, then the safety factor drops way down as an issue. The reason the stats go up is in the interim when these small cars have to share the road with all the ridiculously-sized monster vehicles on the road. No mention of this angle was made of course.
Furthermore it’s just not true. His viewpoint suggests that the auto industry is so lacking in creativity that the only way to get to these new standards is to put us all into tiny cars. Forgive me but I believe in our industry, it seems, more than he does. I believe, now that the industry will be forced to respond, that they’ll come up with new approaches and new designs that will meet the criteria necessary while also giving the public what they want.
Think about this. Today many of the vehicles on the road get between 17-26 miles per gallon. Under the new rules cars, by 2016, will have to average 35.5 mpg. We’re talking about, at worst, having to find a way to double their efficiency. In many cases it’s having to improve mileage by 40% or so. If I were in the business and you suggested we couldn’t find ways of doubling mileage in seven years I’d be insulted. The newest Prius models are looking to get 50-60 mpg. I’ve driven one and it was a pleasure to drive. That’s one model. If a decently-sized Prius can get 60 mpg then a sedan can certainly get 35.5 mpg.
Finally, no one will be forcing anyone to buy these cars. The reason they will be in demand is that it’s clear that oil prices are going to continue to rise and that Americans realize they have to finally consider gas mileage as a factor in their purchasing for a change. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re Limbaugh and have unlimited funds in your bank account then you can go ahead and keep driving the vehicle of your choice. Of course that will also be a bit of a stigma as it shows you really only care about your own little world but that’s another topic.