Conspiracy

Dis-Mythed

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Eliot Morgan and Casey Lartigue, Jr. (the latter a friend and former colleague of mine) explain in the Washington Post how they were fired from their XM Radio talk show for attempting to debunk some of the conspiracy theories prevalent in the black community, including the notorious "Memorandum 46."

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  1. Not touching this one…

    All I’ll say is that Talk Radio in general encourages total brain malfunction.

  2. The Power is one of the funniest stations on XM radio. Too bad I’ll have to black ball it from now on.

  3. Amazing. I guess it’s not just rich white folk that want to keep the “black community” poor and ignorant.

  4. While Lartigue and cohort may want to paint this as an “I’s been done oppressed by da mob” situation, the reality is that nobody was probably listening to the show and therefore XM made a (*gasp*) market decision. (Imagine that, mentioning ratings and capitalism on a libertarian website!)

    It’s a shame that Reason types are so quick to chastise a whole “race” and paint all black Americans as brain-dead lemmings that can’t think for themselves, rather than assume that these two are just two more media martyrs (like Bill O’Reilly et al) who paint any management decision to pull the plug on them as “racism” (in this case, I guess, against black libertarians and conservatives).

    For the record, I’m African-American and never heard of this so-called Memorandum 42. I have heard of Strawberry Letter 23, which would probably be more interesting to listen to than two more mealy-mouthed shock jocks (of ANY color) …

  5. From the article:

    Our theme song was Prince’s “Controversy,” and that’s exactly what we often created. The economist Walter E. Williams, who has been a guest host on “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” irritated some of our listeners by denouncing reparations for slavery and dismissing the need for a minimum wage. On the 82nd anniversary of Malcolm X’s birthday, we dared to ask, “What did Malcolm X do?” Judging from the response from callers, you would have thought we had confessed to assassinating the Nation of Islam leader.

    We did get occasional warnings from others at the station, but we dismissed them as office scuttlebutt. We received plenty of feedback from listeners who found our program refreshing.

    Call me crazy, but despite the paranoid theory now being put forward by the sacked commentators, I suspect that this wasn’t all about, or even mostly about, Memorandum 46. Then again, I think there is a pretty good chance that Ken Lay is still alive.

  6. The article doesn’t make generalizations about all blacks. It just highlights the prevalence of certain false beliefs. Reason did the same thing with articles that challenge the connection between autism and vaccination and articles about DDT. In both cases, those false beliefs lead people to choices that increase their risk of disease. A few years ago a rumor spread that the polio vaccinations were a US plot to infect Africans with AIDS. Africans who believed it stopped getting vaccinated for polio. Soon after, a polio epidemic spread.

  7. It’s a shame that Reason types are so quick to chastise a whole “race” and paint all black Americans as brain-dead lemmings that can’t think for themselves,..

    seriosly dude, relax, where the heck did anyone chastise a whole “race” or paint all black Americans as anything? Yours was the fourth comment in the thread, and the H&R entry about this is like 3 sentences informing readers of an article in another publication. Where did we Reason types have a chance to offend you sensibilities is beyond me.

  8. Is it any different that Limbaugh being fired for his completely unshocking comments on McNabb? If there is one thing the US population has learned, it’s don’t tell the truth when it involves race if your finances are on the line.

  9. seriosly dude, relax, where the heck did anyone chastise a whole “race” or paint all black Americans as anything? Yours was the fourth comment in the thread, and the H&R entry about this is like 3 sentences informing readers of an article in another publication. Where did we Reason types have a chance to offend you sensibilities is beyond me.

    racist!

  10. It’s a shame that Reason types are so quick to chastise a whole “race” and paint all black Americans as brain-dead lemmings that can’t think for themselves

    ????????

    First off, you offer no example of this phenomenon you claim to have uncovered. Second, you are guilty of the very mode of thinking you decry.

    Maybe the Internet isn’t your thing.

  11. Anyone know where you might listen to their last show online?

  12. I oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but I support the 1957 and 1960 CRA

  13. Audio is linked to here

  14. I dunno, it’s hard to make a case based on this that they might have been kicked off the air for low ratings just as they were going into a topic that probably would have brought in a lot of listeners ready to argue back. Did the show take callers? That might have made a difference.

    I do notice that they’re not saying it’s censorship that a business decided to not keep them on. They were allowed to speak their minds. Management was allowed to fire them. They were given space in a newspaper to complain about it. They might even get picked up somewhere if this article gets some attention.

    I grew up in a very black community, and I’ve heard all these before. But the kids I grew up with had another point of view tacked on to those statistics of who believes what conspiracy – at the end of a discussion about how true it was, everyone could agree it didn’t matter if it was happenstance or conspiracy, what mattered was what you DID about it. You got a bunch of kids wanting to be cops, doctors, politicians just to find out, too.

  15. “…on June 23, we devoted an entire edition of “The Casey Lartigue Show,” our weekly political talk show on an XM satellite radio channel aimed at black listeners, to debunking it and other urban legends.”

    I understand that these guys were puttin’ out a show that challanged conspiracy theories that are accepted by a certain slice of the black community, but I do not understand…

    If, as these guys suggest, these conspiracy theories are accepted by a significant slice of the black community… Why would XM want to put out a show that was intentionally antagonistic to a significant slice of the black community? …on a station that caters to black people?

    Libertarians, some of us anyway, are all about listening to the battle of ideas and getting to the truth–not everybody’s up for that. …take evangelical Christians.

    Why would XM want to broadcast a show debunking creationism on a channel devoted to evangelical Christians? …it just sounds to me like they never should have produced the show in the first place–never mind that they pulled the plug.

    What’s next? Are they gonna put Tom Leykis on a channel for feminists?

    Also from the Washington Post article:

    “Americans love conspiracy theories. […] But conspiracy theories take on a life of their own in the black community.”

    What does that last sentence mean?

    “It’s a shame that Reason types are so quick to chastise a whole “race” and paint all black Americans as brain-dead lemmings that can’t think for themselves, rather than assume that these two are just two more media martyrs (like Bill O’Reilly et al) who paint any management decision to pull the plug on them as “racism” (in this case, I guess, against black libertarians and conservatives).

    That’s an interesting observation.

    One of the guys on the show was apparently a libertarian, and we tend to close ranks around ourselves. …and I think there’s a general bias among many libertarians that people–be they black or white or whatever–can’t think for themselves. …otherwise they’d all be libertarians.

    But that’s a good point. As I wrote above, my assumption is that XM made a business decision that had nothing to do with race per se.

  16. All I know is I now expect my debunking to come with lots of stuff blowing up.

  17. I do enjoy the irony of people claiming to be victims of a conspiracy as a result of their debunking of a conspiracy.

  18. “paint all black Americans as (people who) can’t think for themselves”

    I can think of only one frequent poster here who fits that description.

    CB

  19. Page 3 of the article. They’re not claiming a conspiracy. They’re claiming the program director was very open about his motives. (And the program director did make conspiratorial claims.)

  20. I love the black conspiracies. They would make a fun movie.

  21. Mike, reality is no barrier to the likes of Dan T. He transcends, and barrages of RTFAs bounce off him, or pass through him without leaving a mark. He is a mystery, and the beginning of wisdom.

  22. Hmmm. Well, this is what you get when there’s enough “news” channels. I’m sure there’s a talk radio station out there devoted to the We-Never-Landed-On-The-Moon theory, has its listeners, with said listeners being just as ticked off if someone came on and said:”what you are believing is flapdoodle, and this is why.” (Yeah, I know–Art Bell.)

    Talk radio isn’t news, it’s entertainment pretending it is news that reinforces the already-existent beliefs of a self-selected audience. Of course they got ticked off–what do you expect? And if you want to say that The Market Rules, I don’t see how Libertarians can complain about this.

    It takes a long time of kicks from the world before people learn lying to themselves actually ends up with more pain in the end–one reason to go for truth. Most humans never learn this and love to hear “truths” that reinforce their image of themselves.

  23. “Libertarians, some of us anyway, are all about listening to the battle of ideas and getting to the truth–not everybody’s up for that. …take evangelical Christians”

    I can think of another thing that libertarians, some of them anyway, have in abundance besides ideas: arrogance.

  24. “I can think of another thing that libertarians, some of them anyway, have in abundance besides ideas: arrogance.”

    Well, yeah, but this here non-atheist libertarian, who on these very pages often argues with other libertarians about how they really should knock it off with the elitist atheism crap, would like to pipe up here that it’s hard to be humble when you’ve subjected your thinking to the kind of rigorous criticism you get on this here board, from so many really smart people.

    No kidding–this place can make you smarter.

  25. I don’t know of any position or ideology whose defenders don’t come off as arrogant on the Internet.

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