Monday, June 17, 2013

#600: Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham is, essentially, a slimmer and possibly slightly dumber version of Rush Limbaugh. He hosts a couple of conservative radio shows as well as his own national TV show. He is also a commentator/contributor for Fox News, and fits their profile rather perfectly. Cunningham is, for instance, a perceptive and profound critic of Obama (and what he allegedly takes to be Obama’s plans to revive the Holocaust). In 2008, for instance, Cunningham discussed the life of Obama's father, remarking that “his father was a typical black father who, right after the birth, left the baby. That's what black fathers do. They simply leave.” He also weighs in with facts and reason on redistributive justice, arguing for the position that poor people are poor because they “lack values, ethics and morals,” and advocates “beat(ing) the hell outta homeless people” as a measure to solve the problem of homelessness – if they just take a good beating once in a while they’ll probably stop being homeless.

Of course, this is what wingnut talkshow hosts say. They simply spew nonsense and vitriol. Are such comments sufficient to qualify Cunningham for an entry in our Encyclopedia? Well, Cunningham – a local hero in the dimmer parts of Cincinnati, Kentucky – has made some efforts to settle that question, in particular with his furious attacks on the Cincinnati Zoo for pulling out of a promotional partnership with the local Creation Museum, probably realizing that teaming up with such a monument to anti-science wouldn’t help their credibility. In Cunningham’s mind, however, the zoo “buckled under” when faced with “intolerance of Christianity”. It is worth quoting Cunningham at some length: “We cannot put up with a religiously based discriminatory organization and the bigots at the Cincinnati Zoo who would do this to the Creation Museum. It's not necessarily about the museum; it's about publicly practiced bigoted racial discrimination against individuals who have a different faith set. Whether it's race discrimination or religious discrimination, it cannot stand.”

Yes, Cunningham is qualified for an entry.

Diagnosis: At least he doesn’t buckle in the face of reason, reality and sanity. His impact is probably limited to those already in the grips of Rush Limbaugh, but Cunningham should be watched nonetheless.


  1. The Creation Museum is in Kentucky, but I'm pretty sure that Cincinnati is still in Ohio.

    Great blog, and may I nominate Steve Goddard? Steve runs the Real Science blog, which is so far out that even Anthony Watts has severed ties. I used to think Steve was monomaniacal about climate and Australian, but apparently he harks from Ft Collins, CO and is a broad spectrum loon.

    1. "Cincinnati, Kentucky" was deliberate. Cunningham seems to consider himself a Kentucky guy and his fan base seems to be biggest on the Kentucky side of the river - in short, one often gets the impression that he considers the *true* part of Cincinnati, his part of it, to the Kentucky side of the river.

  2. The Cincinnati airport is actually in Covington, Kentucky (just a marginally relevant factoid).

    I wonder if there are people who would advocate beat(ing) the hell outta loony talk radio nutjobs as a measure to solve the problem of talk radio looniness – if they just take a good beating once in a while they’ll probably stop being loony nutjobs.

    Just wondering.