To many Canadians and Americans, the prominence of Rush Limbaugh and the others is taken as evidence that the United States is becoming a society of extremists, racists and heartless reactionaries.
That is not, as I wrote last week, a fair description of Ms. Coulter; nor of the other prominent conservatives on the American airwaves — even that tedious Fox News blowhard, Bill O’Reilly, the relentlessly partisan Sean Hannity, or Michael Savage, a quasi-learned eccentric whom the British have insanely banned as an undesirable (not that he has the slightest wish to go there).
The large gorilla lurching around the room is that all these people are in successful revolt against the traditional U.S. mainstream national media.
Apart from Henry Ford’s popularization of the automobile, it has been the most successful American revolution since Paul Revere’s ride.
Forty years ago, there were William F. Buckley, an amiable, brilliant, patrician gadfly, personally friendly with the liberal elites, and Paul Harvey, a Chicago traditionalist only slightly to the right of the mainstream of the country. There were a few others, but nothing like the sharply dissentient figures who now evoke and express the anger and disillusionment of tens of millions of otherwise, mainly reasonable, Americans.
Three contemporary events triggered this schism: Vietnam, Watergate and the press’ self-commendation for its handling of both those events…