Buddy On Arizona and Talk Radio


Words do matter.

It’s a lesson that should have been known from history, but apparently was forgotten.

When the shots rang out in Arizona last weekend, blame was immediately placed on talk radio hosts.

You can’t blame the Glenn Becks and Joyce Kaufmans of this world for the violence.  You can blame them for creating an atmosphere of anger that causes the mentally unbalanced to act out.

Their fulminating rants, their attacks against the government have consequences.

Its nothing new.

In 1963, President John Kennedy rode into a Dallas filled with hate.  Right wing leaders had free reign in the Texas city, attacking Kennedy publicly and often.  The newspapers contained ads, editorials and letters-to-the-editor denouncing him and his administration without any attempt at other points of view.  Authorities were particularly worried about a handbill handed out just before his arrival that had his picture and the words: Wanted For Treason.

Who was behind Kennedy’s killing is still debated.  There is no debate that the atmosphere in Dallas was poisonous that November.

In 1890, the Hearst newspapers led an unrelenting attack on President William McKinley. Hearst flunky Ambrose Bierce suggested that a bullet was needed “to stretch McKinley on his bier.  Hearst writer Arthur Brisbane wrote, “If bad institutions and bad men can be got rid of only by killing, then the killing must be done.

Shortly afterward, a nutcase Leon Czolgosz pulled a revolver from a handkerchief wrapped around his right hand and shot McKinley, who later died.

Czolgosz probably couldn’t read English.  Hearst was blamed anyway for creating an atmosphere that prompted the assassination.

Theodore Roosevelt, the vice president who became president when McKinley died, said: “Every scoundrel like Hearst and his satellites who for whatever purposes appeals to and inflames evil human passion, has made himself accessory before the fact to every crime of this nature.

That says it all.

It could become the epitaph for Kaufman call for bullets to settle political disputes, Beck with his anti-Semitic conspiracies and Michael Savage’s (Michael Alan Weiner) fuming.

What is sad is that these reckless broadcasters are largely in it for the ratings.  If left wing talk got listeners, they would be there. Just like Hearst was largely in it for the circulation.

What is most disturbing to me is that small-minded talk show host Joyce Kaufman got a lot of attention this week.  A column in The New Times. A mention on Channel 10.

Here I am giving this low-rating lightweight more attention.  I feel bad about it, but she is the prime example of extreme speech broadcasting locally in English.

It doesn’t matter that she said off air, “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.

It matters that she said it publicly at a political rally. Sadder yet, she has been defended by our newly elected U. S. Rep. Alan West, R-Plantation.

A congressman supporting this verbal fire starter just got her more attention.


For an entertainer that’s what Kaufman is or tries to be, folks attention is akin to an organism.  So this week has been like night at Plato’s Retreat for Kaufman.

The best thing that could happen for is that she goes back to what she was in the past:  A little-listened to broadcaster on the dying A.M. radio dial talking and talking with almost no one paying attention.

Because words do matter…unless nobody hears them.


Sun-Sentinel columnist Mike Mayo’s take on this subject is here.

17 Responses to “Buddy On Arizona and Talk Radio”

  1. GOPapa says:

    This is right on.

  2. Floridan says:


  3. Broward Attorney says:

    Look in the mirror Mr. Nevins. There’s not much of a difference between the vitriol spewed by Glen Beck and the drivel written on BrowardBeat.com by you and your posters.

    Glenn Beck has a lot deeper reach than me.

  4. watcher says:

    broward lawyer….wrong again

  5. pineystride says:

    Well said.

  6. dk says:

    great article

  7. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    Buddy, I appreciate your intent here but this is an intellectually lazy argument. There is more evidence here to suggest this ahole was a stalker rather than a political assasin. And for it to make sense you’d have to prove he heard Kaufman’s show. If this is a plea for civility then I would expect it to apply not only to Kaufman, who is on record saying moronic things,but to Keith Olberman, Michael Moore, and if your suggestion is true, President Obama who said, “if they bring a knife to this fight, we’ll bring a gun”. Irrationally insane people do insane things for no reason. To write this at this time reeks of nothing more than a political swipe. Can’t we let these poor people bury their dead first? Kaufman has no national reach. Beck does. If you would have cited even one example of Glen Beck hate speech I’d feel a lot better about accepting your premise. And before you reply with a Beckism railing against big government or nationalized healthcare I should remind you that disagreeing with this administration is not hate speech. Making a movie about and writing a book on how to assasinate George W Bush would fall into that category. Maybe I am wrong but I don’t recall you protesting those two items during the last administration.

    I apply my plea to all broadcasters, including those from the loony-left. Words have consequences.

    I didn’t say Beck deliberately incited violence. I said his wacky conspiracy theories and misplaced anger creates a toxic atmosphere for political discussions.

    By the way, Beck’s thinly disguised anti-Semitic theory that financier George Soros was behind the inflation at the grocery and gas stations, that he cooperated with the Nazis during World War II and that he was seeking some sort of world control is the old canard that secretive wealthy Jews control the economy. Beck is buying into it, but when asked questions about it on the Bill O’Reilly show, he offered little proof.

    In what appeared to be a nod to “the ridiculous nature of Beck’s conspiracy theory, O’Reilly aired a clip of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil towards the end of the segment,” said one news report.

    This week, Beck claimed Congress would use the Arizona shootings as an excuse to take “our guns” away. He should know enough that it would never happen because the votes aren’t there for gun control. Instead of being truthful, he again sought to inflame his viewers with baseless accusations.

    I guess he didn’t learn anything about congressional power and how a bill is passed in his former profession — failed host of a Morning Zoo radio show.

  8. Patti Lynn says:

    I remember when the Saturday paper was “THE” paper to read…for Buddy’s column. I may not have agreed with all that he said, or all of those he agreed/disagreed with. That being said, Buddy Nevins NEVER advocated for violence. It appeared that he wanted voters to pay attention to the actions of their elected officials.
    If he didn’t point out the foibles of his favorites, he did make a case for the actions of those that he did not believe belonged in public office.
    I read his column for the information that he put out and learned about the political structure of Broward. Now I read Broward Beat, among others. None of the blogs, columnists, or OpEds that I read condone or encourage violence.
    Broward Lawyer, you are wrong, and we need people to recognize that. Stop pointing fingers at those with whom you disagree. You may not like it, but that doesn’t make it “drivel.” After Tucson, you should have taken a deep breath before you posted. Joyce Kaufman made a serious mistake with her comments about bullets if ballots don’t work. It wasn’t taken out of context. She flat out told the Tea Party folks that if their votes didn’t elect their people, then bullets would take out those, “…bad Washington people.”

  9. Bruce Edwards says:

    We live in a blame society. Did it ever occur to anyone that the shooter is a nut. Blame the parents, blame his teachers, blame his music, why not blame God? Everyday people are murdered or harmed by unstable people. We consider it the most despicable act when a victim was an elected official and her event. If this was only about a hate towards government or a point of view, why shoot the strangers and not just the congresswoman? I believe in freedom of speech, The right to bear arms, and Allan West as my congressman. I have a compassion for those who suffer mental illnesses and anger that leads to their own and others safety. I also think the exchange of views on your site Buddy is a good thing. regards

  10. Pineystride says:

    Dear Bruce,
    Mentally ill people are profoundly affected by their environment. If their environment is fraught with messages to kill or injure people because of political beliefs, mentally ill people will be more likely to do so.

  11. mustbecrazy says:

    Bruce, of course it has occurred to many that the guy is, simply put, a nutjob. Now does that mean that Kaufman or Beck or even Palin are collectively or singularly responsible for his actions? No it doesn’t. However, they as those that have the ear of the public have a responsibility to govern their words. There are nutjobs out there after all that may well believe what they say and act on it.

  12. Bruce Edwards says:

    Yes, you both make valid points. I think I would like to balance self accountability with the being mindful that comments made by people that have a national stage should have a duller edge (right or Left wing nuts) We as a nation have conflicts with others in the World from time to time. That is not a reason to mistreat an American citizen that may be from that country. Freedom of speech does come with a price tag. I do respect both of your comments. regards

  13. Another resident says:

    This nutcase could have just as easily had it in for Clint Eastwood because he said “make my day” one time.

    We all have expressions and talk that taken literally would wind us up in jail. The rational speaker and rational listener understand the difference. Just as the Kaufman speech about “ballots and bullets” was not a call to assassinate elected officials. Have you listened to her speech? It has been constantly quoted for that one line by every liberal rag out there, but who has actually listened to the speech? Again I suppose if you want to take the speech literally she is calling for you to arm yourself, but the speech is more of a metaphor of what our Founding Fathers created.

    I would rather see these debates about better handling of mental patients than a constant liberal drone of stopping hate speech.

  14. S.O.B. says:

    Buddy first of all, thank you for your insight and providing this avenue of expression! unfortunately many of the talking heads inject either their point of informatioon or the lack of it. when it comes to firearms, those lacking any knowledge use buzz words like “assault” “semi-AUTOMATIC” that “if only the large capacity magazine were still outlawed the carnage would be smaller”, the difference in a 30+ round clip and 2-15 round clips, still has the effect of 30+ rounds with a minor split second change. The only reason for all this now is the CongressWomans shooting. Why not the same national publicity on the, seems like, daily shotings in south florida, and every other locality. I like everyone else is saddened by the shooting of anybody. We must remember “GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE…”

  15. To SOB says:

    Actually, you are correct in part. Guns don’t kill people, it’s the bullets.

    Guns just make them go really really fast.

    I own multiple firearms. I enjoy shooting them at target ranges and I would use them to defend my wife and children.

    If the government wants me to register, I’ll happily do so. If they want to limit the amount of ammunition the clip of my pistol can hold, so be it.

    It isn’t a slippery slope to the abolishment of the second amendment — and for you “strict constructionists” out there who want to adhere to what the founding fathers meant and “go no further”, they were at best talking about muzzle-loading black powder muskets and Kentucky long rifles that could fire 1-2 rounds a minute (3 if you were good), I don’t think they contemplated machine guns and bazookas.

  16. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    You placed your escape route early in your piece with “You can’t blame the Glen Becks and the Joyce Kaufmans of the world for the violence”. That cheap device allowed you to argue a point without having to fully susbscribe to the implication. It is now a mute point anyhow. Today on GMA a classmate of the nut testified that he had no political point of view. He did not watch tv, hated the news, and did not listen to political radio. I prefer civil discourse over shock statements but I can’t indict idiotic commentary from either side as a genesis for murder. Common sense leads me to believe if Beck’s statements incited violence, given the size of his audience, we would have a massacre like this multiple times daily. I just can’t buy it. This is like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. You can create a link to whomever you wish without probable cause. For example, someone sewed the seams into the baseball that won the Giants the pennant in ’58/59???. I think we both agree that person had absolutely nothing to do with the Homerun Bobbie Thompson hit.


    I think we can agree on this. We both prefer civil discourse over shock statements, which I define as inflammatory rhetoric. I hope you keep contributing your civil discourse. Thanks for contributing.

  17. James says:

    There was a time when people occupying public airwaves were held to a higher standard than now. The fact that Joyce Kaufman spent countless hours touting Alan West without giving equal time to Ron Klein, then almost took a job with West should result in someone challenging WFTL’s license renewal so the frequency can be used by a more responsible entity.