If you’re a fan of Howie Carr, New England’s top conservative radio jock and newspaper guy for several decades, then the smart bet is that you will vote for anybody other than Sen. Elizabeth Warren next Tuesday.
Hell, if you regularly tune into Carr’s show, broadcast around Greater Boston on WRKO AM 680, then you probably have a full quiver of cheap Native American jokes strapped to your satchel of ignorant bullshit.
It’s likely similar for readers of Carr’s Boston Herald column; while he may take an occasional week off from Warren-flaming to pen learned humanitarian lullabies such as “We are all Brett Kavanaugh” (Oct 17, 2018), his stock in trade for months has been cold bashing the liberal senator from Massachusetts and shamelessly flanking her Republican opponent in the upcoming election, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who is best known for his lawn signs littering the suburbs and for chairing Donald Trump’s campaign for president in the Bay State.
As his routine goes, choice installments off the overused Carr lot pack in a lot of Pocahontas pokes—“It’s been 4 years, Liz Warren. Take a DNA test” (March 16, 2018), “Liz Warren to join tribe of losers” (July 25, 2018), “Fake news matched only by the fake Indian’s fake math” (Oct 16, 2018). There’s also a miniseries on the senator reporting “$50,000 in used clothing and ‘household items’” on her taxes—“Fifty grand worth of clothes! Donated! In one year.”—featuring gems like “Elizabeth Warren’s return taxes imagination” (Oct 10, 2018) and “Elizabeth Warren’s castoffs? Priceless!” (Oct 3, 2018), peppered with the nonstop assaults on her policies and person.
A lot of this Carr talk is over-the-top gushy; take, for example, the pathetic “Trump can make Geoff Diehl—and tweak Charlie Baker—with endorsement tweet” (Sept 2, 2018), and a personal favorite of mine, “Geoff Diehl has done more for Massachusetts than Liz Warren” (Sept 5, 2018). And while I have no doubt that Carr at least somewhat believes the horrendous xenophobic trash that flows from his and Diehl’s jowls and bowels, it’s nonetheless worth noting that the jock and author profits handsomely off advertising purchased by the Diehl campaign.
As Federal Election Commission (FEC) data shows, Diehl for US Senate has spent in excess of seventy-five grand on “Radio Spots” with the Howie Carr Network. That’s more than 80 percent of its terrestrial radio buys (most of the rest went to the station that broadcasts Carr’s show in Mass, WRKO, and its parent company), and for a candidate who has a mere $319,388.28 on hand heading into the election. Think about that—they spent all that money to reach conservative radio listeners. People who already have their cars decked out with Diehl stickers.
I could go on and on about the disgraceful hypocrisy in play, starting with how the host actively and openly helps fundraise for the Diehl campaign; in September, he actually hosted an event for the candidate at the Howie Carr Studios. It may not be worth my time to rant any further, though, since Howie’s sycophants and Diehl voters probably don’t care. When your supporters are the same people who back a toxic president despite his inability to tell the truth and penchant for nihilistic, childish behavior, there’s no reason to believe they are above getting their news from a media con man who is motivating check writers on one hand and filling his pockets on the other.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.