Monday, June 20, 2005

Radio Free Orcinus

I'm venturing into hostile territory today, at the studios of the local right-wing talk-show station KTTH-AM in Seattle, where I'll be the guest on the Michael Medved show, which is nationally syndicated. If you have Medved on a local station, you should be able to catch it.

We'll be debating hate-crime laws and whether we should have them or not. We'll discuss my book Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America, which is due out in paperback next month. (More on that later.)

Medved is opposed to the concept of hate crimes, so I'll be discussing that with him. This doesn't surprise me, incidentally; he's also made clear that he thinks anti-discrimination laws are wrong-headed (and, apparently, unconstitutional) as well. The constitutionality of bias-crime laws, as it happens, is predicated in several important regards on the precedent of those rulings that upheld anti-discrimination laws.

I typically avoid right-wing talk shows, especially in situations where the host is obviously hostile. Usually such appearances are simple muggings in which the guest is set up, ambushed, incessantly interrupted, and then browbeaten in the closing segment without any chance of rebuttal. It's not a fair game, and I'm not interested in playing.

But I listen to Medved's show irregularly, and my impression is that, though I may disagree with him, he avoids that kind of ugly setup for the most part. I say "for the most part" because I know that Mark Crispin Miller, in his appearance on Medved's show last summer, had exactly the kind of experience I describe as typical for other shows.

So I'll be reporting back here with my impressions.

Incidentally, you can listen to my interview with KDVS's Richard Estes and Ron Glick by going to his program's Web site and clicking on the link. It will, however, be available only for a week. That interview was about my most recent book, Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community.

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