What Jay Severin thinks about his critics

26 February, 2008 (11:29) | Jay Severin, Media | By: david

Note: please post any new comments to the new SeverinWatch blog: http://severinwatch.com/2008/02/26/what-jay-severin-thinks-about-his-critics/

As I mentioned in the last post, I was on the radio yesterday with Jay Severin (the talk show host formerly known as Jimmy Severino). I guess I got under his skin, because this is what he said to his listeners after the break (apologies for any transcription errors — my recording quality wasn’t very good this time). This monologue went on for a little over six minutes, longer even than our original dialogue.

(Chuckles) I love the power of our program, and I love that it turns people on, and I love that it provokes people. Can you imagine being — (laughs) — someone who — (laughs) — he’s staying home, hovering around the radio, waiting for me to say something controversial like “the poor don’t bathe as often we do and as a result they may not smell as nice.” Can you imagine, can you imagine like taking such great umbrage at that, that you call up and say “Let me quote you! Let me get this right about the poor and bathing! Whoa! An expose!” What is this? Some pathetic half-assed wanker from the local membership of Media Matters? “Let me get this right! Did you say the poor don’t smell well?” It’s really very sad. You know, and one thinks about bloggers, all the things they say about bloggers. This just reinforces it. Some friendless, underemployed, wanking dwarf sitting at home going “Did you say that the poor don’t bathe?” Well I’m happy to be of service to everyone. (Laughs) Six-one-seven, eight-two-two, one ninety-six nine, Verizon Wireless callers pound ninety-six nine. The thing is, I don’t doubt that this wanker in question could find an audience for the notion that people would be offended that I might say that the poor don’t smell nice. Because, don’t forget, these days the incipient fascism which rules in our land is that the true spirit of freedom of speech is gone, dead, and buried, and shame on you, because you’re allowing it to happen. I don’t mean to place this burden on you and me, but who else is going to protect it? Who else but we are going to protect this? That’s exactly what’s happening. Freedom of speech — the spirit of freedom of speech — is gone, dead, and buried. You know this from everyday life. And as I’ve written about and as I’ve said, the new standard is not whether what you said is true, and for many centuries truth has been the standard. In English common law, and down until today, in our own system of jurisprudence, in libel law, truth is an absolute defense. If you write about someone or say about someone something damaging, you can prevent any liability to yourself by having written it or said it if what you said is true. That’s it. End of the story. No matter how damaging or embarrassing it might be. If what you wrote or said is true, end of story. End of case. Truth is an absolute defense in libel law. That has guided our public discourse for many centuries. And now we live in a time in which the standard has passed from whether or not there’s an element of truth to what you’ve said or whether or not it can be established to be true, was it, you know, your personal opinion; now the standard is “did somebody’s feewings get huht?” Is somebody’s feewings huht? ‘Cause if you huht someone’s feewings …. What you do, when someone on the radio or someone at your dinner party or anywhere else says something that you regard as offensive, what you do is, you reach and you turn the dial. Or you don’t extend them an invitation to your next dinner party. What you don’t do is join a mass of imbeciles who want to deprive someone of their livelihood because they’re expressing their opinion. If you are so easily bruised that the expression of opinion damages you, then you need psychiatric help and quickly. Because big grown-up women and men are presumed in our society to be able to withstand the slings and arrows of conversation and of opinion, even if some of that opinion is a little bit out there. Truth is an absolute defense, and even when it’s not, opinion is opinion, and the most sacred of the amendments to our Constitution, of our Bill of Rights, the reason I believe the founding fathers chose it as the first one, is the freedom of speech. And with all we have to discuss, that some poor, friendless, unemployed wanker is sitting at home, trying to get my exact words about whether or not I said the poor smell … what can I say? Except I think he probably smells.

Allow me, if I may, a point-by-point rebuttal and commentary.

“he’s staying home, hovering around the radio, waiting for me to say something controversial” — Objection: assuming facts not in evidence. In fact, I heard Jay’s original comment on my car radio, got ticked off, got home, called in, and did a bunch of work while I was on hold.

“the local membership of Media Matters” — Objection: assuming facts not in evidence. I am not in fact a member of Media Matters. But I can see why Jay might think that. Go to their web site and search for Severin. They’re compiling a dossier of his most outrageous remarks.

“one thinks about bloggers, all the things they say about bloggers. This just reinforces it” — Psst, Jay … You’re a blogger!

“Some friendless, underemployed, wanking dwarf” — Objection: assuming facts not in evidence. Only some of these characterizations are true.

“the true spirit of freedom of speech is gone, dead, and buried” — Objection: relevance? Did I ever say anything to suggest that Jay should be prevented from saying stupid things or punished for doing so? No, I only asked him to consider whether he really wants to be on record as believing that the poor smell bad. By changing the subject to freedom of speech, Jay tries to escape an argument he’s bound to lose by turning it into one he’s bound to win.

“in libel law, truth is an absolute defense” — Objection: relevance? Did I accuse you of libel or slander? I don’t think so. Furthermore, what you said is demonstrably untrue. All I need to do is find one poor person who doesn’t smell bad. Do you really think that would be hard? What you are guilty of is not libel, it is prejudice and bigotry. And truth is not an absolute defense for that.

“when someone on the radio … says something that you regard as offensive, what you do is, you reach and you turn the dial” — Oh really? What happened to your marketplace of ideas philosophy, Jay? Are you actually saying that anyone who disagrees with you should just shut up? Do you really want to be on record with that position? Because it contradicts what you’ve said on the radio many times.

“a mass of imbeciles who want to deprive someone of their livelihood because they’re expressing their opinion” — If you lose your job, Jay, it will be because of poor ratings, not because I object to anything you say. Although I will admit that by exposing your weaknesses I do hope to have your listeners take you less seriously and ultimately choose to turn the dial themselves.

“big grown-up women and men are presumed in our society to be able to withstand the slings and arrows of conversation and of opinion” — That was the presumption I made about you, Jay, but you proved me wrong.

“I think he probably smells” — Ooh, that hurt. What would be an appropriate response? Something on the order of “it takes one to know one?”

I’d go on, but I have a wanking appointment in ten minutes.


Comment from Doctor L
Time September 27, 2008 at 7:31 am

I agree with Jay. You are a friendless, underemployed, wanking dwarf.

Comment from Robert
Time November 3, 2008 at 11:49 am

David, it is clear to me that Jay Severin needs professional help. The man is out of control! I so wish instead of taking calls and having the power of hanging up on people when is convenient for him, these people were at the studio in person with an equal opportunity to talk. If that was the case, I’m sure he wouldn’t be on the radio anymore due to the exposure of his trash ideas by people like you. Thank you for doing the right thing.

Comment from American Citizen
Time November 5, 2008 at 10:14 am

I simply couldn’t resist posting here! And why? Because yesterday (November 4th) Mr. Severino confessed to one of his “best and brightest” that he has been living in Massachusetts for about two years now, and guess what? He was complaining about the fact that he was NEVER invited to any dinner party or any social event here! Not even by his family members! Isn’t that hilarious? After all, who is the “friendless” person here??? (lol)

Comment from Trish
Time November 8, 2008 at 9:19 am

Jimmy Severino claims to be middle class and lives just like everyone else – “no pool or tennis courts and paycheck to paycheck” – What a phony! He lives in Manchester by the Sea, in a 15 rm., 7 bdrm. tudor mansion for which he paid $2.2 million,a $1.5 million mortgage, in need of renovations when he bought it. No wonder he’s a pariah with no social invitations – who would invite him anywhere when he spews his hate speech for 4 hours everyday. He is just scared that he might lose his job and that big mansion and be forced legally to offer some balance of views on his “show”. Just don’t listen, turn it off so he won’t get the ratings.

Comment from Renato
Time November 10, 2008 at 11:43 am

Trish: I see your point but in other hand we have to think a little deeper about this. As you know, human beings are both gracious and dangerous creatures. As bizarre as it may sound, a good part of Jay Severin’s audience happens to agree with everything he says. Not only that… As posted by David before: “itโ€™s clear that many of his listeners consider his rhetoric educational and informational”. How scary is that?

If we just stop listening he won’t have anybody to confront him. People will simple listen and agree with all of his distorted ideas. The ignorance among his “best and brightest” will continue to prevail. Calling and exposing his lies is very important. To defeat political enemies we first need to know who they are and how they think, don’t you agree?

I loved the idea “American Citizen” gave. We should call ALL of his sponsors and complain about their association with this racist, sexist, ignorant, liar called Jay Severin. If we just cross our arms and do nothing this people may someday have enough numbers to make a difference in the politics of this country. Nobody with a functioning brain wants that to happen. This would be the ultimate nightmare Trish. Please, listen when you have a chance. Call and expose him when you have a chance. Call his sponsors and make your voice heard. Remember: “Together We Stand”! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment from Nathan
Time July 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

I heard Jay the other day go off on a ridiculous tirade about Huma Abedin. He really was throwing around some pretty serious accusations (connections to Muslim “terrorists”) and jumping up and down like Chicken Little about the sky falling and how in the (“HELL”) does a “person like this” get a top government security clearance. He went on to say that he was “sure” Huma was sharing secrets with her parents etc. Here’s my imagined conversation with Jimmy Severino. “So Jay, first of all every person in the US Government who has a top security clearance has parents. What makes Huma different beyond the fact that you don’t like her religion? Jay, are you privy to some secret conspiracy information that somehow slipped by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and all of the Big-Wigs over at the Pentagon? As a Patriot, I will submit that it is your duty to come forward with this information and alert the proper authorities. No? Well then stop blowing smoke out your ass.”

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