IT'S A TYPICAL Friday morning and KFYI radio talk show host Barry Young is introducing the topic of the day: Is the first lady of the United States of America a homosexual?
"I said we were going to do this yesterday," Young tells his listeners. "I have no firsthand information about the personal life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. But I'm going to ask you this: Do you think she's gay - or bi - and does it make a difference?"Young has chosen this particular subject, he says, because of an article he read in the "National Enquirer," which he describes as a "legitimate" newspaper.
KFYI is a successful radio station. Its daily lineup features the nationally syndicated programs of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It was purchased recently by Chancellor Media Inc. of Dallas, the largest radio station operator in the country.
This isn't the lunatic fringe.
This is the lunatic mainstream.
And here is Young, with no facts, speculating on a woman whose only apparent crime is being married to the president.
Jim from New River is upset. He calls to accuse Young of engaging in a form of "hate radio."
It isn't true.
To call Young's program "hate radio" elevates it to a higher level than it deserves. As he is about to prove.
"You think this is hate radio," Young tells Jim, "If you think that merely asking the question is hate radio. If you think that having a legitimate discussion about politics in America is hate radio, you're going to love this one."
Afterward, Young takes a call from Don in Phoenix, who's convinced Hillary is gay based on information he supposedly got from a cousin, who supposedly has a friend, who supposedly is in the Secret Service, who supposedly told the cousin that he supposedly once stood outside the door of a hotel room in which Hillary Clinton supposedly was meeting with other women.
If you've never tuned in to KFYI, the station is easy to find. Just spin your radio dial to the very bottom, then go lower.
Steve on a car phone says it matters to him if the first lady is gay, "another relationship that this person (the president) displays in his life."
Donna in Phoenix says her "intuition" tells her Hillary is gay because of the Clintons' political affinity for supporting gay causes and gay people.
Sooner or later, each of us says something cruel or stupid, something we regret the moment it comes out of our mouths and quickly apologize for.
This show wasn't like that. It was planned. It was advertised. If you have a wife, a daughter, a mother, you don't need me to tell you what you should think about it.
If you have a molecule of human decency and a single active brain cell, you already know.
If you don't, you're a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee. Or, you buy radio time for CompUSA, AT&T, Chicago First Mortgage, Home Base, Goodyear tires and the other sponsors of Young's show.
Or, you're George from Glen-dale.
He telephones Young to complain about the Clintons and to say he has no problem using the Enquirer as a reliable information source. If it weren't for the Enquirer, George says, he'd have never seen that picture of a bandaged President John F. Kennedy leaving a Dallas hospital in a wheelchair.
After he was assassinated.