Out of all of the big name conservatives I’ve met or had dealings with, only one of them has ever struck me as truly obnoxious, which I think tells you something useful — and perhaps a little counter-intuitive — about what it takes to get ahead on the right.
On the other hand, there seems to be a whole lot of big name liberal jerks out there. In fact, I’ve had more than one person that I’ve interviewed — who has moved from the left to the right — flat out say that the unhappiness and unlikability of other liberals helped prompt them to make the change.
John Hawkins: …I always find the stories of people who ideologically move from the left to the right to be fascinating and I noticed that you used to be a liberal who even worked for Ron Dellums…
Michael Medved: Ron Dellums helped to make me a conservative.
John Hawkins: How so? What caused you to move to the right?
Michael Medved: First of all, even at the time I went to work for Dellums, I knew better. Because I was never that far out. I mean I supported Robert Kennedy, not Eugene McCarthy.
John Hawkins: Dellums was even a Communist, wasn’t he?
Michael Medved: Yeah, he basically was. I worked for Dellums for 6 weeks and then I couldn’t stand it anymore. Because I think he so clearly demonstrated some of the most malign and malevolent tendencies of the American left. Corruption, drug use, Communist sympathies if not Communist party membership.
John Hawkins: A related question, I guess you would have been pretty surprised when you said in the book that while Christians “hold religious beliefs against homosexuality,” they are some of the most tolerant, understanding, and kind people I have ever met. So was that a big surprise for you when you weren’t getting condemned?
Tammy Bruce: Yes, it was; it was shocking. For me it was quite life-changing in my sense of how I viewed the world and I was also, when it comes to my view of Christians, quite surprised by how happy they were. I mean, I remember being on the left; no one is happy, trust me. They (are the) biggest group of miserable people you would ever want to meet. Everything is wrong, everything is going bad, everyone is after you, everyone wants to get you, people are building camps.
To speak with finally, on talk radio, with Christians, I was struck first by the genuine happiness from these people and also the fact that even though they disagreed with me, finally I was having conversations with people who were curious, disagreed with me, but didn’t want to hurt me, were interested in persuading me, and it was quite a revelation, I have to say. I owe my beginning in talk radio to that kind of — it’s the only place really where you can have that kind of exchange between someone like myself and conservative Christians and have it be safe and have it be really life-transforming.
This bring us to Rosie O’Donnell. Oh, she’s so funny and happy on TV. That’s why they call her the “Queen of Nice.” What a caring person she must be…yeah, sure. Unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who’ve had to work on her failing show at the Oprah network.
Through all the changes, some 30 employees from producers to writers had left because of budget cuts and possibly because of a boss who couldn’t decide what she wanted and frequently humiliated them in public. “It was such a f***ing hellhole,” says one former staffer.
…O’Donnell was confused, too. She didn’t know what she was supposed to be and was losing confidence in the funny material that once made her great. She started spinning in different directions (should she be more political?) and frequently lost her temper, according to staff members. During a taping in the fall, according to a source familiar with the incident, O’Donnell uncontrollably yelled at a publicist backstage because she didn’t like the parameters agreed upon for an interview. When the publicist wouldn’t back down, another staff member physically separated the publicist in another room from the talent so that O’Donnell could get what she wanted.
Several staffers were very upset when O’Donnell clashed with Winfrey’s longtime director Joe Terry (who has since been hired by Katie, the forthcoming Katie Couric talk show). People thought she humiliated him when she scolded him in front of a live audience for using the wrong camera shots, suggesting he didn’t know what he was doing. She fired Winfrey’s stage manager because she felt like he was ignoring her and not doing his job properly. But some of her biggest fights were with “the games department.” She couldn’t decide what she wanted—The Price Is Right, physical games, or trivia—and was constantly belittling the people who worked on them.
She also wasn’t connecting with her bandleader, Katreese Barnes, a two-time Emmy winner from Saturday Night Live. O’Donnell was frustrated because Barnes couldn’t play obscure Broadway songs off the cuff right when she named them on live TV. “I just think you can’t develop chemistry and get to know somebody without spending time with them,” says Barnes, who is moving to Los Angeles for a new job with CW Network. “I didn’t spend enough time with her for her to know who I am, because my work speaks for itself. I’m not upset that I don’t know Into the Woods by heart. A little heads-up would have been nice.”
And then there was the problem with the show’s announcer. O’Donnell had temporarily given the job to a friend of hers, but viewers at home were complaining that her voice was too annoying. One day at a taping, she met a 29-year-old African-American woman named Hollee Chanel, who was so hysterical, she was hired on the spot to become the official announcer. Chanel was something of a folk hero on the OWN set, because she had just lost her job at a nonprofit organization and was now becoming a budding star, thanks to O’Donnell. But by January, Chanel was relieved of her daily duties.
She was told she could be a correspondent. She did one segment, on parents who fail their kids—by locking them in the car by mistake, for example—but it never aired.
If, as Malcolm Forbes says, “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them,” what does that say about Rosie?