Morton Downey, Jr.: The man who set the stage for Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gator996, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. gator996
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    gator996 New Member

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    In the '80s, he made it cool to make politics highly personal





    Mort Downey Jr. was local TV for Long Island kid like me back in the 80's
    Black & White kids alike watched his show...laughed at it & him...took it for what it was.
    Scary to think what passes for "legitimate" conservative political discourse now




    Morton Downey, Jr.: The man who set the stage for Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity

    http://theweek.com/article/index/246805/morton-downey-jr-the-man-who-set-the-stage-for-glenn-beck-and-sean-hannity

    What do right-wing gabbers Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh have in common with cacophonous passion-play reality shows like Jersey Shore?

    The answer: combative TV talk show pioneer Morton Downey, Jr., the chain-smoking son of a famous early 20th century Irish tenor. For two years in the late 1980s, Downey soared to TV stardom and then crashed and burned — leaving an enduring template of guest-terrorizing and rhetorical bomb-throwing behind him. His show, its era, and Downey's tragic personal history are captured in the documentary Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie.


    Co-directed by onetime teen Downey fans Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, the movie shows MTV co-founder Bob Pittmann explaining that in the late 1980s, he felt a less civil post-Watergate America was ready for an updated Joe Pyne show. (Pyne, famous for his phrase "go gargle with razor blades," was a popular confrontational 1960s talker.) Pittman held auditions for the host of his new syndicated show, and radio-talker Downey, whose attempts to duplicate his father's success as a singer had fizzled, easily won the role due to his mastery of theatrics, political polemics, stage presence, and charisma.

    Downey had guests such as Rep. Ron Paul and Alan Dershowitz, but his most (in)famous segment featured civil rights activist Roy Innes knocking down a heavyset Rev. Al Sharpton at a 1988 taping at the Apollo Theater. Downey later milked the fight for all it was worth and reveled in his many Star-Wars-bar-scene-like guests. Downey was all about grabbing market share by getting controversial guests and ginning up drama. He would literally get in a guest's face and blow smoke at them, yell "Zip it!" or have security throw guests off the show. Downey's cheering, hooting, mostly young studio audience became known as "The Beast" and was likened to a lynch mob or the Roman Coliseum.

    It ended poorly for Downey. He started losing advertisers and had trouble booking guests. So he bruised and marked up his face, claiming he had been attacked by Nazi skinheads. His story didn't hold up. It was a PR disaster, and the show that debuted in 1987 was canceled in 1989. By 1996 he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and became an anti-smoking activist. The film shows an almost skeletal Downey repentant over influencing others to smoke and about know he wouldn't see his daughter grow up. Downey died in 2001.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw0cbBQrnDk&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXT_h7m_5Sk
  2. tim85
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    tim85 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not really sure they're nearly as comparable as this article and you make them out to be. Actually I'm positive they're not -- but to each their own.
  3. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Youtube his Ron Paul interview in the early 80s. Pretty disgusting.
  4. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    This guy predated me but I remember my parents finding him absolutely repulsive.
  5. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    I always thought Morton Downey Jr a total asshat
  6. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Downey was a little more "in your face" and unpolished, but they all fall in the tradition of being provocative toward what they view as "the establishment" - i.e. the "liberal media," political correctness, the welfare state, and post-sexual/women's liberation morality. Doesnt really work as well on TV as radio.
  7. gator996
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    gator996 New Member

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    Why not?

    Limbaugh & Beck are as theatrical as Mort ever was...

    One difference is that they almost never confront the opposing view in-person like Mort


    In that sense, O'Reilly and Hannity try to shout down opposing views....
    ...maybe not as outrageously as Mort...

    ...but same tactics....


    Read what Wgbgator wrote...

    The "issues" and the raging hordes look familiar?
  8. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    only in your mind 996
  9. rivergator
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    rivergator Well-Known Member

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    absolutely repulsive. but he was huge for a short time until everyone got sick of him
  10. gator996
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    gator996 New Member

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    I don't know where you grew up but if its anywhere near where you live now you probably didn't here of Mort until he had already become a late night star in NY, if you've heard of him at all.

    He could be Bill O'Reilly & Glenn Beck's biological father



    And, I guess this DNA link was recognized by someone before me since I didn't write the article....

    ...but its always warm & comforting to attack the poster and not the article huh bil?
  11. tim85
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    tim85 Well-Known Member

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    Why not? Because none of them are as extreme as this guy, and this guy doesn't even really have a "side" in a fight, other than to perpetuate it. I'll be honest, I don't know a great amount about Downey Jr, but from what I've read the guy was just an opportunist instigator - he apparently had no interest in advancing any of his own personal beliefs and as far as I know, didn't really care to even have any true personal beliefs he cared to talk about.

    You wan't to compare Hannity and Beck to someone -- They're comparable to MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Al Franken.
  12. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    well you are correct that since I grew up in Central Florida I knew nothing about Downey until he showed up on late night tv-however, I did google him after your post and still fail to see any similarity with Hannity or Limbaugh-now O'Reilly does yell just like Downey
  13. cjgator76
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    Style-wise, O'Reilly is a lot closer to Downey than Beck or the others mentioned.

    Regardless, Downey couldn't carry the great Joe Pyne's jockstrap.
  14. gator996
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    gator996 New Member

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    Let me just say that you're wrong son....

    He most certainly had his own beliefs and most certainly based his over-the-top style on them....


    But why believe me:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Downey,_Jr.


    In the 1980s, Downey was a talk show host at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, where he employed his abrasive style.[3] He was fired in 1984. He was replaced on KFBK by Rush Limbaugh, who has held the time slot ever since, later via his national syndication. Downey also had a stint on WMAQ-AM in Chicago where he unsuccessfully tried to get other on air radio personalities to submit to drug testing.[citation needed] Downey's largest effect on American culture came from his popular, yet short-lived, syndicated late 1980s television talk show, The Morton Downey Jr. Show.[2]
    Television

    Downey headed to Secaucus, New Jersey, where his highly controversial television program The Morton Downey Jr. Show was taped. Starting as a local program on New York-New Jersey superstation WWOR-TV in the fall of 1987, it expanded into national syndication in early 1988. The program featured screaming matches among Downey, his guests, and audience members. Using a large silver bowl for an ashtray, he would chainsmoke during the show and blow smoke in his guests' faces. Downey's fans became known as "Loudmouths," patterned after the studio lecterns decorated with gaping cartoon mouths, from which Downey's guests would go head-to-head against each other on their respective issues.[citation needed]

    Downey's signature phrases "pablum puking liberal" (in reference to left-liberals) and "zip it!" briefly enjoyed some popularity in the contemporary vernacular. He particularly enjoyed making his guests angry with each other, which on a few occasions resulted in physical confrontations.[2] One that occurred on a 1988 show taped at the Apollo Theater, involving Al Sharpton and CORE National Chairman Roy Innis. The exchange between the two men culminated in Innis shoving Sharpton into his chair, knocking him to the floor and Downey intervening to separate the pair.[citation needed]

    Because of the controversial format and content of the show, distributor MCA Television had problems selling the show to a number of stations and advertisers. Even Downey's affiliates, many of which were low-rated independent television stations in small to medium markets, were so fearful of advertiser and viewer backlash that they would air one or even two local disclaimers during the broadcast.[citation needed]

    During one controversial episode Downey introduced his gay brother, Tony Downey, to his studio audience and informed them Tony was HIV positive. During the episode Downey stated he was afraid his audience would abandon him if they knew he had a gay brother, but then said he did not care.[4]

    The Washington Post wrote about him, "Suppose a maniac got hold of a talk show. Or need we suppose?" David Letterman said, "I'm always amazed at what people will fall for. We see this every ten or twelve years, an attempt at this, and I guess from that standpoint I don't quite understand why everybody's falling over backwards over the guy."[5]
  15. tegator80
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    If you want to say the Mort and Rush are the same in that they espouse something political but it is really about them then I would agree. I do not put Glenn in that category. He genuinely wants to see the US ship get righted. He is just as angry with the Republican Party as he is with the Dems.

    Where he got lost is that the people who write the checks were getting squeezed and he decided to go independent. Now he is looking for a magic bullet to get him into the black. His jumping on the Saudi deportation line was his great big bet and it pretty much looks like he got snake eyes. He is about ready to go into the "angry blog" business.
  16. gator996
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    gator996 New Member

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    Glenn Beck's crying is 100% Downey Jr theater

    He must pay Mort's estate residuals.... :laugh:
  17. PSGator66
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    I thought his show was hilarious.
  18. Spurffelbow833
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  19. co_gator89
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    I would certainly compare O'Reilly and Hannity with Downey but not Beck. Beck has more of a conniving, sniveling con-artists style than that of a mouth-breather.
  20. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    They're all tapping into the same resentments, just different styles.

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