The episode of Dan Yorke State of Mind featuring freelance writer and Rhode Island School of Design instructor Phil Eil has been bothering me. Dan invited Phil on the show on the strength of his WGBH.com essay, “Why Sean Spicer Is A Disgrace To Rhode Island.”
WGBH, if you’re keeping score, is a local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network — “public” as in backstopped with taxpayer dollars. Apparently, that status doesn’t lead the organization to consider the prudence of publishing radically aggressive opinion pieces like Eil’s or to be too concerned about comments like this, to Phil’s essay: “Think he needs to hit the Cliffside walk, and never return.” That’s left-wing public radio for you, I guess: a breeding ground for murder fantasies involving officials in the administration that partially funds the station’s activities.
But this is merely par for the liberal course. What bothers me about this episode of State of Mind is the lack of context. Look, you can’t have any familiarity with Phil Eil and believe that he would have given any latitude whatsoever to anybody involved with the Trump White House, and yet, that never once comes up as an issue.
Watching the show, one might think that Phil attended an anti-Trump rally as a journalist, but he’s made it clear that he was there as a participant. He’s also leveraged his access to RISD students to give them options for left-wing activism. How could it not have been relevant for Dan to explain to his viewers that Phil has written such things as the following, since the election:
This leaves non-Trump voters looking at millions of their fellow citizens – including friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors – and thinking, “I never knew these people were OK with sexual assault, insulting veterans, undermining the electoral process, committing war crimes, demonizing the press, and so much more.” It’s quite a shock.
That’s right. The fact that you believed Trump to be a better gamble than corruptocrat Hillary Clinton means you’re just fine with Phil’s list of horribles “and so much more.” And Dan gives him all this air time to badmouth the president’s press secretary? As Dan might say to a suspiciously one-sided caller: Come on, man.
There was never any likelihood that Phil Eil would objectively measure any Rhode Islander who worked for the Trump administration if he or she didn’t consider sabotage to be part of the job. Rather than bashing Sean Spicer, perhaps members of our local media should ask whether that attitude is really as mainstream and reasonable as they think.