Todd Starnes: ‘I may be deplorable, but I have been redeemed’ - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Todd Starnes: ‘I may be deplorable, but I have been redeemed’

Todd Starnes speaking to an audience at the DoubleTree Hotel in Baltimore. (Anthony C. Hayes)

For nearly sixty years, radio audiences across the fruited plain paused in their daily routine when they heard the familiar greeting, “Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey! Stand byyyy for Newwwws!”

Harvey’s style was pointed and plain-spoken, cutting to the quick of popular culture, and his wry observations resonated with Middle America. His death in 2009 left a noticeable void on the radio dial – a void which carried through the early years of the Obama administration. But in 2011, Fox News tapped White House correspondent Todd Starnes – a cherubic, Memphis-born everyman – for its Harvey-esque “Fox News & Commentary.”

The result had a recognizable tone.

Paul Harvey

Like the late Paul Harvey, Starnes has become an annoyingly disarming burr under many a left-leaning thinker’s saddle. But to Middle-Americans, Fox’s choice of Starnes was like a tall glass of sweet tea on a hot August day.

Starnes, who happily describes himself as, “A gun-toting, Bible-clinging, chicken-eating, son-of-a-Baptist,” was in Baltimore yesterday to promote his Fox Radio commentaries (heard locally on 680 WCBM-AM). He rounded out his trip last night with an uplifting talk before a crowd of about one hundred fans at the DoubleTree Hotel, in Pikesville, Maryland.

No stranger to controversy (he was fired by the Baptist Press in 2003 for allegedly falsifying quotes), Starnes repeatedly elicited laughter, as he eased through his casual presentation.

“One of the great things I love to do in our commentaries,” explained Starnes, “is to tell stories about America and have a little fun poking and prodding liberals. But one of the things that I think is missing right now is we just don’t tolerate folks. Everyone is at each other’s throats, hollering and screaming at each other, and we need to cut back.

‘We need to turn down the volume.

“I know President Obama thought that we were bitter, but I think I am just blessed. Hillary Clinton has called us a bunch of irredeemable deplorables, as well, but if you listen to my commentaries, you know that I may be deplorable, but I have been redeemed.’

Redemption is a recurring theme in Starnes’ columns and commentaries, as he spotlights singular deeds of kindness, which usually go unnoticed by the mainstream press. That’s not to say he won’t mockingly go for the jugular whenever he believes his cause is just. In that respect, Starnes is a definite departure from the carefully-measured Harvey.

Todd Starnes signing a copy of his book, “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again”. (Anthony C. Hayes)

In his latest book, The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again (a New York Times bestseller), Starnes embraced Secretary Clinton’s damning campaign remark, noting, “With the election of Donald Trump, the American people have spoken.” But he also added, “Change may start at the White House, but it finishes at your house” – a call to action which he says was lost in Barcaloungers of the post-Reagan years.

“People often ask me,‘Why do you talk about religious liberty all the time?’ You see, religious liberty is what sets us apart from every other country in the world. Under the Judeo-Christian ethic, you can be any religion you want to be – or not practice anything if you don’t want to. You can be Gay or straight, Muslim or Hindu; you can be anything you want to be. That liberty is unique to America. It doesn’t work with any other religion in any other nation; but it works here, and my concern is that if we chip away at that freedom, then all of our other liberties are at risk.”

Starnes reflected on what he termed that chipping away during the recent U.S. Circuit Court confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett. There, Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed grave concerns about the “dogma” which undergirds Professor Barrett’s Catholic faith.

“The idea that (one’s faith) now somehow disqualifies you from public service is a shocking thing,” said Starnes.

Starnes also wondered about the cultural changes which have swept America.

“Around the time I was writing the opening of my book, God Less America, Miley Cyrus appeared on the BMA Awards and did the twerk heard around the world. Miley did this twerking move, and she was celebrated for this public act of debauchery. It was also about that time that one of my great heroes, Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, was doing an interview with GQ Magazine. He defended traditional marriage, and old Phil Robertson got castigated by the mainstream media. And that really led to the opening line of my book:

“I feel like a Duck Dynasty guy, living in a Miley Cyrus world,
and Washington is twerking all of us.”

“That’s kinda how I feel. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. It’s as if our values and our traditions have been turned upside down. But those are the stories I like to tell at Fox News. To let people know that you’re not the only person thinking that; you’re not the only person that feels that way. That there are many other people around the country, and I’m willing to say, that a majority of people feel that way.

“And yet the mainstream media pushes us aside.

“They call us xenophobes and homophobes and Islamophobes, and they call us irredeemable. But at the end of the day, I believe we are going to win. I truly believe that.”


About the author

Anthony C. Hayes

Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A former reporter at The Washington Herald and an occasional contributor to the Voice of Baltimore, Tony's poetry, humor and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!; Magic Octopus Magazine; Destination Maryland; Alvarez Fiction and Tales of Blood and Roses. Contact the author.
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