A new piece from Smithsonian Magazine names Joe Pyne America’s first shock jock and in doing so, they’ve created the “Pyne tree” of his industry descendants.
Haven’t heard of him? Well, here’s how Smithsonian describes him with a little help from their friends:
Nearly forgotten today, Joe Pyne ran roughshod over America’s airwaves in the 1950s and ’60s. A charismatic bully in a jacket and tie, he grilled hippies, Black Panthers, “pinkos,” “fairies” and “women’s libbers,” practically inventing the attack interview. The New York Times called him “the ranking nuisance of broadcasting…hitting a jackpot by making a virtue of bad manners and wallowing in the cheap sensationalism of an electronic peepshow.” To Time magazine he was “Killer Joe, host of a tasteless electronic peepshow.” By 1968 Pyne had more than ten million viewers a week—comparable to the audience Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly combined to reach last year.
Even if you hadn’t heard of him until just now, you have definitely heard of O’Reilly, Hannity, and the others the magazine names as his successors, like Rachel Maddow and Ann Coulter. To help you understand Pyne better, in fact, they made this graphic:
Though someone like Lauren Duca might disagree with Tucker Carlson‘s low “rudeness” rating, the rest of the hosts’ rudeness, entertainment, and extremism ratings seem about right, don’t they?
[images: Smithsonian, screengrab]
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