Expressions Today: interview with conservative talk radio host and film maker, Phil Valentine
Fellow Tennessean, Phil Valentine, is best known today as the host of the syndicated radio talk show, The Phil Valentine Show. Broadcast via Dial Global Radio Networks, the show ranks as the most popular radio broadcast in Nashville and is heard over 110 stations across the nation In addition to talk radio Phil has authored several books, including The Conservative’s Handbook, Tax Revolt and Right From The Heart: The ABCs of Reality in America. He has been a guest on Fox & Friends, MSNBC and The O’Reilly Factor as well as other television shows, and has lent his acting talents to the movie A Letter From Death Row with Martin Sheen and as “The Talk Show Host” (voice over) on an episode of ABC’s Threat Matrix. This last year Rocky Mountain Pictures released the independent documentary, An Inconsistent Truth –written, produced and starring Phil Valentine and directed by Shayne Edwards. Described by the film makers as an answer to Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, the film opened to limited screenings the weekend of its release. Despite this the film grabbed the #1 spot that weekend for top grossing movie per screen in the country.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Valentine and we discussed his life and what prompted him to make An Inconsistent Truth.
BP Hi Phil and how are you today?
PV I’m excellent. Thanks.
BP You spent some years as a radio DJ. What compelled you to change over to talk radio?
PV I got sick of playing Michael Bolton records over and over again. No, really - well, that actually is partially true - but I've been interested in politics and the hot issues of the day for a long time. I grew up in a political family, a family that believed deeply in our obligation to vote and get involved. So, after the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated it opened the door for hosts to be more than just a moderator, to be themselves. I basically continued a lot of what I was doing in music radio with song parodies and humorous observations and plugged that into talk radio. I guess instead of playing another song I'd just take another call.
BP Your radio talk show has become very popular with social conservatives and fiscal conservatives alike. Yet I also know you have listeners that align themselves to practically every corner of the American political spectrum. To what do you attribute the show’s cross-over appeal?
PV Well, I think our show is very approachable. In that I mean that we don't vigorously screen the calls. No offense to other talk show hosts but I think that's the easy way out. We take 'em as they come and I take 'em in order and most times I don't know what I'm up against until I get into the conversation. We don't try to weed out callers that disagree with me, in fact, we welcome them. And when we do get someone who disagrees with me we have a civil discussion about the issue. Look, at the end of the day I want to influence people. You don't sway somebody to your side by screaming at them or hanging up on them. I love to engage liberals in logic and oftentimes I'm successful in opening their minds to things they wouldn't ordinarily be open to. It's a beautiful thing to behold when it happens.
BP Phil, in addition to being a talk radio host you are also a published author and have made appearances on television and even film. I find this impressive. How do you make time for everything?
PV You know, I'm not quite sure. I guess I just have a schedule, a grind, that allows for it. My day starts about 6am and doesn't stop until the show's over. But when the show's over I come home, have dinner with my family and spend time with them until it's time to go to bed. I also reserve my weekends for the family. I think that's not only important to do as a family man but it also broadens my insight. I mean, I live the everyday life. Bottom line is I relate to the listeners because I'm doing a lot of the same things and going through a lot of the same things that they are and if there's one key to success in this business it's being able to relate. But to answer your question about time, I guess it's all about time management. When we were doing the movie I had to literally set aside a certain amount of time during the day to work on the movie, whether it was writing or editing or shooting, and then say, "hey, time's up, it's time to start working on the radio show now." That's part of the reason it took two years to make. That and waiting to hear back from people regarding things like distribution. Plus, not really knowing what the heck I was doing I went down a lot of blind alleys. I hope the next movie won't take nearly as long.
BP If you’d be so kind, let’s talk about your documentary film, An Inconsistent Truth. Can you tell the readers who haven’t seen it yet what the film is about? And what motivated you to undertake this project?
PV Well, it's quite simply an answer to Al Gore's movie. Some have tried this with varying degrees of success but I thought none really hit the mark. What motivated me were the outright lies that are presented in Gore's movie and how he managed to work everyone up into a lather over really nothing. I was amazed at how gullible the population is. I mean, here you have a guy who is a known liar and fabricator. His lies are the stuff of legend, punch lines on late night TV. Creating the Internet, being the inspiration for the movie Love Story and so on. I couldn't believe that virtually no one was questioning what he was saying in the movie and the movie is, quite literally, one big fabrication from start to finish. Some of the things he says are happening are, indeed, happening but they have nothing to do with what we're doing as humans. So, I set out to debunk the major points of the movie, like CO2 is a pollutant. Of course, anyone with any sense knows that what we exhale is not a pollutant. That polar bears are dying off. No, in fact, they're thriving. That all the ice is melting all over the world. It simply isn't true. So, I guess there was a level of frustration there. I really wanted to get the other side out but I wanted to do it in a way that didn't bore people to death like most other documentaries. I wanted to explore the issue on camera but I didn't want some sterile product at the end. I wanted to just be me. We took out the cameras and the boom mics and the crew and we let things fall where they may. We got some really great footage and, I think, a really great end product. It's full of facts. It blows Gore's movie completely out of the water and it does it with a measure of humor. If there's one thing I want people to take away from the film it's this: There IS no consensus on the issue of global warming. Period. And you don't completely dismantle our economy trying to fix something that isn't broken, certainly when there's no consensus.
BP Some of us do wonder if natural forces don’t make a much larger impact over current climatic changes than popularly given credit for. Over the last several months the sun has produced many solar flares that have reached the earth’s atmosphere. Similar incidences happened generations ago as well, when there were not fossil fuels to blame. During the Carrington Event of 1859 a great solar storm damaged telegraph wires and produced auroras around the globe so intense newspaper print could be read by their light alone. Many in the scientific world point to historical observable oscillations in the global mean temperature as correlating in sync with oscillations of solar activity. In lieu of what we’ve long known regarding these validated cyclic trends, can you speculate on why the powers that be are often focused on re-defining science instead of advancing means for humanity to cope and persevere when the power of nature is most challenging?
PV Well, as we say in the movie, 'It's the sun, stupid.' It's really amazing how people who promote the theory of anthropogenic warming can totally ignore the one thing that determines warmth on the planet and that's the sun. Common sense would tell you that fluctuations in the sun's activity would cause a temperature change on the planet so, to me, that simply underscores my suspicion that there's an ulterior motive. Scientists have observed natural climate cycles for as long as there's been science and scientific data that offer us a glimpse into the past corroborate these natural cycles. All of sudden we've taken the reins of power from nature and we're in charge of the climate fluctuations? It's absurd. But if it's natural then there's no one to blame and, in turn, no one to pay, and that's really what this is all about.
BP Recently Wikipedia decided to cite the entry for An Inconsistent Truth and have made a public note that the entry may be deleted. According to Wikipedia the entry’s neutrality is disputed. Wikipedia is described on the site itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”. Does their decision about the entry concern you at all – or does the fact that even a criminal can go in there and edit whatever he wants demonstrates that Wikipedia can’t be relied on as a source of impartial information?
PV Wikipedia is both a blessing and a curse. The people who participate in its editing are, in general, sticklers for sourced, accurate material, which is good. But I think the same emotional bias that's in play in the scientific community regarding the subject of global warming is in play with those who scan Wikipedia for articles on the subject. They have been so blinded by their emotions on the subject that detached, rational dialogue on the subject is impossible for them. They equate anyone who doesn't believe man is destroying the planet to Holocaust deniers and those who think the lunar landing was staged on a movie lot. As one of the scientists in our movie says, these folks want to stop the science. Once they're successful in stopping the curiosity into the subject they declare victory. But science is never completely settled. I well remember learning about the nine planets in our solar system in science class while going to school only to be told a few years ago that Pluto is not a planet after all. It's a "dwarf planet" according to the new consensus, which I'm sure is somehow terribly politically incorrect.
By the way, after the debate over the inclusion of our movie on Wikipedia the Wiki-gods made their decision and it was allowed to stay, much to the chagrin of the Branch Algorian gatekeepers of knowledge who tried to have it deleted. Is Wikipedia impartial? Not always but I don't think any information source is completely devoid of opinion. I will say that, in the end, the system seemed to work.
BP When will An Inconsistent Truth be out on DVD?
PV We're hoping by the end of the summer. There are some pay-per-view outlets that have expressed interest in the movie so we're waiting to hear from them before we move forward with DVD distribution.
BP Do you have any projects in the works you’d like to tell us about?
PV Not that I can really talk about. There's one in the works that I'm really excited about that is totally non-political. I think people will really enjoy it if we can get it off the ground. It's a really unique concept. We hope to start production by year's end.
BP For those interested in catching your broadcast, can you give a little info on how they can tune into The Phil Valentine Show or visit your website?
PV We're syndicated through the Dial Global Radio Networks out of New York on over 110 radio stations. There's an affiliate list on our website at http://PhilValentine.com.
BP One last question – if you ever come over to my house you won’t request a Michael Bolton tune, will you? We’re more of an Eagles and Led Zep household and the only thing we use Michael Bolton CD's for are coasters.
PV I hear ya. Nothing against Michael but I got rather burned out on his tunes back in the day. I'll bring some Alice Cooper to spice things up.
BP Phil, thank you so much! You’ve been a real gent and it was a pleasure to talk to you. And I’m looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out!
PV Thank YOU. I appreciate your interest in the movie. I think it's an important subject. Even for people who think their mind is made up on this subject I urge them to take a look at what we've done. At the very least they'll find it entertaining.
Expressions Today interviews ©2012 by Beth Perry, all rights reserved, and available courtesy of Hubpages.