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Dinsmore describes Mark from Michigan as "strictly profit-driven, cloaked in patriotism."
When he dissed Koernke on Resnick's show last week, an angry caller from Manitoba accused Dinsmore of being "an enemy agent," and someone else faxed KHNC to demand that all criticism of Koernke stop immediately.
But not all patriots feel that way. In fact, it's almost impossible to generalize about the patriots, except to say that the movement isn't unified and that all of its members are among the millions of Americans who distrust their government. Anti-tax protesters and gun-lovers are at the center. On the fringes are conspiracy freaks, white supremacists and anti-Semites (like the people who murdered Denver radio talk-show pioneer Alan Berg in 1984). Many patriots are Bible-thumpers who believe it's their duty to convert everybody to Christ. Some are bullies who like to wear guns. But others are libertarians who want to be left alone not only by government but by religions, too. Many people in the movement are frustrated enough by their economic status to look for scapegoats; those who love weaponry may wind up in militias. The more fearful may build bunkers and lay in a year's supply of food and water and transfer their meager assets into gold and silver. There always are people hovering around the movement who are itching to make a buck out of all this frustration.
Ray Parker of Vermont, a retired cop, considers himself a patriot and bemoans what's happened to the movement. "We have to discipline ourselves," says Parker. "We have to cull from the herd those within the movement and not buy their products and not fall for their hucksterism. We cannot look under every rock and find a demon or a government agent. There is some paranoia here that can be construed as out of control."
Both Dinsmore and Parker, themselves strong critics of the government, have hosted shows on KHNC during which they've taken the station to task for giving air time to loonbags.
"I told people the U.S. patriot movement can either be a force for lucidity or lunacy," says Parker. "We tend to gravitate towards the bizarre."
Of course, KHNC's very nature is bizarre. It was started a little more than two years ago by Don Wiedeman, who runs Beth Messiah Congregation, a Christ-believing Messianic Jewish group in Denver. Resnick, still a devout Jew, says the Christian Wiedeman celebrates all the Jewish holidays "and actually believes he's a Jew." Wiedeman himself refuses to discuss his religion or his radio station, except to say that KHNC is not a religious vehicle and that "we have nothing to do with the patriot movement or militias."
Neither contention is true. Resnick, whom Wiedeman says "speaks for the station," often injects religion into his daily show. He constantly reminds listeners that KHNC stands up for "traditional Jews and traditional Christians" and has told his audience that "everybody at the station is Jewish" (which they aren't). Resnick also attacks "anti-Semitic and racist elements," which he estimates make up 20 percent of the patriot movement.
That doesn't mean the station shuns patriots. In fact, it caters to them with its "Patriot Network" and Patriot Magazine that feature such hard-nosed celebrities as Bob Fletcher of the Montana militia and Colonel James "Bo" Gritz. Both the magazine and the network are flooded with stories about mysterious helicopters, sneaky federal agents and savage "socialists" like Hillary Clinton. They're also filled with ads for survival gear, guns, ammunition, gold and silver.
One of the station's primary advertisers is First American Monetary Consultants, a Fort Collins group of metals marketers and "economists" that includes such patriot heroes as former state senator Jim Roberts. FAMC, headed by a former Tennessee legislator named Larry Bates, preaches against the New World Order and warns of impending economic doom. Two ways out, it suggests, are to heed the Bible and buy precious metals. Call for a consultation, it urges.
Dinsmore, who used to have a KHNC show called The Intelescope Hour, loves to debunk the bunker mentality from his combination ranch/farm/tannery "54 miles down a gravel road from the nearest gas pump." Those Chinese troops conducting military maneuvers in Montana? "They're Hmong immigrants, people from Cambodia, coming over during the season to harvest huckleberries," laughs Dinsmore.
No fan of the government, he nevertheless resents how people's fears "are fanned into flames by hucksters."
"This is a business whose way of doing things is through the political process and is run by those who have the ability to recognize when people are at their lowest and weakest points," says Dinsmore. "These people are being used."
He compares the grip of patriot propaganda to the techniques used by televangelists to drum up money. "The antitax movement started out good," he says, "but then the munitions people came in to make a buck."
And now KHNC, he contends, is in way over its head. "The station's main problem is, they have no one who knows diddly-squat about the patriot movement," he says. "They're naive, and they're so far into it that now they don't know how to back out of it."