Washington, D.C.'s regular listeners to Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" talk show got a rude awakening this week. First, there was nothing but static on AM 570, WTNT. Then, the former cabinet member and former "Drug Czar" was unceremoniously deposed and replaced by the egregious Mancow. Those who follow Bennett online or on XM/SIRIUS, as well as Bennett's enthusiastic national audience were able yesterday to hear Dr. Scott Teitelbaum-an internationally respected authority on the hazards of drug use. Dr. Teitelbaum warns about the new potency of marijuana. Listeners to Mancow heard him mooing about boycotting Kellogg's. He's mad at the cereal giant because they dropped Michael Phelps from their advertising after the Olympic swimmer was caught on camera inhaling from a bong.

Mancow may be more in tune with the temper of these "high times," it should be noted. "Harm reduction" is the current buzz-word on handling the drug problem. Even PBS travelogues-which used to be a child-safe zone-have been enlisted to soften up public opinion. In a documentary on Switzerland this week, viewers got to see pot-smokers happily sharing parks with hard-working Swiss. Switzerland's laissez faire approach to drug use was described as "civilized." Amid views of the beautiful cathedrals and Medieval streets of Bern, we were treated to the sight of drug addicts getting clean needles from openly available vending machines. Men's rooms-not your usual travel fare on TV-were shown with blue lights. That's so those who mainline drugs cannot find their veins and will stay out of the loo. What PBS did not show were the pictures brought back to us at FRC over a decade ago, photos that depict the other side of the soft-focus drug-users paradise offered up PBS. In those photos, we could see young men and women, lying on railroad tracks, their eyes turned back in their heads. Unconscious, overdosed, their arms with drug needles still protruding, their life's blood spattered all over them. It's not a "Heidi" portrait of the Alpine republic; it's a vision of hell. Harm reduction is a euphemism for the real message that the Swiss government is sending to its young people tragically addicted to drugs:  "We don't care if you drop dead. In fact, we will even help you."

By replacing Bill Bennett with Mancow, the owners of WTNT are also replacing Bennett's cerebral "NPR for our side" with a braying know nothing. There are other ways to kill conservative talk radio than federal regulation. You can banish Bennett's brand of intelligence, candor and goodwill and call it a business decision. Maybe it's the station owners' blue light special.