The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 October 2005

No 'Fitzmas' Friday


Rove-less Indictment A Ratings Bust, Other Updates

For liberal talkers, still failing to carve a significant niche in a fiercely competitive media environment, today apparently won't bring their hoped-for "Fitz-mas".

Yes, that's how they describe the elusive ratings windfall indicted senior Bush Administration officials might (in a Rhodesian fantasy world) bring to floundering "progressive" talk shows.

Al Franken used the term (which refers to special counsel Patrick J Fitzgerald) during a Wednesday CNN interview, as have his radio counterparts, repeatedly.

As the New York Times is now reporting, however, Karl Rove is not likely to face charges for now, if ever. Can "Scooter" Libby alone save liberal talk radio?

Of course, the answer is most certainly no. Most Americans are unfamiliar with him and not likely to get worked up over alleged false statements made by the vice president's chief of staff.

While Rove isn't yet completely out of the woods, the magical indictment day over which liberals have been salivating is looking far less likely, if the New York Times is correct.

Conservative talk radio in the nineties wasn't built on blasting Clinton sleaze alone, however. Instead, Republicans campaigned on a series of ideas for changing the way America's government functioned and the medium became its voice.

With Democrats failing to articulate an alternative, liberal talk lacks an agenda that can be sold in a proactive manner to listeners.

Even if, in their best-case scenario, Rove and Cheney were indicted with Libby, leftist hosts would have to learn to deliver a focused, entertaining and informative package that could rally like-minded listeners. So far, they haven't shown this ability, regardless of the topic.

And because "progressive" radio is overseen by egomaniacal former Hollywood and pop music executives, there's a complete inability to read what a mainstream talk radio audience might want to hear.

An independent Venezuelan opinion site takes great issue with NBC's Matt Lauer slamming Pat Robertson after calling for Hugo Chavez's execution, while laughing at Al Franken's idea that Karl Rove and other Bush Administration officials should meet the same fate.

That's a good point, why is Chavez sacred, while Bush, Rove, Cheney and Libby are fair game for this type of rhetoric?

Thuggish Hugo's having a very good time in this photo from

The un-American talk radio crackdown in the Stealth Canadian Province of Washington has been upheld by a Thurston County judge, who says on-air commentaries can be considered in-kind campaign contributions.

Now, the reaffirmed ruling is to be appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court. From KIRO-TV (and more here):

Talk is not cheap. An Olympia judge says it can be a campaign contribution. The judge yesterday affirmed his earlier decision that Seattle radio talk shows leading the anti-gas tax campaign must count their air time as political contributions.

Vote CorrectlySponsors of Initiative 912 say the decision is a blow against free speech. They plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham rejected the civil rights claim because he said the shows on KVI in Seattle organized the anti-gas tax campaign.

A legal group, the Institute for Justice, says the ruling is a first and could be a dangerous precedent. No other on-air commentary is subject to campaign finance law.

A spokesmen for KVI in Seattle says if the ruling stands, it would affect talk shows across America.

The "ex-gay" movement is kicking off a syndicated talk radio show. From

The 'ex-gay' movement is starting its own radio network which will start broadcasting in eight states. Straight Talk Radio, a daily half hour program, is being launched by Stephen Bennett and his wife Irene. Bennet, who describes himself as "a former homosexual," has a long history within the 'ex-gay' movement, and is the leader of Stephen Bennett Ministries (SBM).

"SBM firmly believes no one is born homosexual; that unnatural homosexual attractions tragically develop early on in the childhood; and by biblically dealing with the root cause(s) of one's same-sex attraction, homosexuality can be completely overcome - just as drug addiction, alcoholism or any other sinful behavior," Bennet says in a statement on the ministry's website.

From DCRTV, a Beltway television and radio news site:

Redding News Review reports that a Morgan State University administrator says the school has "removed" a radio host from the airwaves after a gay rights group claims he spread "blatant homophobia."

Clinton Coleman, public relations director for the university, said Duane Johnson, a host on Morgan State's WEAA (88.9 FM), was removed from the Baltimore station because he failed to run a disclaimer, when he asked his listening audience to protest a "Coming Out" event being held at Pikesville High School. Coleman said it is not clear when or if Johnson will return to his Sunday show. More in DCRTV's 10/26 newsblurb.....

Best Rush Limbaugh chuckle in some time, from his website:

Just to see the look on Dan Rather's face would make it all worthwhile, even if Limbaugh lasted only a day in the position. Rush will be hired for this gig the same day Air America ratings go through the roof.

Perhaps some liberals
can be funny, even if it's unintentional. David Brock's Media Matters site thinks NBC's Today Show has a conservative bias, especially on the Flame-Plame case:

In recent days, NBC's Today has featured a number of conservative guests commenting on the investigation into the alleged leak of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, but very few progressives.

Since October 16, when reporter Judith Miller recounted her grand jury testimony in The New York Times, seven conservative guests have appeared on Today and have been asked to comment on the investigation, several of whom have made false statements about the case in other news outlets.

By contrast, during this time, the show featured one journalist and only two progressives or Democrats -- Democratic political strategist James Carville and Air America Radio host Al Franken.

Moreover, Franken was asked only one question about the leak investigation, and Carville was paired with a conservative. The other conservative guests appeared on their own.

You guys really wanted Franken to be asked two questions about the leak investigation?

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Bush photo: Stephan Crowley/New York Times


  • "Conservative talk radio in the nineties wasn't built on blasting Clinton sleaze alone, however."

    Are you nuts? All we heard from Rush for six years were indictments for Bill, Hillary, Ron Brown, etc. were just around the corner. Remember his gaffaw that evidence was found that Vince Foster was murdered in a secret Hillary love nest, wrapped in a carpet, and dumped at Fort Marcy Park?

    How much money did Richard Mellon Scaife dump into right wing media, like the American Spectator, just to manufacture lies about Clinton? How much did Peter Smith pay Paula Jones to sue Clinton? How much did that nose job and hiring Susan Carpenter McMillan cost?

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 28 October, 2005 08:27  

  • How much has George Soros dumped into the left-wing media? MoveOn? Teamsters/SEIU?

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 28 October, 2005 10:06  

  • Brian -

    I don't think that Mr. Tuck is worth the trouble for you to respond to each of his comments on its merits (sic).

    Perhaps it might be simpler and just as effective to post a disclaimer each time without addressing the specifics of his comments....

    Here's a suggested phrasing:

    "Dick Tuck's comments reflect his personal views and those of no one else, and should therefore be taken with a dose of salts."

    By Blogger Lokki, at 28 October, 2005 12:33  

  • Lokki: More live a 5th of Vodka.

    Dare me to drive?

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 28 October, 2005 15:19  

  • Hey Dick Schmuck,

    How many Indictments in the Clinton years?

    Remember Cisneros? Espi??

    How about more recently Sandy Berger?

    Right Wing Radio doesn't need 100 Clinton "I don't remember" moments from the 90's.... Remember Waco? Oklahoma City? Elian?

    Ringing any bells.... Dick?

    By Blogger BurbankErnie, at 28 October, 2005 16:33  

  • Brian, you bald-faced liar!

    Robertson said nothing about execution - he said assassination.

    Of course, you know this.

    Robertson, also, expressed support of the concept of our government assassinating a foreign leader - an illegal act.

    Franken joked about the possible consequences for a federal crime - a very legal potential punishment.

    Come on, Brian - spin this one some more, why don't you?

    You're pathetic.

    By Blogger One Funny Guckert!, at 28 October, 2005 17:05  

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