The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

13 November 2005

Uncivil Discourse?


Time For A Telly Reality Check

Let the obligatory thunderous, self-righteous editorializing over Bill O'Reilly's recent San Francisco tirades begin, the Radio Equalizer can't wait. Why?

Because Bugs Bunny will prove them all wrong. How is that, you say (with a puzzled look)?

To put to rest the idea television talk shows have made the medium less "responsible" and "civil", only Bugs can help.

Think cable talk shows are over the top? Just get a load of what passed for children's programming 50 years ago. The Radio Equalizer thanks Perry Simon for this history lesson, more on Bugs in a moment.

Already, San Francisco County Supervisor Chris Daly is calling for O'Reilly to be fired, citing the "R" word. In liberalspeak, "responsibility" means remaining poltically correct.

When Daly's installed as Grand Master Of American Television Programming, he'll surely want Looney Tunes classics discarded, along with pesky talk show hosts and everything else not up to his standards.

Here's Saturday's excerpted (readership down 16.4% in the last six months) San Francisco Chronicle update, again by Joe Garofoli:

Not everybody took Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's on-air comments this week about terrorists bombing Coit Tower as the hyperbole that fills the talk-radio ether. One of the ticked off was San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly, who Friday called for O'Reilly to be fired.

"For an anchor on a major station, Fox News, to be saying those kinds of things, it's just not OK," Daly said Friday. "It was just over the top."

On Tuesday's version of O'Reilly's syndicated radio program, "The Radio Factor," the host vented his exasperation at two ballot measures that San Franciscans were in the process of approving on election day.

If city voters were intent on voting to oppose military recruitment in public schools and to ban handgun ownership, O'Reilly reasoned, then maybe it should be cut off from federal dollars.

"When you have the privilege of being on the airwaves, there comes with that a certain amount of responsibility," Daly said. "If you want to disagree, fine, that's your right. But don't talk about blowing stuff up. There are people who live there and work there."

"I've never been on a network show like that before," Daly said Friday. Former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Angela Alioto knows what it's like to tangle with O'Reilly. She appears on his television show roughly every other month, defending liberal positions dear to many San Franciscans like medical marijuana and help for the homeless.

Still, she was surprised when she appeared on O'Reilly's program Monday night to defend San Francisco's handgun ban and military recruiting measure.

O'Reilly made a statement similar to the one he made on the radio Tuesday: "Why should we protect you from al Qaeda and terrorists if you're going to disrespect the military by passing this, even though it's symbolic, resolution?"

Recently, we've heard so much about televised incivility. Last year, CNN hit rock-bottom during this Crossfire exchange, with guest Jon Stewart:

(JON) STEWART: I thought Al Sharpton was very impressive.

STEWART: I enjoyed his way of speaking. I think, oftentimes, the person that knows they can't win is allowed to speak the most freely, because, otherwise, shows with titles, such as CROSSFIRE.


STEWART: Or "HARDBALL" or "I'm Going to Kick Your Ass" or...

STEWART: Will jump on it. In many ways, it's funny. And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. But I wanted to come here today and say...

STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.


"You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show." --Jon Stewart, to Tucker Carlson

STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people...

(TUCKER) CARLSON: How do you pay?

STEWART: The people -- not well.

BEGALA: Better than CNN, I'm sure.

STEWART: But you can sleep at night.

Worst of all, Tucker Carlson actually listened to Stewart, as did some CNN execs. When Crossfire was cancelled, Stewart claimed credit for it.

So what did Carlson do next?

Hired by MSNBC to host one of television's most boring, yet "civil" cable talk shows, his answer was the low-rated Situation. In order to save face on this disaster, a network suit moved it to 11pm, where no one will notice.

Nobody's railing against San Francisco liberals on Tucker's snoozefest, nor is anyone watching: on Thursday, it was seen by only 191,000 people nationwide.

But by golly, that Tucker sure is a nice young man, isn't he?

Meanwhile, between both Thursday evening viewings, the "uncivil", "irresponsible" Bill O'Reilly drew nearly 4.4 million viewers.

With a historical reality check, however, we see television has always tested society's boundaries. In 1956, this wasn't considered over-the-top, instead Bugs Bunny (here in "Wideo Wabbit") was typical children's programming (again from Perry Simon's piece):

It's all standard fare and not terribly funny, except for this part, which isn't funny but is absolutely cringeworthy by 21st century standards.

...Bugs doing an epically horrible Groucho impression, actually asks the $50 question, "have you stopped beating your wife?"

Hey, kids, it's comedy!

(The Groucho glasses and cigar come back at the iris-out, just so Bugs, having dressed Elmer in a pink bunny suit and blown him to smithereens, can come in, plunk the guise on the Fudd face, and, in Ed Norton garb, say "sheesh! What a grouch-o!"

Ask them when they last saw Bugs, the next time you hear Jon Stewart or Chris Daly railing about "irresponsible" talk shows "ruining America".

Isn't their real O'Reilly beef being taken to task over San Francisco's ever-increasing anti-American hostility? How is that "irresponsible"?

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The Radio Equalizer also recommends the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Packed with features such as tabbed browsing, SessionSaver (makes computer crashes less painful) and dual Google/Yahoo (both at once!) search extensions, I can't imagine using anything else.

O'Reilly, Coit Tower image: KRON-TV, Bugs Images: Warner Bros. via CNN and


  • I was screwed by Vernon Jordan's law firm. Am I just a paranoid liberal?

    By Blogger Gary Freedman, at 13 November, 2005 14:43  

  • I'd have just said instead of what O'Reilly said, "I'll just come down there to the Coit Tower, bring Nancy Pelosi along and say at full volume: AS OF RIGHT... NOW, YOU CAN HAVE NANCY PELOSI AS YOUR PRESIDENT. AFTER YOU LEAVE THE UNION. BYE!"
    (Nothing for/against Nancy Pelosi, just she's San Francisco's darling pol.)

    By Blogger Josef, at 13 November, 2005 15:22  

  • Audio of Bill O'Reilly standing up for himself. But I have to tell you: My ma is from there. My grandfather, a veteran, came home from America's wars and set up some small buisnesses today. I swear he'd raise a hand to these people.

    Hat-tip: Think Progress

    By Blogger Josef, at 13 November, 2005 15:31  

  • Sheesh! At least he didn't say he was going to shoot them like Al franken did about Karl Rove!

    By Blogger Peter Porcupine, at 13 November, 2005 18:23  

  • Samseder:

    Sorry, it's clear you're a fake. Don't know why you push this tired, stale "joke". Time to move on.

    By Brian Maloney, at 10:32 AM


    A. You know it is really me, because if you thought i was a fake you'd address my questions and dismiss me. You fear me, Brian. That is clear to me now and, frankly, i don't blame you. You realize I can put the hurt on you severely. Why me, you wonder. No reason other than you are everything that is wrong with this country. You are a total idiot, smart enough only to see that had you a minutiae of talent you could eek out a living in the wasteland thta is right wing talk radio. Unfortunately for you, you lack any and all talent. case in point, you defend Bill O'riely's comments by saying that kids cartoons are also racy.

    Are you in some secret contest to be the named the stupidest person on the planet? You defend a self proclaimed newsman by comparing him to a cartoon character? As a defense?

    Congratulations, you just won that secrets competition!
    P.S. And I bold this so that all of your retarded readers (the ones that read you in support)can see how much you fear me. Tell me what you want me to say on my nationally syndicated radio show to prove that I am as my identity suggests and I'll say it. Or do you fear me too much!

    By Blogger samseder, at 13 November, 2005 20:29  

  • Brian,

    Are you simply incapable of condemning bad behavior when it comes from someone whom you admire? Are you so insulated that you need to justify bad behavior by citing other bad behavior (apparently anachronistic Bugs Bunny clips, in this case).
    O'Reilly's comment went beyond "I strongly disagree with your politics" to the level of "I disagree with your politics so much that were you to be attacked, I'd ask my country to leave you for dead."
    He obviously has the constitutional right to say it, but Fox/Westwood One control his distribution channel, and should be appalled by their subsidizing of such disgusting sentiment. Perhaps a one-day suspension, or at least an apology from O'Reilly (who has indicated he will do no such thing). With great power comes great responsibility, and O'Reilly abdicated it with these comments.

    By Blogger Justin, at 13 November, 2005 20:31  

  • Again, "Sam Seder" is an imposter.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 13 November, 2005 21:44  

  • 1. A list of shows or comics of the 50s through '65 that wouldn't be allowed to see the light of day in this, our liberal hour of freedom, would include all of Jackie Gleason's Honeymooner sketches and his drunk thing; the comic strip Lil' Abner (in fact most of the patriotic comics starting with Captain America would be banned outright); all the admittedly racist movie cartoons--Heckel and Jeckel and many Bugs Bunny segments; almost everything Bob Hope ever did; Red Skelton (he had bits where he punched grandmothers or cripples); the already banned but popular in Mexico "Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in all Meheeko"; and so on for page after page of insulting to sensitive victim groups---and anybody think Benny Hill would be allowed to live?
    2. I was raised in NoCal from the first grade through high school and nothing as narcisscistic as Frisco has ever existed in this country. It has always been phony, a hangout for the "have too much money" crowd and the people who deviate from any of the norms of society-- whores, drug dealing, open air toilets (the stink of urine permeates the entire downtown), the haven for "homeless." It's no surprise that now they hate our military, our flag (if fly it on your car a can opener will immediately be applied to the side of your vehicle, thus ruining your paint job---same thing will happen if you have a Bush Cheney sticker on it); and demand government "help" for everything.

    The entire Bay Area is not part of America right now. They hate the rest of us and will not hesitate to say so. The O man was right, although I'm sure the media savvy bloviator knew the ink he'd generate when he bashed the Left Wing City on the Hill.

    By Blogger Howard, at 14 November, 2005 01:54  

  • "The entire Bay Area is not part of America right now. They hate the rest of us and will not hesitate to say so."
    Do you really believe this Howard? As a proud liberal who loves America, should I believe that Kansas is not a part of us right now? SF voters did not vote to stop sending their federal tax dollars to the military. They voted to halt military recruiting in public schools, specifically because some dishonest recruiting practices had been uncovered. This is not unamerican. In fact, it's democracy in action.

    By Blogger Justin, at 14 November, 2005 06:42  

  • One more thing:
    If O'Reilly was so correect here, why did Fox Radio edit the transcript to remove the SF reference?

    By Blogger Justin, at 14 November, 2005 06:44  

  • samseder! Say this:

    "I hate begonias." - spelling may be off, but that'll do fine...

    Hahahahha! Brian, yer just killin' me here...I searched your archives...those documents that prove what Franken knew? DEAD LINK.

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, man, you're killing me.

    BTW - weak tactic that - you really have proof, you'd be linking it yourself, rather than tell someone to search your own work for it. Easy choice on your part, though, cause you're just going to weasel out of it with either "It's not my fault you can't search - it's still true!" or "I don't own that website - even though the docs aren't there, it's still true!"...

    Keep this up, Brian. Each and every day you're just showing yourself to be more and more pathetic!

    samseder! "I hate begonias".

    By Blogger One Funny Guckert!, at 14 November, 2005 15:35  

  • Following up - I went to the best possible source of which I could think for legal docs on the web - the URL has something about nicotine and Wild West weapons in it...

    Nothing, nada, zilch.

    Help me, Brian. I really do want the truth on this.

    By Blogger One Funny Guckert!, at 14 November, 2005 16:32  

  • I "found" it...I suppose...don't know how far to trust you or Malkin (less far than I could throw you?), but if this info holds up, you're correct on one infinitesimally small and pathetic point:

    Franken did sign a settlement declaring that AAR's ownership would pay back the money.

    That's it. That's all you and Malkin have proven.

    Wow - what awesome work you did. You tried to traipse lots of folks through some skullduggery at AAR, which previous management had caused and left behind, and that newer management had to clean up.

    And the real shocker! They DID clean it up!

    Where's your sense of decency? Why aren't you and Malkin standing up and praising AAR for finally standing up to their obligations?

    Or, better yet, shouldn't the two of you be claiming victory loudly and daily at this point? AAR paid back money!

    Oh, wait, you two didn't cause them to pay it back. And, it turns out, neither of you did anything to actually add to the case.

    No wonder you're so quiet :)...

    so - how're those 24-55 male listener #'s coming?

    Oh - samseder - don't forget - "I hate begonias"

    By Blogger One Funny Guckert!, at 14 November, 2005 16:43  

  • Well Brian, that's an interesting point you make.

    Standards do change over time - in fact, I've never seen the cartoon you made reference to as it is likely not aired (along with many other Disney and WB cartoons from that period) as it offends modern sensibilities.

    Perhaps the same should be true of O'Reilly.

    By Blogger Lyin' Baloney, at 14 November, 2005 20:26  

  • Denver station drops Elmer Bill O'Lielly

    KHOW chooses new talk-show program

    Conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck takes to the air on KHOW 630 AM on Monday, replacing Bill O'Reilly. Beck, whose show is headquartered in Philadelphia, will be on KHOW noon to 3 p.m. weekdays.

    KHOW announced in September that it would drop O'Reilly's show because of poor ratings. "We had given the producers a 90-day notice and we're at the end of the 90 days," program director Jerry Bell said in announcing the change on Thursday.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 14 November, 2005 21:00  

  • Watch out, Dick - prepare to be aggressively ignored!

    Brian, like all partisan hacks, hates facts that detract from his cause.

    By Blogger One Funny Guckert!, at 14 November, 2005 21:47  

  • Hey quit picking on poor Brian. He does the best he can and besides, comparing Bill O'Reilly to Bugs Bunny demonstrates a great deal of insight.

    By Blogger Krononum, at 15 November, 2005 00:47  

  • They voted to halt military recruiting in public schools, specifically because some dishonest recruiting practices had been uncovered.

    There are redresses for "dishonest" practices, includings public prosecution and private law suits. Why didn't Frisco take that route? Obviously, based on their history, we barely need to ask that question.

    Frisco wants it both ways: they want the protection from the federal government, but they don't want to muss their hands with the costs. In many ways, California would be better off without S.F. County (for instance, if they'd voted like the rest of the state a $10 billion school bond for illegal aliens would not have passed). It's too bad that they're too strategically important for the U.S. to just let them go.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 15 November, 2005 01:09  

  • Lonewacko:

    SF picks up the costs, in the form of federal taxes. As for O'Reilly, last night he said his comments were a "satirical riff." Once again, O'Reilly goes back to "I was only joking" when it hot water. How does that make you feel Brian? Was he still speaking for you, or were YOU serious.

    By Blogger Justin, at 15 November, 2005 06:52  

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