The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

14 December 2005

Liberal Cable News Channel's Worst-Ever Segment

RADIO HOST KILLS CNN

No Controls For Audience-Killing Christmas 'Debate'



When Air America's epitaph is finally chiselled into a cold granite headstone, which antics will be most remembered as standout, rock-bottom moments?

The Randi Rhodes Show's Bush execution skit?

Or Al Franken clearing the room with a long-winded radio convention speech?

The Radio Equalizer hereby nominates Air America host Sam Seder, who's managed not only to make the liberal radio network look less credible than ever before, but at the same time, taken CNN itself down for the count.

It was audience tune-out, defined.

During a segment intended to discuss recent efforts to cleanse Christmas from public life, Seder refused to honestly deal with the issue, instead substituting junior high-level rudeness and the very cheapest in debate tactics.

Coming across like a spoiled college brat taking a brief pause from a long day of cafe latte-sipping, Seder (seen on the left in the above image) repeatedly stepped all over the host and other guest, Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute. When Knight attempted to make a point, Seder would begin shouting, after just a few uttered words.

Instead of regaining control over the program, CNN's anchorwoman actually allowed this madness to continue unabated, for over ten minutes. Rather than participate in the interview's intended topical purpose, Seder appeared to be trying out material for his next C-grade stand-up comedy tour, coming soon to a Holiday Inn lounge near you.

In fact, she actually encouraged Seder to continue his boorish, childish bully routine, rather than stop it dead in its tracks. As a result, this 10 minute nightmare officially becomes the worst-ever moment in cable news history. Quite a feat, CNN!


As Janeane Garofalo's
"Majority Report" co-host, Seder epitomizes Air America's troubles: one half of a ratings-troubled talk show with an enormously bloated budget. Worse, some of the network's least known personalities, Seder included, appear to be developing its biggest egos.

Overpaying inexperienced talk show hosts has a way of doing that. More on that later.

What's his background? Try his Wikipedia page, at your own risk.

Al Franken appears downright modest on television next to Sam Seder. So does Janeane Garofalo. In fact, there are no words to describe just how damaging Sam's CNN antics were to Air America.

If it weren't ready to collapse, this might matter a great deal, rather than serving as merely symbolic of the network's sad decline.

In order to write this piece, I forced myself to watch the segment twice. It was pure, merciless torture.

If you dare, The Political Teen (at my request, don't blame Ian for this) has been kind enough to capture the video for your viewing displeasure.

Here's a brief transcript we've stolen from Think Progress, a lefty site, but reading it just won't do this televised trainwreck justice. You simply must watch the clip to believe it:


SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it’s almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war on Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?

SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I’d like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.

PHILLIPS: I don’t think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.

SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.

PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?

SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it’s actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It’s exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.


How could CNN allow this to air?


For several months,
someone claiming to be Sam Seder has posted especially nasty messages at our comments section, for reasons unknown. While the Radio Equalizer never took that bait, this cable news interview simply couldn't be ignored.

Curiously, this recently appeared in the Air America Radio Wikipedia page, where critics are listed:


The Radio Equalizer- Brian Maloney First AAR scandal reporting in the blogosphere, with continued updates. Sam Seder of AAR has contributed comments to this blog, and then announced what he has written over the air.


Who wrote this? And is it true?

Watch for much more on the "Majority Report's" troubles, coming soon.


Welcome
Powerline and GOPinion readers! Please visit our main page for other updates.

Welcome Daily Kos readers:

The right, for its part, responded with horror. Powerline, that no-comments-allowed bastion of specious argumentation, linked to Brian Maloney's screaming about how horrible Sam Seder was and how he is taking CNN down with him. Wingnut Mike Bates decries the lack of seriousness taken to this phoney-baloney assault on Christmas. I could go on, and on and on.


Why not get Christmas and other shopping done now and support the Radio Equalizer at the same time? Your Amazon orders that originate with clicks here, regardless of your final selections, help to support this work. Thanks again for your vital assistance!

32 Comments:

  • The joke's on you Maloney. I loved it when Seder posted his comments on your blog, and then read the comments on the air a few minutes later.

    Everyone goes like, "imposter, humphh", while people in the know laugh hysterically. It's what keeps us coming back you know.

    You have quite a following thanks largely to Seder's antics.

    Shouldn't be too hard for you to confirm this as all of The Majority Report's shows are archived as MP3's at airamericaplace.com.

    By Blogger WHT, at 14 December, 2005 02:02  

  • Happy Holidays, Brian.

    I have a question for you.
    Why do you think Salem is wasting their behemoth WIND-AM station in Chicago. They're only getting a 0.5 even though the station reaches the entire Chicago metro area (and even a bit of Milwaukee) in the local range.
    Meanwhile, WCPT (AAR affiliate) reaches about half the Chicago metro area and is at 1.1 and seems to get higher with each ratings period:
    0.4 (38th): Summer pt.1
    0.4 (37th): Summer pt.2
    0.7 (32nd): Summer
    0.8 (31st): Fall pt.1
    1.1 (30th): Fall pt.2
    They've nearly tripled in 4 months.

    Wouldn't it be in Salem's best interest to give WIND-AM to AAR? A 1.1 rating with twice the market reach could conceivably give WIND a healthy 2.2 share.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 14 December, 2005 02:44  

  • When Air America's epitaph is finally chiselled into a cold granite headstone
    Hey Brian, still waiting for some AAR financial numbers to support your claim of impending AAR doom. You could put this all to rest by either providin some, or admiting that you don't have any.

    By Blogger Justin, at 14 December, 2005 07:10  

  • Did anyone else notice how Brian cut that interview short of Knight calling liberals Nazis?

    Here's the full segment. See for yourself, rather than reading about it from Brian's cherry picking the facts.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 14 December, 2005 07:27  

  • SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

    PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?

    SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I'd like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.

    PHILLIPS: I don't think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.

    SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.

    PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?

    SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it's actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It's exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.


    ...

    Yes, well, Kyra, I mean, listen, I would like Bob to tell me who is the person who has been offended by someone saying Merry Christmas to them? I've never met that person.

    I don't celebrate Christmas. But if someone says "Merry Christmas" to me, I either think, well, it's a little bit odd, it's like me saying happy birthday to you on my birthday, but no one cares.

    But I will tell you this, as we wage the war on the war on the war on the war on Christmas on our radio show. News Corp., Fox News, those people who have started this entire war on Christmas mean, fake war, they're having a holiday party.

    President Bush saying "Happy Holidays." Tokyo Rose, Laura Bush, saying "Happy Holidays" to her dogs in the video, I'm sure you've seen it. I mean, these are the things that we should be talking about when we are waging this war in Iraq, we should be equating it to the war on Christmas.

    What else would Bob Knight have an opportunity to do, how else would he get on television if he wasn't pretending to be attacked.

    KINGHT: This would be funny except it is serious to a lot of people who have seen their faith cleansed from the public square systemically.

    SEDER: Are you suggesting, Bob, that someone can't celebrate Christmas in America? Tell me about the person who can escape the celebration.

    ...

    SEDER: I do agree with Bob. I think what should happen is companies should calculate how much money they're getting from people who are celebrating Christmas and provide exactly that much amount of Merry Christmas, because that is exactly how I would want any type of religious holiday to be celebrated.

    ...

    SEDER: Hannukah is not a high holiday. Our high holidays are Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur, which I'm sure Bob has been protesting why there are not more Yom Kippur sales or Rosh Hashanah sales during those holidays. Why shouldn't there be, right Bob?

    ...

    SEDER: Bob, have you ever protested Martin Luther King Day not being celebrated. Do you resent when people don't say "Happy Martin Luther King Day" a month out in advance?

    ...

    PHILLIPS: Bob, I'm going to let you have the final thought.

    KNIGHT: OK. You know, when the Nazis moved into Austria in 1936...

    SEDER: Oh, that's offensive, Bob, to raise Nazis. KNIGHT: They immediately removed from the schools. You can read about it in...

    PHILLIPS: Hold on, Sam. Let Bob make his point. Let Bob make his point. Go ahead, Bob.

    KNIGHT: You can't even let me speak. Can you? You're so...

    Maria Trapp wrote the story of the Trapp singers that's in "The Sound of Music," and she said she sent her kids to school after the Nazis took over. And they came home and said mama, we can't say the word Christmas anymore. It's now winter holiday.

    I think that ought to disturb people...

    SEDER: Kyra, that's offensive.

    KNIGHT: ...that we're moving toward that kind of attitude in this country.

    SEDER: The Puritans also outlawed Christmas. The founding fathers of this country would fine you in Massachusetts if you celebrated Christmas in the beginning. So don't talk about Nazis, Bob. I think that's really inappropriate.

    Why do you have to bring hate to this Christmas and holiday season? That's so sad, Bob.

    KNIGHT: Well, let's go to the Soviet Union then too. They had grandfather frost.

    Well, it's the truth. You ought to read the book yourself, and maybe you'll change your mind.

    SEDER: It's just sad that you have to raise Nazis when you're talking about Christmas and the holiday season. And we all know that Christmas actually, Tannenbaum, it's a German holiday. Bob, I'm really, really disappointed in you.

    KNIGHT: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but if you can't understand the force of history...

    SEDER: To bring up Nazis, Bob.

    KNIGHT: I'm not calling you a Nazi.

    SEDER: Oh, who you calling Nazi? Who are you calling a Nazi, sir?

    KNIGHT: I'm not.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 14 December, 2005 07:31  

  • 1) The First Amendment guarantees freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. It would be nice if the far left in this country had enough mastery of English to understand the difference.

    2) Nowhere in the Constitution is there any mention of "separation of Church and State." The term was first used in private correspondence by Jefferson YEARS after he had left office and was only codified into law by the Supreme Court in the 1950's. Since it is Case Law and not part of the Constitution's text, the ruling is subject to either revision or reversal by that Court, or by Congressional legislation.

    luthien

    By Blogger Christine Lynn, at 14 December, 2005 09:01  

  • I read CNN's transcript, and was amazed by Mr. Seder's performance. There actually is someone with less comedic talent than Al Franken.

    By Blogger James, at 14 December, 2005 09:11  

  • Does anyone even watch CNN anymore?

    By Blogger Gabriel, at 14 December, 2005 10:26  

  • Brian;
    As for ratings, the latest trends just came out for LOS ANGELES....After a year AAR radio, broadcast on a Clear Channel station no less, has only went up a half-a-point. .03 to .08..AFTER A YEAR!!! (maybe its because their newspeople are still doing stories on the DOWNEY STREET MEMOS), and thats with Franken and others coming to liberal mecca L. A. on occasion to do their shows LIVE in front of an audience. BOTH SALEM stations beat AAR in L.A.

    By Blogger tax cuts work, at 14 December, 2005 10:29  

  • air america,.... where the unfunny go to host and the i-hate-america crowd goes to laugh....

    such a waste of air space...from all their numbers not many are listening so guess brian is right - hard to argue with facts.....

    as far as their assests (or lack thereof) are concerned, only the lack-luster hosts that are left there seem to think there is no problem. heck al keeps telling them that all is ok, and he wouldn't lie..... would he??? guess the jokes on them. once again brian has the facts....but then maybe they are using their mass imagined assests to investigate what happened to all the stolen $$ from the charity that they had to dip into.... hmmmmm, how is that investigation going seder??

    By Blogger wise_n_texas, at 14 December, 2005 10:49  

  • Well.... At least now I know who Sam Seder is.... I'd been wondering what those emails were all about.

    Guess if anybody listened to Air America they'd know... but that doesn't seem to happen very often.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 14 December, 2005 11:58  

  • Perhaps Mr. Seder's comments are what passes for urbane witticisms, but I found him to be an obnoxious bore.

    And for the record - I think a lot of this war on Christmas business is rather phoney.

    By Blogger BubbaBuddha, at 14 December, 2005 13:14  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger BubbaBuddha, at 14 December, 2005 13:14  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger BubbaBuddha, at 14 December, 2005 13:15  

  • tax cuts work:
    BOTH SALEM stations beat AAR in L.A.

    Um, that's not true.

    The latest ratings:
    AAR affiliate KTLK: 0.9
    Salem-owned stations:
    Conservative talk KRLA: 0.9
    Christian talk KKLA: 0.6
    Christian AC KFSH: 0.6

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 14 December, 2005 14:31  

  • What? have you people no sense of humor. That there is outrage over this "War on Xmas" is laughable. Conservatives, please go back to talking about flat taxes and railing against the materialism of the season. Stop supporting rabid religion baiters like Bob Knight. This site is just as sad as Air America. You all lose.

    By Blogger matt, at 14 December, 2005 16:39  

  • Wow. I don't take the "war on Christmas" that seriously, but Seder's one of the biggest idiots I've ever seen. Ever heard of civility there Sam? How about open minded debate? And ya might want to consider adding a little humor to the 'ol bag o' tricks, because that opening joke was one of the lamest I've heard since, well, since I last watched a mainstream sitcom.

    By Blogger jmag, at 14 December, 2005 18:10  

  • You're pathetic, Brian. Just after the opening segment, the guy from Concerned Women complimented Seder on his sense of humor.

    The whole thing was hilarious. Seder humorously made the point that American neocons keep making up threats and wars where there are none. And the Concerned Women guy compares the non-existent anti-Christmas forces to Nazis. The contrast between the two couldn't have been funnier.

    By Blogger idahogie, at 14 December, 2005 18:15  

  • Franken Caught ... Lying.


    There's a lot more to this one, but here is the "TV Guide version."

    In July 2005, New York City's Department of Investigation began looking into a questionable monetary transaction between Air America, Franken's radio outlet, and the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit organization serving underprivileged youth in New York. Research reveals that this "loan" totaled $875,000. In late July, a number of small media outlets began to report on this very suspicious arrangement. Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney deserve tremendous credit for advancing this story, and they are absolute must-reads if you want to learn more about this. (Full list of documentation to go with this..... um, Seder to you that is Facts.... can be found at frankenlies.com....)

    Here's the lie: On the August 8, 2005, episode of his radio show, Franken addressed the growing scandal, and he told his audience this: "I didn't know anything about this until late last week."

    Let's see ... "Late last week" would be August 4th or 5th. Well, the New York Daily News ran this tidbit on July 26, 2005, nearly two weeks before August 8; Malkin and Maloney began their reporting July 27. The New York Sun published a report on the scandal on August 1, 2005. But you "didn't know anything about this," Al? Hmmm ... (Seder, don't worry.... you know Al doesn't lie.....oh my.... you really should go to frankenlies.com...)

    More damaging, however, is that papers now reveal that Al Franken personally signed a settlement agreement in November 2004. This agreement included detailed information about the Gloria Wise deal -- the exact same deal which Franken claimed he "didn't know anything about"!

    The documentation can be found on Brian Maloney's Radio Equalizer and at Michelle Malkin's site.

    How IS that invetigation going Seder??

    By the way Seder... there is lot more of the same at frankenlies.com ..... check it out if you dare....

    By Blogger wise_n_texas, at 14 December, 2005 18:34  

  • Look, I am a Bush supporter with an absolute revulsion for Air America- I take a backseat to no one. However, can we please put an end to this stupid "War on Christmas"? At a time when we are fighting real wars overseas, with real casualties, does it really matter whether I people say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? It just seems so silly.

    They are complaining about Macy's, Walmart, etc.- which are private corporations. They can do as they please. If you don't like it, shop elsewhere.

    By Blogger Ariel, at 14 December, 2005 18:38  

  • Real Christians are complaining about commercialization of a Sacred Holiday. The stupid wingnuts are now complaining that it isn't commercialized enough.

    These slime suckers ought to sit down and contemplate that the holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, not some red light special.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 14 December, 2005 19:00  

  • Quite a jump for KLSD in San Diego. WCPT in Chicago must be setting a record for a daytime only station.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 14 December, 2005 19:06  

  • Oh yea, they're daytime only. I forgot to mention that in my earlier post. Revised:

    Brian, why do you think Salem is wasting their behemoth WIND-AM station in Chicago? They're only getting a 0.5 even though the station reaches the entire Chicago metro area (and even a bit of Milwaukee) in the local range.
    Meanwhile, WCPT (AAR affiliate) reaches about half the Chicago metro area and is daytime only and is still at 1.1 and seems to get higher with each ratings period:
    0.4 (38th): Summer pt.1
    0.4 (37th): Summer pt.2
    0.7 (32nd): Summer
    0.8 (31st): Fall pt.1
    1.1 (30th): Fall pt.2
    They've nearly tripled in 4 months.

    Wouldn't it be in Salem's best interest to give WIND-AM to AAR? A 1.1 rating with twice the market reach and nighttime listening could conceivably give WIND a healthy 3.0 share (and rising).

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 14 December, 2005 20:57  

  • Ha! Now it turns out that the pathetic guy from Concerned Women cited a fraudulent story as evidence that a "War on Christmas" exists (the story about the kids singing altered lyrics to "Silent Night").

    What a total farce! The wingnuts look almost as stupid as they did when they camped out in front of Ms. Schaivo's hospice.

    By Blogger idahogie, at 15 December, 2005 01:15  

  • I'll concede that the notion of a 'War on Christmas' is overblown rhetoric... as soon as Michael Newdow and the ACLU stop suing to eliminate public expressions of faith and religious heritage.

    By Blogger V the K, at 15 December, 2005 09:04  

  • v the k posted: ...as soon as Michael Newdow and the ACLU stop suing to eliminate public expressions of faith and religious heritage.

    Except that they're not doing that. They're trying to stop state-supported or state-mandated expressions of faith. Big difference.

    'Public' can mean 'state-supported,' in it's most limited interpretation, but it also means 'in the public sphere' in normal usage. Apologies if you meant the former.

    By Blogger idahogie, at 15 December, 2005 10:20  

  • And "state-supported" expressions of faith are nothing at all like the "establishment" of a state religion. The ACLU and Newdow are indulging in extreme over-reaction, exactly like Bill O'Reilly.

    And you condemn Bill O'Reilly for doing the same kind of thing you praise Newdow and the ACLU for. And at least Bill O'Reilly isn't tying up the courts for the sake of vanity, hatred, and bigotry.

    And, yes, there are plenty of atheists who oppose any kind of public expression of faith.

    By Blogger V the K, at 15 December, 2005 10:37  

  • And personally, I think Bill O'Reilly is a pompous windbag, whose faux "Happy Holidays" v. "Merry Christmas" controversy only trivializes real anti-Christian bigotry in the culture.

    I also think Michael Newdow is an arrogant, bigoted, media-whore.

    I frankly, wish the two of them could be locked in a cage, Thunderdome-style, with a bunch of power tools, and let the rest of us learn to tolerate each other.

    By Blogger V the K, at 15 December, 2005 11:39  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger idahogie, at 15 December, 2005 12:15  

  • Sammy's appearance was absolutely brilliant. Brian, your man-crush on Sam Seder is sweet.

    http://www.primordium.org/?p=676

    Also, San Diego's AAR station should probably be considered a daytime only since you can't get a signal after the sun goes down. If they pumped up the signal their ratings would surely follow.

    By Blogger Jake White, at 15 December, 2005 17:14  

  • The latest 12 + ratings are out for Boston (RadioAndRecords.com). The two AAR stations, WKOX and WXKS, do a 0.5
    combined (by contrast, conservatalk
    WRKO is 4.7 and WTKK is 2.9).

    Low rated, 250-watt WJIB--adult
    standards--gets a 1.0 which is twice
    as much as the two AAR signals combined! During this time of
    long nights, WKOX and WXKS must be
    suffering more from signal problems.
    Listeners on their messageboard were
    wondering why they were hearing Fox
    Sports Radio and hockey games on "Boston's Progressive Talk". Actually it was stations from
    Ottawa and Binghamton, respectively.

    And for the record, Salem's conservatalk WTTT (Mike Gallagher,
    Michael Medved) does not even show up...again. Weak signal, and maybe just too much talk in town?

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 16 December, 2005 03:57  

  • So what if WCPT in Chicago has a 1.1 rating now? Making that "big move" from 38th to 30th in the Chicago market isn't exactly what I'd call getting on the fast track. Wake us up when they get within Hubble range of the top 20.

    Moreover, saying that WCPT's audience "tripled" when it started at 0.4 is like getting really, really excited because your audience increased from 1 listener to 3.

    Note, too, that WCPT's "whopping" 1.1 share still lags behind that of WGRB and its gospel format (1.9). Or the classical sounds of WFMT at 1.7. Imagine, Al Franken getting his butt kicked by Beethoven.

    Funny how we didn't hear anything about Air America's San Francisco affiliate, KQKE, which continued its downward trend by slipping from 1.2 in the summer to 1.1 in its first fall survey to 1.0 now.

    And what about the fact that the two Boston stations, WXKS and WKOX, retreated a notch from 0.6 to 0.5.

    But at least Air America fans can brag about WDTW's increase from 1.9 in the summer to 2.4 now. That's very impressive because it's 18th overall and ... ummm ... whoops ...

    Guess what? The ratings I just described were those of WDTW-FM. Air America's affiliate is WDTW-AM, which didn't even crack the latest Detroit ratings.

    NEVER MIND!

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 18 December, 2005 04:40  

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