The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 December 2005

Senate Minority Leader's Nerve


Nevada Senator Has Long Media Suppression Record

Whenever US Senate Minority
Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) turns up in the middle of yet another mouthing-off controversy, the Radio Equalizer feels the need to bring Americans up to speed on Reid's Nevada record. This latest flap is vintage Harry.

For those of us who knew Reid when he was a relatively obscure senator from the Silver State, his careless leak during a television interview is especially ironic, considering our ugly past run-ins.

How unpleasant? In 1998, Sen. Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was "very happy" I'd left the state. Think of it as a reverse-Welcome Wagon effect.

In Nevada, Harry Reid has a long history of thuggish media pressure campaigns, especially when the topic of conversation is his own sleazy record. In particular, he's long railed against "irresponsible" talk radio hosts and other broadcast programs.

Yet, on KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers" show, it was Reid who again proved to be the careless one. From OpinionJournal, via

Is Senator Harry Reid all that swift when it comes to U.S. Intelligence matters? Last Wednesday, the Minority Leader appeared on KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers" program and dropped a stunning revelation. He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month. "I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that's the case, I certainly wouldn't wish anyone harm, but if that's the case, that's good for the world."

Intelligence analysts tell me that the only proper action by a top U.S. Senate leader who has been given such information is radio silence. If the report is true, such information is best released at a moment of the U.S. government's choosing. For one thing, as long as the information is tightly held, it can be used to sift out electronic intercepts that might lead to other Al Qaeda leaders.

On the other hand, if Mr. Reid's public speculation proves groundless, it only embarrasses the U.S. and contributes to enemy morale. Here's hoping Al Qaeda figures aren't soon appearing on Al Jazeera television chortling about the clueless Mr. Reid.

Earlier this month, Mr. Reid was eager to keep discussions of intelligence matters under wraps. For little apparent reason, he invoked a seldom-used rule that forced the Senate to go into secret session to debate complaints about pre-war intelligence concerning Saddam's weapons programs.

Michelle Malkin provides considerable further background information here. Equally important additional points made at Powerline.

While John Fund's
piece makes Reid's foot-in-mouth on intelligence matters clear, the Reid-as-hypocrite case is further built by looking at past actions, including those documented in the nineties by Nevada's LibertyLinks:

Reid tries to muffle critics
(reprinted from the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Has party preparing attack on think tank's tax-exempt status

A free-market Nevada think tank that blasted Democratic Sen. Harry Reid on the radio was ordered by a Vegas broadcaster to 'lay off' after orchestrated complaints by Reid staff and allies.

Has staff combing comments on Reno talk show, seeking excuse for suit

The Democratic senator's staff is reviewing a tape of a talkshow hosted by KOH's former Brian Maloney to see if any basis for a slander suit can be found.

From the 1998 Las Vegas Review-Journal story:

An ongoing conflict with a conservative think tank's scathing commentary is not the only dispute Sen. Harry Reid and his staff have had recently with conservatives on radio.

The Democratic senator's staff is reviewing a tape of a show by former Reno talk show host Brian Maloney to see if anything slanderous was said, Reid spokeswoman Jenny Backus said.

Some radio executives shrug the complaints off as another sign that because the senator is engaged in a close race with Rep. John Ensign, a Republican, his staff is paying closer attention to negative radio programs.

Maloney, who recently left Reno conservative radio station KOH 780-AM for a job in Seattle, contends the complaints are an effort to stifle his free speech.

In a recent interview, Maloney said he hosted a program that discussed a Wall Street Journal story about how Reid advocated a Del Webb Corp. land exchange in Clark County.

And from the second Review-Journal piece by Jane Ann Morrison:

A conservative Nevada think tank that has blasted Democratic Sen. Harry Reid on the radio has been ordered by one broadcaster to lay off the attacks -- a move prompted by complaints by Reid's staff.

Democratic Party officials are now threatening to challenge the tax exempt status of the group, which buys air time on KNUU-AM 970 radio for its daily commentaries.

Reid described the Reno-based group, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, as "right wing zealots trying to help the far right." The senator, who is trying to thwart a challenge to his re-election by Republican Rep. John Ensign, objected to the tone, the partisan nature and the accuracy of the radio commentaries.

In addition,
LibertyLinks has documented a number of similar "flaps" here.

Last year, I wrote this about Senator Reid for WorldNetDaily:

In 1996, after a stint as a radio talk-show host in California, I was hired to host the afternoon drive program at Reno's primary news/talk radio station, KOH-AM. Its news anchors, rare longtime locals in a transient state, were quick to help acquaint me with Nevada's quirky political culture.

I drove all over the area to meet various political leaders, but found most had little idea why they should spend time with the new kid on talk radio. The medium's nationwide impact just hadn't registered despite the 1994 election results.

Before I even got started, though, I encountered Sen. Harry Reid. Steps ahead of the others in understanding talk radio's impact, he visited the station regularly to tape on-air commentaries. Listeners would complain the Democrat was getting free airtime without Republican responses, but the feature continued. It wasn't a case of media bias, as ours was a rare news operation almost free of known liberals. Rather, it was a testament to Reid's power in the state: Don't mess with me if you know what's good for you.

My first crime apparently was not to have him as a regular guest on my show, lobbing softball questions Larry King-style, as had been done previously. It was like refusing to pay protection money to local goons in a tough neighborhood.

Worse, I went after him on the air, attacking positions, votes, his partisan nature and most of all ties to southern Nevada's fat-cat special interests. Since he was one of many I criticized, including Republicans, I didn't realize the severity of the transgression. Some of the other targets didn't seem to be paying attention. Why would a U.S. senator? I was naïve; he certainly was keeping tabs.

The bottom line: if Senator Reid disagrees with what you're saying, particularly if the charges are against him, it's time to slap the host with a lawsuit, or run him right out of the state.

If it's Harry mouthing off, however, that's a whole different story. What exactly does the senator have to say for himself, after sloppily revealing sensitive anti-terrorism information?

One wonders if Nevadans are now having second thoughts about that 1998 re-election campaign, where Reid beat then-Rep. John Ensign by just a couple of hundred votes.

If he'd lost, just imagine how different things would be now.

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Reid graphics: LibertyLinks


  • Shortly after Katrina, Reid spoke out in support of Hispanic immigrants who are "living in the shadows."

    Only problem: he was refering to illegal aliens in the Gulf Coast who are taking rebuilding jobs that should be done by unemployed American hurricane victims.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 01 December, 2005 15:50  

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