The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 July 2006

Joycelyn Elders, Al Franken, Planned Parenthood, Arkansas


Away From Home, Franken's Political Tone Shifts

Has Al Franken
been taking his political cues from Hillary Clinton?

In a seeming break from the ideologically cautious tone seen recently, the Air America Radio host spoke at a fundraiser Saturday night for Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Joining Franken was radical former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

From the Arkansas Times Arkansas Blog:

Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders and comedian Al Franken spoke last night at a gala event to benefit Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. They drew a capacity crowd at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center, and the evening raised about $40,000 for the organization.

Elders focused on her longstanding message of talking openly and factually about sexuality. Franken made a more wide-ranging critique of the Bush administration.

Interestingly, beyond the one blog entry, we can't find any coverage of the event. For Franken, that sure seems convenient, since it seems unlikely he would come within a mile of such a crowd, or the likes of Elders, in his home state of Minnesota.

There, he's been busy crafting a Hillary-esque moderate image, even carrying that over to his radio talk show in recent times. While that may have ticked off some of the Dean / Sheehan types that make up Air America's listenership, it's a smart strategy for taking on Republican Norm Coleman in 2008, if he can get away with it.

In other parts of the country, however, a different Stuart Smalley emerges. This one isn't afraid to associate with the likes of Joycelyn Elders, or others on the far left.

For fundraising purposes, that keeps his liberal credentials intact, without attracting too much attention at home in Minnesota. Isn't that right from the pages of Hillary's political playbook?

Remember Elders? If not, here's a trip down memory lane (via the Washington Post):

Talking is what got Elders into trouble in Washington. She arrived with great fanfare as the first black woman to be surgeon general, a sharecropper's daughter who overcame racism and poverty to rise to the top of her field. But she was preaching safe sex and condom use at a time policymakers didn't want to hear it. Even more, they didn't want to hear about masturbation. In December 1994, during a talk, someone asked Elders what she thought

of discussing masturbation with young people as a way to prevent them from having unsafe sex. She said, well, yes, masturbation probably should be discussed in a sex-education curriculum.

Critics were apoplectic. They said she was promoting teaching masturbation to children. The story wouldn't die, and she was forced to step down.

And, from Wikipedia:

Elders wrote a book an attempt to present her side of the controversies that surrounded her during her 18-month tenure as surgeon general. Already reviled by conservatives for advocating abortion rights and condom distribution in schools, Elders drew fire — and censure from the Clinton administration — when she suggested that legalizing drugs might help reduce crime and that the idea should be studied. Almost immediately afterward, her son Kevin was arrested for cocaine possession, in what she still believes was a frame-up designed to embarrass her and the president.

On December 7, 1993, Dr. Elders commented at a press luncheon, "I do feel that we would markedly reduce out crime rate if drugs were legalized." Eight days later, in the midst of a media frenzy, the Little Rock police issued a warrant for her son's arrest.

What's next for Franken? For the latest, watch here.

UPDATE-- New press release from Hosts National Conference Call With Sen. Barack Obama, Al Franken Events to Mobilize and Energize Democrats for '06 Elections Cutting-Edge "Call for Change" Phone Program Will Be Unveiled

WASHINGTON - July 31 -

WHAT: National conference call open to media
WHEN: Tonight, Monday, July 31, at 8:20 p.m.
WHO: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Al Franken headline 685-plus GOTV House Parties Nationwide


Tonight, MoveOn members will gather in homes across the nation to eat dessert, get energized on a conference call with Sen. Barack Obama and Air America host Al Franken, and strategize about what they can do locally to ensure a national democratic victory in 2006.

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Elders photo: AP

29 July 2006

Al Franken, Midwest Values PAC, Larry David, Jimmy Smits, Barbra Streisand


Elite Insiders Line Up To Give Franken Big $$$

Are conservatives misunderestimating this year's effort by Hollywood insiders to overthrow Capitol Hill's GOP leadership?

With a mistaken assumption that the end result of 2004's giant waste of liberal money will repeat itself this year, the right seems dismissive about their chances for success.

Given today's Washington Post report detailing big celeb dollars flowing into Al Franken's Midwest Values PAC, however, it might be time to rethink the threat level. So far, his list of contributors reads like a who's- who of the entertainment industry establishment.

It's clear they aren't at all discouraged by what happened during the last election cycle.

As we've previously reported, Franken is downright clever when it comes to money. He's got Air America Radio covering everything, including his recent move from Manhattan to Minnesota, studio expenses there and even the tab incurred when dining with executive producer Billy "$625,000 per annum" Kimball.

And to cover his bloated $2 million - plus salary and other perks, George Soros and Rob Glaser of RealNetworks are always happy to open their pocketbooks.

In today's report, we discover that a whole host of Hollywood stars have been tripping over each other in order to to fund Al's liberal PAC.

Sounds like a great deal for Franken, doesn't it?

From the AP's Frederic J Frommer:

WASHINGTON -- The list of contributors to comedian Al Franken's political action committee reads like a celebrity who's who: singer Barbra Streisand, writer-director Nora Ephron, actor-writer Larry David and actor Jimmy Smits.

Franken, who hosts a radio show on the liberal Air America Radio network, is considering challenging Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in 2008. Franken moved his show from New York City to Minneapolis earlier this year, fueling speculation of a possible bid.

His leadership PAC, Midwest Values PAC, raised $500,000, according to a review of campaign finance reports. Franken couldn't use the money for his own race, but he can contribute to other candidates, engendering goodwill.

He has used the cash to contribute to national Democratic Party organizations, Minnesota Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar and House candidates Coleen Rowley, Tim Walz and Patty Wetterling,

Among the contri- butors to the PAC were actor Larry Hagman, directors Christopher Guest and Barry Levinson, and writers Harold Ramis and Aaron Sorkin.

Franken says he still hasn't decided whether to run for the Senate. Coleman's office declined to comment, but his campaign is already making an issue of Franken's Hollywood money.

"One of my potential opponents is comedian Al Franken," Coleman wrote in a fundraising letter a few months ago, "but there's nothing funny about his venomous 'Air America' liberal radio show, his high-powered and deep-pocketed Hollywood friends, his national network of Bush-haters or the magnitude of his personal wealth."

We've been tracking Franken's recent moves and the only conclusion that can be drawn is that he is certain to run in 2008. You could bet the farm on it.

And given the way he's been spreading around the dough, lots of politicians are going to owe him favors once his own effort kicks off.

For Hollywood's lefties, it's a two-fer: while planting seeds to get one of their own in the US Senate next time around, they're also helping to elect upper- midwest liberal Democrats in 2006.

While we're glad to see Senator Coleman keeping an eye on Franken's antics, we hope the Republican Party is also paying attention to what could very well turn out to be a serious future threat.

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Franken Aid, Wanted, Franken PAC: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer, Franken Golf: Pete at IHillary

27 July 2006

Air America Ratings, Seattle, Denver, Portland


In Key Markets, AAR's Ratings Melt

Like an ice cream cone left in the hot July sun, Air America Radio's ratings are melting in some key (read: liberal) regions of the country.

Based on fresh ratings data released Thursday evening, the "progressive" radio network has lost strength in three cities where it had previously found the most listener support: Portland, Seattle and Denver.

Representing the spring 2006 Arbitron reporting period, these results provide one of the two most important report cards for the entire year.

A quick rundown:

In Seattle, AAR affiliate KPTK-AM had increasingly been providing a rare bright spot for liberal talk radio, but that wasn't the case this time: it fell from a previously respectable 2.8 share to a bottom-feeding 1.7 among all listeners 12 and older. That had KPTK tied for 23rd place overall.

Up against baseball on rival KOMO- AM, the increasingly left- leaning KIRO- AM also fell, from 4.3 to a 3.9.

Conservative talkers were mixed: KVI- AM dropped from a 3.1 to a 2.5, while competitor KTTH- AM held just about steady, with a 2.8 share.

In Portland, KPOJ- AM, which had been Air America's biggest nationwide success story, also took a dive: it dropped from 4.1 to a 3.5 share.

Conservative and other talk formats had better luck in the Rose City, with KXL and KEX-AM both up slightly and far ahead of Franken & Co. Until now, KPOJ's ratings had held fairly steady and it was considered a model for liberal radio's potential future national success.

Denver's KKZN-AM had also provided a previous pocket of libtalk support, but that proved to be short- lived. The station finished the spring ratings book with a mere 1.3 share, leaving it near the bottom in the overall market.

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Maryland Lt Gov Michael Steele, Senate Race, GOP


For Candidate, Talk Radio Means Damage Control

Is it a campaign without a clear focus, or one with a brilliant strategy?

After an exceptionally strange week for Maryland Lt Gov Michael Steele, it isn't yet clear which theory represents reality. Since being outed as the "secret" GOP US Senate candidate with serious reservations about President Bush and party leadership on Capitol Hill, he's been utilizing talk radio in order to do some serious damage control.

In embracing Bush and the GOP now, however, is Steele merely confusing voters even more than ever? Or, was the entire controversy manufactured by his campaign to overcome negative sentiments toward Republicans by independent Maryland voters?

From John Wagner at the Washington Post:

On Monday, he didn't want President Bush campaigning for him. Yesterday, he called the president "my homeboy" and more than welcomed Bush to Maryland.

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's awkward dance with the media and the White House continued after the publication of quotes in which the U.S. Senate hopeful, speaking anonymously, had distanced himself from the president and his party.

Steele (R) was greeted at a morning event in Prince George's County by four television stations eager to hear more about the Monday luncheon, which was billed as a "background" briefing for reporters who could identify him only as a Republican Senate candidate.

But Steele -- who acknowledged Tuesday that the quotes were his -- clearly was not interested in rehashing the luncheon. He apologized for his early departure from a news conference yesterday, which was held to announce festivities related to a late-September college football game in Prince George's, and then he slipped out the back door.

"Why did you say being a Republican is like wearing a scarlet letter, sir?" a television reporter shouted as Steele disappeared. "Why did you say being a Republican is like wearing a scarlet letter?"

Just a few hours later, in the confines of conservative talk radio, Steele said he welcomed the chance to clarify his comments, which were critical of the Iraq war and Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina. But he backed away from his suggestion at the luncheon Monday that he would "probably not" want Bush to come to Maryland to campaign for him.

"I've been quoted before as calling the president my homeboy, you know, and that's how I feel," Steele said on WBAL (1090 AM) radio in Baltimore. "I'm not afraid of George Bush. If the president wants to come and help me in Maryland, he is more than welcome. I'm not going to turn my back on a friend. I'm not going to do that. I want to make that very clear."

And from Jon Ward at the Washington Times:

ANNAPOLIS -- Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said yesterday that his criticism of President Bush during an off-the-record talk with reporters was taken out of context and that the president is a friend who is welcome to campaign for him during his U.S. Senate run.

"I'm not trying to dis the president," said Mr. Steele, a Republican. "I'm not trying to distance myself from the president. I'm trying to show those lines where ... I have a different perspective."

Mr. Steele made the comments on WBAL Radio to explain what he said Monday on Capitol Hill to nine national reporters, under an agreement that his statements would be off the record.

But Tuesday, the Steele campaign confirmed that Mr. Steele was the mystery candidate at the center of a column in The Washington Post that did not name him but quoted him as saying that his affiliation to the Republican Party was "an impediment" and a "scarlet letter."

So far, the best insight on this messy situation has been found at Powerline:

There have always been, and always will be, Republican politicians who feel the need to assure liberal journalists that they don't really buy into the party's conservative message.

I'll give Steele the benefit of the doubt and assume that this unsavory dynamic was not at work here. Indeed, the Steele campaign has claimed that the candidate had many nice things to say about President Bush during the course of the lunch. Nonetheless, I can't help but view Steele less favorably than I did before this unfortunate incident.

Coincidentally, in yesterday's Evans-Novak Report, Bob Novak wrote:

Steele already polls slightly ahead of Mfume, and within reasonable distance of Cardin. Whoever wins the primary, Steele will come out of it with an enormous cash advantage and an opportunity to hit the airwaves aggressively for the last two months of the race. Steele is playing it smart -- the conservative base in Maryland know that he is one of them, so no one is dismayed when he throws a bomb in the direction of President Bush or the national GOP.

I think that was written before the interview became public. In any event, I agree that distancing oneself from the administration-- really, from the party in general-- is a delicate task at best, and I wouldn't be so confident that conservatives won't be dismayed.

Your Radio Equalizer agrees: if this was a planned strategy, it may very well backfire, alienating the conservative base, while doing little to win the confidence of confused independent voters. Why any Republican would trust Washington Post reporters is beyond comprehension and doesn't speak well for Steele's sense of good judgement.

In addition, to assume that conservative talk radio fans are dumb enough to accept Steele's embrace of Bush, after trashing him in front of the enemy press just days earlier, shows he knows little about the medium's listenership.

More than that, a US Senate race is no place for amateur hour politics. To repair the damage, Steele has difficult work ahead.

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Steele photo: AP

26 July 2006

Al Franken, Minnesota, DFL Party


Is Franken Still An 'Entertainer'?

Watching Al Franken make the gradual transition from talk host- actor- alleged comedian, to pure politician, is downright fascinating. Beyond your Radio Equalizer, has anyone else noticed this trend?

While there are many in the entertainment industry who frequently take part in political activism, it's hard to find one who has jumped into near- full time partisan campaigning as has Franken in recent times. There's a difference between writing books about politics and hitting the road for one Democrat Party / DFL candidate after another.

Mr Smalley has indeed set himself up perfectly for a 2008 US Senate run from his home state of Minnesota, even convincing Air America Radio, where he works as a talk host, to pick up the tab for his move from New York!

Since George Soros, Rob Glaser and other liberal fat cats are busy propping up the long- troubled liberal talk radio network, isn't Air America providing a clever way to indirectly supply contributions to would- be candidates such as Franken?

When the trucks arrived in Manhattan to move Team Franken, they might as well have had a "Soros Van Lines" logo painted on each side!

From The Minnesota Daily's Tyler Rushmeyer, here's a prime example of how Franken's role has shifted right before our eyes:

The dimly lit Kitty Cat Klub filled with a mostly late-20s audience Thursday night to take in Minneapolis' first Progressive Reading Series. The series featured author and radio talk show host Al Franken, a Minnesota native.

The Literary Political Action Committee series, which travels the nation supporting liberal candidates, came to Minneapolis in support of Coleen Rowley, the Democratic candidate running for U.S. Congress in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District against Republican incumbent John Kline.

Franken, who read from his book "The Truth (with jokes)," took the stage and read a chapter titled "Oct. 2, 2015." He highlighted the events that occurred during the "dark ages," from 2000 to 2008 during the Bush administration and how Democrats began to fight back.

Franken also hinted at a possible 2008 Senate run when he mentioned in his chapter from the future that he "announced" his decision in 2007.

LitPAC Executive Director Stephen Elliot, "Ticknor" author Sheila Heti and poet Ed Bok Lee, author of "Real Karaoke People," also read throughout the evening.

All authors donated their time and books to help with the fundraiser, Elliot said.

The idea behind LitPAC - holding readings to raise money for candidates - began in 2004 in San Francisco, he said.

LitPAC's Progressive Reading Series sponsors events across the country and is supporting seven liberal candidates for House seats, Elliot said. The goal is to get authors more involved in the political process and create change in Congress in midterm elections.

It's also clear that Franken's getting solid campaign advice. By supporting local and regional candidates now, he'll be able to count on their unwavering loyalty when his own effort kicks off, most likely to occur early next year.

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Franken For Senate: Pete at IHillary, With Osama Mama Murray: David A Lunde

25 July 2006

Keith Olbermann, Television Critics Association Meeting


Olbermann's Latest Stunt Attracts Media Attention

A quick question for Keith Olbermann: is it working?

To get the attention of Bill O'Reilly, FOX News and anyone else who will listen, you've tried every stunt known to mankind. Yet despite all of those often- desperate ploys, the only thing you're beating is poker on CNBC.

Is it time for a new target? Perhaps, but with all of the mainstream media attention your latest stunt is generating, we doubt you'll soon change.

If only this course of action could lead to big ratings, however!

What Olby does prove is that serving as a liberal media darling certainly doesn't guarantee an audience.

Or, instead of this "calculated strategy" theory, could the truth really be that Olbermann is simply nuts? After Saturday's stunt at the Television Critics Association summer meeting, your guess is as good as ours.

In a move that is still generating fresh publicity several days later, Olbermann donned a Bill O'Reilly face mask and gave a Nazi salute. This continues his ongoing obsession with O'Reilly, who continues to generate ratings that are several times higher than Keith's.

Can tearing down the competition somehow bring success for the MSNBC laggard? So far, it certainly hasn't worked.

Yesterday, FOX News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes fired back, calling Olbermann's antics "over the line", according to the AP's Beth Harris:

Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line."

Ailes, appearing Monday at the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association, said Olbermann takes shots at Fox's O'Reilly because it boosts his ratings.

"Clearly he has no viewers except those he gets when he attacks Fox News, and particularly has made himself committed to continuing to attack Bill," Ailes said.

Olbermann opened his Saturday session at the critics' meeting by whipping out a mask of O'Reilly and giving a Nazi salute.

"I really think that's over the line," Ailes said.

During his "Countdown" show on MSNBC, Olbermann regularly tweaks O'Reilly. Olbermann has named O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World" at least 15 times. The nightly "award" is Olbermann's way of criticizing bad behavior.

O'Reilly has referred to Olbermann - although not by name - as a "notorious smear merchant" and pointed out the low ratings for "Countdown."

At what point does Keith finally work on building himself up, or at the least, finding a new target?

To find out, we'll be watching... a different program.

NOTE: Olbermann Watch has substantially updated its post with a great deal of new information late Tuesday, find it here.

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Air Olby: Pete at IHillary

23 July 2006

Michael Savage, San Francisco Weekly


Lefty Paper Digs Deep, Skewers Popular Host

*** Site Update Below ***

After a lengthy expose on his background was released this week, we doubt the "Savage Nation" is a very happy place to live right now.

Published in the San Francisco Weekly, a left- wing "alternative" newspaper, it details syndicated talker Michael Savage's past, going back to his quasi- beatnik days.

While some of the story's details aren't new, it does fill in a number of gaps in our understanding of the infamously hot- headed host's colorful previous life. Especially interesting is that his onetime involvement with the San Francisco- based counterculture movement appears to have been far more extensive than previously reported.

While one would expect a lefty "City" paper to skewer Savage (there doesn't seem to have been much of an attempt to find supporters or defenders of the popular host, for example), the piece is worth reading for the insight it sheds on what brought the man to where he is today.

Just remember to keep your media bias stink- detector set to "high" for this one: it has a nasty habit of attempting to tie his ideological conversion to mental illness.

From Ron Russell's piece:

Three years ago, after he was canned by MSNBC for telling a caller to his fledgling cable TV show to "get AIDS and die, you pig," some people were saying that the combative, arch-conservative talk-show host and author of red-meat political diatribes was washed up. But that was four New York Times best-sellers ago. His latest book, The Political Zoo, a kind of walk through the jungle of mostly liberal political animals that this unlikeliest of San Francisco provocateurs loves to hate, hit bookstore shelves in the spring....

....It's a neat trick for a once mild-mannered botanist and North Beach hipster who counted none other than Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the late Allen Ginsberg among his pals when he was still using his real name: Michael Weiner.

Few things about Savage's pre-radio past could have presaged his rise as perhaps the far right's most vocal on-air ambassador. Not his adulation of Ginsberg. Not the fact that he once trolled the streets of Greenwich Village and, later, North Beach, in a beret. Or that the staunch anti-abortionist's first wife had two abortions during their marriage. And certainly not the fact that he was once Timothy Leary's gatekeeper at the LSD experimenter's farm.

His daily three-hour program has added dozens of new stations in the last 18 months. His screeds continue to fly off bookstore shelves. Sources say that his unique syndication deal through Talk Radio Network — the Oregon outfit that also produces talker Laura Ingraham and a bevy of lesser-known conservatives — enables Savage to rake in several millions of dollars annually from the radio show alone.

With all of that going for him, one might conclude that the reclusive and media-suspicious former beatnik lover and author of herbal medicine books would be a happy camper. But Savage, 64, appears to feel too underappreciated to be happy for long....

.....That the archconservative radio icon should be based in America's most famously liberal big city is largely an accident of circumstance. Back in 1994, irked over his inability to find a publisher for a controversial book he had written called Immigrants and Epidemics, which sought to link the spread of infectious diseases to U.S. immigration policy, Savage recorded a mock radio talk show on tape. He sent it to 400 stations nationwide. Of the three that responded, KGO, in San Francisco, offered him a job.

To see the rest of the story, click here.

*** Note *** After an annoying outage for most of this afternoon, we seem to have returned to normal functioning. It apparently affected a number of Blogger sites today.

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Drawing: SF Weekly

22 July 2006

Boston Herald, WRKO, John DePetro, Matt Amorello


Herald, Globe, Note 'Indirect' Apology

Just when storm clouds finally seemed to be lifting from the vicinity of WRKO talk host John DePetro, fresh stories in today's Boston Herald and Globe appear to have reignited the controversy.

After he called embattled Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matt Amorello "Fag Matt" last Tuesday, a media firestorm erupted, with DePetro earning a two- day suspension from the station.

This time, the Herald and the Globe have both made the distinction between DePetro's general apology made Friday, as opposed to one directed specifically toward Amorello, which they say hasn't happened. Apparently, both publications believed this would occur on yesterday's show.

At least to us, it's unclear whether DePetro had been asked to apologize directly to Amorello.

Because your Radio Equalizer works for WRKO and filled in for him during the suspension period, we'll omit opinions here.

From the Boston Herald's Jessica Heslam:

Host apologizes for radio slur, but not to his target, Amorello


WRKO radio host John DePetro was back behind the microphone yesterday after a two-day suspension, doling out apologies for his “stupid” on-air gay slur to everyone but the target of his verbal attack.

“On Tuesday, the language that I used was offensive. It was stupid, there was no excuse for it and I apologize,” DePetro said at the opening of yesterday morning’s show on 680 AM. “There were many, many members of the local and national community who were offended by that language.”

“I apologize to those people. I apologize to the management and listeners - you - of WRKO,” he said. “That is not the type of language that should be used on any show and certainly will not be used on my show ever again.”

But DePetro yesterday didn’t directly apologize to Amorello nor has he contacted the Big Dig boss. Turnpike officials have declined to comment on DePetro’s remarks.

“We discuss topics very passionately on this show, but we should never allow, and I should never allow, offensive language to enter into our discussion no matter how intense that it gets,” DePetro said during his public apology.

And from the Globe's Joseph P Kahn:

Calling his use of a homo- sexual slur ``offensive" and ``stupid," WRKO talk show host John DePetro returned to the airwaves yesterday from a two- day suspension and apologized for his choice of words in describing embattled Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello during Tuesday's show.

``There were many, many members of the local and national community who were offended by that language," DePetro said shortly after his show began at 9 a.m. ``I apologize to those people. I apologize to the management and listeners of WRKO. Plain and simple, that is not the type of language that should be used on any show and certainly will not be used on my show ever again."

Without offering a direct apology to Amorello, DePetro continued, ``We discuss topics very passionately on this show, but I should never allow offensive language to enter into our discussion, no matter how intense it gets. I want to repeat, there is no room for offensive language on this show by anyone, period. And I apologize."

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21 July 2006

Ted Rall, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, Smear Websites


Rall's Redesign Bolster's O'Reilly's Case

For several days, your Radio Equalizer has been intrigued by a conversation that took place between Bill O'Reilly and syndicated radio talker Laura Ingraham on July 18th's O'Reilly Factor.

When asked whether so- called "smear websites" serve to intimidate the opposition by bullying them right off the 'net, Ingraham took issue with O'Reilly, maintaining that a strong backbone is needed to enter the political fray.

Today, however, a redesigned hate site truly seems to bolster O'Reilly's case. More on that in a moment.

First, from a transcript at the leftist Media Matters site:

O'REILLY: OK. I'm not happy, and I'll tell you why.


O'REILLY: Because this money going to be used for, as I said, nefarious purposes. And here's how it's going to be used. The pipeline is the money goes to smear websites, right? Gets into the smear websites. And the websites can say anything about Laura Ingraham or Bill O'Reilly they want to say. OK?


O'REILLY: They can lie. They can give directions to our homes.

INGRAHAM: So what?

O'REILLY: OK. Well, puts us some physical danger, Number 1.

INGRAHAM: No. I'm not worried.

O'REILLY: There's defamation, Number 2. Well, you're much more courageous than I am. Defamation, Number 2. And they can --

INGRAHAM: No, I'm not, but -- they're losers.

O'REILLY: -- and they can basically do all of these things. But it comes out of the smear websites and it goes into the far-left newspaper columnists.

INGRAHAM: It's not working, though, Bill, Bill --

O'REILLY: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. It does work. Here's how it works.

INGRAHAM: Soros spent $50 million in 2004. It doesn't work.

O'REILLY: Laura, here's how it works. It intimidates good people who may want to come into the public arena as politicians or commentators. It intimidates them. They don't want to put themselves --

INGRAHAM: I disagree. I hate to disagree with you, Bill, but I disagree. If someone is intimidated by George Soros and Media Matters, then they have no business being in politics or in our business. If you can't stand up for what you think is right and for the values that you think most Americans hold and for what you think is good for this country, then get out of the game, get out of the kitchen, whatever you want to call it, because these people are going to do that. That's the nature of this game. That has been politics for longer than you and I have been alive, and it's going to continue to be politics. And I understand what you're saying. I mean, it's amplified because of the new media and the Internet and everything.

O'REILLY: I'm not going to go over the Limbaugh thing in Palm Beach, which was a total setup. I'm not going to go over Bill Bennett, who said a remark metaphorically, and it was used to bludgeon him. And this kind of stuff -- I know you're just saying, hey, you gotta to take it. This kind of stuff is dangerous, Number 1, because kooks are out there.

INGRAHAM: Well, it's disgusting. It's disgusting.

At the time, it seemed that Ingraham had the better point, given that politics can be a blood sport. Without a thick skin, it's no doubt very difficult to survive in this crazy business.

But isn't there a difference between lefty attack sites that usually stick to points, such as Media Matters (when it isn't editing O'Reilly segments for "clarity") and others that exist only to slime somebody in the meanest way possible?

In the latter camp, blogs such as Sadly, No! and even the Huffington Post seem to get meaner by the minute. Rather than do the heavy lifting, is it simply easier to get nasty?

For some time, we've chronicled the effort by leftist groups to undermine Michelle Malkin through vicious personal attacks. But a newly- reworked Malkin Watch hate site seems to take the cake.

Featuring a new logo designed by "progressive" cartoonist Ted Rall, it certainly makes O'Reilly's case that some websites exist only to single out a person for daily helpings of vitriol and bile.

There isn't much of an attempt to dispute the points Malkin makes on a daily basis, instead, it's all about trying to inflict personal damage upon her.

Here is a smaller version of the new Rall- designed logo, click the image to enlarge it.

One big question is why we should pay attention to Malkin Watch at all. After all, Michelle's own websites have at least 1000 times as many daily readers. In addition, by bumping up its visitor traffic levels, our link to the site assists Malkin Watch.

In this case, however, your Radio Equalizer feels you are better off actually seeing what they're really all about: hate. So, in the name of public awareness, we'll swallow a bit of poison today.

Rall's hate-filled Malkin Watch redesign makes the situation clear: some websites really do exist for the sole purpose of causing personal harm to political opponents.

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18 July 2006

John DePetro, WRKO, Boston


After Slur, WRKO's DePetro Off The Air

*** 3 November 2006: see main page for John DePetro news ***

Tonight your Radio Equalizer is in the odd position of both reporting on an incident involving WRKO / Boston host John DePetro and filling in for him during his two- day suspension.

With that in mind, why don't we leave the rest of it up to the Boston Herald's Jessica Heslam:

Shock jock wannabe John DePetro has been yanked off the air for two days and ordered to apologize for calling embattled Big Dig chief Matt Amorello a “fag” yesterday on his morning radio show.

“This corporation has zero tolerance for racial intolerance. Mr. DePetro has 72 hours to think about it,” said Jason Wolfe, vice president of programming at WRKO (680) and WEEI-AM (850).

DePetro referred to Amorello - who is married to a woman - as “Fag Matt.”

“And I don’t mean gay fag, I just mean the way when you’re a sophomore, juvenile, in grammar school and somebody would say you’re like a sissy boy fag,” DePetro said on-air. “I don’t mean gay fag. I mean like sissy boy. He’s a little sissy boy. Wife wears the pants.”

Amorello, who has faced calls for his resignation since last week’s deadly Big Dig tunnel collapse, declined to comment on DePetro’s remarks.

But the radio host’s comments incensed gay advocates. “It’s extremely offensive. It’s childish. It’s incendiary,” said Emily Pitt, ofFenway Community Health.

“As far as I know, Matt Amorello is not a gay man, but even if he were, it’s just ridiculous,” said Pitt, who didn’t hear DePetro’s show but received e-mails about it.

“It’s pathetic,” added Massachusetts Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios (D-Cambridge), who is openly gay.

Wolfe was program director at WEEI in 2003 when co-hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were suspended for two weeks for comparing an escaped gorilla to an inner-city Metco student.

DePetro, who is suspended and off the air today and tomorrow, did not return a call. It’s unclear whether he will be docked two days’ pay.

With a story by Mark Shanahan, the Boston Globe has also now weighed in:

WRKO host suspended for calling Turnpike chief a derogatory slur

WRKO suspended talk-show host John DePetro today for using a slur for "homosexual" in reference to Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello.

The morning host, who calls himself "The Independent Man," was suspended for two days after using the epithet on the air during a discussion of Amorello's conduct following the ceiling collapse of the I-90 connector. DePetro called Amorello "[expletive] Matt," adding, "I don't mean gay [expletive]. I mean like he's a sissy boy. He's a little sissy boy."

Neither DePetro nor Amorello returned calls late today, but WRKO program director Jason Wolfe said the station has "zero tolerance for racial intolerance... Mr. DePetro has 72 hours to think about this." Wolfe said he purposely chose the word "racial" because "people will lump everything in together."

The conservative talk-show host, who's been on the air at WRKO for three years, made the comment while talking about Amorello's decision to bring his wife, Charlotte, and spokeswoman, Mariellen Burns, to the funeral of Milena Del Valle, the woman who was killed when the ceiling panel collapsed. DePetro said his WRKO colleague Howie Carr calls Amorello "fat Matt" and then said it should "[expletive] Matt."

UPDATE: DePetro returned to WRKO today (Friday) and your Radio Equalizer now resumes regular posting.

FRIDAY: The Herald's update by Jessica Heslam has just been posted. Here's an excerpt:

“On Tuesday, the language that I used was offensive. It was stupid, there was no excuse for it and I apologize,” DePetro said. “There were many, many members of the local and national community who were offended by that language.”

“I apologize to those people. I apoligoze to the management and listeners - you - of WRKO,” he said. “That is not the type of language that should be used on any show and certainly will not be used on my show ever again.”

“We discuss topics very passionately on this show, but we should never allow, and I should never allow, offensive language to enter into our discussion no matter how intense that it gets,” DePetro said.

DePetro was pulled off the air because of his comments Wednesday and yesterday and ordered to apologize.

At least one caller today tried to bring up the incident, telling DePetro he was the “second best” at WRKO-AM (680) and “what they did to you was disgusting.”

DePetro said he appreciated the support but was moving on.

The morning talk jock has not returned calls for comment.

On Tuesday, DePetro called Amorello - who has faced calls for his resignation in the wake of the July 10 deadly tunnel collapse - “Fag Matt.”

“And I don’t mean gay fag, I just mean the way when you’re a sophomore, juvenile, in grammar school and somebody would say you’re like a sissy boy fag,“ DePetro said on the air.

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DePetro photo: Boston Herald library

Matt Drudge, New York City Ratings


In NYC, Limbaugh Remains Number One

A fresh copy of the just- released and all- important Spring 2006 Arbiton Ratings Survey has been leaked to Matt Drudge, who has published show- by- show highlights of New York City talk programs at the Drudge Report.

According to his figures, Rush Limbaugh again remains number one in New York City, while Al Franken and Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio hover near the bottom of the pack.

Overall, conservative WABC dominates the top rankings, while WOR and WLIB continue to struggle.




2. SEAN HANNITY (WABC) 113,500
3. CURTIS/KUBY (WABC) 109,500 (shown in photo)
4. GAMBLING (WABC) 104,700
5. DON IMUS (WFAN) 93,800
6. JOY BROWNE (WOR) 76,200
7. MARK LEVIN (WABC) 74,200
8. OPIE/ANTHONY 74,000
9. BILL O'REILLY (WOR) 64,900
11. AL FRANKEN (WLIB) 47,300
12. LIONEL (WOR) 38,400
13. RANDI RHODES (WLIB) 38,200
14. BATCHELOR (WABC) 36,900

Figures represent the average number of listeners 12 and older tuning into any particular 15- minute period during the show.

UPDATE: conservative talker KFI / Los Angeles surges to a (first- ever?) first- place finish! Its 4.8 showing is a major gain from the 4.0 registered in the winter ratings period. Meanwhile, KABC is still stuck in neutral and Air America's KTLK turns in another 1.0 share.

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Joe Wilson, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Geraldo Rivera


Wilson Claims Threats, Plus: Libs Can't Take A Joke

Since Joe Wilson is the guy supposedly trying to force the Bush Administration into accountability, shouldn't we expect the same from him?

So when the former ambassador / lionized leftist claims that fans of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's radio talk shows are threatening him with bodily harm, could we politely ask for evidence that backs up that assertion? We're having trouble understanding why, while menacing Mr. Wilson, crazed stalkers would identify their favorite talkers.

Perhaps it sounds something like this: "Wilson, you're a dead man! And by the way, mega-dittos."

Worse than that, Wilson claims his mortal enemies extend beyond just the listenerships of Limbaugh and Hannity, to exactly where, we're not sure. Jerry Springer, maybe?

Sure enough, this exchange took place on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show. From where else could we expect such riveting entertainment?

Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters has the full rundown:

Joe Wilson wants the world to know that in the wake of the disclosure of his wife's identity, he and Valerie have been threatened, and NOT just by "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity listeners."

But as documented by MRC, after the Oklahoma City bombing liberals like Bryant Gumbel pointed the finger at conservative talk radio: "Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh . . . and others take to the air . . . the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."

Will the left wing please make up its mind? Which is it? Are conservative talk-show fans harmless fuzzballs, or potentially dangerous mind-numbed robots?

Meanwhile, some (most?) libs just can't take a joke.

While interviewing Geraldo Rivera about the mob hit once placed against him, Bill O'Reilly had some fun with it, which of course infuriated 'net lefties, as well as our old friend Mr. Olbermann.

From Media Matters:

O'Reilly on Mafia hit man: "Couldn't he have killed Jerry Springer?"

During a discussion with Fox News host Geraldo Rivera on the July 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly wondered aloud if Mafia hit man Tommy "Horsehead" Scafidi -- who was allegedly ordered to murder Rivera -- could "have killed [Air America radio host] Jerry Springer" instead.

After laughing, Rivera responded: "I can name a couple of other people off the top of my head." O'Reilly then suggested another potential target: former MSNBC host Maury Povich.

From the July 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

RIVERA: Well, what "Horsehead" said he said was, "John, you can't kill Geraldo or any of these high-profile people. It will just bring down more heat on us."

O'REILLY: All right, but I've got a question. Couldn't he have killed Jerry Springer?

RIVERA: [laughing] I can name a couple of other people off the top of my head.

O'REILLY: Yeah, I mean, Maury Povich? All right. So they didn't kill you.

Like clockwork, Olbermann gave O'Reilly and Rivera a combined "worst person in the world" award on his very next show. Earth to Keith: it was a joke!

At Expose The Left, Ian has the video.

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Wilson image: CNN, Rush:

17 July 2006

Democracy Alliance, George Soros, Washington Post


WaPo Reports On Major AAR Investment

Never fear, Air America Radio! Bringing a big ca$h infusion, George Soros is on the way.

With a new report on the Soros-backed liberal mega-fund Democracy Alliance, the Washington Post today follows up on exclusive AAR contributor information the Radio Equalizer first exposed in February:

An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to compete more aggressively against conservatives.

A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.

These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a liberal talk-radio network.

Removing any remaining doubt that Air America Radio is nothing more than an election- year "progressive" propaganda vehicle, the story presents a "who's who" list of fat cat liberal contributors.

Included in Democracy Alliance's list of key backers: Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieli.

Interestingly, this is being portrayed by both the WaPo and lefty sites as a "lib vs. lib" battle between wealthy contributors and grassroots organizers for the so-called "progressive" movement. To a point, the Radio Equalizer might be inclined to believe it, depending on whether or not there are vocal objections from the latter group.

Thanks to reader Dev for the tip today.

FULL ANALYSIS on the Democracy Alliance issue is found at Captain's Quarters.

ELSEWHERE: Yes, that was Pamela from Atlas Shrugs talking to Rush today. She had so much to say that Rush couldn't keep up!

And Kim spots anti-Bush weirdness in San Francisco.

Thanks for your continued Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Sugar Daddy: Pete at IHillary for the Radio Equalizer

16 July 2006

Janeane Garofalo Leaves Air America, NPR, O'Reilly Factor


On NPR, Garofalo's AAR Exit Finally Confirmed

Though you wouldn't know it from looking at Air America's website, hotheaded actress / comedian / political activist Janeane Garofalo's departure from the struggling liberal talk radio outfit has now finally been made clear.

To get straight answers regarding the network's near-constant personnel departures, it apparently takes an entire village!

The Radio Equalizer first broke this story on June 30th, but the mainstream press has so far ignored it.

Bringing confirmation of Janeane's Air America status was the host of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" weekend comedy show, which was taped Thursday evening in Chicago.

Featuring Garofalo as its weekly "not my job" guest, the program's host introduced her as a "former Air America host", which she didn't dispute. Thanks to Dr. Scott Drury for the tip!

During the show, she also maintained that she really did recently have jury duty (in a federal court), though we still wonder how someone as opinionated as Garofalo could end up on a panel without at least one side objecting to her presence.

As to why Janeane rejoined Air America Friday for one last show, we don't know, perhaps it was intended to trick Bill O'Reilly ahead of your Radio Equalizer's guest appearance there last Tuesday.

At the time, a company spokeswoman gave FOX News a seemingly confusing answer when asked about Garofalo's fate. Including an indication that she would "return" on Friday, AAR said her future role would be affected by other "professional pursuits".

If you think Air America wouldn't resort to such a sneaky tactic, you simply haven't been following their strange corporate antics, especially over the last year. Quite often, undermining O'Reilly seems more important to the company than keeping their own programs running smoothly.

Even now, Air America is busy confusing its listeners: on the official website, Garofalo is still listed as "Majority Report" co-host, while at the program's privately administered site, this conflicting set of notes appears:

Janeane Garofalo is back!

Henry Rollins, legendary punk rock singer, author, activist, and host of The Henry Rollins Show on IFC TV, currently on tour with The Rollins Band

Steve Clemons, blogger from The Washington Note

Juan Cole, University of Michigan professor and blogger at Informed Comment

More Guest Info For Tonight's Show

Just below that (this must be Sam Seder):


Now that Janeane has officially left the show I can finally hold the radio style contests I had always dreamt of but she never let me do!!!

Try and guess how many times we will play this on tuesday's show.

(Monday I'm off- we're doing a book reading at the strand on broadway and 12th.)

Winner gets a free MRR DVD, Hat, Mouse pad, copy of FUBAR and Josh's desk (for real).

Could these guys ever be upfront about anything?

Meanwhile, on NPR, Garofalo sounded more relaxed, comfortable and downright happy than we've heard her in years. At least for the moment, the intense anger and bitterness that has become a standard part of her public appearances seems to have disappeared.

Will shedding the albatross known as Air America bring about a return of the previous, far more appealing Garofalo than the one we've recently seen?

Welcome Viking Pundit and Orbusmax readers!

MONDAY UPDATE: We're told today that Janeane will return this week for a series of "farewell" shows.

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Where's Garofalo: Pete at IHillary, Getting Canned For Dummies, Trump: David A Lunde, top right Garofalo image: NPR

14 July 2006

Jerry Springer, Keith Olbermann, Al Franken, Sheldon Drobny


Sheldon Rambles, Olbermann Fluff, Springer: "Libs Won!"

While your Radio Equalizer has been tied up:

Jerry Springer continues his "We Won!" tour, celebrating leftist "victories" across the land. We don't know what he's been smoking, but it must be potent.

Excerpted from the Sarasota Herald- Tribune:

SARASOTA -- Jerry Springer insists he isn't looking for absolution from the raucous television show he's hosted for 15 years.

Although the 62-year-old Democrat is trying to build a new career as a serious radio show host, he said he is not ashamed of the television program. And he's not about to disparage its 15 years of success.

"I'm not going to disrespect it," Springer said on Tuesday night just before delivering the keynote address at a fundraiser for the Sarasota Democratic Party at Laurel Oak Country Club. "It has opened a lot of doors. It's why you are talking to me today."

Sure, there are people who can't separate Springer the radio host from Springer the television host. But Springer said he thinks that is changing after almost two years on the radio.

Although he's confident in his message, Springer said it isn't easy breaking into the radio business as a liberal talk show host.

"We are the fledgling liberal talk show hosts trying to get started. We are nowhere where they are right now," Springer said of conservative radio giants like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

But Democrats shouldn't take that as a bad thing. He said Limbaugh and the like are protesters to the liberal way of life that America has adopted. He said contrary to the way pundits talk these days, America is more liberal than it ever has been.

"We won. Progressive liberals, we won. America is so much more liberal than it was 30 or 40 years ago."

Yes, Jerry, those election results going back to 1994 certainly did go your way, didn't they?

What would the Huffington Post be without rambling tirades from Air America co-founder and LaRouche fan Sheldon Drobny?

From his latest:

It is the fact that that most of the wealthy liberals will not support it financially that prevents AAR from doing many of the things that would make it very successful. I am not suggesting that AAR is going out of business. We are still shareholders of AAR and have our own disagreements with some management decisions but that is only natural in corporate America. The big problem has always been from the very start that rich liberals refuse to give it financial support and they make excuses for not making an investment in AAR that are disingenuous. The people who are funding AAR now are the same people who funded it originally including our venture fund.

But every big time investor who is a liberal shifts the due diligence process to one of their financial advisors as if this were a “garden variety” investment. It is not. With more financial support and the branding that AAR already has, the network could do all the things necessary to make it enormously successful. The fact that right wing broadcasters control most of the powerful radio stations in the country makes AAR’s achievements almost miraculous. AAR is now in almost ninety cities. Unfortunately about 25 of these are Clear Channel under-performing stations and CC refuses to invest any promotional money for their local communities.

Well, Sheldon, if "wealthy liberals" really thought Air America had a future, don't you think they might consider investing in it?

And the New York Times manages to squeeze in yet another puff piece for liberal MSNBC weirdo Keith Olbermann. It seems MSM types are still pushing the theory that Keith is "catching up" to O'Reilly!

Just how long will it take, a century?

He is either the leading man of MSNBC or its leading agent provocateur, but Keith Olbermann has no problem embracing either role.

“You can’t spell momentum without Olbermann — or something like that,” he said in a telephone interview, with a typical sprinkle of wry in his voice.

The momentum reference related to MSNBC’s recent aggressive positioning of the program “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” as the centerpiece of this all-news cable network’s latest effort to become more competitive with Fox News Channel and CNN.

MSNBC revamped its prime-time schedule two weeks ago, shelving many of its prime-time hosts in favor of documentary-style programs but retaining “Countdown,” a program the network cites as its great growth story.

That growth, while coming from a base that Fox News would find disastrously puny, is demonstrable, especially among the group that is chiefly sold to news advertisers: people between the ages of 25 and 54. For the last quarter, Mr. Olbermann, who is 47, has seen his ratings in that group grow by more than 30 percent.

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Mayor Of Hell: David A Lunde

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