Like a last- minute, pre- election gift from the heavens, John Kerry has ignited a Democrat- damaging firestorm with an incredibly insulting comment about American troops in Iraq.
After the Massachusetts senator appeared at a campaign rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides in California and made the gaffe, talk radio and the blogosphere immediately jumped into action.
The White House accused Sen. John Kerry on Tuesday of troop-bashing, seizing on a comment the Democrat made to California students that those unable to navigate the country's education system "get stuck in Iraq."
"Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who've given their lives in this," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "This is an absolute insult."
Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran and Bush's rival in 2004, fired back, saying the president and his administration are the ones who owe U.S. troops an apology because they "misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it."
"This is the classic GOP playbook," Kerry said in a harshly worded statement. "I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium."
Snow was asked about the comment which Kerry made during a campaign rally Monday for California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. The White House spokesman was clearly ready, consulting his notes to read a fuller account of Kerry's statement and unleashing a sharp attack.
Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions
Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”
*** Watch for me on Court TV with Catherine Crier Tuesday night in the 5pm hour (EST) *** *** At Bay State Showdown: why Kerry Healey can still beat Deval Patrick! ***
Taking advantage of the current climate to further pound away at Rush Limbaugh, several mainstream media outlets have now moved into some rather strange territory. But hey, in a truly one- sided newsroom environment, who's going to keep partisan attitudes in check?
I once had a friend who listened to Rush Limbaugh three hours a day. He was a Republican operative. He sat in my apartment, wearing headphones, while I worked. He swore that if I put on the headphones for 10 minutes, I'd be hooked. So I put them on.
Inside the headphones was another world. Everyone in this world thought the same way, except for liberals, and they were only cartoon characters, to be defeated as though in a video game. In the real world, my friend was unemployed and had been staying with me, rent-free, for two months. But inside the headphones, he could laugh about welfare bums instead of pounding the pavement.
I thought about that last week when Limbaugh went after his latest target: Michael J. Fox. The actor, who has Parkinson's disease, has been appearing in ads for candidates who support government-funded embryonic stem cell research. The ads promote such research as a potential cure for Parkinson's and other diseases.
There you have it: this poor liberal reporter was kind enough to offer his "Republican operative" friend a free place to stay, but Rush Limbaugh kept him from being motivated enough to find a job!
Stop it, Rush, you're hurting people!
Elsewhere, liberal political cartoonists have especially been taking liberties with the fallout of the Rush / Michael J Fox flap, carrying the story to fresh extremes. At NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard has been keeping track:
It’s election season: Do you know where good taste is?
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich certainly doesn’t. In the past week, he has published two cartoons mocking conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s recent brouhaha with Michael J. Fox.
One used flag-draped caskets to make a truly sardonic point (hat tip to Ms Underestimated), while another could have come straight out of an absurdly sophomoric piece of tripe written by so-called comedian Al Franken. Shouldn't fat jokes be anathema to a Pulitzer Prize winner?
While Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly were dominating headlines this week, here's what else was happening in the wacky world of talk radio:
KSFO's Melanie Morgan, increasingly a lefty target these days, returned to the line of fire with the release of her new book, American Mourning (see image link below). From CNS News:
CNN restricted an on-air discussion about a new book dealing with the Iraq war because peace activist Cindy Sheehan threatened to sue over provocative claims about her in the book, one of its co-authors claims.
"American Mourning" examines how the death of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq affected their families. One of the two is the Sheehan family.
Co-author Melanie Morgan told Cybercast News Service she was slated to appear on CNN's Headline News' "Glenn Beck" program last week and that a producer told her it would be a short segment, focusing on passing claims in the book regarding Sheehan's personal life.
Morgan said she replied: "OK, fine, what- ever," and continued on the promo- tional tour for the book, which deals with the families of Casey Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., and Justin Johnson of Rome, Ga., friends who were killed within five days of each other in separate ambushes in Sadr City, Iraq, during April 2004.
While en route to CNN studios to tape the interview, however, Morgan received another call from the producer telling her that the segment would now deal with "everything but the sex issues."
Morgan -- who is president of the conservative organization Move America Forward -- said when she asked about the reason for the last-minute change, the producer told her it was made because of "legal issues."
At the same time, liberal blog site Crooks and Liars attacked her, here:
Morgan is the typical warmonger who believes we should "kill'em all."–vaporize every living person without regard to human life—even though Iraq never attacked us. (She's also quite comfortable with torture,) Morgan has no idea how many casualties there are in Iraq because she doesn't want to know. And by the way—I believe Korea and Vietnam ware serious wars. I gather so do the men and women who fought in them. I'm just saying…
In Boston, local investors, led by former GE honcho Jack Welch, have indicated they would seek to make a bid for the Boston Globe, currently owned by the New York Times Company.
Two of Boston's best-known businessmen -- retired General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch and adman Jack Connors -- are quietly exploring the possibility of making an offer to buy The Boston Globe from The New York Times Co.
While neither Welch nor Connors would comment, several executives who have participated in the discussions caution the plans are preliminary. But the executives are working with the investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. to analyze a potential deal. They say JPMorgan has valued the Globe at $550 million to $600 million, well below the $1.1 billion the Times Co. paid in 1993.
Times Co. has said repeatedly that the Globe, despite its continued poor financial results, is not for sale.
In a statement yesterday, Catherine Mathis, Times Co. vice president of corporate communications, said, "It is our policy not to comment on potential acquisitions or divestitures. We constantly review our portfolio of properties to assess their continuing relevance to our strategy. We view the Globe as an important asset, and we have taken many steps that we believe will improve its performance," most recently naming a new publisher, P. Steven Ainsley, who previously headed the company's regional newspapers.
Hey, anything's better than continued NYT ownership of the Globe, but Barnicle's presence immediately puts a cloud over the whole deal. Why would they let Mike destroy their credibility?
Also in the Hub, a hard- hitting investigation by the Boston Phoenixrevealed that WRKO's talk hosts are (gasp) supporting a Republican for governor! Next week, they'll shock us again by counting all of the pro- Deval Patrick coverage in the Globe.
Elsewhere, the Fresno Bee was kind enough to remind us that Air America is still broadcasting:
Air America doesn't want fans to worry. Those involved with producing the liberal talk programming distributed under the Air America Radio banner have a business plan they think will work.
The plan is for the talk to continue despite the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 13.
"I believe the company has turned the corner in regards to the problems we have had in the past," says Scott Elberg just a week after being named chief executive officer of Air America Radio.
Air America is heard locally on KFPT, AM 790.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy gives a company protection from creditors while it is being reorganized.
And in other Air America news, the New York Postrevealed that an earlier tip on the now- infamous Gloria Wise scandal was "fumbled" by the city.
In addition, a Washington TimesOp-Ed column documented a point we've made many times in the past:
When is a campaign donation not a campaign donation? Apparently if you spend the money to run a radio program instead of paying for campaign ads that run on that same program. Just look at Air America. With $41 million in losses since 2004, and $9.8 million owed just to Robert Glaser, RealNetworks chairman, Democrats who bankrolled this "company" weren't so much investors as campaign contributors.
The losses are seen as simple business ineptitude, but Air America effectively, and perhaps intentionally, cleverly avoided the campaign finance limits which Democrats had worked so hard to pass.
With McCain-Feingold's "hard money" donation limits of $2,000 per candidate and "soft money" limits to party campaign committees of $57,500, there is no way that Mr. Glaser or other wealthy Democratic donors could have legally given such large sums directly to Democrats. But Air America provided a vehicle for their multimillion-dollar political campaigns.
Take Al Franken's show last Friday, the very day the network was declaring bankruptcy. The program devoted two-and-a-half hours to "Meet the Democrats," where five U.S. House and Senate candidates explained why they were the people for the job. Two-and-a-half hours straight of candidates talking is hardly stirring radio, but it is the Democrats' version of religious radio. Hardly meant to make a profit, but there to inspire the troops. After all, when the network started in 2004, Al Franken announced that: "I'm doing this because I want to use my energies to get Bush unelected."
In a testy rematch of their previous late night bout, Bill O'Reilly and David Letterman duked it out over Iraq, President Bush and the upcoming elections. And once again, Letterman tried to use name- calling and emotional outbursts to win the argument, with no more success than the last time around.
For his part, O'Reilly remained calm, stuck to the facts and made his case that regardless of how one may have felt about the war in Iraq from the beginning, it makes no sense to exit now without a sensible plan. Letterman, however, could barely contain his unhinged inner rage, hurling more nasty insults at Bill.
Calling the FOX News Channel talker a "bonehead" and accusing him of utilizing "artificial facts", the Late Show host admitted he has no idea how to find the FOX News Channel on his dial and apparently has never seen The O'Reilly Factor. Bringing no facts to the table, Letterman made an emotional argument that based on the number of casualties, Americans shouldn't be in Iraq.
Dave also accused O'Reilly, Limbaugh and others of faking their stances, in what he called "horsing around".
NEW YORK - David Letterman and Bill O'Reilly got into it last night about the war in Iraq on Letterman's late night show.
Letterman called the Fox commentator a "bonehead" and O'Reilly told Letterman to "stop it" when Letterman questioned whether the situation in Iraq is better now than it was before the U-S invaded in 2003.
O'Reilly told Letter- man that Saddam Hussein slaugh- tered hundreds of thousands of his people, so it's wrong to portray the United States as a bad country and President Bush as an evil liar.
Letterman shot back that O'Reilly was putting words in his mouth, "just the way you put artificial facts in your head!"
And after O'Reilly noted that people make mistakes in war, Letterman asked whether the way to get out of a mistake is to "stay there and kill as many Americans as we possibly can."
An edited, CBS- supplied clip is below, otherwise, Brent Baker at NewsBusters has links to the entire segment, here.
And here is their previous slugfest:
For both hosts, one might wonder why these somewhat bizarre match- ups are even occuring on Letterman's show. Both have much to gain, however: O'Reilly gets a chance to put his views out there and reach a very different audience just in time for upcoming sweeps, while Dave attracts a rare bit of publicity for his slowly fading late night program.
Letterman, however, ought to realize that his audience expects comedy, rather than anger. And if he really wants to enter the political arena, The Late Show is the wrong place to do it. In addition, Dave should treat guests with far more respect than he has given O'Reilly in these match- ups.
For his part, O'Reilly was smart to keep his cool, to the point of trying to diffuse tensions a bit with humor. Isn't that normally supposed to be Dave's job?
No doubt O'Reilly's friend Keith Olbermann has already watched this segment 50 times or more.
Stuart Parody Image Used In Campaign PR, Left Angry
Proving that political silly season has truly reached its pre- election peak, the Ohio Republican Party has been falsely accused of doctoring a photo (seen here) in order to smear Air America Radio host Al Franken.
Unlike the brilliant work done at Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin's site and elsewhere on real instances of fauxtography, often used as anti- American propaganda by overseas media agencies, this one simply doesn't fit the bill.
The Ohio Republican Party sent this photo out today in a news release criticizing Rep. Sherrod Brown for enlisting the help of comedian and Air America talk show host Al Franken. Franken plans to rally Democratic supporters tonight during a conference call to various house parties in Brown's U.S. Senate race against Republican Sen. Mike DeWine. Franken stumped for Brown earlier this month in Akron.
Ohio GOP spokesman John McClelland said, "It is not surprising that Sherrod Brown is enlisting the help of a Hollywood liberal, who like him, is so far out of the mainstream of Ohio values. What is troubling is that Brown would solicit support from someone who compared conservatives to Nazis 'who should drink poison and die,'" quoting a book by Bernard Goldberg.
UPDATE: Andy Barr, director of Al Franken's Midwest Values Political Action Committee, said, "The picture is a fake. . . Both the photograph and the quote are particularly hacky works of pure fiction. No wonder Sherrod's up by so much" in recent public-opinion polls.
Ohio GOP Smears Al Franken In Press Release With Doctored Photo, Fabricated Quote
Yesterday, the Ohio Republican Party sent out a news release (full text here) attacking Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for enlisting the support of comedian Al Franken:
It is not surprising that Sherrod Brown is enlisting the help of a Holly- wood liberal, who like him, is so far out of the main- stream of Ohio values. What is troubling is that Brown would solicit support from someone [Franken] who compared conservatives to Nazis “who should drink poison and die.”
The quote used in the news release is taken from Bernard Goldberg book, 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, in an alleged interview between Goldberg and Franken. But in his book, Goldberg makes it clear that the exchange is completely fictional. The Ohio Republican Party represented it as fact.
The news release was accompanied by this photograph, showing Franken dressed up like a baby bunny, wearing adult diapers and clutching a fluffy white teddy bear.
Andy Barr, director of Franken’s Midwest Values PAC, confirmed, “The picture is a fake.” The Ohio Republican Party used a 2004 AP photo of Franken for the doctored image:
In each instance, it seems clear the GOP itself is being accused of "doctoring" the photo, as though this is something they'd just undertaken for the purpose of the press release. See the last sentence of the Think Progress piece above if you're unclear on their allegation.
Here's why they're dead wrong on that charge:
This image of Franken has been kicking around the Internet for over a year. Who was behind this obvious photoshopping effort isn't known, but it has often been posted at Free Republic and on blog sites during that time.
Here's an example from July, as well as another from February. It's possible the image has run here as well, but seems unlikely.
Second and most obvious, it's meant as a parody. Because it's simply a gag, there's no scandal here. Thanks to David and Pete, our image editors, we've run dozens of silly Franken images of our own over the last couple of years. Three of their works are featured here.
Not once were we accused of "doctoring" photos, because they were obvious photoshops, just like this one. Nobody really believes Al would pose in a nappy holding a teddy bear and wearing rabbit ears, do they?
At the same time, none of our readers actually thought Franken had turned into a giant golf ball, had suddenly begun to appear on Iranian currency, or was really turning Ann Coulter and Katherine Harris into a tasty snack.
As for the text of their press release, it does appear that the Ohio GOP was duped by Goldberg's book. With a simple retraction, that can be remedied.
Otherwise, any suggestion that Republicans were behind the creation of the image itself is hereby proven false.
UPDATE:Think Progress still pushing this story today. Commenters think Franken should sue the GOP.
After days of an unprecedented mainstream media attack against talk titan Rush Limbaugh, the firestorm over his reactions to Michael J Fox's latest political foray have yet to subside. By now, it's quite clear they aren't going to stop until Limbaugh is forced off the air in at least a few cities.
And the coverage isn't merely limited to the States, but has also gone worldwide, to places where most people have very likely never heard of El Rushbo.
Consider it a Mission Accomplished: shocked media consumers the world over get a taste of mean- spirited American conservatives at their worst. When even Britain's ultra- liberal Guardian is in the mix, you know this is more about partisanship than anything else.
The furor over Rush Limbaugh’s verbal broadside against Michael J. Fox has touched off a civil war among talk jocks nationwide, with some rushing to the conservative talkmeister’s defense and others saying he leaped way over the line.
Even fellow talk jocks Scott Allen Miller and John DePetro on Boston’s WRKO - where Limbaugh’s show is heard 12 to 3 p.m. weekdays - said the right-wing yakker went too far when he mimicked Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, and slammed the actor for supporting Democrats.
“When I first heard what Rush said about Michael J. Fox, my first reaction was, ‘Wow, what an (expletive),’ ” Miller said after yesterday’s show.
Fox is appearing in ads for several Democrats who support stem cell research. During the TV spots, the 45-year-old Fox violently shakes and sways - symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Limbaugh earlier this week claimed that Fox was “either off his medication or acting” during the ad. Limbaugh also imitated the trembling Fox, which was captured by the studio’s Web cam.
“Even if Michael J. Fox didn’t take his medicine, that doesn’t mean he’s exaggerating the effects of his disease,” Miller said. “It means he’s simply not hiding them anymore.”
Even so, Miller said most of the listeners who called his show took Limbaugh’s side.
Likewise, conservative ABC talk radio host Sean Hannity defended Limbaugh yesterday on “Good Morning America” and said the actor deserved to be criticized.
If only these reporters realized radio talk show hosts rarely back one another on much of anything! After all, it's a nasty business.
Add to that the fact that Limbaugh has spent the last two decades pretending other hosts don't exist and there is very little reason for anyone to defend him, unless they truly feel it is well- deserved.
Yesterday I did an interview with CNN, which I was told would focus on how the stem-cell issues were playing in this year's races. I wanted to talk about how the Michael J. Fox ads, and the affiliated campaigns, were a) promoting cloning and b) being dishonest. The interviewer wanted to talk about Rush Limbaugh.
When the segment appeared, I got two comments in. I said that candidates such as Jim Talent were not going to be hurt by the controversy over Rush Limbaugh's remarks, however "foolish" and "unhelpful" they were. (At the time I was not aware that Fox has said that in the past he has gone off his medications to dramatize his illness for political effect.) And I said that critics of the ads should point out how they oversimplify the issues. I didn't get a chance to say anything about cloning, or the pro-cloning campaign's dishonesty. The segment ended with the reporter saying that Fox denied supporting cloning or egg farming.
They only had a few minutes for this segment, and they wanted to touch a lot of bases, so I'm not complaining about the snippets from my interview that CNN chose to use. But today they've been running the bit on Limbaugh with the emphasis on my distancing myself from his comments, and I do think that they're playing up the Limbaugh story in part to help their team in the elections.
For the left, it took quite a distortion of the truth to get to this desired outcome.
How is that? When knee- jerk anti- Rush sentiments are removed, he's really guilty of only one thing: jumping to conclusions on whether Fox had really "faked" his symptoms in these political ads for dramatic effect. And for that, Limbaugh has already apologized!
In talk radio, newspaper columns, cable talking head- fests and the blogosphere, making assumptions without the facts occurs every hour of every day, with few consequences.
But when we're talking about Rush Limbaugh, during a period where liberals are feeling especially emboldened regarding their upcoming election chances, it's a whole different story. His longtime enemies, unable to bump him off after previous controversies, smell blood in the water this time.
Beyond that, where can Rush be properly criticized? Fox has in fact been stepping into more left wing political campaigning in recent years. And he did admit to forgoing medication in advance of his testimony before Congress in order to create a more dramatic effect.
In no way should Fox or any other Hollywood celebrity be able to enter the world of partisan politics and remain above criticism. And he's gone further: actually appearing in campaign commercials for Democrats. Fox has therefore placed himself firmly inside the fray.
In previous election seasons, conservatives would have been more inclined to defend Rush if they felt he was being mistreated. But with the right greatly unhappy with the Republican Party this year, all bets are off and he seems to be largely on his own.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, yesterday during our discussion of the Michael J. Fox, Claire McCaskill ad flap and controversy, I warned you. I told you the big guns would be aimed at me and this program all day yesterday and into today, and that is the case. You have to understand who I am to these people. There's no reason they should like me. They ought to hate my guts. They used to have a monopoly before I came along.
For 18 years I have been hammering the Drive-By Media, often by name. It makes total sense they would despise me. It makes total sense that they would try to discredit me. I don't have any expectations of being treated fairly, and so I'm not disappointed. In fact, this is all kind of exciting, actually. I got a note from a friend. "Damn you, here you go again, becoming the focal point of election! Can you save some of this for the rest of us?" I said, "I'm not trying to do that. I'm just telling you what I think about what I see," but it's interesting to note, ladies and gentlemen. You've heard this program for the past two days. You've heard nearly four hours of detailed analysis of every issue involved in this controversy.
Yet after you hear it, you turn on the Drive-By Media, and you hear one line, you hear one line from what I said the past two days, and that line is, "he's either acting or off his medications," and that line is not even put in context. The reason I speculated that Mr. Fox might have been off his medications is because he's admitted he does that. I've got audio sound bites here today of him saying it. One of them to Diane Sawyer who apparently forgot it, that he had said that to her and tore into me this morning while interviewing Sean Hannity on Good Morning America. So here you are. You're out there. You're listening to this program regularly. You heard the in-depth analysis of all of this. You turn on any other media outlet, and you are stunned, and you are shocked, and you are in disbelief over how they miss it, miss it totally, miss it purposely.
You wonder, wait a minute, these are the people smarter than all the rest of us. These are the people who have been trained to go out and find the meaning and the truth in every news story out there and pass it on. Then you realize that that's not at all what they are about. I imagine many of you are rather pleased with yourselves today. You ought to feel a little bit superior to the alleged best and brightest journalists out there. You heard what I said.
They could have heard what I said, but they don't listen. They simply get their reports from the AP or whoever, but if they listen to this program, there's no way they could report on it the way they have -- well, take that back. Yes, there is an action line to every story in the media. I am a story to the media, and thus I have an action line. The action line is, I personify -- I'm the poster boy -- for all of the negative stereotypes that they have created about conservatism, and anything they think fits that action line, moves it forward, they are happy to report, but what did you hear me discuss yesterday? You heard the discussion about stem cells versus embryonic stem cells, versus the controversy over federal funding.
You heard about the Missouri deception, the Chicago deception, the Minneapolis, Minnesota deception, and the Maryland deception that the Democrats are engaged in here using the actor Michael J. Fox. You heard about promising cures that don't exist in the stem cell research area. You heard about research in other areas to cure Parkinson's or to reduce its effects that is working, involving gene therapy, involving the insertion of a virus in the brain. You heard about that. By the way, that research is being funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. You heard all of that. You heard about which cures the smart money is investing in and not. You heard a number of things.
Do you wonder how it is the Drive-By Media misses all this? Do you wonder how it is they process information or why they process information the way that they do? It ought to be patently obvious to everyone, ladies and gentlemen. I'll tell you something else, as you will hear in the audio sound bites, advancing the notion, theory yesterday that the Democrats have a strategy of finding victims, either of illness or unfortunate circumstance, they trot them out as infallible.
They can say what they say with impunity. Nobody, even when they enter the political arena of ideas, nobody is allowed to respond to them, nobody is allowed to criticize them.
If your Radio Equalizer had one piece of long- term advice for Rush (in the unlikely event he would choose to accept our analysis), it would be this: spend more time acknowledging your allies on the right and it will be returned to you in spades when needed.
A lot has changed since the days when you completely ruled the roost. Plugging your favorite blogs was a recent step in the right direction, let's see a lot more of that kind of effort in the future.
In the meantime, don't expect mainstream media libs to back down until they've caused Limbaugh to lose sponsors and affiliates. This time, they feel like they've finally got him right where they want him. But since Rush isn't running for anything, perhaps it would be a great way for so-called "progressives" to waste their time.
Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse, this one takes the cake!
Greedy Billy Kimball, Al Franken's beloved executive producer, has been appointed as a committee member overseeing Air America Radio's bankruptcy by the US Trustee's Office, according to the AP. Along with two others, Kimball will represent the interests of creditors as the case proceeds.
Wait a second, guys, don't you realize that Kimball was a big part of the problem in the first place?
With his buddy Franken, Billy Boy racked up huge expenses, in addition to his mammoth $600,000- plus annual salary, about ten times what such a position might normally pay to oversee a comparable program.
The truth (without jokes) is that Franken and Kimball helped to spend Air America into a deep, deep hole from which it may never emerge. Now the goal is to squeeze even more dough out of the place on the way out of there.
NEW YORK - The executive producer of Al Franken's Air America Radio show and two others were named on Tuesday to represent unsecured creditors in the liberal talk network's bankruptcy case.
The U.S. Trustee's office, a Department of Justice division that monitors bankruptcies, appointed three committee members: William Kimball, the Minneapolis-based executive producer of "The Al Franken Show;" Sacramento, Calif.-based Diamond Broadcasting; and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, a union that represents 70,000 journalists and entertainers in broadcast, radio and online.
Kimball is owed $84,893 in back pay, according to court documents. Diamond Broadcasting is owed $500,000, but its claim is listed as "disputed."
The company will continue to operate with funding from a group of investors led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser. Glaser owns 36.7 percent of the company.
Air America has struggled financially since it was started two years ago, losing $9.1 million in 2004, $19.6 million in 2005 and $13.1 million so far this year.
Speaking of Billy, he sure knows how to tick off people in Hollywood. His previous antics (especially during his stint as writer for Craig Kilborn's Late Late Show on CBS) have certainly made enemies.
Meanwhile, Paula Nelson of Diamond Broadcasting, another one of the new committee members, was herself the subject of coverage in today's Sacramento Bee:
Local broadcasting owner Paula Nelson just wants her money, close to $1 million by her estimate.
How much she'll get -- or whether she'll be paid at all -- in the Air America Radio bankruptcy reorganization case remains to be seen.
Nelson is chief executive officer and president of Sacramento-based Diamond Broadcasting, which owns radio station Talk City KSAC, 1240 AM. She was named Tuesday as part of a trio representing unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings involving the liberal-leaning radio network.
Air America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
"I hope we can get what's owed to us, so we can move forward," Nelson said.
The next court date in Air America's case is scheduled for Oct. 31, according to Tracy Klestadt,the attorney representing the radio network. Klestadt declined to comment further on the case Tuesday.
Joining Nelson on the bankruptcy committee are William Kimball, executive producer of Air America's flagship "The Al Franken Show," and a representative from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The Los Angeles-based union represents 70,000 journalists and entertainers.
Air America was broadcast on KSAC until last November, when it switched to KCTC, 1320 AM. Air America officials at the time cited KCTC's stronger signal and ability to reach outlying cities, such as Stockton and Yuba City.
But the split seemed to become personal. In a Bee story in October 2005, Nelson said the relationship between Talk City and Air America had eroded and that the network had turned its back on the Sacramento station, even though KSAC built a following for Air America's progressive programming.
"I put a tremendous amount of resources building up their profile in Sacramento," Nelson said then. "I convinced them they could get a following. Now, they snub their noses at us and go to another station."
Good luck to any of these people trying to get their money back, where it will come from is anybody's guess. George Soros, where are you when we need you?
Air America Radio's high- profile failure to deliver popular and financially successful liberal talk radio programming obviously hasn't deterred other "progressives" from initiating their own efforts.
Instead, with the recent announcement by former AAR exec Tom Athans regarding his new libtalk operation, Talk USA Radio, we will soon have at least four suppliers of lefty programming ready to fight over a tiny listening audience.
After Air America's debacle, do any of them stand a chance?
Athans, Air America's former executive vice president of the syndication division, is a controversial figure even inside the so- called "progressive" community. He's made some enemies on the left and as a result, some have been eager to tip us off to his latest antics.
During his time at Air America, we often wondered what he did during the day, in what proved to be a short tenure there. Hired (for whatever strange reason) to set up a Washington DC office for the network, Athans was to oversee its syndication efforts, which never really got off the ground. Previously, he ran Democracy Radio, another liberal talk radio upstart, which folded in 2005.
Having signed a contract in October, 2005, Athans was to have remained in his position until the end of 2006, but left in July. Compensation for the full calendar year was set at $165,000. Nice work if you can get it!
But providing a questionable contribution to Air America hasn't stopped him from attacking his now- former employer. As he told one publication, "There simply needs to be a credible alternative to Air America to ensure that Progressive Talk has a chance for success."
While Athans has already announced the formation of his new libtalk venture, he hasn't said what programs will air or who will back it. Apparently, that will be revealed soon.
Of course, the bigger question remains why it is so seemingly important for liberals to succeed at commercial talk radio, despite such a substantial track record of failure to date. What compels these people to beat a dead horse again and again?
In yet another bizarre leftist death fantasy, a Huffington Post contributor has published an "obit" for FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly.
Though supposedly meant as tongue- in- cheek, the piece by Steve Young again has your Radio Equalizer wondering how so- called- "progressives" would feel if the tables were turned. Why this obsession with the deaths of opponents?
Apparently, doing away with the hated George W Bush isn't enough, it's now time for a full- fledged lefty Dead Pool.
It's stunning to think that Google finds this kind of trash worthy of inclusion in its Google News section.
BILL O'REILLY (1949-2006) - Self-Aggrandizement Loses A Pioneer
Bill O'Reilly (1949-2006) Spinning In His Grave?
With the loss of William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr., a true Culture Warrior™ who fought tirelessly for Christmas in the war against it, a large void is left in the world of narcissism.
About 6'6 X 3'.
As of this writing there has been no confir- mation of his death but the fact that he has not shown up on radio or TV to plug his latest book in the past twelve hours, has lead many to conclude that he must be have passed away.
The suspicion is that he may have been murdered by either George Soros, Al Franken, Frank Rich, Keith Olbermann, France, the entire ACLU or some other "Blame America First™, "Hate Bush Crowd™, "Secular Progressive™ (SP™ ) pinhead™ , who has targeted him and other Traditonalists™ for years.
Other speculative factors of death experts surmise that he may have died of natural causes due to his ever-expanding sense of self as Mr. O'Reilly's inability to control his I am always right politics (he was an independent, you know) nor the size of his ego, would have had to sooner or later lead to his passing .
"When one's view of his own worth to society far exceeds the body's physical perimeter and capacity to support what we call id girth, a self-combustion, much like explosive diarrhea, will likely occur," said death-causation authority, Dr. Mort Ality. "Most likely, Mr. O'Reilly's near uninterrupted six-month, 24/7 promotion of his new book, combined with his tough, hardnose, take no prisoners, interview with President Bush - where he thankfully found time to promote his new book - proved fatal.
Of course, he could have died just from his body's inability to withstand the strain brought about by the unnatural physical contortion from excessive patting of one's self on the back," said Dr. Ality. "It's like when people say they'll 'bend over backwards' for you. Sooner or later, something breaks."
Fox News's Roger Ailes said that "Bill O'Reilly was an icon to millions of faithful followers and a 'Culture Warrior™' who will never be able to be replaced...but we will try." Ailes announced that the new and exciting "Geraldo, Aren't I So Macho, Factor" will premiere at 9PM EST Monday night.
Mr O'Reilly is survived by his wife, two children, a Polk (or what Mr. O'Reilly liked to call, "two Peabodys") and a million dollar settlement payment made to have his sexual harassment case with producer Andrea Mackris - who he was really looking out for™ - go away.
Liberals would be howling if conservatives resorted to cheap stunts like this. Why do they do it? Is it that hard to contain their rage?
Even in the face of tens of millions in losses, poor ratings, sleazy scandals and lavish corporate spending, some at Air America Radio aren't going down without a fight. And in defending their nearly- dead liberal talk network, comparisons are being made to both the FOX News Channel and Washington Times.
And somehow, George Soros has now conveniently been erased from memory.
Leading the charge is host Thom Hartmann, whose show is syndicated by Air America Radio and heard on perhaps a few dozen stations. Writing for the Huffington Post, Hartmann makes absurd comparisons that attempt to suggest Air America could yet be as successful as FOX News.
Can he turn the tables against this global right- wing media conspiracy, or is Hartmann simply delusional? Let's take a look:
There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing.
That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable. It's what Reverend Moon believes, as his Washington Times newspaper lost hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to some reports, even today continues to lose money.
And its what the people who have made Air America Radio possible - names you probably wouldn't recognize because they've invested millions of their own money but don't seek the limelight - believe.
Each of these endeavors hit nail-biting times.
Sure, Thom, but FOX worked with a business plan and didn't pay its early hosts and anchors lavish sums of money. In addition, it didn't raid a children's charity for start-up costs and then try to keep the story out of the news.
And the Washington Times? It's owned by a religious entity, so there's simply no way to make a comparison here. It's nothing like a liberal radio network.
There was, however, a happy ending (for Murdoch), which helped fund the money-losing Fox News Network:
"Today, the studio and the Fox owned-and-operated stations are News Corp.'s cash machines."
Brit Hume noted, in a 1999 interview with PBS:
"This operation loses money. It doesn't lose nearly as much as it did at first, and it's -- well, it's hit all its projections in terms of, you know, turning a profit, but it's - it will lose money now, and we expect for a couple more years. I think it's losing about $80 million to $90 million a year."
This is not, of course, to celebrate losing money. It's just a demonstration of the old truism that sometimes "it takes money to make money." And sometimes it takes money to make a difference in the world, as well.
While Fox News and The Washington Times have devoted themselves to promoting the interests of America's most wealthy, most of the programming of Air America Radio has been committed to discussions of labor, the middle class, and holding up the founding ideals of this nation.
Hartmann's ideological dishonesty here is astounding: Air America Radio has from day one been about pumping up the bank accounts of liberal elitists like Al Franken. Any network that pays Stuart Smalley $2 million a year in addition to many perks, despite a lack of audience performance, isn't at all concerned with the working class.
It gets better:
It's a tragedy that for the lack of an investor the size of Rupert Murdoch Air America is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But its existence and ongoing presence in the marketplace is an essential part of the dialogue that is known as democracy.
Okay, buddy, now you've truly jumped the shark. What about billionaire George Soros? Didn't he pump a considerable amount of money into this stinker?
Or how about RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser? He blew at least $10 million on Air America.
In addition, you've received help from Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, the secretive Durst Organization, made up of wealthy New York City landlords and many others.
Elitism has been at the very core of Air America's operations from the beginning, just as it has at the Huffington Post. The kind of people you associate with, Mr Hartmann, wouldn't know working class if they tripped over it on the way to one of their lavish Manhattan cocktail parties.
Verdict: this is a truly delusional moment in HuffPo history.