The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

18 April 2007

Talk Radio, Virginia Tech Massacre, Mainstream Media


Over VT Coverage, Some Are Already Faulting Talk Radio

Perhaps sensing an opportunity to build upon the anti- talk radio sentiment unleashed by the Don Imus affair, some in the mainstream media are now quick to point fingers over its Virginia Tech massacre coverage.

Since the nation's worst school shooting incident, have talkers been too quick to look for scapegoats? Or, are they far too stubborn in their support for Second Amendment rights?

Finally, are hosts devoting too much time altogether to what happened at Virginia Tech?

You name it, the MSM has a gripe about talk radio these days. Call it a case of post- Imus piling- on. It's a reflection of their larger agenda: to once and for all shut down a competing medium they have long hated.

Does it anger them that the news cycle shifted before they could bring down Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and others? Or, does the resentment run deeper than that?

From today's St Louis Post- Dispatch, here's an example:

Then the accounting started ... four dead, eight dead, 11 dead, 15 dead, the terrible wheel stopping this time at 33 with a like number wounded, among the worst mass shootings in American history.

Talk radio offered its usual cacophony of uninformed opinion, people seeing in this tragedy what they see in every other: validation of their own beliefs. This proves we need gun control, says the left. This proves we need to arm teachers, says the right, or at least put a loaded weapon within handy reach at a faculty lounge.

Then the blaming began: blaming the response by university officials and cops, guns, permissive social norms, foreigners, whoever's handy. Then the accounting started ... four dead, eight dead, 11 dead, 15 dead, the terrible wheel stopping this time at 33 with a like number wounded, among the worst mass shootings in American history.

This Asheville Citizen- Times editorial praises NPR, while taking a shot at talk radio:

• It was dismaying how quickly this turned into a Second Amendment rallying cry. If only the school hadn’t banned guns, the reasoning goes, someone might have been armed and put a stop to this. This seems like wishful thinking. This newspaper supports the entire Constitution, including the Second Amendment. This is not the poster child for that amendment.

• Also, in the early commentary on the shootings around the darker corners of the Internet and talk radio, there was an undercurrent that seemed to want to blame the victims for somehow not fighting back. The story emerging shows that the victims were trapped and that there were in fact plenty of heroics. Early reports brought the tale of 76-year-old Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu, a professor who apparently saved the lives of some students by blocking the doorway to his classroom. Along these lines, we will say shame on those who were looking to twist this into a racial incident. The list of victims reflects the broad swath of the diversity of this planet. They were all one thing: Human beings.

• One of the most poignant com- ments we heard regarding this saga was from NPR comment- ator Judy Muller. Recalling her coverage of the Columbine massacre, she remembered a memorial, replete with the trappings of tragedy. A woman walked up to her and said, “The sad part is, we knew what to bring.’’ And indeed, we do all know the drill. The shock, the mourning, the off-base speculation and the political posturing and opportunism all come in their order. And when the dust has settled, we are back to square one and go through it all again when the next incident happens. It is becoming routine. The worst massacre in U.S. history happened Monday, but it wasn’t important enough to pre-empt “Two and a Half Men.’’

At the Bakersfield Californian, meanwhile, this op- ed writer believes talkers are beating it to death, even to the point of taking heat from their callers:

How much Virginia Tech is too much? Forty-eight hours after the worst campus shooting in U.S. history, I suspect some readers may already be asking that question.

I suspect this because talk-radio listeners were already calling the national shows Tuesday to say so. Our appetite for Anna Nicole Smith postmortems apparently knows no bounds, but, for some, collective expressions of grief start feeling like exploitation even before we've grasped the shooter's motives or pathology.

But maybe it's a fair question: Does the gravity of those heart-wrenching murders merit cable news networks' wall-to-wall coverage, or does the all-pervasive attention at some point begin to resemble macabre fascination?

Does media's dedication to Virginia Tech as a news story reflect genuine, widespread shock and anguish? Or is Virginia Tech merely this week's Don Imus?

Were your Radio Equalizer to search further, there's little doubt that more examples would turn up. In each case, there's a clear attempt to undermine the medium, especially when it comes to Second Amendment- related issues.

Two days ago, this site wondered whether talkers would stick with this issue as long as they did in 1999 during the Columbine shootings. Who would've thought they'd be criticized to failing to drop it quickly enough!

Meanwhile, where's the outrage over Keith Olbermann's unhinged comparison to deaths of Americans in Iraq? Take a look:

(via TVNewser) It is an unspeakable and overwhelming tragedy, up to 30 young Americans killed violently, pointlessly, and the rest of us left with an urgent and almost helpless feeling that somebody could have done something to prevent it, and that everybody must do something to protect the next potential victims.

And yet, the same number of young Ameri- cans of approx- imately the same age have died in Iraq in the last 10 days. clearly, while one make take issue with the comparison, one may not ignored the similarities.

Moreover, in a more practical sense, the deaths in Iraq could have been much more readily prevented, and the desire much more easily fulfilled to protect the more potential victims there.

No one questions the nation's grief about Virginia Tech -- but have we suppressed our grief about Iraq?

It seems fair to ask the question: If the violent deaths in Virginia send a nation into shock and expressions of concern and anxiety, why isn't a continuous flow of American blood in Iraq generating a similar reaction?

UPDATE: if we're going to point fingers, how about taking a look at the AP's behavior?

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  • well, the nation is now dominated
    by a spirit of fear

    fear not

    change is on the horizon

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 18 April, 2007 18:21  

  • Extremely poor transitioning Maloney. Your post is about "faulting talk radio" and then out of the blue you ask the question where is the outrage over what Olbermann said without an explanation as to why we should be outraged. It certainly isn't obvious from the transcript.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 18 April, 2007 18:32  

  • Oh yeah, dickheads?

    Read this from Deb Schlussel and the grief she got from BLOWBERMAN AND SOROS--THOSE!

    From the article:

    "Yesterday, Keith Olbermann--resident uber-left crank and bizarro--picked me for the bronze for his daily "Worst Person in the World Award." Damn. Only bronze?

    Yes, with all the terrorists, murderers, and assorted other malefactors in the world, I am the third worst person in the world. As usual, the nutty, angry Olby's got his priorities and sense of proportion straight.

    Well, at least, his puppet masters at the aprocryphally named, far-left "Media Matter for America" have their priorities straight. When they say jump, Olbermann asks 'how low.'

    Media Matters bragged to the Wall Street Journal that it was responsible for taking down Don Imus. I suppose now that Don Imus is gone, they've assigned the vegan lesbian transsexual "interspecies erotica" fan they had monitoring the Imus show to monitor my site.

    For like the fourth time or so in the last year, yesterday, Media Matter decided to send out a mass conniption, er . . . e-mail attacking me. I'm quadruply honored. More on that later."


    By the way, many media outlets have been playing this tape Cho sent to NBC News--IT IS FREAKING DISTURBING!

    Look I was a loner myself in school--then again I didn't know I was Autistic, but I am not going to use this as a crutch.

    And of course Jihad Rosie, the Hypocritical queer she is, WANTS MORE GUN CONTROL!

    hash, you are right about this nation being dominated by fear--ALL BECAUSE OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS--THE TUMOR LEADING TO CANCER FOR THIS REPUBLIC.

    PC is nothing but B-S to me!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 18 April, 2007 18:49  

  • double dickhead to you sir:

    I read her post up till where she said:

    "Gee, the chutzpah of someone to point out the loyalties of a man who wants to be President to the Religion of the 19 Hijackers"

    I didn't need to go on to realize that she probably deserved the gold.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 18 April, 2007 19:21  

  • "The Real Bob Anthony"

    as opposed to the frickin' idiot we're dealing with here. Schussel? SHE is your postergirl? Who sues any and every who says a word against her vile rants, whether they are coming from the left or right?

    Go meet Misha, moron.

    By Blogger TC, at 18 April, 2007 19:35  

  • How dare Schlussel call me a "vegan lesbian transsexual 'interspecies erotica' fan"

    I'm actually an OVOLACTOVEGETARIAN
    lebian transsexual "interspecies erotica" fan!

    This is an insult!

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 19 April, 2007 00:41  

  • You know, I started reading this blog several months ago because I'm a regular Air America listener and I heard it published, occasionally, leaked inside dirt on Air America (I've been sorely disappointed on that score).

    I have now read it for a while and come to the conclusion that it's sorta the "Gong Show" of blogs. The postings are so cheesy--down to the strange photoshopped graphics--that it's almost a new artform. I can't come up with a name for it.

    I'm still curious who is subsidizing this endeavor. Clearly, its author spends a lot of time on it. It's a full-time job, and someone must be paying him. But who's the paying audience? I mean, really. No one seriously into the business of talk radio would waste his or her time here. Who's paying for this stuff?

    That leaves lone wackos like me, I guess, fascinated by the strange train-wreck quality of the whole thing. But I would never so much as follow one of the links to booksales, just on pure principle.

    Is this the last remains of Scaife hound-the-Clintons money?

    I just don't get it.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 19 April, 2007 00:56  

  • In Boston: WRKO had a live feed of
    NBC Nightly News with the info revealed in the "package" sent to the Peacock Network, as part of Howie Carr's last half hour. Then at 7 pm
    it was time for the last Celtics
    game to be broadcast by 'RKO as flagship station of the "Larry Bird's
    Not Coming Through That Door, Fans"
    network (moves to WEEI next year).
    That didn't end till 10:40 pm when
    tape delayed Savage then Doyle
    came on.

    WBZ: talk via Sullivan and Leveille
    on this and related topics

    96.9 WTKK had a simulcast of MSNBC:
    Chris "Lardball" Matthews,
    Keith Overbite, then Joe Scarborough, etc. Then those 3 hours repeated...

    Hot topic for talk radio

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 19 April, 2007 03:06  

  • Brian, my apologies for the comment on cheesy photoshopped graphics. Someone, I imagine you, is spending quite a bit of time on them. They really are good.

    They're just so tendentious they make my hackles go up.

    That being said, in puerile Young-Republican way, they're good for what they are.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 19 April, 2007 09:32  

  • Oh, it just came to me!

    Hokusai had his Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji.

    This blog's graphics constitute "Thirty-Six Thousand Views of Al Franken."

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 19 April, 2007 09:35  

  • I guess all the AAR talk has died down because there's only so many ways you can say "worst ratings book ever".

    AAR just wrapped up a book with their smallest audience yet recorded. Their average audience was even smaller than it was in Fall 2004 when they were still on less than 40 stations. Back then, they had 12 stations that averaged a 1.0 or higher. Now, it's only 10.

    At this point, the only thing keeping AAR alive is Stephen Green's willingness use AAR's losses as a tax-write off for his other businesses.

    By Blogger BF, at 19 April, 2007 10:23  

  • BF: Any links to your analysis of AAR listenership? i noticed Brian left out the AAR hired Lionel, a top rated talker (#14 in America) to start in May, in place of Sam Sedar, demoted to a weekend show.
    It is hard to place exactly how many listen to AAR, not too many stations exclusively carry AAR. BF, your post is more bullcrap.

    Im sure you approve more of Neal Boortz, blaming the victims of the shooting for not attacking the shooter!! Sick, sick right winger Neal Boortz, I hope he is involved in the cross fire of a shooting spree really soon, I would love to see his reaction, something tells me he would piss his pants just like the terrified victims.
    Yep, AAR is the problem right?

    Boortz should be removed from the airwaves along with every single last filthy, degenrate right wing host.

    These sick hosts live in a fantasy world, Boortz is a filthy bastard. So is michelle Malkin, who alsoe blamed the victims. Malkin is a filthy whore as well.

    I would love to see what would happen to a group of right wing hosts held captive by a gunman. Maybe than these degenrate freaks, would stop blaming the victim

    BOORTZ: There are several questions about the Virginia Tech situation yesterday. One of them is the blame game. The other one is gun control. The other one is -- and this is one that I've been reading up on a little bit this morning and have gained some insight, and I'm hoping -- I would love to get some psychological or somebody in the business that can answer this question: How the hell do 25 students allow themselves to be lined up against the wall in a classroom and picked off one by one? How does that happen, when they could have rushed the gunman, the shooter, and most of them would have survived?

    Hey Brian, this is your media, this is your side, this is your fellow conservative. Proud?

    I detest these fucking bastards. They make me so angry, I swear to god if I ever met Boortz, he would be spitting his own teeth

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 19 April, 2007 11:12  

  • For those upset with TV or talk radio doing endless coverage of VT etc.:
    They wouldn't do it if it didn't get eyes to the screen and ears to the
    radio--huge ratings.

    from Drudge

    Reuters: “”We had planned to speak to some family members of victims this morning but they canceled their appearances because they were very upset with NBC for airing the images,” said NBC “Today” morning program co-host Meredith Vieira.

    Nancy Grace seems to cover Anna Nicole every night but if her ratings plummeted, she'd stop.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 19 April, 2007 12:29  

  • The libs as usual are shirking any responsibilities they have and are trying to blame their lameness upon Republicans. I think the public will wake up to the snake oil the Libs and Democrats have been peddling and reject it.

    The answers lie not in Liberal utopian delusions, but in cold cause and effect reality.

    The media is full of itself and is rendering itself meaningless.

    By Blogger PCD, at 19 April, 2007 15:15  

  • MOP, go to & look up the #s yourself.

    Also, it's a bit of a stretch to call the #14 talker "highly rated". That's like calling the Golden State Warriors a "Top-Rated Team".

    By Blogger BF, at 19 April, 2007 16:08  

  • "The libs as usual are shirking any responsibilities they have and are trying to blame their lameness upon Republicans."

    yeah, fudgepacker
    it's the "libs" who are responsible
    for lax enforcement of gun laws
    for a culture of corruption that
    enables haters to kill
    our best and brightest

    it's "libs" who sponsor
    unregulated gun shows
    in regressive states
    for obsessive customers

    no, it is YOU, fudgie
    who have stolen america
    from the americans who built it
    and will not pay back
    what you stole from us

    and have the temerity to believe
    you actually have a say
    in what needs to happen now

    you are sewage

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 19 April, 2007 18:24  

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