The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

27 August 2007

Peter Lewis, Progressive Insurance, Air America, Rachel Maddow


Did AAR Host Realize She Was Attacking Network Backer?

For today's radio libtalkers, attacking evil corporations is most certainly second nature. Often, their anti- business approach seems driven by emotion more than anything else.

That said, what caused one of Air America's hosts to bash a key network founding supporter on the air Thursday? Was something more personal involved?

During Thursday's Rachel Maddow Show, the talker herself proceeded to attack Progressive Insurance, based on a story that originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. Here's a transcript of Maddow's rant:

MADDOW: In August, 2005, a couple, a male-female couple joined the Southside Christian Fellowship Church in Atlanta. They joined the church and they joined a support group that was hosted at the church minister’s home. I think it was like a family and couple’s marriage support group or something.

And the minister said at the beginning of every meeting of the group, this is private, this is confidential, what’s said in this room stays in this room. Turns out the new couple that joined that month was secretly taping the support group sessions in an effort to try to get dirt on tape on two other people who were participating in that group.

The new couple were private eyes, hired by Progressive Insurance to try to get something embarrassing and personal on tape about a couple that was involved in a lawsuit with Progressive over an auto accident in 2004. They wanted something to discredit them. The couple who was spied on filed another lawsuit against Progressive last week, charging invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, and emotional distress, yeah!

But it wasn’t until the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote an article about their case and about what Progressive did that the insurance company, the country’s third largest, finally issued an apology today.

So now when you hear those incredibly annoying ads for Progressive Auto Insurance (Maddow airs brief Progressive Auto ad excerpt), you can not only think, Wow, gremlins, could there be a more obscure hook for an insurance ad, ever? You can now also associate them with spying on people they are suing in church groups. Awesome.

Hey Rachel, aren't you aware that one of Air America Radio's first financial backers was Peter Lewis, Chairman of Progressive Insurance? He remained a Piquant unitholder until the bankruptcy reorganization was complete.

In fact, he's also associated with Democracy Alliance, the group that very nearly bailed Air America out before bankruptcy was finally declared. Lewis is associated with far- left causes and has a longtime political connection to George Soros.

That begs the question: did Rachel realize she was attacking one of her own? Does this have something to do with past conflicts over Air America's funding, or was Maddow really foolish enough to bash a key supporter, one who supplied start- up funding to pay her own salary?

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  • Brian, I'm sure this is the wrong place to submit this, but I'm not very blog-literate. You should check out a story in Seattle WA regarding local blogger Stefan Sharkansky. It illustrates left-lunacy beyond anything I've seen.
    Shark was slandered by a waitress on a little read blog. She basically said he was a bad tipper and bad parent. Shark responded, she was fired,and the netroots took up the cause. A bigger blog, Blatherwatch, picked it up. They were debating the 'issue' all last night, and yes they did turn it into an issue, complete with ideolgical overtones. Very wacko, if you read last nights debate. There also was a previous thread where they talked about it, but last night was the climax. Shark's wife Irene even posted a few times. There is also stuff on (run by a lefty part time KIRO host who had Shark on last night and from what I hear, got pretty much eviscerated by shark over the matter.
    Anyway, wish you were still broadcasting here, Brian. Radio has really gone downhill here lately. You should get in touch with KOL 1300 if you still have any interest in Seattle radio. They upped their signal and are conservative talk, but have no local hosts. They desparately need at least one. PS I also understand that DailyKOS has linked to this story. Thanks, Russell B. Garrard, Bellevue WA.

    By Blogger russell garrard, at 27 August, 2007 12:58  

  • Brian, is it your position that Rachel Maddow should have not given her true opinion about the shady practice allegedly used here by progressive insurance, just because the owner of the company is a supporter of Air America?

    If she did what you are suggesting, what would that say for her credibility?

    Looks like she did exactly the right thing to me.

    Perhaps you need to examine your judgement.

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 27 August, 2007 14:38  

  • Rachel illustrates a point that is alien to the right wing. Money doesn't buy silence. It also demonstrates another concept alien to your fascist collegues... credibility.

    You see, Brian, and I know, this is hard to digest but, spending money doesn't immunize you to rightfully earned criticism. Way back when the news and entertainment departments were actually seperate entities of networks and broadcast outlets. It was quite common for programming and news to speak the truth regardless of who advertised. That was the general rule before the "everyone in the company is a seller" mentality became the mantra of corporate media. News and commentators use to actually rely on facts for content rather than shaping the message to appease the advertisers.

    I know that with your "money is free speech and it always speaks the absolute truth" mindset, credibility was the last thing on your mind when you used to crack the mike. But the fact is, Progressive is a good company that employs a bad practice. They got nailed. Rather than shoot the messenger, perhaps they'll be smart enough to end this despicable practice and use their airtime on Air America to try to regain the trust of their customers and the progressive community as a whole.

    If not, well, then they are another corporate hack that deserved to be exposed and can depend on you right wing whores to gladly bite the pillow for the ad dollars.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 27 August, 2007 15:11  

  • Another example of right-wing extremists pushing their stone jungle morals and hit-or-miss ethics down the throats of the left.

    How many stories does Brian overlook, simply because his cronies are involved, and it would be neither politically expedient nor financially wise for him to do so?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 August, 2007 15:31  

  • I see the college professors, their wannabes and students are in fine form--AS USUAL!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 27 August, 2007 19:34  

  • As far as personal/professional integrity I believe that Rachel Maddow did the right thing. Just because Progressive funds were involved does not mean she should become part of their alleged activities through her silence. The public demands on the press to keep us informed of the facts. It In reference to your articles on Progressive Insurance it is my opinion that the information suggests that the violations committed by Progressive are not isolated incidents but rather Corporate Malfeasance and that Progressive has a long trajectory of such violations as acknowledged by their own employees concerning: alleged shoddy car repairs, refusal to pay claims, alleged drug abuses. It is obvious that Progressive’s employees are reaching out for help in public forums and asking for investigations of the activities of this company.

    Similarly in my personal experiences with Progressive, I have been demeaned into making public pleas in an attempt to receive the medical treatment which I need and which my physician personally informed Progressive is a medical necessity.

    Progressive Insurance Has Treated Me as Roadkill

    Progressive Insurance Sex, Lies and Drugs

    Employee Dissatisfaction, low policyholder retention rates, lawsuits, high employee turnover, Glenn is going to have to do a lot of spin to convince his stockholders that this is some sort of new economic model for Corporate Growth.

    It is my opinion that Progressive is no more than a pyramid scheme in which they accept premiums with full knowledge that they will not honor the terms and conditions of said insurance policies. The mangled bodies and ruined lives Progressive leaves behind as a result of their false claims and refusal to honor Insurance Policies, results in a domino effect and a cost to society in States involved which have to foot the bill for medical expenses, unemployment compensations, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, while Progressive records excess profits. Progressive’s Insurance Policies become no more than taxpayer supported welfare.

    By Blogger ProgressiveInsuranceSharksBloodMoney, at 05 September, 2007 20:15  

  • Peter Lewis, Progressive insurance, Air America, Rachel Maddowю BITING THE HANDю
    Brian, Thanks for posting this.

    By Blogger Alexie, at 03 May, 2008 17:59  

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