The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 March 2007

Talk Radio, Minnesota, Blogs, Muslims


Talk Radio, Blogs Blamed For Muslim Tensions

*** ELSEWHERE: fresh updates at SaveWRKO ***

Where there's hatred, divisive rhetoric and intolerance in this country, talk radio and the blogosphere surely must be the cause, right?

In a report on tensions between Muslims and others in the "tolerant" haven of Minnesota, talk hosts and bloggers predictably take a hit. Stop us if you've heard this one before:

Muslims, culture clash in Minnesota

By Curt Brown

(Star- Tribune)

MINNEAPOLIS - Munira Omar applied for a cashier job at Target last week but balked when they called her back for an interview. Sure, she needs the money to help pay for college next year. But the Minneapolis teenager braced for a question about scanning pork products.

"I'm going to say 'no' and stick to my religion and not change who I am for $7 an hour," Omar said.

As Minnesota's growing Muslim population struggles to balance faith and work, similar dilemmas are flaring up at taxi stands and checkout lines. The debate has ignited a backlash that's clogging Web sites and talk radio with people asking why Muslims would take jobs that conflict with their faith in the first place.

It's also worrying and dividing many Minneapolis-area Muslims, nearly half of whom are Somali immigrants. Some say they fear the incidents will jeopardize the modest gains they've made here and tarnish their image. Others in the state's diverse community of roughly 120,000 Muslims are expressing widely different views of the controversies.

Several Somali leaders say that only a small faction of area Muslims use extremely narrow interpretations of the Qur'an, such as refusing to handle pork products or transport alcohol-toting taxi riders. Others insist that no ringleaders are stirring the debate, which they say started simply as a series of individual decisions made without consulting scholars or considering the consequences.

Community leaders are hoping the budding tension can be quelled with more tolerance from all sides - Muslim workers, shoppers and employers. But events in the new few weeks could spark even more debate.

On April 12, a community meeting in Minneapolis will bring together Islamic scholars and U.S. legal experts to air religion-workplace issues. Four days later, the Metropolitan Airports Commission is likely to rule on a proposed crackdown that would suspend licenses if cabbies turn down fares for religious reasons.

Despite the turmoil, it's important to remember that a majority of Muslims and Somalis are enjoying productive and happy lives in Minnesota, said Ibrahim Ayeh, a math instructor at Washburn High School in Minneapolis.

"Just a few people are stirring up this culture clash, while the majority of Somalis and Muslims are absolutely appreciative of what Minnesota has done in welcoming them because they are more successful here than anywhere," said Ayeh, 60, one of the state's first Somali teachers.

"Most Somalis think all this makes us look bad," said Saeed Fahia, who helps find jobs for immigrants as director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. "I'm concerned an employer might fear they'll be sued and won't hire people. We can't afford to be that particular if we want to build relationships."

Somali advocate Abdirizak Bihie says the airport and cashier controversies are sidetracking immigrants from pursuing more pressing issues such as the lack of affordable housing and jobs that pay well.

"We want the larger community to know we're against this and we're frustrated," he said. "A few people are hijacking Islam like Osama bin Laden did on 9-11."

And the backlash, Bihie says, has struck fear in his Somali community. He says it's hard not to bristle when you read the hundreds of blog postings at the Minneapolis Star Tribune's community Web site,, or items like this one, culled from the locally based Power Line site: "Poor babies can't touch bacon ... boo hoo. Refuse to scan my bacon, and I guarantee you will be wearing it!"

Such vitriol bubbling up from a few incidents has drawn undue attention from non-Muslims, according to Atia Ibrahim, a computer security specialist who lives in Eden Prairie, Minn.

So, in what context did Power Line's bloggers make this remark? Here's their own response:

There you have it. We're vitriolic, and have struck fear into the Somali community. Odd thing, though: I didn't write that line about "poor babies" who "can't touch bacon," and neither did Paul or Scott. That quote never appeared on Power Line. I know where the reporter dredged it up, though; it comes from a comment that someone made on the AOL News site where we post, along with several other liberal and conservative bloggers.

So why did the reporter falsely claim that the quote was "culled from the locally- based Power Line site"? I don't know; he hasn't answered my email yet.

It's pretty obvious, though, that if he had said that he found the quote at AOL News, he couldn't have said it was locally-based, and it would have been hard to sell the idea that an anonymous AOL commenter had "struck fear into the Somali community" in the Twin Cities.

And, of course, the reporter probably has no particular animus against AOL.

Just to double- check, your Radio Equalizer reviewed Power Line's archives and found no mention of the phrase. And instead of correcting the story earlier in the week when it first ran, this piece has continued to be picked up by other newspapers, with several running it in today's editions.

That brings us to the real question: just who is doing the real inciting here? It seems the fingers are pointing right back at our Star- Tribune friends.

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Muslim image: NYT

29 March 2007

NBC News, Imus In The Morning


The Issues We Don't Care About

Q: How does a host know when he's completely lost touch with his audience?

A: When he asks hard- hitting questions about an issue of concern to almost no one.

Today's case- in- point comes from our friend Don Imus, of MSNBC and syndicated radio fame, who had listeners riveted with this grilling of NBC's David Gregory:

(Via TVNewser) Imus asked: "As the chief White House correspondent for NBC News, do you feel in any way responsible for the demise of NBC News and the surge of ABC News and that Charles Gibson now is #1 and you guys are not, you're #2. Do you think any of that is your fault?"

After making an unrelated joke, Gregory said he disagreed with the premise. "There is no demise at NBC News. We're in a competitive environment but I think we're doing just fine," he said.

"You're not #1," Imus shot back. Gregory tried to answer: "We are #1 if you look at--" prompting Imus to say "no you're not."

"Look, this is a competitive environment for Nightly News," Gregory said, "but I think Brian and Alex Wallace, our new executive producer, will focus on... doing what we've been doing and doing it well and we're going to be fine."

Memo to the I-Man: beyond nervous managers at network headquarters, do you really think anybody cares whether NBC News is in first or second place? Why would your audience want to hear about this?

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Imus photo: NY Post

Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio, Skidmore College


Highlighted By Rush, Incident Causes School Resignation

Once again, the power of talk radio is revealed:

Skidmore administrator resigns after talk radio flap

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - An administrator at an upstate college has resigned after her complaints about a patriotic display at a Florida tourist attraction hit the talk radio airwaves.

Hilal Isler, who's a Turkish-American Muslim, says the series of events that led to her resignation began when she and her husband visited SeaWorld in Orlando earlier this month.

Isler says the driver of a tourist attraction bus made insulting comments about Muslims, then ridiculed the couple when they complained.

Isler sent an e-mail detailing the encounter to the Orlando Sentinel, which published a story on the incident on March 16th. The newspaper article contained quotes from Isler complaining about a patriotic display staged during their visit to SeaWorld.

The story caught the attention of syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh. Since then, officials at Skidmore say Isler has received upsetting e-mails and other messages from around the country.

She resigned last week after just three months in her position as director of Skidmore's student diversity programs.

The bus driver has since been fired.

As indicated by Limbaugh on Thursday's program, the "patriotic display" involved American flags!

Does she blame Rush for her circumstances? Our guess: you bet.

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Talk Radio Remote Broadcasts


NYT Exposes Remote Broadcast Deception

When an on- air personality makes reference to working or living in your city, isn't it safe to assume he's actually there with you?

During those nasty blizzards, shouldn't your favorite talker or news anchor tell you when he's really broadcasting from sunny Florida?

In one of radio's dirtiest little secrets, that's sometimes simply not the case. Now, the New York Times has picked up on this trend, exposing one of the medium's most notorious examples:

LOS ANGELES, March 27 — When people hear the radio host Joe Crummey on Phoenix’s popular KFYI murmur sarcastically, “We don’t have enough human rights activists in this town,” they know he means Phoenix.

Ditto for when he offers to assess the “east side west side traffic right now.”

As it turns out, Mr. Crummey, whose favorite talk show topics include immigration, patriotism and Arizona politics, is indeed reporting for duty in the valley. Just not in the Phoenix Valley.

Rather, it is here, in the San Fernando Valley, where he works via the Internet from his home on the top of a hill in the Studio City section of Los Angeles. Listeners in Phoenix are none the wiser.

Armed with four computers, a digital recorder, a constant stream of Fox News and a professional microphone, Mr. Crummey holds court for three hours each weekday during Phoenix’s drive-home time slot — from about 400 miles away in a neighboring state.

“I admit that it is obvious that listeners infer that I’m there,” Mr. Crummey, whose pitch signals talk-radio host at “hello,” said during a tour of his home broadcasting operation. “Most people don’t know I am not. But I’m just on the radio talking about their town, and I guess they can take it or leave it.”

Here's an alternate link to the story.

With its focus on one particular host, the NYT failed to mention at least two past flaps of a similar nature, found here and here. And a few guys have been getting away with this deception for years.

The key issue is honesty: are you pretending to live and work in a city hundreds of miles from your real home? Otherwise, there's nothing inherently immoral about doing a live remote broadcast.

Over the years, your Radio Equalizer has quite often hosted shows for one city from studios in another, sometimes on opposite coasts. What seems to work best is to either come clean about your real location, or make no claim whatsoever about where you are.

Faking a presence in the other city, however, is not only sleazy, but a newspaper expose waiting to happen. In this case, no less than the New York Times smelled something funny going on in Arizona.

UPDATE: the competition weighs in.

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28 March 2007

Michael Savage, 2007 Freedom Of Speech Award


Savage Praised For Attacking President

Does bashing President Bush make one worthy of a broadcast industry award?

In the twisted world of Talkers Magazine, it apparently represents a brave "freedom of speech" stance.

Could one win for defending George?

From their press release:

Savage Honored with Freedom of Speech Award

San Francisco, CA, - Michael Savage has been named this year's recipient of TALKERS Magazine's Freedom of Speech Award. The magazine's Talk Radio First Amendment Committee has selected Talk Radio Network's syndicated host of Savage Nation, to receive this prestigious honor at this year's New Media Seminar on June 9, 2007. This will be TALKERS Magazine's 16th consecutive annual convention, and is generally recognized as the most important and highly attended gathering of key players in the talk media industries.

According to TALKERS Magazine, Savage is being honored, "For being the first major conservative radio talk show host to criticize President George W. Bush on his policies and encourage hosts of all political ideologies to remain independent of partisan loyalties."

Previous recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award include Howard Stern (2006), Al Franken (2005), Rush Limbaugh (2004), Hannity & Colmes (2003), Norm Pattiz (2002), Bill O'Reilly (2001) and Brian Lamb (2000). In addition to their traditional Freedom of Speech award luncheon and presentation, the convention will concentrate on the talk media industry's programming and talent. During the two-day convention, over 65 speakers will present topics ranging from podcasting, internet streaming, technological advances to intellectual property, marketing and branding.

Originally, the Freedom Of Speech award was intended to honor hosts who had held their ground under fire, even at the cost of their on- air positions.

Over the past two years, we've seen a number of talkers suffer the consequences of criticizing Islamic extremist groups such as CAIR. But those are local hosts who don't bring the star (and publicity) power of Savage and other syndicated personalities, so they don't have a chance.

Last year, Mr Savage didn't even bother to show up at this convention. So is this award really about enticing a major talk star to attend this year's events? You betcha.

Free speech? What a joke.

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Liberal Talk Radio, Akron, Ohio


Ohio City The Latest To Dump Libtalk

Now pulling into Akron, liberal talk radio's Train Of Doom continues to wreak havoc across the country.

All aboard!

According to Ohio Media Watch and All Access, Clear Channel's WARF 1350 AM has become the latest casualty in a brutal year for the format.

From Perry Simon at All Access:

OHIO MEDIA WATCH is reporting that liberal talk is about to lose another outpost, as CLEAR CHANNEL plans to pull the plug on WARF-A (RADIO FREE OHIO)/AKRON, OH in favor of a flip to Sports. The move would be a return to the Sports format for the station, which was Sports WTOU until flipping to Talk on JUNE 2, 2005.

The change is reportedly coming for FRIDAY (3/31), and OMW adds that SPORTING NEWS RADIO and COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS hockey are on the schedule for the new format.

Hey guys, here's
a great question: when was the last time a station actually added the libtalk format?

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27 March 2007

White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, Talk Radio


Snow Again Battling Cancer

A good friend of talk radio is once again battling an aggressive form of cancer.

Former syndicated talker Tony Snow, who left his show to take a key Bush Administration position as White House Press Secretary, was previously thought to have turned the corner against colon cancer.

But after new tests, it has apparently spread to his liver, according to FOX News:

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is once again stricken with cancer after doctors found a cancerous growth in his lower abdomen, the White House announced Tuesday.

The cancer, originally in his colon, has spread to his liver, said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. Snow spoke to President Bush Tuesday morning, who told Snow he and first lady Laura Bush are praying for him.

President Bush struck an optimistic tone about Snow's mood, adding that he looked forward to the day when Snow returns to the White House.

"His attitude is one that he is not going to let this whip him," Bush said during a brief statement to reporters in the Rose Garden. "My attitude is that we need to pray for him."

Snow is consulting with doctors what type of treatment to pursue as he recovers in the hospital following the surgery. There were no complications with the surgery and it takes about a week to heal, Perino said.

After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005, a disease that killed his mother, Snow, 51, had his colon removed and his small intestine refashioned to function in its place. He then underwent six months of chemotherapy.

At the Democratic Underground, meanwhile, the DUmmies were busy cooking up distorted political angles to this story:

Edited on Tue Mar-27-07 11:48 AM by LuckyTheDog

Who will be the first right-wing pundit to accuse Tony Snow of revealing his cancer diagnosis in order to give the GW Bush a "bump" in the polls? I am not holding my breath.

I know this: "our side" won't try to slime him the way Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing echo chamber tried to slime Elizabeth Edwards.

Get well soon, Tony. I mean it.


1. I hope he gets well soon ... as well, as in oil well, which he gets for lying oh so well


2. All the "Get well Tony"s will NEVER reach the media.

Can we now get back the the important stuff?

Sapere aude

16. We say best wishes because that is the right thing to do. I hope he recovers but I'd like to see him not be a mouth piece for the right anymore. Maybe he will get religion and start telling the truth for a change.


19. yeah, exactly. Snow just used his cancer for political gain. How come he isn't talking to God first?

Get well, Tony, if for no other reason than to stick it to our "progressive" friends.

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26 March 2007

Talk Radio, GOP Presidential Primary Candidates


To Reach The Unswayed, GOP Candidates Utilize Medium

After years of commercial success and a proven ability to influence election campaigns, is the utilization of talk radio by GOP presidential candidates really still considered a novel approach?

From reading this Washington Post item by Chris Cillizza, that's the impression one might obtain. By now, however, hasn't this become routine?

From the post:

Rudy Takes Message to Talk Radio

Continuing his courtship of conservatives, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is running radio ads on the popular talk radio shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

"My campaign is about leadership and optimism," Giuliani says in the ad. "We need strong leadership to stay on offense in the war against terrorists."

He also highlights his support for "supply side policies and reduced government spending" to "keep the economy growing."

The commercial ends with a plug for his campaign site --

During the 1990s talk radio became the voice of the conservative movement, and figures like Hannity and Limbaugh remain quite powerful in certain circles. With hours of airtime every day, Hannity and Limbaugh have a huge megaphone for offering their thoughts on the potential 2008 Republican nominees.

If Giuliani can get on their good sides, he may ensure himself hours of free publicity to an attentive audience that makes up a big chunk of the Republican base.

Don't think that's part of Giuliani's calculation? Remember that he announced his candidacy on Hannity's television show.

Did you catch the snide "in certain circles" remark? With tens of millions of fans between them, those are large circles.

In terms of campaign strategy, talk radio ought to be a key element for candidates of either party. For one thing, the medium is excellent for creating effective free media coverage. And more importantly, you're reaching a highly- motivated group of politically- active voters.

In 2007, isn't this obvious, however? Perhaps it is to the rest of us, but candidates can sometimes be surprisingly out of touch. That Rudy's embrace of talk radio is seen as newsworthy means the others may be staying away from it.

In the meantime, the real story this year is the way liberal and conservative bloggers are playing a key role in these contests. Compared to what's going on now, 2004 was a mere dress rehearsal.

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Dennis Miller Show Debut, Talk Radio


After Cable Failure, Miller Tries Talk Radio

As comedian- turned- conservative pundit Dennis Miller gears up for his first day as a syndicated radio talk show host, here's the big question: can he prove the skeptics (including your Radio Equalizer) wrong?

Here are just some of the obstacles he's facing:

An astounding glut of syndicated weekday fare, with far more programs than the market can support.

A curious time slot choice, 10am - 1pm ET, which will have him up against Rush Limbaugh and many other successful mid- morning shows.

Though 80 stations signed up for his debut, quite a decent number, most are tiny, including a number of Salem Communications- owned outlets.

Because of the poorly- chosen time slot, Miller will be tape- delayed in many cities, so it will harder to generate calls from those places.

Miller brings baggage to the radio, including his failed CNBC show, where his performance was lackluster. Does he have a real passion for the issues? Can he develop a topic?

Most of all, he simply lacks the experience in talk radio needed to hit the ground running. We've repeatedly seen celebrities plucked off the street and given shows, only to fail when they quickly run out of steam.

For an excellent piece on Miller's conversion to conservative and libertarian politics over the past decade, see this essay by the late Catherine Seipp.

In the end, your Radio Equalizer isn't rooting against Miller's success. If he can pull it off, good for him! This site certainly agrees with many of his political viewpoints.

If this is merely a fallback after the failure of other career moves, however, it continues the annoying trend of talk radio as a dumping ground for celebrities who can't find work elsewhere (think "Whoopi"). Doesn't our medium deserve better?

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23 March 2007

Jim Cramer, Don Imus, CNBC, Talk Radio


After Share-Rigging Admission, Imus Points To Contributions

*** Elsewhere: updates at SaveWRKO ***

If you're at all familiar with Jim Cramer's big mouth, his unprompted admission of possibly- illegal share manipulation probably seemed unsurprising.

After all, wasn't it just a matter of time before CNBC's "Mad Money" host would trip over his own lightning- fast words?

From today's New York Post:

In a Webcast clip, which was posted Dec. 22 on, Cramer appears to - at least tacitly - endorse manipulative stock trading practices, including spreading rumors to "a bozo reporter" at The Wall Street Journal and CNBC reporter Bob Pisani.

In the widely watched clip, Cramer said that a hedge fund manager engaging in these dubious practices had little to fear since the "Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't get it."

Calling in to MSNBC's "Imus In The Morning" program yesterday, Cramer alternated between blaming himself for not being "more clear" and the New York Post - which first reported on the clip - for his woes.

"I learned a big lesson here: you got to be a little more clear . . . you can't be as glib, because people will interpret this as being that you're a bad guy," Cramer told Don Imus.

Cramer was directly apologetic about his video clip references to CNBC's New York Stock Exchange reporter Bob Pisani.

"He deserved better from me. He's one of the best. And you know, sometimes I screw up. I screwed up in saying that stuff about him."

But it wasn't just a mea culpa for the financial pundit, who saw a conspiracy of sorts in the fact that his clip was written about.

Cramer made sure to get in several scripted digs at The Post and its parent company, News Corporation.

"I think most of the discipline is coming from organizations that have kind of an edge against maybe CNBC, maybe of the FOX venue, the "New York Post venue," he said.

Here's the clip in question. Warning- after hearing him admit to cheating investors and tricking reporters, you may be sick to your stomach:

After this already- infamous interview became a YouTube hit, the former radio talk show host swiftly embarked on a PR spin tour, with an Imus In The Morning visit topping the itinerary.

Why Imus? As was soon clear during the interview, this was no accident.

At the Corporate Crime Reporter, Don's comment about Cramer's previous contributions to his ranch didn't escape their attention:

Cramer said he didn’t anticipate any disciplinary action from his bosses at CNBC.

Most of the criticism is coming from NewsCorp’s Fox News and the New York Post, Cramer said.

NewsCorp announced last month that it will launch a television business channel to compete with CNBC.

“Most of the discipline is coming from organizations that have an edge against CNBC – maybe of that Fox venue, that New York Post venue,” Cramer said. “I know they are coming against us. I wish them luck. I like the competition. But I think there is a bit of a motivation in some of the articles from an organization that wants very much to be in the business news game.”

Imus said that Cramer had donated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to the non-profit Imus Ranch in New Mexico.

According to the MSNBC web site, the purpose of the ranch is to “provide the experience of the great American cowboy to children suffering from cancer or serious blood disorders, and children who've lost brothers and sisters to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).”

And sure enough, he's been sending the I-Man money for some time, according to one of his own past press releases:

Jim Cramer Donates Trading Profits to Imus Ranch

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE), Inc. (Nasdaq: TSCM), a leading provider of financial commentary, analysis, research, news and ratings, today announced that James J. Cramer, co-founder, director and largest shareholder of, made the final distribution of his trading profits of 2006 from his charitable trust on February 9, 2007.


The distribution for 2006 trading profits is $93,000, with the entire sum going to the Imus Ranch, a working cattle ranch, which benefits children who suffer from cancer and serious blood disorders or who have lost a sibling to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“Helping sick children is important to me,” said Jim Cramer, last week in a letter to Action Alerts Plus subscribers. “I've been Wall Street chairman of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital for about a decade -- and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to give more. I'm proud of the Action Alerts PLUS service and proud of what we're able to accomplish through it.”

Mr. Cramer gave away $141,520 in trading profits in 2005 from the Action Alerts Plus service. The total was distributed to the Imus Ranch, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which gives aid to members of the country’s armed forces, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Is this the price of a Larry King- style puff interview on the Imus show? When under fire, it's nice to have a friend like this to turn to! What a great place to back waaaaay off of one's previous self- incrimination.

Keep in mind that this scandal has been quietly brewing in the background for some time, but came to the public's attention this week largely because of YouTube.

Even more pathetic is Cramer's attempt to inject a partisan political element into the story by blaming negative coverage on a News Corporation / Right Wing Conspiracy plot against him. Yes, while Cramer's liberal leanings are quite clear to CNBC viewers, this mess is entirely of his own making.

Worst of all, recent revelations of corporate jet travel nearly undid CNBC host Maria Bartiromo's career, even though no crimes (beyond ones of a journalistic nature) were committed. For weeks, the mainstream news media was calling for her head.

Now, with Cramer outright admitting to something far worse, where are our MSM friends? Are they really gullible enough to believe he's been done in by conservatives at the FOX News Channel and New York Post?

What will NBC and the SEC have to say about Cramer's alarming admission? We're waiting.

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Cramer image: AP

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22 March 2007

Illegal Immigration, New Jersey 101.5 FM, Talk Radio, 'La Cuca Gotcha'


Shock Jocks Succeed In Gaining Attention

Proving just how easy it can be to raise the ire of advocacy groups for fun and profit, a pair of New Jersey- based shock jocks are under fire over a headline- generating stunt.

After Hispanic activist organizations learned of "La Cuca Gotcha", a campaign cooked up by New Jersey 101.5 jocks Craig Carton and Ray Rossi (known as the "Jersey Guys"), they quickly denounced the pair.

"La Cuca Gotcha" encourages listeners to report suspected illegal aliens to either the station or federal authorities.

New Jersey 101.5 is a highly- rated non- political FM talk station catering to younger listeners.


Hispanics steamed by shock radio stunt

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Hispanic political and community leaders are up in arms over a New Jersey radio show that is exhorting listeners to report suspected illegal immigrants to 101.5 FM or federal authorities.

The leaders say the radio station's campaign -- named "La Cuca Gotcha" -- is clearly anti-Hispanic and may encourage racial profiling and other bias incidents against Hispanics.

"It's a despicable campaign and clearly slanted at Hispanics," said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo. "The campaign describes us as bugs that have to be stamped out."

Hispanics, including some from North Jersey, are demanding that the station end the on-air campaign, and that the hosts -- Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, aka "The Jersey Guys" -- apologize publicly to New Jersey's Hispanics.

Carton, who along with Rossi has been mired in other controversies, said the campaign is not anti-Hispanic and that they want listeners to help authorities track down illegal immigrants "of any origin."

Caraballo, a Democrat, said the campaign "encourages a vigilante movement against illegal immigrants, or people who look different."

Hispanic leaders plan to voice their concerns at a news conference today at Caraballo's district office in Newark.

Caraballo said he plans to obtain a list of the show's sponsors and ask Hispanics to boycott their products if the hosts don't apologize and end the campaign.

In a letter he wrote to the station, Caraballo said the campaign uses a slogan -- "La Cuca Gotcha" -- that "insults the Hispanic community through a play on the Spanish word for cockroach – "cucaracha."

In an e-mail to The Record, Carton said the campaign focuses on a valid concern – illegal immigration – and encourages listeners to help through legitimate channels.

"Any suggestion that this is motivated by racism is a crock and offensive," he said. "We have never condoned any type of violence or other immoral act against illegal immigrants. We have nothing against Hispanics at all and have never suggested that the only illegal immigrants in New Jersey are Hispanic."

Carton also dismissed speculation among Hispanic leaders that the campaign was a ratings ploy. "I don't need any more attention nor help with the ratings," Carton said of the well-known show.

While your Radio Equalizer supports immigration reform, including a far- reaching crackdown on illegal aliens, cheap stunts by semiliterate FM shock jocks only undermines this cause.

And if it didn't generate free press coverage, these guys wouldn't spend two minutes dealing with the issue.

So why write about it here? Your Radio Equalizer believes it is important to distance legitimate efforts to reform immigration from these childish antics.

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21 March 2007

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio


Why Rush - Arnold Feud May Soon Cool

*** With Exclusive Limbaugh Interview Below ***

Is this a real battle, or one designed to feed the mainstream media's insatiable appetite for public conflict?

While California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and talk titan Rush Limbaugh may have launched a few verbal missiles from one coast to the other in recent days, emerging signs of an end to this mini- Cold War are now on the horizon.

That's according to Limbaugh himself, who provided exclusive details to your Radio Equalizer late last night. With some listeners (and callers) wondering why Rush's on- air response seemed so subdued, we put the question to him directly. More on that below.

In addition, has just announced that the Governator himself will be making a special appearance on today's program, scheduled for 1pm EDT. Could a peace offering be in the works?

Today's on- air summit, which is sure to draw a huge audience, was sparked by Arnold's contention in a network interview that El Rushbo is "irrelevant". Here's the original Los Angeles Times item that exploded across the Internet yesterday:

Schwarzenegger Calls Rush Limbaugh Irrelevant

"All irrelevant. Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant. I am not his servant." - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning on the "Today Show," speaking to Campbell Brown.

During the one-on-one interview the Republican-registered California governor was asked about criticism from Limbaugh and other conservatives that he has become a Democrat in disguise for supporting stem-cell research, mandatory curbs on carbon dioxide emissions and universal health care.

Schwarzenegger said he is "the people's servant of California. What they call me - Democrat or Republican or in the center, this and that - that is not my bottom line. This is for them to talk about."

In recent weeks, Limbaugh has complained the Schwarzenegger's views on global warming are "no different than what Greenpeace would say." When the governor called a proposed $12 billion levy on hospitals, doctors and health plans a "loan, because it ... goes back to health care," Limbaugh couldn't stop laughing on the air. He said Schwarzenegger's rhetorical spin was no different than former President Bill Clinton calling tax increases "investments."

Limbaugh, it should be noted, has always been cautious about Schwarzenegger. In August 2003, during the recall election, Limbaugh told his listeners: "Hear me now and believe me later, my friends. All these conservative orgasms over Arnold Schwarzenegger are ... fake."

Limbaugh said Schwarzenegger was a closet liberal who supported abortion, gay adoption and gun control, and recoiled at comparisons to former President Ronald Reagan. "This guy may be the next actor elected governor of California, but that's where the similarity between him and Reagan ends."

And, from the official transcripts, here is some of Rush's response:

RUSH: Yes, a one-on-one interview today on the Today Show. Arnold is appearing on the Today show a lot lately, and every time he appears on the Today Show, he's asked about me! Every time he's on the Today show, whoever it is -- Matt Lauer, today it was Campbell Brown, it could be Meredith Vieira, it could even could be Al Joker out there doing the weather at 30 Rock -- they throw something up at Arnold that I have said recently, and it happened today.

He called me "irrelevant." He said he's "not my servant," and I don't know how it is I can be irrelevant when every time he shows up on the Today Show they ask him about me! I'm just sure he's sick and tired of hearing about it. He's sick and tired of getting the questions. The last time he was asked about me, he was very diplomatic.

He said (Arnold impression), "Vell, ve still smoke stogies togethah," and so forth, and that would provide a bridge for common ground and so forth and so on. But here is the governor of the largest state acknowledging me, while claiming all this time that I am "irrelevant." They had this exchange, Campbell Brown with Governor Schwarzenegger.

BROWN: Rush Limbaugh is saying that you're not really a Republican. You're a Democrat pretending to be a Republican. Why?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant. I'm not his servant. I am the people's servant of California. What they call me, if it's a Democrat or a Republican or in the center or I changed or this or that, that's not my bottom line. This is for them to talk about.

RUSH: All right. Now, I could be charitable in this and I could say, "When he calls me 'irrelevant,' not irrelevant as a human or irrelevant as a media figure or irrelevant as a conservative. What I say is irrelevant because he doesn't care, is what he might mean." That's being charitable. He's just calling me irrelevant because he doesn't care what I say or anybody else says. I'm irrelevant in terms of determining the future course of the state of California because that's his job. I could be charitable and take it that way, and since I'm one of good cheer and optimism and I basically think Arnold's a nice guy, I choose to take it that way.

I don't think that Arnold is referring to me as "irrelevant," as a has-been, as a passer-by, as a human being or what have you. I'm getting looks of doubt from Mr. Snerdley. You have a different interpretation of this? (interruption)

Well, come on! Snerdley says the question's wrong. Once you say, "Rush Limbaugh is saying you're not really Republican..." Well, that's true. To these people in the Drive-By Media, Republican and conservative equals the same thing. I have said he's not a conservative -- and, by the way, I want to remind all of you people in California, from the get-go I have told you he was not a conservative. He's a good guy, but he's not a conservative. He's a Republican.

There are a lot of Republicans who aren't conservatives. He's conservative on some things, although much fewer as time has gone on. But, folks, let me tell you why this is important. Governor Schwarzenegger ran for office as a conservative after the recall of the dry and dull Gray Davis. He was subject of many hit pieces in the Drive-By Media out there. The LA Times tried to destroy him with all these womanizing stories and so forth, and it actually drew people to him because he's a likable figure and has an image and a reputation forged on celluloid in Hollywood movies.

Now, here's the truth of the matter. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done the typical sellout move. He has sold out, and there are too many conservatives selling out these days. You can find 'em all over Washington, DC. I want to remind you that one of the problems I have is people ask me all the time, "Have you chosen a Republican presidential candidate?" I answer, "Not yet," and one of the things I'm concerned about is there's not one Reagan conservative in the bunch -- which is okay, but then don't tell me that there is.

Don't tell me that candidate A -- be it Giuliani or Mitt Romney or McCain or whoever else -- is the new Reagan. There isn't a Reagan out there. There was one Reagan. We can dream that there might be another. We can't be imprisoned by that, but conservatism is what it is. Conservatism is not subject to redefinition on the basis of presidential candidates who are 30% conservative, 40%, 50%, whatever percent conservative they are. That's not the new conservatism, at least it won't be for me -- and that is my point. They're good guys, they're Republicans, but they're not conservatives. I happen to be a conservative and I happen to be oriented toward conservative triumph, and conservatism won't triumph if we water it down and dilute it and say that people are 60% conservative or whatever, happen to be the definition of new conservative.

The Democrats would love that, and the Drive-By Media would love, if we conservatives begin to give up our principles and water it down on the basis, "Well, there isn't another Reagan," or on the basis that we can't win as conservatives.

That has been disproven over and over again by actual experience from Ronald Reagan forward. It is when Republicans do not campaign as conservatives that they lose. Witness November of 2006, witness any previous election where Republican conservatives failed to govern as conservatives or campaign in the future as conservatives. They paid the price. This is what Schwarzenegger is doing, and to me, it's worth pointing out. This is akin to what happened in 1976 with Ford versus Reagan. Reagan came along; he was a conservative. Gerald Ford represented the country club blue-blood wing of the Republican Party.

Of course everybody says Reagan had this 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not attack another Republican." It didn't exist when he was campaigning against Gerald Ford. It was a close race. Of course, Ford won at that convention. It was in Detroit. But it all set the stage for Reagan ending up out of that convention more popular than Ford was and set up the 1980 landslide over Jimmy Carter. So what happens when Schwarzenegger or other former conservatives sell out, is they attract a certain percentage of people who will vote for them because of party identification.

So he stays a Republican but starts talking like a liberal Democrat. Well, some Republicans obviously will stay with him on the basis of party loyalty, and then he can attract some liberal Democrats as well, because he's actually sounding and proposing things -- like, remember, this new tax increase that he proposed, he was going to call it loans. There's a little blog at the today. Who was the author of this? It could be Robert Salladay.

At any rate, it talks about Arnold referring to me as "irrelevant" today, and then the guy writes this: "In recent weeks, Limbaugh has complained that Schwarzenegger's views on global warming are 'no different than what Greenpeace would say.' When the governor called a proposed $12 billion levy on hospitals, doctors and health plans a 'loan, because it ... goes back to health care,' Limbaugh couldn't stop laughing on the air. He said Schwarzenegger's rhetorical spin was no different than former President Bill Clinton calling tax increases 'investments,'" and he points out here I've always been cautious about Schwarzenegger and his conservative credentials.

I know Arnold. I have smoked stogies with Arnold, and I like Arnold! He's an engaging, friendly, nice guy. But that's why I always said, "Folks, when you're in a position, as I am, a national commentator, the one thing you can't do is become friends with these politicians." When you become friends with them, you can't criticize your friends. When they become part of your traveling gang or your inner circle, they are insulated from criticism, and that's not going to help me and that's not what I'm here for, is to make friends with these people.

So this is a sellout, and I'm seeing way too many Republicans do it, and it's not good for conservatism -- which is where my loyalty lies, not with the Republican Party. It just happens to be the Republican Party is the home base of conservatism, but the entire party, of course, is not. I don't know what happened to Arnold.

He obviously didn't have the leadership skills to articulate conservative principles and win over the public as Reagan did, because if he had the leadership skills to articulate conservative principles and win over the public as Reagan did, then he would have stayed conservative, but he felt like he was unable to do that and so in order to get reelected and become popular and be liked and so forth, he broomed conservatism and became a liberal while calling himself a Republican.

Here at the Radio Equalizer, however, we agreed with callers who wondered why Rush was so polite in the face of Arnold's public slam. Even worse, wasn't Limbaugh actually making excuses for the governor's behavior?

Putting these questions directly to Limbaugh himself, your Radio Equalizer got this response:

BRIAN MALONEY: Rush, I heard the show today and read the transcript as well. I think the lingering question some of us have is this: why did you choose to be so polite in the face of Arnold's nastiness?

Do you really believe he needed to be quite so blunt in order to get the press off his back? Aren't there more diplomatic ways to handle this, considering 100% of his GOP base is probably made up of Rush fans?

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Hmmm... What was I supposed to do, start calling him names and attacking him?

I remember in mid- 1994, after the GOP won back the House. I called Clinton irrelevant a number of times. He actually said, in a press conference, "I am not irrelevant," no doubt responding to me without mentioning my name. But it bugged him, as evidenced by his replying to it.

I didn't hit Arnold personally because it is not my style and doing so is too easy. I opted to hit his policies and his betrayal of conservatism. I think that is hitting pretty hard.

All that having been said, you would be mistaken if you don't think I hit back hard. I hit back on his selling out his conservatism, his laughable attempt to to call tax increases for universal health care for kids in California as "loans," and said that "Arnold's wing of the Republican party is not the future of the Republican Party," just as Gerald Ford's wasn't in 1976.

I stood up for conservatism and said I would not allow someone who says they are conservative, but are not, to redefine it. I debunked Arnold's definition of compromise when I called him a sell out.

I have always resisted contrived rivalries as a programming technique. I despise them to this day when I see media hosts initiate them to get attention. That is NOT classy. I also don't interpret what Arnold said as nasty.

I truly believe he was saying I am "irrelevant" because I am not a Californian and because he is tired of having my name thrown at him each time he is on the Today show.

Look, Brian, there is too much of this host vs somebody crap going on out there simply as a programming technique or tool. I don't do it and never have. Besides, everyone takes shots at me. I don't have time to care about the small fry because that crowd is constantly baiting me, but Arnold is an elected governor and so it is a bit different.

But I just view this as the league I play in, where criticism and sniping are the norm. I can take it. Things people say about me which aren't true I ignore, let them bounce off.

And I am not irrelevant, as this episode clearly demonstrates.

BRIAN MALONEY: It's possible that some of us weren't listening carefully enough or missed some of the nuance behind your response. But it also seems this answer clarifies to a greater extent your real goal: fire back in a dignified manner.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Brevity is the soul of wit. You nailed it with "fire back in a dignified manner."

Thanks to Rush for the interview. In the meantime, regardless of how this ultimately plays out, one thing is clear: this has got to be good for the ratings!

UPDATE: has now posted the transcript of today's interview segment. Initially a polite and cordial exchange, the two became a bit testy toward the end, especially when Rush challenged Arnold over his recent habit of caving into the Democrat Party's demands.

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Total Sellout:, second Rush image: AP

20 March 2007

Talk Radio, Matt Drudge, Michelle Malkin


Once Again, It's Drudge Vs New Media

Why does Matt Drudge so despise the new media?

Confirming the worst fears of bloggers and other Web 2.0 rabblerousers, the increasingly isolated and paranoid Drudge Report kingpin is once again working to undermine those he sees as a threat.

Proving he has now become everything he had originally fought against, Matt used his syndicated talk radio show this week to blast Michelle Malkin and her Hot Air videoblogging venture:

Just ugh. The things I want to say right now. But we’ve got an FCC. The things I want to say. Maybe we’ll do, uh, uh, a commentary on the Internet like Michelle Malkin. Maybe I’ll stand in front of like a blue screen and hold a banana and start talking into the Internets.

(Sneering tone) ‘This is Matt Drudge reporting on Hot Air.’ Agggh. You know. It’s ridiculous. Looks like, you know, Captain Kangaroo time, Michelle. Get real.


We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be. The difference between the Internet, television and radio, magazines, newspapers is the two-way communication. The Net gives as much voice to a 13-year-old computer geek like me as to a CEO or speaker of the House. We all become equal.

Particularly over the past year or so, Drudge has become increasingly vocal about his opposition to these emerging websites. This is the first time he has actually denounced a blogger in public, however.

With very few exceptions, Drudge refuses to link to bloggers on his website, even when the content in question is of great significance.

At Hot Air, meanwhile, Malkin responded with this:

“Get real?” Got whine?

We at Hot Air certainly don’t have the resources to look like the slicksters at CNN or the dinosaur networks. We don’t have multi-million dollar sets, graphics, and wardrobes like Katie Couric. We put substance first over bells and whistles. (You would think someone with a website design circa 1980 might appreciate our priorities.)

That said, folks in the broadcast industry have had nice words about our production values and I’m proud of what our team has accomplished in less than a year. In fact, we’ve had broadcast network engineers and producers ask us how we do it.


What’s it to you, Matt, if we bring our little “banana” microphones and cameras to Baghdad or CPAC or the Doolittle Raiders reunion or the local illegal alien hangout or the Gathering of Eagles (which barely rated a blip on the almighty Drudge radar screen)? What’s it to you if authors find it worth their time to sit down with us for Internet broadcast interviews? Why does it bother you so?

What’s it to you, Matt, if my fellow hosts and I spend our time standing in front of a green screen in our basement studio so we can practice the very kind of Internet citizen journalism you once preached yourself?

Remember when Matt was a hard- working and fearless investigator who regularly broke major news stories? That was a long time ago. Now, Drudge himself has confirmed he's a card- carrying member of the old- line mainstream media.

Hey Matt, remember the way they treated you? Why become one of them?

And given this personal transformation, how relevant is Drudge to talk radio today? Is it time to rethink the syndicated weekend show? Are his listeners really tuning in to hear personal attacks against those he sees as a threat to his business?

Will you support the Radio Equalizer?

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