Medved's Rush-Bashing Seen As Career Salvage Ploy
Medved Now Openly Attacking Rush By Name
Apparently recognizing the publicity value of his recent shark- jumping exercise, talker Michael Medved has upped the ante, moving into the realm of outright Rush- bashing.
With the Salem host now openly attacking the very medium that has supported him for a number of years, listeners are baffled by his left turn, while industry insiders quickly recognize the attention- seeking agenda at work.
On MSNBC yesterday with Tucker Carlson, Medved called Rush a "liberal":
TUCKER CARLSON: Why exactly do you think -- let's put our shrink's hats on here -- why do [conservative radio talk show hosts] hate McCain so much?
MICHAEL MEDVED: Well they're acting like liberals, and I know that's a terrible thing to say about people I like and respect -- I have great respect for Rush. But he's acting like a liberal on this. Liberals allow personality and emotion and feelings to take precedence over issues, substance and policy. And that's what they're doing here. Because if you actually look at the three essential elements of the Reagan coalition: security, economics and social issues -- McCain is solid.
He is very conservative. He is a traditional Reagan Republican, and there is no policy reason, there is no issues reason, for people to be so hostile to him and to call him all these names and to bang on him day after day after day. I actually believe that talk radio is hurting itself more than they're hurting Senator McCain.
[. . .]
MEDVED: And the truth of the matter is, what I think this is showing is that talk radio may be losing some of its influence, and we deserve to, unless we open up at least to some alternate ideas and give a little bit more balanced perspective.
KXMB-TV's Say Anything blog has much more here.
To baffled listeners wondering how Medved could have suddenly taken such a left turn, the truth is that after years of misleading the public, he's finally come out of the closet and revealed his true political sentiments. How is opposing McCain "liberal"?
For those paying close attention to Medved's career, this shouldn't come as a complete surprise. In fact, we wrote about this in October 2006, after a book author sat in on his program and was astounded to learn of Michael's strong liberal tendencies.
Also leading to the sudden shift is the precarious situation surrounding his syndicator, Salem Radio Network. By stubbornly clinging to a lineup partly rejected by the listening public, Salem's own offerings have struggled to generate ratings. Its Arbitron results are sometimes lower than Air America's. A handful of its outlets do better by running shows distributed by other firms.
Medved is heard almost entirely on Salem stations, with the exception of KTTH / Seattle, his home base. Particularly ominous for Salem is that it recently dumped its Boston outlet, WTTT-AM, replacing it with Spanish religious programming. Is this a sign of things to come?
While Michael's stunt may have indeed resulted in a much- needed burst of publicity for his faded career, the long- term hit to his credibility may be too much to overcome. Because listeners know it was Rush himself that created Medved's radio career out of thin air, he comes across as an ungrateful back- stabber.
Beyond Medved's sinking credibility, it's time for Salem to take a long and hard look at why most of its own conservative programming isn't succeeding in the marketplace.
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