The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 February 2008

Radio Equalizer Takes Heat Over Talk Radio Assessment


Libs, Moderates Bully Conservative Talk Radio Supporters

Convinced they have somehow wiped out conservative talk radio's future, liberals and moderate McCain supporters have taken to bullying anyone who says otherwise. And as could be expected, your Radio Equalizer is high on the target list, especially after yesterday's piece declaring talk the election's true winner.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is also busy writing talk radio's epitaph, turning to the usual suspects in order to make their case.

Even more annoying, some conservative bloggers are not coming to its defense, still under the delusional notion it's a competing medium.

While at least one libtalker has denounced yours truly on the air, "progressive" bloggers at Think Progress have also taken this site to task over yesterday's assertions:

Maloney is right that quite a few media stories have covered hate radio’s beef against McCain. But that’s because the media are always interested in the tragic demise of once powerful figures.

There’s no doubt that hate radio flourished under the Bush administration. Talkers have been invited to exclusive gatherings with President Bush and granted coveted interviews with high-ranking officials. Several people, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), noted the oversized role hate radio played in killing a comprehensive immigration bill last year.

But as the primary results have so far shown, hate radio may be on the decline. The majority of Republicans yesterday turned out and voted for McCain and Huckabee, rejecting the candidate chosen by the radical right and the xenophobic hype on immigration. A look at what the media pundits have been saying about the state of hate radio: [...]

First, let's move beyond the "hate radio" nonsense, as that is almost exclusively the domain of libtalk these days. For examples, how about Mike Malloy's violent threats against Dana Perino and Matt Drudge? Or Air America's Lionel cheering on the tiger maulings in San Francisco?

That's just the tip of "progressive" talk's iceberg. Think Progress won't acknowledge these, even though we have them on tape.

Second, your Radio Equalizer's original point stands on its own: talk radio can only benefit from the massive amount of attention it has received in recent weeks and months. Audience levels could only be going through the roof right now and that will pump up ratings and revenue.

And on the political side of the equation, it's indisputable that the mainstream media has been completely fixated with talk radio's thoughts on the elections. If talk radio had truly lost influence, they would ignore it.

So far, the mainstream media's reaction to Super Tuesday has been predictable, to say the least. They have it down to a formula: provide no facts to back up the assertions, quote from liberal sources and add the obligatory quotes from advertorial trade publisher Michael Harrison. In today's Boston Globe, all of those ingredients are present:

For weeks leading up to Super Tuesday, some of the best-known conservative radio hosts in the nation and region filled the airwaves with a constant message: Don't vote for John McCain. Angered by his record on tax cuts and immigration and convinced that he lacked conservative credentials, they kept up a constant drumbeat for Mitt Romney.

Across much of the nation Tuesday, Republican primary voters ignored that advice, solidifying McCain's status as the GOP front-runner. And yesterday, some on the left were quick to declare victory. "Super Tuesday's Biggest Loser: Rush Limbaugh" blared a headline on the liberal, referring to the nation's most popular conservative radio host.

Michael Harrison, publisher of the talk radio trade magazine Talkers, said he has been deluged with calls from reporters, asking if Limbaugh has lost his influence.

Harrison's take: No. Because Limbaugh, he says, probably did not expect to sway the vote.

"Talk radio's job is not to get people elected," Harrison said. "Talk radio's job is to seem involved in the electoral process."

Harrison is nearly always quoted in these stories because he's willing to give the mainstream media what it wants to hear. While this site is open about its partisan leanings, his publication will never admit to its obvious advertorial and partisan bias.

Take a look at this al-Reuters story, how can this kind of publicity possibly harm talk radio?

U.S. talk show hosts voice alarm at McCain's rise

(Adds comment from Sean Hannity, paragraphs 13-14)

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Right-wing radio hosts who are influential in U.S. politics expressed alarm on Wednesday at the lead established by Sen. John McCain in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate.

Leading host Rush Limbaugh warned that McCain spelled danger for the party on ideological grounds, and callers to his show deplored his "liberal" views, saying he lacks the bedrock convictions of former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican hero.

Their fears present a stiff challenge to McCain's efforts to unify Republicans along conservative lines.

The Arizona senator won nine coast-to-coast primary races in states on "Super Tuesday" to become the most likely candidate to secure the party's nomination ahead of November's election to succeed U.S. President George W. Bush.

"We are trying to stop the wanton destruction of the party, the wanton dilution of the party," said Limbaugh, whose daily show is syndicated on radio stations across the country.

"We are sick and tired of how the people who seem to be triumphing in our party are precisely the people who seem to be selling this party out in terms of its ideology," said Limbaugh, who criticized McCain for reaching out to Democrats.

Conservatives say they disagree with McCain on issues including taxes, free political speech, immigration and the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons.

Conversely, how is it a good thing that relatively little attention has been paid to libtalkers during this election cycle? Does that mean they are in better shape going forward? In the media and entertainment business, there's nothing worse than being ignored.

But it isn't just the left fueling conservative talk's fortunes, the angry McCainiac wing of the GOP is doing a great job, especially with rants like this one:

The Conservative Hissy Fit

Posted Feb 7th 2008 8:06AM by Dinesh D'Souza


Equally over-the-top are Rush Limbaugh's attacks on McCain. Limbaugh too has intimated that McCain as president would be worse than Hillary. What did we as conservatives do to deserve such spokesmen? Several years ago Al Franken described Limbaugh as a "big fat idiot." Rush isn't big and fat anymore, and he certainly is not an idiot. But he is an egomaniac. And he has grown accustomed to conservative bigwigs worshiping at the Shrine of Rush.

McCain's big offense seems to be that he hasn't paid his obeisance. I cannot think of any other explanation for why Limbaugh is so vehement against him. Consider that Rudy Giuliani got much more respectful treatment from Limbaugh, and Giuliani is a self-professed social liberal who supports abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay rights.

Yet even McCain himself finds talk radio useful, so much so that part of his website is dedicated to motivating supporters to call talk shows.

Instead of being wrong yesterday, today's stories only help to make your Radio Equalizer's case that talk radio has emerged as this election year's biggest winner.

If conservative talk no longer counts, then we can assume Media Matters, Think Progress and other lefty "watchdog" sites can go ahead and shut down, right? We won't hold our breath.

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  • You can keep telling yourself all that Brian but clearly you are getting defensive, and for good reason. The truth stings more than a little.

    I'm a pretty typical conservative - 61yrs old, veteran, living in the political cesspool of the SF Bay Area, right next door to Marines-hating Berserkely.

    For God's sake Barbara Lee is my rep - how do you think that makes me feel?

    I've also listened to Rush for 15 or so years, more so now that I'm retired and have the time to tune into him, Prager, Medved, Hewitt et al. I'm not exactly a dittohead but have always considered Rush a great spokesman for the party, the conservative movement and most important, for our country.

    What he and the other hysterical talk show hosts have done over the past few weeks is beyond belief and beyond the pale. He is ready to turn this country over to the very liberals he has railed against for two decades. Say goodbye to the Supreme Court, the WOT, Israel, tax cuts - on and on and on - just to feed his massive ego. DeSouza is absolutely right and I have to tell you the scales have been removed from my eyes.

    Not that my puny voice means anything in the larger universe of the talk show audience but unless and until Rush finds away to back away from this unjustified McCain hatred and actually endorses him, I'll not be listening. Ever.

    Prager is fine, Medved's the best, Hugh has graciously come into the fold.

    Ann Coulter is simply beyond description but at least she doesn't have a show so I can burn all her books and never look at her traitorous hate-filled face again. Ugly, ugly, ugly and I used to love her.

    Forget about what these ego-maniacs are doing to our party - our COUNTRY is being stabbed in the back by these pathetic purists willing to give it all to the liberal lunatics.

    Damn, I trusted these people all these years to defend our country in the face of liberal treachery and all you can say in their defense is it's 'good for the ratings'.

    Most McCain critics are going to come around, his speech today was a gracious attempt to reach out and make amends and move forward. If Rush, Hannity, the not-so-great-one Levin and others of that ilk don't, then I hope they leave the party. Better yet leave the country they betray with their Hillary-loving rationalizations.

    Not all is negative, however - glad to see the Rhodes piece. This is what I enjoyed about your site. I guess I'll just have to be very selective about what I read here from now on.

    By Anonymous Mike S, at 08 February, 2008 00:28  

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