Barr said she is so committed to repeating the events of 1968 that she's even willing to put up her own money to ensure it comes to pass.
Will Denver's reporters erupt with the same level of outrage that has been reserved for Rush over the past week? Will Senator Salazar (D-CO) issue an additional "reprimand" request against Air America Radio, as he did with Clear Channel last week? Will Denver TV stations take polls to gauge public response?
BARR (28 April 2008 Hour Two Segment Two): But you know what, I think I am old and I’m okay with being a baby boomer being older and everything like that. 'Cause I think one really good thing about it, we were just talking about it, is that I am over the BS. And I just want to identify solutions and then get 'em done. And I want to ah you know the people who are listening, I want to remind them or encourage them or wake them up to say you know what, you have so much more power then you think you have.
I mean I think somebody’s profiting by keeping us all divided and making us feel like oh my God we don’t even know what to believe what we’re reading what’s true. But you know, we have a lot of power and there is a Democratic Convention in Denver in just a short time and we should a bunch of us go there and repeat the Democratic Convention from Chicago. Like, let’s just cause a bunch of trouble. Let's wrest back our government from what, six or seven you know guys like McCain and Romney and Bush from the top. Let’s just go take it. It’s ours. Nobody gives it to you, you just go take it. Let’s meet in Denver and let’s do it.
BARR: Also try talking to other people plain and simple. Try like, they got they have us so isolated, that it’s us and our viewing screen like 1984. I mean talk to other living people because they all have the very same concerns as you do.
And then let’s get on a bus, whatever let’s meet up in Denver. I mean seriously, I’m willing to do it. I’ll even put some of my own money into it because I’m like committed. I see how it easy it is for ah the woman in particularly of my generation to go take it all. Take it all, it’s ours anyway.
And here's a clip of the exchange, which features both excepts transcribed above:
How will the media deal with this new development? Will they address Barr's comments or pretend this didn't simply happen?
As for Rosie, will she join the fellow- travelling radicals behind Recreate '68?
Imus Drops, Spin Machine Activated, Rush & Sean Strong
While new ratings figures show Don Imus dragging down WABC/ New York's overall performance, the media spin machine has been activated in an attempt to contain the damage.
Meanwhile, they'd rather not talk about the comparative strength of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on the very same station.
Since his high- profile move to WABC from WFAN after the infamous "nappy-headed hos" flap of 2007, the I-Man has underperformed his predecessors by 17% overall and 8% in the key 25-54 listener demographic.
His morning show is now ranked a whopping eighteenth overall in the competitive New York City market, hardly enough to justify his megadeal with financially- struggling Citadel - ABC Radio. In the 25-54 demo, he's in twentieth place.
The truth couldn't be clearer: WABC was better off with Curtis & Kuby, while WFAN should be thrilled to see its post- Imus programming outperform the aging crustmeister.
At the same time, WABC's Rush Limbaugh turned in a strong 3.5 share (25-54) against Don's 2.2. Sean Hannity also topped Imus with a 2.8.
WABC-AM's Imus in the Morning has a 1.5 audience share among persons aged 25 to 54, a 17% drop from the same time slot last year.
By: Matthew Flamm
Don Imus may have a job, but he’s not exactly setting the world on fire.
The latest iteration of Imus in the Morning, which debuted on WABC-AM in December, was ranked 20th among persons aged 25 to 54, according to the winter survey from Arbitron.
The show’s 1.5 share of that audience represented a 17% drop from last year, when Curtis & Kuby held the morning slot and were tied for 18th place in the demo.
Among men 25 to 54 years old, Mr. Imus’s show ranked 18th—down from 16th a year ago—with a 2.2 share, which was 8% below Curtis & Kuby’s number.
He’s also trailing his numbers from last year when he was heard on all-sports WFAN-AM. The shock jock left the CBS Radio-owned station following an uproar over comments he made about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
Newcomer Boomer & Carton, which debuted in September on WFAN, surged to fifth place among men 25 to 54 years old, the station’s target audience. A year ago, Mr. Imus’ morning drive show was in 11th place.
WFAN’s new show, hosted by football great Boomer Esiason and former Jersey shock jock Craig Carton, garnered a 4.3 share in the demo, up 48% from the same period last year. The Arbitron winter survey runs from January 10 to April 2.
A 48% gain is "slightly better" than Imus's WFAN results? Who are we kidding?
Your Radio Equalizer is left with two questions: why aren't we hearing about Limbaugh and Hannity's strong results? And why is the New York Daily News so inclined to suck up to Citadel- ABC management? What do they have to gain from propping up Don Imus?
Since we last checked in on the sad saga of indicted libtalker Bernie Ward, the former KGO personality has lost key Internet supporters and has seen the station back away from talk of rehiring him, instead using substitute hosts probably willing to kill in order to get his evening time slot.
Meanwhile, he's still facing years behind bars if convicted on federal charges of possessing and distributing child pornography. Your Radio Equalizer first broke this story here back in December.
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) ― Former radio talk show host Bernie Ward has asked a federal trial judge in San Francisco to allow him to present a First Amendment defense to charges of receiving and distributing child pornography on his computer.
Ward filed a motion earlier this month asking U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to allow him to argue he had "a legitimate, journalistic purpose" for his actions because he was doing research for a book.
Ward, the author of several previous books and articles, says in the court filing that he came into possession of the illegal photographs while doing research for a new book. Defense attorney Doron Weinberg has previously said the book was about hypocrisy.
Ward contends he should be allowed to argue the research was protected by the constitutional First Amendment right to free speech.
Weinberg wrote, "If given the chance at trial, Mr. Ward will offer proof that he received and distributed the contraband exclusively for the purpose of furthering his research, and that he intended to destroy the material upon completion of his journalistic enterprise."
Prosecutors from the U.S. Justice Department's child exploitation and obscenity section opposed the motion in a response filed on Thursday.
The prosecutors wrote, "The law provides no First Amendment-based license to journalists to violate laws."
The federal lawyers argued that allowing Ward to present a free-speech defense "would invite every defendant charged with child pornography crimes to suddenly become a legitimate researcher educating the masses via their Web blog."
Ward's current mess is one of his own making: he's given up opportunities to accept a reduced prison term that could have put this behind him far more painlessly.
Pushing forward with this unlikely strategy shows he's either incredibly stubborn or desperate for any sort of remotely plausible defense. Does he really believe our legal system will allow the First Amendment to reward bad behavior, including the victimization of children?
But Rush was actually pointing to threats made by extreme- left groups, including "Recreate '68", which seeks to repeat the historic events of the 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago. Most antique media reports are failing to mention this.
From the Denver Post (disclosure: your Radio Equalizer worked for KOA Director Kris Olinger at KIRO/ Seattle):
"As I read Mr. Limbaugh's comments about riots at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, they appear to me to be a clear exhortation that those riots are exactly what he wants to happen," said Salazar. "For that kind of incendiary comment, I ask Clear Channel to reprimand Mr. Limbaugh."
Kris Olinger, director of AM programming for Clear Channel Denver, said that Limbaugh is syndicated by Premiere Radio Network , the syndication arm of Clear Channel.
"We passed the letter along to Premiere," said Olinger. "They obviously are going to take Senator Salazar's comments and consider them."
But Olinger added that from a local Clear Channel viewpoint, "we believe Rush is not calling for riots in Denver."
Olinger said she was not surprised to receive a letter from a U.S. Senator over Limbaugh's comments.
"We certainly expected strong reaction from the leadership," said Olinger. "No, we weren't surprised."
She added that she didn't believe Salazar has heard or read the full transcript of Limbaugh's comments.
She said the conservative talk-show host again talked about it today on his show.
Limbaugh reiterated he is not calling for riots, she said. Rather, he said that if the extreme left of the Democratic party creates riots and unrest in Denver during the convention, it will be bad for the Democrats and good for the Republicans, Olinger said.
Does anyone think Harry Reid would be stupid enough to repeat his ill- fated denunciation of Limbaugh from the Senate floor?
Meanwhile, both Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews of ratings- challenged MSNBC attempted to go to town with the idea that Rush was looking to start a riot in Denver, twisting and taking words out of context as needed for maximum propaganda purposes:
Friday April 25, 2008
RUSH TO RIOT?
Limbaugh Loses It
KEITH OLBERMANN: Dumb man yells fire in crowded theater. Comedian Rush Limbaugh also denies he ever said it, ever urged that people riot during the Democratic convention in Denver this August.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Burning cars, protests, fires, literal riots and all of that. That's the objective here.
OLBERMANN: Could Limbaugh be prosecuted for incitement to riot?
[the "also" refers to previous story on McCain denying something he said about New Orleans]
on screen: RUSH WANTS RIOTS
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rush would love to see a riot. It may come as little surprise, radio host Rush Limbaugh is daylight dreaming of a fight at the Democratic National Convention this August in Denver. Riots, he said, would ensure the country turns off the Democrats. Here he is.
AUDIO OF LIMBAUGH: We need as many ignorant Americans to wake up and find out exactly who the modern day Democrat Party is as dominated by the far left if this country. We need that to be seen. Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming. [to I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas melody:] I'm dreaming of a riot in Denver.
MATTHEWS: I love that, I'm dreaming of a wild August in Denver. Rush Limbaugh: what a romantic.
Though it's not a surprise to see his enemies take advantage of what they believe is an opportunity to harm El Rushbo, one would have expected a new strategy. If "Phony Soldiers" didn't bring down Limbaugh, why would this?
Talk Show Host Wants America To See Actions Of 'Far Left'
DENVER -- Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments calling for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.
He said the riots would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens.
"Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don't elect Democrats," Limbaugh said during Wednesday's radio broadcast. He then went on to say that's the best thing that could happen to the country.
Limbaugh cited Al Sharpton, saying the Barack Obama supporter threatened to superdelegates that "there's going to be trouble" if the presidency is taken from Obama.
Several callers called in to the radio show to denounce Limbaugh's comments, when he later stated, "I am not inspiring or inciting riots, I am dreaming of riots in Denver."
Limbaugh said with massive riots in Denver, which he called "Operation Chaos," the people on the far left would look bad.
"There won't be riots at our convention," Limbaugh said of the Republican National Convention. "We don't riot. We don't burn our cars. We don't burn down our houses. We don't kill our children. We don't do half the things the American left does."
RUSH: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. This is Brian. Great to have you here, sir.
CALLER: Yes, thank you. I was calling to comment on -- on -- on first of all the gentleman that had called in earlier about your ego. I am a Republican, and I'm a very conservative Republican. However, I have to agree a little bit, Rush, that -- from a comment that you made a little while ago, that -- I do believe your ego is run away with you slightly.
RUSH: Well, first off, it was an e-mail. The guy didn't call actually, I read an e-mail from him that my ego was out of control.
CALLER: Understood. Well, I believe in ego. I believe it's a necessary for your occupation. I believe it's the engine that, you know, that needs to be fed to make you good at what you do. I'm in sales, and I believe that for myself. But your comment about wanting your Operation Chaos to go all the way, like back to 1968 with riots in the streets, turned over burning cars, and I believe you even said "literally."
RUSH: I did say literal riots. Al Sharpton has promised them!
CALLER: But you said, "That's what we want." That's not good for anybody, and hopefully you really don't want that, and most of us don't. I believe in your Operation Chaos. It showed great ingenuity, and it was and is a fantastic idea. However, riots and burning cars would make all Americans look bad. I believe our whole premise --
RUSH: To who? To who would it make all Americans look bad?
CALLER: To the world.
RUSH: Oh, screw it! Screw the world! You know, I can't --
CALLER: I think there's that ego again. (laughing)
RUSH: It will make...? Do you really think we ought to govern ourselves on the basis of what the world thinks of us?
CALLER: I believe that we need -- that our whole premise on working hard for our side is to bring all Americans together, Democrats, Republicans, and independents even, under one common goal that our forefathers designed for us.
RUSH: That's what we're trying to do. You don't bring them together. We don't bring people together. That's not how this country works. We defeat our political adversaries so that they're in the minority.
CALLER: I believe that, with -- with passion. But then also, I mean our -- our whole premise was our Constitution for our safety, you know, for our children's safety. And what would that show by riots and burning cars no matter what side did that? I just think, Rush, that that comment was a little out of line and maybe just not properly thought through. Because I don't believe that way, and I don't believe that most of us want that. Because people get hurt in those situations -- and we believe that our side as Republicans, we can do it better than the rest.
RUSH: As we would be demonstrating because there won't be riots at our convention.
CALLER: Actually they would be demonstrating as Americans --
RUSH: We don't riot. CALLER: -- that they're more out of control.
RUSH: We don't burn our cars. We don't burn down our houses. We don't kill our children. We don't do half the things the American left does. We need the American left -- and this is another great thing about Operation Chaos; nothing to do with my ego. We need as many ignorant Americans to wake up and find out exactly who the modern-day Democrat Party is as dominated by the far left in this country. We need that to be seen. Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming. (singing to the tune of White Christmas) "I'm dreaming of riots in Denver." Remember 1968? And which party did that? It was the radicals in that party, the anti-war radicals, the same bunch of clowns that are running around defining the Democrat Party today. What the world thinks of us? There was an analogy just this week about somebody in the world. I'm drawing a mental blank about this. But the fact is that the Democrat Party has members in it that have already said, "There will be riots," or something to that effect. Al Sharpton.
There you have it- was Rush really advocating violence, or making a point about the difference between Democrats and Republicans?
Of course, Rush knows damn well the mainstream media will misinterpret his words and probably went into this monologue expecting this outcome. Haven't we been through this enough to see it coming a mile away?
Limbaugh downplays ''dreaming of riots in Denver'' comment
DENVER (AP) Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh downplayed his ''dreaming of riots in Denver'' statement, saying Thursday that he wasn't calling for riots and was referring to warnings of trouble if superdelegates decide the nomination at the Democratic National Convention.
Limbaugh's comments on his syndicated show Wednesday prompted Mayor John Hickenlooper to say: ''Anyone who would call for riots in an American city has clearly lost their bearings.''
Limbaugh made his comment Wednesday to the tune of the holiday song, ''White Christmas,'' and said riots during the convention would ensure Democrats don't get elected.
Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer with the protest group Re-create 68, mimicked a comment by state Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, by saying: ''We don't need another 5,000 illiterate Limbaugh listeners coming to Colorado.''
Limbaugh's Operation Chaos Plays Role In Pennsylvania Election Results
Operation Chaos Affects PA Vote
After weeks of on-air mischief by Rush Limbaugh, it appears his listeners really did come through for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, clearly boosting her margin over Barack Obama. The resulting 10-point win over the Illinois senator has reshaped the Democrat primary, with Hillary now looking stronger than she has in ages.
According to news reports, a large number of newly registered Democrats affected the outcome, though networks seem to disagree on whether that helped Obama or Clinton.
There are 5,400 more registered Democrats in Westmoreland County this election day than there were in the November general election.
Both campaigns for Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have spent a lot of time and money seeking out Democrats and so far, the turnout has been huge.
"I voted for Obama," said Democratic voter Angela Rullo. "I think he's going to make a difference. I hope."
"I chose Hillary. I think she has more experience, more access to government," said voter Sara Hayden.
But not everybody registered so their favorite Democrat would win. By some estimates, hundreds of Republicans switched parties to keep the feud going between Clinton and Obama.
Republican Dave Rotigel is one of them. While voting on Tuesday, Rotigel wore a shirt that read, "Operation Chaos," which was inspired by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
"Now that Hillary is running, I decided to register Democrat so I could vote for the woman," said Rotigel, who said he does not like Clinton. "We need to keep this Democrat family feud going as long as we can. Hopefully, it will go to the convention floor and destroy the Democratic Party for five decades."
One out of 10 voters said they'd changed their party registrations so they could vote in the primary, according to exit polls. They broke for Obama by a margin of nearly 2-1.
Yet late-deciding voters, including those who'd long been registered Democrats, broke heavily for Clinton.
One possible explanation was the flood of controversial news about Obama in recent weeks, as well as his defensive performance in a debate last week.
Another possible ingredient in the mix was mischief: Popular conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for weeks urged his loyal listeners to register as Democrats to vote for Clinton and prolong an increasingly harsh battle that might benefit the Republicans.
The Pennsylvania vote could well do that, even if it remains a daunting challenge for Clinton to win the nomination.
And additional evidence of Rush's impact can be found here, here and here.
It isn't just El Rushbo who will benefit from Hillary's decisive victory, however: radio and cable talkers across the country now have a resurgent Clinton and less- stable Obama to provide entertaining fodder for many more weeks to come.
A victory by Obama in Pennsylvania would have sealed the deal for Barack and taken the presidential election off of talk radio's front- burner for the time being. And even if Hillary had won by a mere slim margin, her campaign would have ceased to exist.
As a result, there are thousands of presenters and pundits who should be thanking talk's titan for cooking up Operation Chaos, as the Pennsylvania outcome had Limbaugh's fingerprints all over it.
That haslefties onthe Internetseeing red, while conservatives have expressed surprise that Snow would leave behind his longtime association with the FOX News Channel for what could be a hostile newsroom environment.
Just 10 days ago, your Radio Equalizer saw Snow at a political event in Washington and asked him about his future broadcast plans. He said that he expected to fill in for Bill O'Reilly a number of times in the coming months, but indicated nothing regarding moving to CNN.
Despite joining CNN today, Tony Snow said he still has affection for his former colleagues at Fox News, where he worked prior to his stint as President Bush's press secretary
"Make no mistake, I love the folks at Fox," Snow told me this afternoon, by phone from Spokane, Washington.
"Everybody is going to try and create a Fox and CNN narrative out of this," said Snow, who also mentioned that he "love[s]" Fox News chief Roger Ailes and would "walk over broken glass" for Bill O'Reilly.
It's not out of the ordinary to bring up the Fox/CNN rivalry, given that Fox News, from its launch just over a decade ago, has been battling the cable news network. A caustic relationship, Ailes has even posed the question of why CNN hates America.
But even with the move to CNN, Snow maintains at least one Fox affiliation: He will continue hosting O'Reilly's radio show on Fridays.
The reason Tony can continue to fill in for O'Reilly on the radio is because The Radio Factor is syndicated by Westwood One and unaffiliated with the FOX News Channel. Politico is incorrect on that point.
Apparently, Snow did some work at CNN many years ago. But your Radio Equalizer believes the partisan environment there today could make his job more difficult than he may expect. It probably won't take him long to realize he isn't in Kansas anymore.
Scarborough's Abrupt Segment Exit Has Internet Buzzing
Was Libtalker's Slimy Trick Worth Abrupt Exit?
When two cable talk maniacs clash on a network nobody watches, does it matter?
Occasionally, the answer is yes, as is the case with a disturbing recent exchange between "Morning Joe" Scarborough and Air America's Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. It has had the 'Net buzzingfor several days.
After Maddow attempted to tie John McCain's campaign to "public sex" between men in bathrooms, Joe lost his cool, removing his mic and exiting the segment early. Should Scarborough have allowed her to to upset him so visibly?
We've long found Joe obnoxious, with ties to the other side that seem a bit too cozy for a supposed conservative. But Maddow's own increasing cable exposure may be leading to a swelling ego and emerging sense of overconfidence.
Memo to Rachel: nobody listens to Air America and MSNBC's ratings are still anemic. Try keeping your feet on the ground.
That said, the guilty party here is clearly Maddow, who once again employs a style she's been honing for some time: extreme rhetoric delivered in a flat, NPR- like manner. It's quite clear she's intentionally developed this technique while watching Randi Rhodes struggle to gain credibility.
But it's still little more than a cheap debate trick, one that her conservative counterparts should have recognized by now. That's where Scarborough blew it: Rachel's trickery is not worth that kind of response.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, “MORNING JOE” MSNBC: But Harold, if you ran for governor of Texas or ran for Senate again, people in Tennessee know you. If there‘s a questionable association, they go, we know Harold Ford, maybe he hung out with a weird guy one summer when he was younger. Whereas if somebody new runs for that Tennessee seat and nobody knows him, then you start saying, OK, who is this person? Who do they hang out with? Who do they associate with?
Barack Obama can‘t be shocked. He was in Washington for one year before he decided to run for president of the United States. People don‘t know him. They know John McCain. They know Hillary Clinton. They don‘t know him. So who he associates himself with is that much more important to voters.
FORD: That‘s why Jeremiah Wright has been such a big issue as well. Joe makes a good point. But I do think the caller‘s question dealt with how far back—how do we know—how long can you punish a candidate or someone running for office for a friendship? At some level, I just think voters are able to get it. Jeremiah Wright will pay bigger than this --- the Weather guy we talked about last night.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Associates and friendships become an issue when political opponents decide to make them an issue. We talked about this before on the show. The Jeremiah Wright...
MADDOW: Joe, let me make my point and then you can dismiss me. Let me make my point first. Jeremiah Wright as a pastor for Barack Obama is an issue. The political associations that John McCain has made with right wing pastors have not been an issue. The issue that has been made about who‘s giving money to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because their opponents have decided to go after them on that. For example, John McCain had this incredibly controversial relationship with a Florida campaign co-chair, who was caught in a bathroom offering money to a police officer to do something that we can all imagine in a bathroom. Nobody is going to John McCain and saying he was your Florida campaign co-chair; what do you think about men doing that in bathrooms? What do you think about entrapment from police officers? What do you think about public sex?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That‘s what a general election is for.
MADDOW: But nobody‘s brought that up to John McCain at this point, and it‘s a decision made by political opponents. It‘s not something that happens organically because of how long you‘ve been around the block.
GREGORY: Let me get a break in before I run out of time. You can play with the panel every night. Don‘t forget to call us or email us. Predictions from the panel are coming up next.
GREGORY: We‘re back. It‘s prediction time. Time for our panelists to peer into the crystal ball and tell us something that they see. Rachel, Harold, John and Joe still with us. Joe, what are you seeing tonight?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I think I may blow all my time on the predictions to respond to Rachel. I don‘t engage in crossfire type debates and certainly I don‘t want to talk about what people do in bathrooms. I do want to say though that anybody—and you can ask Harold Ford. You can ask anybody that‘s ever run for political office, that the thing you want to do is define your opponent.
You define opponents that people don‘t know more easily than defining opponents that have been in public service for a quarter of a century. It was the only point I was trying to make. And again I don‘t do cross-fire, so if we want to yell back and forth, then Rachel will have to find somebody else.
MADDOW: Joe, I wasn‘t trying to yell back and forth with you. I was starting to make my point and you cut me off before I started my first sentence. You waited for me to start. I started and you jumped in.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t mean to be condescending, but I can say that anybody that‘s ever run for political office before knows that there‘s a big difference between John McCain and defining him, who has been in public service for 25 years, and defining Barack Obama who was in Washington, D.C. for one year before he decided to run for president.
Note that near the end, we can hear Scarborough removing his microphone and walking off the set before the segment's completion.
While it's tempting to pick on "Morning Joe" for allowing Maddow to get the better of him, your Radio Equalizer believes instead this concern should be extended to every conservative who appears on a cable talk show. How well do you know your opponents? Are you familiar with their tricks?
Better- prepared guests are likely to see these sneak attacks coming a mile away, eliminating future walk-offs and any resulting negative fallout.
Mugabe Under Pressure, Will US Provide Knockout Punch?
As Americans, we're lucky enough to live in a country where one can easily avoid keeping up with current events, as prosperity and freedom generally reign supreme.
In Zimbabwe, however, life under a brutally oppressive regime has residents starving for political news coverage, not to mention food. Honest assessments of the country's corrupt government and broken economy command a special premium.
That's why we've been calling attention to the commendable efforts of the staff of SW Radio Africa, who have been working overtime to provide updates to those unfortunate enough to live under Robert Mugabe's tyrannical rule.
From their base in the UK, SW Radio's presenters broadcast via shortwave and provide Internet news updates. Though it isn't easy to get information past Mugabe's thugs, who use jamming devices and physical intimidation, they're doing what they can.
Since we last wrote about the situation, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have lost the election, mostly because his cronies were too lazy to finish stuffing the ballot boxes. That left the opposition MDC Party and its heroic leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the victor.
But rather than give up power, which was briefly considered, the octogenarian dictator has simply refused to release the results of the election. And the military leaders who prop up his sick regime have gone on a rampage, attacking opposition supporters at will.
Now, there is renewed global pressure on Mbeki by world leaders who are increasingly fed-up with the ANC's position on the crisis next door. While the US is part of that effort, is our government pushing hard enough to ensure Mugabe's regime is finally smashed to bits?
While Zimbabwe's struggle for survival generates daily headlines in the UK, the American media has been behind the curve, stepping up coverage only quite recently. Meanwhile, talk radio and the blogosphere could do a great deal more to raise awareness of this battle against evil in Africa.
If we truly believe in freedom and prosperity for all, why not call attention to this tyrant and the suffering he is forcing millions of people to endure?
Several times this week, Sharpton has dropped hints during his radio talk show that he intends to confront FOX News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, at one point using the word "haunt" to describe his planned stunt.
So what can those in attendance at the Washington Hilton expect tonight? Will he dance on the FOX tables, unfurl a banner, or merely start an argument that the mainstream media can quickly blame on Bill O'Reilly?
Keep in mind, Sharpton wrote the book on public stunts, so expect fireworks.
From his own words:
SHARPTON (14 April Hour One): I’m supposed to go to the correspondents dinner in Washington Wednesday. I can’t wait to see O’Reilly and Hannity and these right wing correspondents and jump on them about their distortions and let them fight back.
Some of you all just duck these people. I don’t mind standing up to these people. Somebody needs to stand up. And it’s not to convince them, it’s so the ten percent of us who listen to them need to hear some sanity cause it is crazy.
SHARPTON (16 April Hour One): I’m going tonight to the White House Correspondents dinner. I’m going to haunt the Fox Folks and other folks because it will be Mr. Bush’s last White House Correspondence Dinner. And ah I’m sure ah that at least I’ll be happy that next year there will be a new President doing it. Hopefully the one I want, but certainly it won’t be this one.
Stay tuned- we've got eyes in the room and will let you know if Sharpton follows up on his threats.
UPDATE: Sharpton was all talk and no action, according to an event participant. Looks like his on-air thundering was meant to head off any criticism in advance of his attendance at the event, where he was a guest of the FOX News Channel! He sat at one of three FOX tables.
That might not play especially well with the left, where he could be seen as sucking-up in exchange for airtime.
Our spies were watching, however, just in case he followed through with his tough talk.
Since he decided to chicken out rather than "stand up", what will he tell his radio listeners?
SECOND UPDATE: Sharpton really weaseled out of the issue today, replacing yesterday's tough talk with a rather tame analysis of last night's event:
SHARPTON (17 April hour one, segment one): I had an interesting discussion, sat a while in our back and forth with Bill O’Reilly as I said. A lot of the notables from TV broadcast media there from Tim Russert to Brian Williams to the FOX crowd to Wolf Blitzer. What is very interesting to me is what they are focusing on and what they are not focusing on, which I raised in discussions with various ones there. You know you would almost think that there are no health-care and educational and economical needs in the country.
This whole obsession they have on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other issues like that is in my opinion a real diversion and a real way to try and disrupt and dislodge the campaign of Barack Obama because at the end of the day it has very little to do, in my judgment who can effectively be President of the United States.
So Sharpton's planned "haunting" of FOX News apparently turned into high tea, where a pleasant conversation on the issues was had by all. Notice how he fails to mention he was there as a guest of FOX.
The Reverend is clearly playing both sides for fun, profit and free meals. When will the left realize they're being had?
Forget catering to her ultra- high- maintenance personality, the resources for that just aren't there. And the pay is likely a fraction of the megabucks Rhodes enjoyed at AAR. She can forget the Randimobile, that's history.
If that was the extent of what she was facing at NovaM, the situation might be manageable, but her new employer is notorious for equipment failures and other malfunctions that sometimes have fellow host Mike Malloy unable to finish his program. Is Randi ready for that new reality?
Another issue is audience potential: though she's held on to a good chunk of her former AAR stations, that network's affiliate reach was already so small that losing even a few makes building a significant following especially difficult.
Worse, the new program hasn't been picked up by either XM or Sirius Satellite Radio. Those services have been instrumental in keeping AAR alive during a period where many libtalk stations have shut down.
None of this has stopped Drobny from trumpeting his new addition. Apparently, he sees NovaM's future as a collection of former AAR talkers.
Conservatives need to keep Randi propped up, however, as her nutty, disjointed rhetoric makes the other side look foolish. She's a one- woman fodder machine.
Especially telling is how Rhodes is perceived by cable talk show bookers: while her Air America friends try to supplement sagging careers through a maximum number of issues- oriented appearances, Randi is seen only when Larry King is looking for the dish on her latest public meltdown. What does that say about her credibility?
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Apparently unhappy with the recently- merged company's political and business direction, talk radio syndication biggie Sean Hannity is exiting Citadel - ABC Radio (NYSE:CDL) for a yet- to- be- disclosed rival. The move could dramatically reshape programming lineups on a number of major stations.
Rumors of the move were first reported yesterday by the New York Radio Message Board and independently confirmed with a key insider by your Radio Equalizer late Sunday evening. Rumblings of a Hannity exit from Citadel were first revealed in late 2006 by yours truly, but the situation has apparently deteriorated markedly since then.
Syndicated in over 500 markets nationwide, Hannity's afternoon drive show is said to bring in $35m in annual revenue, which will now be lost as Sean jumps ship. The program is considered to be the second- biggest cash generator in ABC Radio's network lineup, with his compensation at a reported $5m per annum.
As for ratings, in New York City under the new Portable People Meter system, he pulled an impressive 5.4 12+ share for February. That was just shy of Rush Limbaugh's blockbuster 5.6. Nationally, Hannity's audience is second only to Limbaugh's.
The move comes on the heels of a recent round of massive layoffs at Citadel - ABC, which saw a number of talk hosts canned, while management ranks at some outlets remain bloated.
Beyond Citadel's sagging stock price, Hannity is said to be concerned with the leftist political bent of its corporate suits, which has created some awkward moments. In particular, COO Ellis has been reluctant to even be seen near the FOX News Channel host.
And since they took the reins of the merged company, Suleman and Ellis have made a number of peculiar decisions, including an emphasis on the 65+ audience rather than younger, more advertiser- friendly demographics. That has included a mega- deal with talk fossil Don Imus.
Also highly questionable were baffling decisions to remove Rush Limbaugh from WPRO-AM in Providence and fire nationally- known conservative morning talker Melanie Morgan from KSFO/ San Francisco.
The impact of Sean's departure will be significant for all parties involved: Citadel - ABC loses millions, while his show will be pulled from key ABC Radio stations in some major cities. At the same time, it will have to compete against his new program, most likely to be syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, home to Rush Limbaugh.
Will Hannity's exit hasten the demise of this troubled company? How will buyout king Teddy Forstmann, whose firm owns 30% of CDL, respond to this latest setback? And what will be done to save some of the nation's biggest news- talkers from collapse?
UPDATE: Could this story change the outcome? We're hearing reaction has been intense within the radio industry and may have lit a firecracker or two over at Citadel's HQ. Will this rude awakening lead to a renewed interest in keeping Hannity in the fold? Is it about resources, ideological conflicts, or something else?
Either way, time is of the essence: Hannity is free to exit as of 12 June 2008.
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