The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 July 2008

Rep Robert Wexler (D-FL) Had No Residence In District

NAILED

Talk Hosts Call Attention To Wexler's Deceit







When they focus directly and aggressively on a single issue, talk hosts are often able to produce the greatest results.

Case in point: Rep Robert Wexler (D-FL), who has been forced to change his deceitful ways after pressure from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others.

Until O'Reilly brought to light the fact that Wexler didn't live in his congressional district, or even in Florida at all, the public was completely unaware of the issue. But with the spotlight on Wexler's dishonesty, the longtime Democrat has found himself compelled to rent an apartment in the area he represents.

That has even the traditionally-hostile south Florida press acknowledging O'Reilly's role. From the Palm Beach Post:


Wexler's chief of staff, Eric Johnson, said Wexler mistakenly signed paperwork declaring the Maryland house his primary residence when he bought it in 1997 and corrected the error in 2003 when it was brought to his attention.

Johnson said the signature on the loan document was not the same as a legal declaration of residency but was an affirmation that Wexler would be living in the house "for a good majority of the time" rather than renting it out.

Even if Wexler called the Maryland home his primary residence, Johnson contended, he still would be a Florida resident. Johnson cited an 1879 Florida Supreme Court ruling that said a Gainesville man did not lose his Florida residency when "attending to the duties of a public office" in Washington.

Wexler, a six-term incumbent who has never faced a serious reelection challenge in his heavily Democratic district, has been under fire since Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly accused him last week of being a bogus Floridian. The O'Reilly Factor showed footage of a Fox News producer confronting Wexler with residency questions in the driveway of Wexler's house in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.

O'Reilly was led to the story by Republican Ed Lynch, who is running for Wexler's Palm Beach-Broward congressional seat.

Lynch claimed vindication Tuesday, saying Wexler's decision to rent an apartment in the district is "tantamount to admitting guilt."

A similar reaction came from Wexler's other challenger, no-party candidate Ben Graber, who also has hammered Wexler on the residency issue. "I guess he's admitting that he doesn't live here," Graber said.


For his part, Limbaugh had this to say:


RUSH: Bob Wexler is going to lease an apartment in his Florida district. Do you remember this came up? Congressman Wexler does not have a Florida residence. He lists his Florida residence as his mother's place but he's got three kids, and they do not allow kids where his mother lives. He's never there! He comes down here for appearances. He says he pays property taxes in Maryland. There is no state income tax in Florida. So after the hubbub, he's going to lease an apartment in his Florida district. "Stung by claims he doesn't really live in Florida, Wexler said today that he'll lease an apartment in his congressional district rather than declaring residency at the home of his in-laws." He got caught! He doesn't live here! And nobody's upset about it.

This story is from the Palm Beach Post. "My wife Laurie and I have decided to lease a residence of our own in Palm Beach County." Way to go, Bob! Way to clear up the mess. But I remember Ann Coulter. They tried to put her in jail voting in what they said was in a wrong precinct, they tried to turn that into some kind of a major crime. Here Wexler pretty much admits he doesn't live here. He's going to lease a place in Palm Beach County, probably down in Boca someplace. Way to go, Bob, way to go, way to square it.


In a time where the national GOP has become wildly ineffective in aggressively pursuing corruption on the other side of the aisle, it is now up to talk hosts to fill the void. This week's example proves they're thankfully up to the task.


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30 July 2008

Church Shootings Used To Bash Talk Radio

SMEAR PATROL

Websites Exploit Church Shootings For Political Gain







Are conservative talk show hosts responsible for the actions of a crazed church shooter?

Though there's no evidence his interest in the medium provided any motivation for the sickening rampage inside a Tennessee church, left-wing smear sites have spent several days attempting to tie the contents of his bookshelf to Sunday's horrific event.

Examples of this shameless exploitation are all over the Internet, with no sign of a let-up anytime soon.

Yes, Jim David Adkisson did own copies of books by Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage. In addition, Adkisson had a self-professed "hatred" for liberals.

But the Unabomber's manifesto also contained strikingly similar language to that used in Al Gore's Earth In The Balance. Does that make the former VP an accomplice as well?

And where in any of these books do the authors call for the execution of one's political foes?

That's why this is a dangerous game: tomorrow's shooting spree could just as easily be "motivated" by a dislike of conservatives, or some other perceived enemy.

Unhinged nutcases will always exist in our society, what triggers their outbursts isn't always as clear as political opportunists would like. A lot of people "hate liberals", but that doesn't mean they're going to open fire inside a church.


And yet, that didn't stop lefty smear sites from taking their cheapest possible shots:


(Firedoglake) What Do Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity And Michael Savage Have In Common?

Jim David Adkisson, the right wing terrrorist whose rampage left 2 dead and 7 wounded Knoxville, was a fan of all three.

The vitriol these three have hurled at progressives over the years is sickening. Hannity wrote a book equating liberalism with terrorism. O'Reilly invited a terrorist attack on San Francisco. And Savage accused "the homosexual mafia" of "raping our children's minds."

But these examples, as bad as they are, really don't tell the whole story. This poisonous rhetoric is spewed over our airwaves segment after segment, hour after hour, day after day. So it's really not at all surprising that people like Adkisson could be pushed over the edge.

What's surprising is it doesn't happen more often.


(MWC News) And then imagine that the Knoxville News Sentinel gives your heros credit for deranging your mind and filling you up with bizarrely misdirected rage:

"Inside the house, officers found 'Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder' by radio talk show host Michael Savage, 'Let Freedom Ring' by talk show host Sean Hannity, and 'The O'Reilly Factor,' by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly."

And what if you were then given decades behind bars, without ever a word of thanks from your heros, to think about what in the world you might have been thinking? What would your advice end up being for others in the same sort of trouble you were in?

I like to think you'd eventually recommend selling your radio and television and spending some time talking to real people.


(RJ Eskow at the Huffington Post) We all need to be thoughtful about the impact of our words. But the Right has made it their business to promote a particularly virulent brand of hatred. Would Jim Adkisson have killed without all that prompting from the vituperative chorus of the right? We'll never know. But it's looking less likely with every passing hour that he would ever have entered a church filled with children and started shooting.

If they found something I wrote in a killer's home, I'd stop what I was doing and begin some serious self-reflection. I'd write about it, consider my errors, and try to make amends. Wouldn't you? Not that censorship isn't the answer. Not every reprehensible act can be legislated away. Sometimes the most effective way to change people is to hold them accountable. That includes not only Fox News, in this case, but also CNN -- who recently gave the anchor chair to hate-speaker Glenn Beck.

Guys, it's not "entertainment" any more -- if it ever was. We need to hold those in the boardroom accountable, too. They make their money and serve their political agenda by telling hundreds of millions of people that liberal Americans are treacherous and mentally ill enemies of the state. And they use the public airwaves to do it.

If these right-wing pundits are as devout as they say they are they'll stop, think, and ask forgiveness. That goes for their corporate paymasters, too. I hope they do for their own sakes, though I don't expect it.


(At Real Clear Politics, however, Donald Douglas thinks this has gone much too far, full post at his primary site):


I put out the call this morning, perhaps idealistically, for partisans of both sides to end to the politicization of personal tragedies, with reference to Sunday's shooting tragedy at Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

It turns out that the alleged killer, Jim David Adkisson, was a fan of right-wing media personalities such as Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. In a four-page letter outlining his intentions, Adkisson reportedly declared not only his hatred of the "liberal movement," but also "anyone different from him." Adkisson was deeply frustrated with his employment prospects and he was divorced after a deeply troubled and potentially violent marriage.

Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, an acquantaince of Adkission's for 25-30 years, suggested he was facing psychological crisis:


He always had the attitude the government was trying to get him ... He's a very intelligent man but he couldn't get in the mainstream and hold a job, Smallwood said. He's not a beast. He needed help a long time ago and never got it.


More information will certainly be forthcoming throughout the week, but media reports and blogging analyses have zoomed in on Adkisson's professed hatred of liberals while ignoring his economic dislocation and his statements signaling a larger social-psychological alienation. Yet, I'd argue it's unwise to generalize from this one case, to impugn the entire conservative establishment as "out to kill" left-wingers.


Our lefty friends need to decide how far they really want to push this argument, because soon enough, future news events will not work in their favor.

Will they cry foul if the same tactic is then used against them?


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Top image: AP, lower image: J Miles Cary, knoxnews.com

29 July 2008

Rush Limbaugh May Purchase NFL Team

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS

Limbaugh's Team Interest Already Driving Libs Batty







For every radio salesperson who has sneered at the air talent over their "dead-end" career choice, here's a story that could ruin a whole week.

To the soreheaded lefties still steaming over his mega- contract renewal deal, here's some salt for the wounds.

Finally, to our self- appointed "civil rights leaders" and their never- ending quest to keep professional sports as polticially correct as possible, here's a new reason to march in the streets.

That's right, Rush Limbaugh may use some of that massive advance money (and take on new debt) to purchase a NFL team.

Will the angry mob that fought Limbaugh's brief ESPN tenure be able to stop him? It could take some clever maneuvering this time around, but don't think they won't give it their best shot.


According to the Kansas City Star, Limbaugh is considering taking ownership of the St Louis Rams, should the team become available:


The Cape Girardeau native told KMOX radio in St. Louis that NFL ownership is a "billionaire's club." He said he's not part of that club, but is in good financial shape.

Limbaugh said any move he makes would be a business decision, and not based on his ties to the region.

"The worst thing that could happen is for a fan to buy the team. When I say this to people, they say 'That's crazy, it would be fun.' It's a billion-dollar business."


Almost immediately after this news hit the wires, CBS Sports readers began posting nutty, angry and unhinged remarks:


July 28, 2008 8:42 pm

I would never watch the Rams if he was the owner!

I would never watch the Rams play any team if he becomes an owner. I'm a 49er fan and that would be at least 2 games a year i would not watch. There is no possible way the NFL would approve the sale of the Rams to this guy. The guy was and maybe still is a drug addict, not to mention the most politically incorrect person ...(more)


July 28, 2008 6:47 pm


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

The Rams pick up Bruce Gradkowski. Great, he played for my undergrad, I'm a fan.

Now this? A windbag, drug-addled spiteful old fool? What is the NFL thinking?


July 28, 2008 7:50 pm


WHAT A SHAME

it would be a shame if the Rams are sold especially to this jerk. I mean georgia frontiere was a great person. She took a mediocre team and made the right moves to made a champion out of it. Now she's gone and her son says he wont sell the team but with people as Limbaugh that only is putting pressure for him to sell i would not be surpris ...(more)



July 28, 2008 6:48 pm


Would Rush field an all white team?

I'm wondering how far he'd take his team, see if he feels that putting his money where his mouth is.

I think all those right wing people are all phoneys, and if they had to poney up for what they say, they'd wimper away.

Rush doesn't have the guts to actually follow through and put himself on the line.....


July 28, 2008 6:25 pm


Oh, no...

Does that mean Sean Hannity will be Personnel Director and Ann Coulter will be brought in as an assistant coach?

WIll Don Imus will be brought in as an "Inspirational Consultant"? I could see it now..."Move it you nappy haired hos".


July 28, 2008 6:18 pm


GREAT.......

If Limbaugh buys the team the NFL should demand that he be tested for OXYCOTIIN daily.

I'm certainly not a fan of the Rams but I don't hate them either. If this clown buys them I will hate them with a passion. He is a hypocrite and a liar.


Should Rush succeed in making this purchase, he'll be breaking down barriers once again, fearlessly entering territory often hostile to known conservatives. Keep in mind, many of those in the "billionaire's club" are guilt-ridden liberals.

It's a victory not only for himself, but for every aspiring radio talk show host: if he can do it, will you be next?


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28 July 2008

NYC Affiliate Shaky, SF Protest Targets Michael Savage

TUG-OF-WOR

Major Station Might Dump Embattled Savage







As syndicated talker
Michael Savage continues to battle a backlash against comments he made regarding children and autism, the latest news is mixed: while a key affiliate may be considering pulling the plug, turnout in a San Francisco protest appeared smaller than expected.

To date, only about ten stations have cancelled his show, most of them relatively small and insignificant. Now, however, there are rumblings that WOR 710 AM in New York City is testing a lineup without the "Savage Nation" host. That could mean the loss of a major outlet in the nation's largest market.

In fact, WOR quietly tested a possible replacement on Friday evening. Featuring former station personalities Ellis Henican and Donna Hanover (as guest), the unannounced show filled the slot normally occupied by Savage.

That move appears to conflict with the station's official stance, which has been to stand by its programming, even if it doesn't agree with Savage's use of words. That could point to an internal tug-of-war over the proper response to the situation.

In a statement issued by WOR management, Vice President and General Manager Jerry Crowley said this:


It should be noted that WOR is neither responsible for nor endorses the views of Michael Savage. This is a syndicated show that WOR airs for our listeners’ enjoyment.

WOR is in the business of serving the community in which we broadcast. That is our stated goal, and we will continue to do so. We regret any consternation that Michael Savage's remarks may have caused to our listeners, and we hope that the ensuing dialogue will lead us all to a better place.


Without a strong bench of available local talent in New York City, however, WOR faces a daunting task in replacing him. Cancellation means allowing WABC's Mark Levin to steal away Savage's entire audience, wiping out 710's evening listenership.

For their part, Henican and Hanover struggled to generate numbers in their previous respective timeslots and were subsequently replaced by other programming.

With the industry still failing to develop talented hosts who can step in on short notice, local talk radio in the Big Apple remains exceptionally weak, despite the constant supply of terrific regional topics.


In a sign that the outrage over Savage's remarks may be fading a bit, however, turnout in a widely- publicized protest was considerably less than expected. Held outside the studios of his San Francisco affiliate, KNEW-AM, KGO-7 has reported a turnout of around 100 people. There was a general feeling that the number would be greater, perhaps as many as 1000.


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Savage image: SF Chronicle

24 July 2008

Michael Savage Syndicator Stands By His Program

BY A THREAD

Savage Survives, Though Opponents Not Ready To Give Up







While leftist smear groups keep up the battle against him, Michael Savage's radio syndicator is standing by him, at least for now.

But the backlash against his recent comment regarding autistic children remains strong and it seems unlikely his program could survive another major controversy. Though only a handful of stations have so far cancelled his show, that could change at any moment if the flames are once again fanned.

Oddly enough, some autism experts actually believe the flap has helped their cause as the issue is placed on the news media's front burner.


For the Talk Radio Network, in the news just recently over Laura Ingraham's month- long program lockout, the defense strategy is simple: it believes Savage's words were taken out of context and should be weighed against dozens of other comments he's made on the same subject.

To make its case, TRN has set up a special website where his past comments on autism are archived.

In addition, it believes his traditional enemies at Media Matters and other leftist organizations have no business determining the on-air fate of anyone in talk radio.

Excerpted from a statement issued this afternoon by CEO Mark Masters (with your Radio Equalizer's take just below it):


Promptly after the Network’s management learned of the comments in issue, the Network commenced an investigation into the particulars and the circumstances of those comments. This investigation began with the Network’s CEO, Mark Masters, personally contacting Dr. Savage to address the concerns and obtain an explanation of the comments directly from Dr. Savage.

In that conversation, and other subsequent conversations between Mr. Masters and Dr. Savage, Dr. Savage explained the circumstances and intent of his statements in considerable detail. The Network also carefully monitored subsequent broadcasts of the Show, on Monday, July 21st and Tuesday, July 22nd, which were devoted to the subject of autism and further explanations by Dr. Savage of his views on the subject.

Dr. Savage has clarified that his July 16th statements concerning autism were not directed at those who are in fact challenged by this horrible affliction, but were instead addressing efforts to broaden the concept of autism beyond those who truly are autistic to a broader “autistic spectrum” of behavioral symptoms which are also manifested by persons who do not suffer from autism, and his concern that many children are being misdiagnosed as autistic due to the subjective nature of autism diagnosis (due to the lack of known biomedical indicators, such as blood tests, to definitively confirm or deny the actual existence of autism).

Dr. Savage has also explained his belief that there have been efforts by certain professionals and professional organizations to expand diagnoses of autism more broadly, for various reasons, and his concern that this victimizes and stigmatizes children who are misdiagnosed as autistic. On multiple other occasions Dr. Savage has expressed his concerns that other conditions, such as ADD and ADHD, are overdiagnosed and result in improper medication of young children, which Dr. Savage regards as abusive.

In the context of his broader concerns, it is clear that Dr. Savage’s comments were intended to suggest his opinion that, in the vast majority of cases, most children throwing tantrums, or refusing to communicate, are not autistic. Unfortunately, by condensing his multifaceted concerns into 84 seconds of commentary, the necessary context for his remarks was not apparent, and the few words he used to express his concerns were, in this instance, inartfully phrased.

As a result, Dr. Savage’s comments did facially appear to be directed at children who suffer from autism, and clearly could be perceived as such. This has, in turn, caused understandable pain and distress to those who have a child or family member who is challenged by autism. This was not Dr. Savage’s intent, and, on behalf of the Network and all persons associated with the Network, we wish to note that our hearts go out to all families who are forced to face the realities of autism every day of their lives, and to sincerely apologize to these families for any increase in these burdens resulting from inartful commentary appearing in the Network’s programming.

While the phrasing of Dr. Savage’s remarks was inartful, after the aforementioned investigation, as well as personal knowledge of Dr. Savage’s strongly held views towards children and those dealing with special challenges, the Network is satisfied that he did not mean any disrespect to autistic children or their families but was instead reiterating his longstanding concerns on public health issues.

Indeed, on these points, Mark Masters, the Network’s CEO, notes that:



“I have known Michael Savage for nine years now. Over those nine years, we have had occasion to disagree on many issues.

However, I have always respected Michael as a man of conviction, and I have noticed throughout our relationship that he has always been passionate and intense in his opposition to persons who he perceived to be disrespectful of persons dealing with special challenges.

I once asked him about his passion in this area, and he noted that it was because he had a brother who was disabled, but that he did not want to discuss it. Michael never shared any particulars on this with me until he shared with his audience on Monday that his brother never spoke during his lifetime, was institutionalized at 5 or 6 years old, and died in that institution in his 20’s.

My observations of Michael’s consistent opposition to what he viewed as abuse or disrespect of persons dealing with special challenges, and of his interest in children, as well as his 1982 book, Healing Children Naturally, are completely inconsistent with Michael attacking children who are truly autistic. In contrast, his belief that misdiagnosing children as autistic will damage those children who are misdiagnosed and stigmatize them for life, his aversion to what he sees as improper medication of young children, and subjecting them to a lifetime of chemical straight jackets, and his recent sharing of his belief that the medical profession failed to properly care for his brother prior to his brother’s death, do
explain his passion in challenging what he sees as improper efforts by some in the health care industry to brand and treat as autistic persons who are not.”



In this context, for multiple reasons, the Network does not believe that it is appropriate to take adversarial action to suspend or terminate Dr. Savage for not phrasing his comments in this instance more carefully.

First, the Network recognizes, and those who are calling for action against Dr. Savage should recognize, that live talk radio is unscripted. Hosts do not read from prompters. Regardless of the abilities of any individual host, it is impossible to expect that hosts can in all instances avoid any instances of failure to provide full context and caveats for every statement made in three hours per day, five days per week, of a live talk program.

The Network also believes, as a policy matter, that it is not appropriate to censor the opinions of its hosts on legitimate issues. Neither the Network nor its management personnel agree with all positions asserted by all hosts on each of the Network’s shows.

As a policy matter, the Network neither supports nor rejects individual policy statements asserted by its hosts. It does, however, support the rights of its hosts to express their views on public policy issues.

The purpose of talk radio is to raise the level of public discourse by introducing commentary on controversial issues. If the Network were to require hosts to refrain from stating views which others disagree with, or discipline hosts for holding unpopular views, its hosts would be intimidated from exercising their freedom of expression. Should this ever become the standard for talk radio, the interchange of ideas and debate which is the lifeblood of talk radio would be destroyed, and the freedom of expression which is a hallmark of American democracy would be eroded.

The Network is particularly concerned with respect to efforts to remove Dr. Savage from the airwaves by persons or organizations who disagree with his political views. In the case of the underlying July 16th autism clip comments now in issue, the Network must be cognizant of the fact that the initiation of a campaign to remove Dr. Savage from the air for those comments was instigated by Media Matters, an organization which regularly tapes broadcasts of The Michael Savage Show for the purpose of finding sound bites which could be used in an effort to remove him from the airwaves, for their own political ends.

In this case, the Network does believe that there has been an effort by Media Matters to take advantage of an inartful lapse on the part of Dr. Savage in failing to supply full context, caveats and explanations in the 84 seconds of comments at issue. While the Network and Dr. Savage regret any pain to families of autistic children as a result of inartfully phrased comments intended to enhance the welfare of children, it does appear to the Network that Media Matters and others now seek to cynically exploit this particular sound bite, out of context, to harness the pain of parents with truly autistic children, for their own self-serving agenda, in a broader political effort to remove a voice they politically disagree with from the airwaves.

In this context, the Network does question, if such efforts were to be successful with respect to Michael Savage, which other hosts will be the next targets. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, attempt by Media Matters to exploit any issue for their own self -serving political and social agenda.

Despite the concerns on the Network’s part as to the motivations of Media Matters and other organizations which seek to remove those hosts they disagree with from the airwaves, and its belief that no action against Michael Savage is warranted under all applicable circumstances of this situation, the Network does want to take some positive action to address the fact that inartful statements concerning autism were made on one of its programs. As a result, the Network will begin broadcasting public service announcements with respect to legitimate autism issues, subject to spot availability, without charge, and will be encouraging other networks to do the same. In this regard, the Network invites organizations which would desire to submit public service announcements to forward them by email to PSA@TALKRADIONETWORK.com, or by mail to P.O. Box 3755, Central Point, OR 97502.

In contrast to the cynical efforts of Media Matters to manipulate 84 seconds of commentary out of context, for its own ends, the Network does believe that the issue is about the children. While the 84 seconds at issue has created intense controversy, the Network welcomes the opportunity to broaden the discussion on the important issues relating to autism, the “autism spectrum”, the validity of autism diagnoses, and the ever-expanding drugging of America’s children.

The Network commenced this discussion in the July 21st and 22nd broadcasts of The Michael Savage Show. For those who believe that the 84 seconds cited by Media Matters defines Michael Savage’s views on autism, the Network recommends going to (or clicking). http://www.savageonautism.com/ to view a representative sampling of Dr. Savage’s views, as well as the applicable issues, in true context.


From here, Savage and TRN have some choices to make: either their top- rated host rethinks some of his rhetoric, or what's left of the show and his credibility will collapse. Can Michael stay in control?

In addition, it's also a good time for Savage to reconsider the direction of his program. He was at his best in the early days on San Francisco radio when he remained focused on current events and political topics.

At the time, he could be amazingly effective in going after key targets. He was railing against George Soros, Nancy Pelosi and others years before they appeared on the national radar.

Since then, however, the program's quality has been erratic, with a lack of focus on major issues and energy wasted endlessly bashing Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and others.

In addition, there have been too many previous incidents of off-the-wall, loose cannon- like remarks that do nothing but cause headaches for his syndicator, affiliates and advertisers.

The industry perception of Savage is that he isn't willing to listen to advice and won't change his style to suit anyone. That kind of approach might be admirable at times, but here, it's likely to mean an early end to his program. Remain stubborn and it all comes crashing down.

At the moment, he's hanging by a thread.

Will this site soon be writing about his show's outright cancellation? It's up to him.


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Top Photo: NYT

23 July 2008

Left Uses Savage Autism Flap For Political Gain

SAVAGE REALITY CHECK

Host's Controversy Demands Proper Perspective







While the left side of the Internet continues to use Michael Savage's latest on-air controversy for political gain, it's time for a reality check. Will conservatives allow themselves to be smeared based on a false association with the syndicated talk host?

First, in case you've just returned from Bora Bora or live under a rock, the Marin County- based talker has been under fire since last week after this comment about childhood autism: "In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out..."

That was quickly captured by the left-wing anti- talk radio crusaders over at Media Matters, who immediately utilized their mainstream media friends to spread the story across the country.

Within days, angry parents began to protest Savage's comments, placing pressure on affiliate stations and what may or may not be actual program advertisers:


The cancellation follows the decision on Monday by Aflac, the insurance company, to pull its advertising from the show. On his Web site, Michaelsavage.com, the host posted a letter on Monday in which he iterated the central point he said he had been trying to make on his July 16 program: that autism is too often misdiagnosed in the cases of children, or falsely diagnosed, at least partly as a means of wringing resources. “Let the truly autistic be treated,” he wrote. “Let the falsely diagnosed be free.” On July 16, Mr. Savage, above, referred to autism as “a fraud, a racket,” and asserted that what “99 percent” of children with autism most needed was a parent willing to tell them things like, “Don’t act like a moron.”


But we've seen this scam before: Media Matters and other left-wing groups claim "victories" against Savage's "advertisers", when in fact these companies never sponsored his show on a national level.

It's a topic we've covered several times in the past, but the mainstream media (including the New York Times) never ceases to fall for the trick.


Before we go any further, let's get something straight: there's no way to defend Savage's comments. Though he's holding firm on his statements, both on-air and at his website, it may be making the situation worse.

Here, he's issued a full statement:


The Autism Controversy

My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community's attempt to label too many children or adults as "autistic."

Just as some drug companies have overdiagnosed "ADD" and "ADHD" to peddle dangerous speed-like drugs to children as young as 4 years of age, this cartel of doctors and drug companies is now creating a national panic by overdiagnosing "autism, for which there is no definitive medical diagnosis!

Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an "illness" which may not exist, in all cases. Just a few weeks ago doctors recommended dangerous anti-cholesterol drugs for children as young as 2 years of age! Without any scientific studies on the possible dangers of such drugs on children, corrupt doctors made this controversial, unscientific recommendation.


Increasingly, our children are being used as profit centers by a greedy, corrupt medical/pharmaceutical establishment. As the brother of a severely disabled person who suffered and died in a New York "snake-pit" of a "mental hospital," I know first-hand what true disability is.

To permit greedy doctors to include children in medical categories which may not be appropriate is a crime against that child and their family. Let the truly autistic be treated. Let the falsely diagnosed be free.

Michael Savage


Meanwhile, left-wing groups who likely couldn't give a rat's behind about autism are ecstatic about the prospect of picking off a "conservative" host. Their real agenda is only barely disguised. Our favorite example, via MSNBC: a reaction from "Hollywood" on the controversy.

With this background, let's make a few points clear right here and now:


Savage is not a conservative in any known sense of the word. In fact, he's almost always at odds with leaders on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and many others. He chastises all of them regularly on his program, using disparaging names.


Savage's views on medicine are based firmly on the alternative side, including holistic remedies often associated with the left, particularly in California. That belief system triggers these kinds of discussions on his program and led to the current controversy.


Talk radio is an entertainment medium and Savage is AM's version of a shock jock. In some ways, he's Howard Stern without the porn. Nobody tunes in expecting a soft and easy delivery. On any given show, he makes similar remarks which go unreported.


Liberals need to make up their minds once and for all as to whether talk radio is an effective and influential medium or not. On one hand, they want to downplay audience estimates, while on the other, they crank up the OUTRAGE machine over the supposed "damage" caused by a host who is out of line.


Make no mistake: Savage is wrong here, but those who are leading the charge against him have shady agendas and are not to be trusted.


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22 July 2008

Phoenix Spanish News Talk Station Shutting Down

DONE IN BY 'HOSTILITY'?

Border Crackdown Blamed For Loss Of Spanish Talker







Has a crackdown on illegal immigration really wiped out a Spanish- language news-talker? That's the claim in Phoenix, where a local radio station's failure is being blamed on Arizona's "hostile atmosphere" toward "undocumented immigrants".

KNUV-AM was more than just a Spanish outlet, however, it seemed to specifically target "migrants" from Mexico, many of whom have been in the country illegally.

In addition, it took radical political stances that were meant to cater to its lawbreaking audience. Last November, for example, KNUV battled local law enforcement over the description of a serial rapist, who was thought to be Hispanic. The station considered that to be "racial profiling".


Despite the station owner's overall financial collapse, today's Arizona Republic would have readers believe a recent local crackdown on illegal immigration, the state's legislature and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are all directly responsible for KNUV's failure.

From the story by Daniel Gonzalez:


"We will see more Spanish-language publications and media outlets closing because it's a tough economic environment," said Ricardo Torres, chief executive of Latino Perspectives magazine in Phoenix.

Torres, a former manager of Spanish radio stations in Phoenix, said that KNUV was torpedoed by the state's slumping economy and stepped-up immigration enforcement, both of which are driving immigrants from Arizona. That has led to a drop in listeners, which has translated into a fall in advertising revenues.

"The industries that rely on immigrants are hurting: construction, agriculture and hospitality," Torres said.

"And what is happening is the immigrant community is shrinking due to bad economic times and the current hostile atmosphere created by (Maricopa County) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and laws passed by the Legislature."

During the past several months, Arpaio has launched a series of crime sweeps in Phoenix, Guadalupe and Mesa that have resulted in the arrests of hundreds of illegal immigrants.

The state's employer-sanctions law, which took effect in January, has made it increasingly difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs. It requires employers to verify work eligibility or risk having their business license revoked.

Phoenix is the eight-largest Latino-media market in the country. Launched in August 2005, KNUV's goal was to give Latinos information needed to get by in the larger community, said Heberto Limas-Villers, president of New Radio Venture, the company that owns KNUV and KNRV.

"We wanted to be as informative as we could so they could make decisions about anything from politics to education," Limas-Villers said.

The station's demographic is 35- to 64-year-old Latinos.

At its height, the 24-hour station had a team of 45 reporters, producers and anchors, making it much more expensive to run than a music station, Limas-Villers said.

The station covered street marches and immigration sweeps. Sometimes, interviews with illegal-immigration suspects were broadcast live from the backs of police cars.



Could the bloated staff roster have anything to do with the station's failure? Forty-five "reporters, producers and anchors" is a significantly greater number than one would find at some of the largest and most successful news- talk stations in the country.

Not since the early days of Air America Radio have we seen a head count like that!

Beyond that, what are the odds that illegal immigrants are inclined to fill out Arbitron diaries, even if they were somehow able to receive them?

So what's the real reason for KNUV's failure: the government, or a crappy business plan?


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21 July 2008

New York Times Disses McCain, Globe Slams Obama

GRAY LADY'S CONFUSION

Head-Scratching Over McCain Snub, Obama Slam







While talk radio and the blogosphere buzz over the outrageous attitude shown by the New York Times toward John McCain, its sister paper has taken a shockingly different approach.

Though the Gray Lady itself has refused to print an Op-Ed contribution by the McCain campaign, despite recently having done so for his Democratic challenger, fellow New York Times Company publication The Boston Globe yesterday ran a column that was stunningly critical of Barack Obama.

Written by Joan Vennochi, who is not known as a right- winger by any means, the column slams Obama's ever- expanding ego.

Even more astounding from an especially liberal newspaper, the piece cites Rush Limbaugh and agrees with him, rather than serving up the personal attacks one would normally expect:


The audacity of ego

By Joan Vennochi
Globe Columnist / July 20, 2008


JUST LIKE the Obama girl, Obama has a crush on Obama.

Barack Obama always was a larger-than-life candidate with a healthy ego. Now he's turning into the A-Rod of politics. It's all about him.

He's giving his opponent something other than issues to attack him on: narcissism.

A convention hall isn't good enough for the presumptive Democratic nominee. He plans to deliver his acceptance speech in the 75,000 seat stadium where the Denver Broncos play. Before a vote is cast, he's embarking on a foreign policy tour that will use cheering Europeans - and America's top news anchors - as extras in his campaign. What do you expect from a candidate who already auditioned a quasi-presidential seal with the Latin inscription, "Vero possumus" - "Yes, we can"?

Obama finds criticism of his wife "infuriating" and doesn't want either of them to be the target of satire. Tell that to the Carters, the Reagans, the Clintons, and the Bushes, father and son.

There's no such thing as a humble politician. But when Obama looks into the mirror, he doesn't just see a president; he sees JFK.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy accepted his party's nomination with an outdoor speech at the Los Angeles Coliseum. But he waited until he was elected before going to Germany to declare "Ich bin ein Berliner."

The fashionistas have already noted Michelle Obama's affinity for chanelling Jackie. And it's hard to watch the Obama daughters "Access Hollywood" interview and not think about Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr. back in the days of Camelot.

So far, Dad is only promising to get the kids a dog, not a pony named Macaroni.


[...]


The conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh regularly ridicules "The Messiah also known as Obama." And "The Audacity of Obama" is turning into a ready-made take-off on the title of the Democrat's second book, "The Audacity of Hope."

The downside for Obama is how much his ego stands to resonate beyond the political right.


Given the flak that will inevitably result from publishing such a hard- hitting piece, it's difficult to understate the Boston Globe's courage in running it. If The Globies took this kind of approach more often, perhaps readership would be up, rather than sinking into an abyss.

Though the paper does employ Jeff Jacoby as a token conservative, non- liberal viewpoints outside of his column are rare.

Vennochi's column wasn't overlooked by El Rushbo himself, who has featured it on his website update this evening and addressed the broader issue on today's program.


Whether the Globe's rare flirtation with editorial open- mindedness negates its sister paper's outrageous antics is less than clear.

But McCain is the beneficiary of both circumstances: while the NYT appears to be in bed with Obama, its Boston counterpart has raised important questions about the Democratic nominee's increasingly- alarming position as a quasi- cult leader.

Another key point: the next time you see anyone in the mainstream media doubt Rush Limbaugh's influence during this election cycle, this example should help to put that viewpoint to rest for good.


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18 July 2008

Rachel Maddow Enjoys Mainstream Media Accolades

DAMNED BY PRAISE?

Maddow's Mainstream Media Affection May Prove Damaging







Can a potentially up- and- coming host be destroyed by positive publicity?

That's the situation facing libtalker and MSNBC fill-in Rachel Maddow, who has seen a rapid relative rise propped up by lavish praise from the mainstream media.

Now, even the New York Times is openly speculating that she may replace Chris Matthews on the ratings- challenged cable network:


For clues about who might be next to get a show on MSNBC, viewers need not have looked further than “Countdown” earlier this month. For eight nights beginning just before the Fourth of July, Rachel Maddow, the host of a program on Air America, the liberal talk-radio network, served as a substitute for the vacationing Keith Olbermann.

“At some point, I don’t know when, she should have a show,” said Phil Griffin, hours before he was promoted on Wednesday to president of MSNBC. “She’s on the short list. It’s a very short list. She’s at the top.”

At the moment every slot at night on MSNBC is taken, with David Gregory at 6 handing off to Chris Matthews at 7, and with Dan Abrams at 9 following Mr. Olbermann at 8. But some shuffling could be in the offing; Mr. Matthews’s contract, for example, is up next year.

For her part, Ms. Maddow, who has been a ubiquitous presence as a political analyst on MSNBC this campaign season, said she is ready whenever the call should come. To hasten that process, she recently hired Mr. Olbermann’s agent, Jean Sage.

“They know I would love to do it,” Ms. Maddow, 35, said over a recent lunch below 30 Rockefeller Plaza. “I’m going to let them decide what they want to do about me. I’m saying yes every time they ask me to be on television.”


But positive press attention has been the undoing of many fledgling media stars in the past, especially when one is foolish enough to believe it. Coverage that emphasizes Maddow's relatively humble beginnings contrasts with private industry indications that she's more difficult to work with than is commonly known.

As annoying and frequently unprofessional as Matthews may appear, could a rank amateur really take his place? It would take talent, gravitas, entertainment value, warmth and maturity to step into any full-time cable talk role.

So far, Maddow needs improvement in many of these areas. Moreover, talent is innate: something one is born with that usually can't be developed out of thin air.

Despite praise from the Cult of Olbermann, Maddow's delivery remains stiff, as though she's trying out for an NPR gig.


Other lingering issues:


Despite her lack of talk radio experience beyond Air America, she's developed a reputation internally for resisting necessary coaching. Where did Rachel get the idea she'd mastered the medium? Oh yes, the mainstream media and lefty bloggers.


Within Air America's lineup, she's generally turned in the weakest ratings performance, not an easy feat at a failed network that needs billionaires to keep it afloat. She's been shifted across their lineup several times, finally settling into an relatively unimportant evening slot.


She's demonstrated a lack of commitment to talk radio: the first hour of her "show" is now an MSNBC simulcast that features her as a panelist. In addition, the third hour is often hosted by someone else.


Maddow has been especially unwilling to promote her show in key settings such as industry gatherings, even when they take place in Manhattan. These events are not beneath talk radio's biggest stars, but you won't see Rachel there.


She's so tied to nutty Keith Olbermann that developing an independent personna could be difficult.


Maddow often tries to win arguments through cheap debate tactics and sleazy approaches. She also has a particular habit of hiding extremist rhetoric behind a calm delivery. Unless she comes up with some new tricks, she could easily be defeated by any opponent who spends more than a few minutes studying her style.


She can occasionally be surprisingly naïve or ill- informed, such as the time she inadvertently attacked a key Air America financial backer on the air.


The constant references to her educational background, right down to the stupid "Ask Dr Maddow" segment on the radio program, have frankly grown tiresome. Life experiences are more valuable in the medium than sheltering one's self in an academic setting until age 30.


If it isn't too late to save Maddow from believing her own press, she should keep one thing in mind: Al Franken received many times more fluffy media coverage and it did nothing to boost his own weak ratings performance.


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17 July 2008

Canadian Censor Groups Fail To Silence Vancouver Host

SIKH-AND-DESTROY

Would-Be Censors Fail To Shut Down Canadian Host







While columnist and Rush Limbaugh fill-in Mark Steyn awaits his fate before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, another case of Canuckistanian- censorship- run- amok thankfully has a happy ending.

CKNW/ Vancouver host Bruce Allen, also known as a major rock promoter in Canada, has been cleared of ethics charges after a recorded commentary offended Sikhs, Muslims and other groups.

We'd previously covered the allegations in September 2007.

From the Globe and Mail:


In a decision released yesterday, however, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council found that while Mr. Allen's self-described "rant" was "jumbled, unclear ... and not skillfully crafted," it did not violate the broadcasters' code of ethics.

The council did not call for any disciplinary or corrective action by either Mr. Allen or CKNW, leading to complaints on a multicultural radio station that justice had not been served.

In his segment last Sept. 13, Mr. Allen talked about the difficulties Sikhs had getting acceptable passport photos, while "wearing those handkerchiefs," and an Elections Canada controversy over identifying Muslim women wearing burkas. He also mentioned "the turban-wearing Mounties problem."

It was unclear what Mr. Allen, who represents international stars Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé and Anne Murray, thought about those issues. He would later say he was being critical of such "immigrant bashing." But at the time it sounded like he was using those as examples of problems caused by immigrants.

"This is all very simple. We have laws in this country. ... If you are immigrating to this country and you don't like the rules that are in place, then you have the right to choose not to live here. But if you choose to come to a place like Canada, then shut up and fit in," he said.

"If you don't like the rules ... we don't need you here. You have another place to go; it's called home. See ya," Mr. Allen said before signing off.


And from the Vancouver Sun:


The council's B.C. regional panel examined the complaint under a clause of the CAB code of ethics that prohibits "abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion," etc., the CAB said in a news release.


If Allen's comments seem ridiculously mild, you are not alone. What he said is downright tame by American standards. But in Canada, special- interest censors are quick to pounce on even the tiniest affront to political correctness.

While Steyn is on trial simply because excerpts of his book were reprinted in Maclean's, a political news magazine, Allen faced sanctions solely because he insists that standards be applied to everyone equally.

Canada's current system seems to allow nearly any offended party to subject its critics to a sham trial. The fact that Allen won his battle shouldn't make this state of affairs any less alarming.


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16 July 2008

Laura Ingraham Tirades Captured On Tape

'DON'T HOVER AT ME!'

Has Host's True Nature Been Exposed?







Has the real Laura Ingraham just been revealed for all the world to see?

After a summer of negative publicity for the nationally syndicated radio talk host, Ingraham is once again in the spotlight, this time for a dubious "highlight" reel made up of off-air outtakes from This Just In, a program she hosted on the Fox News Channel.

With no indication of how the montage made its way to the Internet, it has been uploaded to a little- known video website apparently connected to actor and comedian Harry Shearer.

The video has emerged just weeks after a possible contractual end- run around her radio syndication firm resulted in a one- month lockout from the program. Though the conflict was eventually resolved, this site has learned that some of the same issues may have since re-emerged.


Airing in the time slot formerly occupied by John Gibson, This Just In had a low- profile, three- week run on the network.

In the nine-minute clip, longstanding rumors in the broadcast industry and political realm about her volatile temper appear to be confirmed. Before this video was made public, your Radio Equalizer had heard that she had acquired an exceptionally difficult reputation during her time at FOX.

At one point, Ingraham even slams the very network that gave her the opportunity to host a program:






But is this a fair representation of Ingraham's personality? As some of her complaints appear justified, the answer is not as simple as one might imagine.

For one thing, a certain level of assertiveness is necessary in the high- pressure world of broadcasting. If her producers haven't supplied necessary background information on a guest or intro to a segment, shouldn't she complain?

And when two staffers are giving her different countdown indications, there's clearly a problem.


That's not to say she's in the clear, however: her meltdown over the person "hovering" in the studio doorway is ridiculous, as is anger over the man (apparently a guest gearing up for another program) mistakenly appearing in her monitor.

But frankly, there's no smoking gun here that convicts Ingraham in the court of public opinion.

Perhaps the most damning aspect of the montage is how it reveals a host who is exceptionally uncomfortable in a television setting, not good for a person who clearly harbors such ambitions.


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14 July 2008

Joe Scarborough No Longer Hiding His Leftist Sympathies

MORNING LIB

At MSNBC, A Move To The Left Is The Price Of Admission





*** BREAKING: Scarborough Doing WABC/ New York Tryout With Mika Brzezinski ***


Which came first, Joe Scarborough's move to the left or his MSNBC gig?

While the answer to that riddle may never be known, what has become clear is that "Morning Joe" no longer feels the need to hide his ideological shift.

Like Huffington Post honcho Arianna Huffington's identical right-to-left political makeover, however, questions about one's true leanings are bound to persist.

For several years, your Radio Equalizer has called attention to Scarborough's odd statements, weird affiliations and outrageously sloppy prep work, which has sometimes led to puzzled reactions from conservatives.

But any lingering concerns with this site's position are likely to be erased, however, by the latest issue of New York Magazine, where the cows have officially been released from the barn:


Scarborough’s slippery partisan loyalty has proved useful to the network. Despite his criticisms of the Bush administration, he is often cited as MSNBC’s house Republican, his Morning Joe a counterpoint to Olbermann’s Countdown. And indeed, Scarborough’s nineties résumé is that of a true conservative.

He has said his “visceral dislike” of the newly elected Bill Clinton inspired him to run for the House of Representatives in 1994. At the time, he was living in Pensacola with his first wife and two sons, putting his law degree to use litigating local insurance cases. Despite having no political background, he launched a quixotic campaign and was elected as part of the class of freshman Republicans who swept Newt Gingrich to power. He supported impeaching Clinton, abolishing the Department of Education, and cutting off AIDS funding for the so-called Ryan White Act. (He lost all of those battles, the last by a vote of 402 to 4.)

But Scarborough bristles at being called one of Gingrich’s “lieutenants.” “We never really clicked,” he says now. Still, he concedes that the militancy-by-association “helped me get reelected in a district Jerry Falwell called one of the most conservative in America.” He was certainly one of the hardest-line freshmen when it came to government spending—part of the group who would come to be known as “the New Federalists”—and says he’s still “almost libertarian” on economic issues. “But I was always quirky on human rights, China, the environment,” he says. “I say ‘quirky’: Republicans couldn’t figure out which way I was going to break on votes. They finally just gave up whipping me.”

“Joe was a partisan, but he wasn’t a crazy,” says liberal Massachusetts congressman Bill Delahunt, one of Scarborough’s closest friends in the House. “I think if Joe had stayed in Congress, he’d definitely be in leadership now, and his voice would have been good for the Republican Party.”


By the late nineties, Scarborough was losing interest in Washington. He began flying back to his district every weekend to play gigs with his band, Regular Joe. The chorus to one of his songs went, “We can’t change the world, we can’t change the world / Life’s a bitch and they can’t make me care.” He drank onstage “with regularity,” and his marriage broke up in 1997. (He married his current wife, Susan Waren, a former fund-raiser for Jeb Bush, in 2001.) A profile of Scarborough in the St. Petersburg Times from 2000 opens with a description of his Florida office, including the “empty Absolut vodka bottles” cluttering his “desk,” which was really a door atop a pair of sawhorses.

Scarborough retired from Congress in 2001, to spend more time with his then-13-year-old son. But he continued to make appearances on shows like Hardball and Hannity & Colmes, and Phil Griffin took notice. MSNBC, then floundering in third place among cable news networks, had decided to emulate top-rated Fox News with an O’Reilly Factor of its own. Scarborough was telegenic, quick on his feet, and came off as a sort of populist Everyman.

But Scarborough never quite mastered the voice of perpetual outrage. “There are very few things in politics that make me feel like wagging my finger,” he says. “It wasn’t me.” Scarborough has two major modes on television. Either he holds his face unnaturally still, maintaining a somewhat stagy deadpan, or he appears to be on the verge of laughing. “I remember my first six months in Congress, doing all the cable shows,” he says. “I saw myself on TV once, and I looked so angry it scared me. So I sort of made a rule that every time I started to get upset, I’d laugh and tell a joke.”


That first paragraph confirms what many on the right have long believed: that MSNBC hires faux "conservatives" who are really liberals in order to prevent real right- leaning viewpoints from reaching its several-dozen viewers across the country.

Especially ominous is the praise from Bill Delahunt, the extremist Democratic Massachusetts congressman and supporter of terrorists. What does it take to win over the Bay State's far-left representatives?

Clearly, Scarborough's own defense is that he really never was as conservative as he was made out to be, but the voting record speaks for itself.


Now, several trade publications have recently indicated that Scarborough would like to give talk radio another try, despite failing at it the first time around. Some insiders believe Scarborough and other media elitists have been tempted to move into the medium after learning of Rush Limbaugh's mega- contract renewal deal.

But where is the audience for this kind of programming? Short of joining Air America, it's hard to understand where "Morning Joe" might fit.


UPDATE: Scarborough is filling in for Bob Grant tonight on WABC. Is left-leaning Citadel again looking to water down the station's highly- rated conservative lineup?


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