The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 September 2008

Failed Barney Frank Blames Talk Radio For Bailout Failure

FARR FROM HONEST

Dems Blame Talk Radio For Fatal Political Defeat







After their politically fatal defeat in front of a nationwide audience yesterday, embattled Democratic congressmen are lashing out. In a desperate attempt to shift the blame anywhere else, some have taken to blaming talk radio and cable hosts for the high- profile failure of their bailout bill.

Leading the way is Bay State embarrassment Barney Frank, whose direct role in both the crisis (via his adamant defense of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during a period of rampant corruption) and the bailout have led to widespread public anger. He's gone straight for what he sees as the easiest public target:


So the scorecard is very clear: In 12 years of Republican rule, no bill passed to improve the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Within four months of Democratic rule, the committee I chaired had produced a bill containing all of the increased regulatory powers the administration requested, and that became law in July. So it took the Democrats 19 months to do what the Republicans didn’t do for 12 years, and as chairman of the Financial Services Committee I was the leader in that effort.

By the way, among the more glaring stupidities in the right-wing attack was Bill O’Reilly’s asserting that I had spent all this time pounding on the table as chairman of the Financial Services Committee demanding more purchases of low-income mortgages. As I noted, I have been chairman of that committee only since January 2007, and one of the first things I did as chairman was to pass the bill that greatly increased the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulation.

To those who might try to argue inaccurately that this was not tough enough, the fact is that it gave the White House everything it asked for, and the organization known as FM Watch, which organized precisely to try to get changes in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, disbanded after our bill passed in July because we had accomplished everything they wanted.



What's especially interesting
here is that Frank wrote this piece for the Boston Herald, which shows obvious concern for public perception in his (usually safe) home district. Ordinarily, Barney couldn't be bothered with lowly constituents, he's too busy running the economy from Capitol Hill.

As we've reported at the other site, however, anger is mounting as many voters at home wonder why Frank was behind what they see as a bailout of Wall Street.

Frank does have a token Republican opponent this year, a candidate who could benefit from a sizeable protest vote.

Call it being at the right place at the right time.



And on the West Coast,
typically-ignored Rep Sam Farr (D-CA) is lashing out at talk radio as well, targeting Rush Limbaugh in a pathetic bid to cover up his own role in this epic political failure. From the Monterey Herald:


Farr, D-Carmel, voted for the package and blamed its rejection on Republican lawmakers who "drank the Kool-Aid" of right-wing commentators fiercely opposed to a massive government intervention into the markets.

"The big shock was the failure of the president to deliver his own party on something he said was urgent," Farr said.

Given widespread public opposition to what was widely perceived as a taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street, Farr said voting against the package "was the easy vote."

Farr said calls to his district offices were running heavily against the bailout since the day the White House first rolled out its proposal. The public didn't believe the administration or like the idea of bailing out Wall Street, he said.

But Farr said he also heard from local bankers who said the credit system is freezing up, making it difficult for people to get loans for cars and other items. The bill would have protected Main Street with Democratic-driven provisions for oversight, phased payments and homeowner protections, he said.

Farr, like others on both sides of the aisle, sought to pin the defeat on the other party. More than two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats opposed the bill.

"Moderate Republicans told me on the floor that too many of their party are too conservative, listening to Rush Limbaugh and the other talk-show hosts and drinking the Kool-Aid," he said.


At least the Herald reporter makes an honest attempt to point out that many of Farr's fellow Democrats also opposed the bill. Why couldn't Pelosi and Frank gain the confidence of their own party?

By diverting attention away to talk radio hosts, these liberal congressmen are hoping to salvage what's left of their reputations at home. Will it work? With furious voters erupting in collective anger, it seems doubtful.

Farr's traditional base of support, for example, comes from UC-Santa Cruz students and faculty. Are they for the Wall Street bailout? Not bloody likely.


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Farr image (top): UCSC

27 September 2008

Focus Of Financial Meltdown Blame Shifts To Barney Frank (D-MA)

FRANK-LY DISGRACEFUL

Congressman's Key Meltdown Role Increasingly Clear






*** NEW: FRANK FACES HEAT AT HOME IN MASSACHUSETTS ***


Though conservative talk hosts may not agree on what kind of financial rescue plan should be adopted, there is a growing consensus regarding who should take the largest share of the blame. With his sharp wit, yet mumbled vocal delivery, Congressman Barney Frank has emerged as the poster child for How We Got Into This Mess.

While both parties continue to hash out an agreement that would hopefully save our financial system from a total collapse, more details have emerged in recent days about Frank's role in the crisis, including past personal ties to one of the real villains.

This comes as Frank himself has gone on the offensive, blaming congressional Republicans for supposedly backing out on a "deal" that never existed.


Unfortunately for him, the subprime mortgage mess that now threatens the global banking system is full of Barney's fingerprints.

As Bill Conerly at iStockAnalyst.com points out, a lack of government regulation wasn't behind the meltdown at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it was a push by the feds, akin to a mandate, to make risky loans to people with poor credit histories in the name of "social justice". Frank was at the very center of this effort, even to the point of dismissing concerns about their financial health:


The government wanted more risky loans made, not less. For example, the Community Reinvestment Act pressured banks to make loans in poor neighborhoods. Banks (and I was a banker under the CRA) figured that making some bad loans was just another tax., a cost of doing business as a regulated company. In 1995, the Clinton administration revised the CRA to increase pressure on banks to make more loans to risky borrowers. In 1997, the first pool of subprime mortgages was securitized (by Bear Stearns!)

The law regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was rewritten to reduce their capital requirements, meaning they would become riskier. Some critics were concerned about the risk, but here’s what the distinguished Congressman Barney Frank had to say at the time:


''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

New York Times, September 11, 2003


Hey, why shouldn't he defend these Democrat-led agencies, given that his former boyfriend was an executive at Fannie Mae, as Jeff Poor of the Business and Media Institute writes:


Prominent Democrats ran Fannie Mae, the same government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that donated campaign cash to top Democrats. And one of Fannie Mae’s main defenders in the House – Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a recipient of more than $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie since 1989 – was once romantically involved with a Fannie Mae executive.

The media coverage of Frank’s coziness with Fannie Mae and his pro-Fannie Mae stances has been lacking. Of the eight appearances Frank made on the three broadcasts networks between Jan. 1, 2008, and Sept. 21, 2008, none of his comments dealt with the potential conflicts of interest. Only six of the appearances dealt with the economy in general and two of those appearances, including an April 6, 2008 appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” were about his opposition to a manned mission to Mars.

Frank has argued that family life “should be fair game for campaign discussion,” wrote the Associated Press on Sept. 2. The comment was in reference to GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter. “They’re the ones that made an issue of her family,” the Massachusetts Democrat said to the AP.

The news media have covered the relationship in the past, but there have been no mentions since 2005, according to Nexis and despite the collapse of Fannie Mae. The July 3, 1998, Reliable Source column in The Washington Post reported Frank, who is openly gay, had a relationship with Herb Moses, an executive for the now-government controlled Fannie Mae. The column revealed the two had split up at the time but also said Frank was referring to Moses as his “spouse.” Another Washington Post report said Frank called Moses his “lover” and that the two were “still friends” after the breakup.

Frank was and remains a stalwart defender of Fannie Mae, which is now under FBI investigation along with its sister organization Freddie Mac, American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG) and Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH) – all recently participants in government bailouts. But Frank has derailed efforts to regulate the institution, as well as denying it posed any financial risk. Frank’s office has been unresponsive to efforts by the Business & Media Institute to comment on these potential conflicts of interest.

While the relationship reportedly ended 10 years ago, Frank was serving on the House Banking Committee the entire 10 years they were together. The committee is the primary House body which along with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) has jurisdiction over the government-sponsored enterprises.

He has served on the committee since becoming a congressman in 1981 and became the ranking Democrat on the committee in 2003. He became chairman of the committee, now called the House Financial Services Committee, in 2007.

Moses was the assistant director for product initiatives at Fannie Mae and had been at the forefront of relaxing lending restrictions at the company for rural customers, according to the Feb. 23, 1998, issue of National Mortgage News (NMN).


And as Bill O'Reilly
points out in his latest column:


Congressman Barney Frank also sat by as mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made bad loans even though Frank, as head of the House Banking Committee, certainly knew the score. Instead of demanding responsible business practices from Fannie and Freddie, Frank continued to pound the table to extend even more credit to "low income" families. The mortgage companies were happy to accommodate him giving big money to folks with little collateral.


For his part, Rush Limbaugh has been picking apart Barney Frank's words bit-by-bit:


FRANK: I didn't know I was going to be the referee of the internal Republican ideological civil war.

REPORTER: Right.

FRANK: To my surprise yesterday the House Republicans came up with their own entirely new plan. And it is a -- an ambush plan.

RUSH: There's nothing new about what the House Republicans believe. Conservatism is conservatism. The House Republicans were never involved in the deal. They announced a deal yesterday that didn't exist, the Democrats did. They announced a deal that didn't exist to try to head off McCain's presence having any impact on this. So now they're doing a 180 turning this all the way around, the Drive-Bys are not going to tell you this, you're not going to hear this anywhere else. They're carrying the water for people like Barney. It was an ambush. They're trying to portray the White House plan as an ambush 'cause their candidate botched it. Barney Frank again, the anchorette at CBS, "Well, do we have a solution by the end of the weekend, yes or no?"

FRANK: It depends on the House Republicans dropping this revolt against the president and cooperating and trying to amend the plan and at this point I can't give you a yes or no because it's up to the House Republicans and their war, I think on behalf of Senator McCain, with President Bush.

RUSH: Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is there never, ever, was a deal. The Democrats have the votes to pass everything that they want. We don't need the Republicans. Ask yourself why. If it's such a great deal, if this will save America, if this will prevent disaster, if this will prevent a depression, why don't the Democrats, thinking the country is important first, pass the bill? Why do they want Republican votes on this? If this is so wonderful, if this is the best deal ever, why don't they just embarrass the Republicans, pass this and leave the Republicans out of it? As I said earlier, they want the Republicans to refute their beliefs. They want the Republicans to repudiate conservatism so that they can go back and make 'em do it over and over again This is pure, 100% politics. It's not about the deal right now, it's not about the economy, it's not saving it. This is about presidential politics, and this is about destroying House conservatives. Last night, Washington, Capitol Hill, after a meeting at the White House, Barney Frank spoke to the press.

FRANK: Senator McCain's not -- did not have anything substantive to say, said the most general things. Based on what's now going on, I can tell you this. There is no reason in the world why anybody should use this as an excuse to stay away from a debate. There is absolutely no reason at all why Senator McCain should not debate tomorrow except he doesn't want to.

RUSH: Well, now, Congressman Frank, I have a question. You guys are saying that McCain's presence blew this up. You're saying McCain showed up and you were ambushed, and Dingy Harry and Claire McCaskill and Chuck Schumer are all saying, "Get McCain outta town. McCain blew this. McCain went into that meeting and it all fell apart." Now, I want to know, if McCain didn't say anything, if McCain didn't say anything substantive, and if he didn't say anything 'til the end of the meeting, how could he have blown it up? And Dingy Harry has been saying today that McCain didn't say much, frankly couldn't understand what he was saying. Dingy Harry said he spoke at the end of the meeting, "I don't really know what he said." Then how could he have blown it up? How could McCain have blown it up? We know that that did not happen. Last night, same press conference, Barney Frank.

FRANK: No. Ms. Pelosi will not bring a partisan bill to the floor. She will not say that you're going to have a one-sided Democratic bill being attacked by the House Republicans in response to a request by George Bush to do something. And that's not just internal politics. That's not good for the country.

RUSH: Once again, the question must be asked, who cares, Bush is a lame duck, if this is so wonderful, if this is so great, if you guys could own Washington for all those future years because you're the only ones that have the guts to do something right, why not do it? She won't bring forth a partisan bill to the floor? Meaning, they're not going to do this without Republican cover, 'cause it must have some problems.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Yeah, it's fascinating to me to listen to Barney Frank lie and spin. Barney Frank is, I think, more than anybody else responsible for this situation -- and he twists it into the fault of the Republican minority in the House! The Republican minority, parliamentarily, cannot stop anything Barney Frank wants to do. Look at that layer of lies that we got. House Republicans coordinating with McCain against Bush, the Republicans have no role in this other than fixing the problem, and they're only responding 'cause Bush wants something done? This is the guy who said that he didn't know there was a male prostitution ring going on his own basement? Barney Frank needs to testify under oath for what he has done, and so does Chris Dodd!


Complaints by conservative hosts about the fluffy treatment Frank has received from the mainstream media do seem backed up by actual examples. Though an AP story on his role is more balanced, a story in today's Washington Post bypasses any criticism, instead allowing him to joke about his haircut:


Frank's indignation is punctuated by moments of self-deprecation. (Told a reporter is doing a story on him, he says, "If I'd known, I would've gotten a haircut. My boyfriend yells at me -- 'You need a haircut.' ") He says he's not sure how quickly a resolution will come on this bailout, and this worries him because he knows that many of his fellow Jewish members of Congress will be leaving soon to go home to celebrate the Jewish New Year, which starts Monday evening. ("It's a well-known rule," he says. "God will only hear your prayers if you're in your congressional district.")


But the Wall Street Journal is far less supportive of Frank:


The strategy of presenting themselves to Congress as the champions of affordable housing appears to have worked. Fannie and Freddie retained the support of many in Congress, particularly Democrats, and they were allowed to continue unrestrained.

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass), for example, now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, openly described the "arrangement" with the GSEs at a committee hearing on GSE reform in 2003: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing."

The hint to Fannie and Freddie was obvious: Concentrate on affordable housing and, despite your problems, your congressional support is secure.


Now, with a deal imminent, the shameless Frank will likely be the first to crow about his role in facilitating the agreement, despite evidence that he was in the way more than anything else.

While there's little hope of convincing the knuckleheads in Newton, Taunton and Fall River (it's a truly gerrymandered seat that has changed shape many times over the years and once even covered the district of Maine!) to vote him out of office, conservative hosts can use Frank to attack the Democrat congressional leadership as a whole (after all, they've allowed him to chair the House Financial Services Committee.

If conservatives choose to make Frank the poster child for Democratic leadership excesses, it could prove the most effective available strategy for November's national elections.


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25 September 2008

Bill O'Reilly's Shocking Radio Outburst Stuns Many

SHRILL BILL

In On-Air Tirade, O'Reilly Takes No Prisoners







After watching banks and brokerage houses collapse, threatening the American economy, Bill O'Reilly is hopping mad. Rather than blame one side or the other, however, the FOX News Channel talker is lashing out at just about everyone, including conservative talk radio hosts, Bush and the Democrat-controlled Congress.

In a rant that is already making its way across the Internet, O'Reilly unleashes particular scorn at Democrat Party leaders in Congress who he believes knew what was going on and did nothing about it.

At one point, he calls Bay State embarrassment Barney Frank a "fat toad", while threatening to break any fingers that might be pointed one way or another. If they were in the studio, he says he would have hit them.

Here's the Radio Equalizer-produced transcript, followed by Johnny Dollar's YouTube clip of today's Radio Factor program:


O'REILLY: I do talk radio and most talk radio is conservative dominated, ideologues, Kool-Aid drinking idiots, idiots. Screaming at you, 'this is socialism,' this is this, that is that, 'it's Clinton's fault." It's Clinton's fault? When he hasn't been in office in eight years.

It's Bush's fault, it happened on Bush's watch. You know, Bush could have prevented this.

[...]

Let's get back to this talk radio stuff. These idiots, I mean they're misleading you, they're lying to you, They're rich, these guys. Big cigars, all of that. 'Oh yeah, my private jet' and they're saying, 'oh no, no bailout, ah ah, no way.'

Hey, you're gonna get it! Not them! That foreign investment pulls out, we are toast. And they'll pull out if this bailout doesn't happen. Are you getting the message here? Walk away from these liars, these right wing liars. Walk away from them. They're not looking out for you.

I don't even want to talk about the far left. Barney Frank, DISGUSTING, POINTING FINGERS! It's YOU, you big fat toad! YOU, Frank, YOU, Dodd. Sitting there (mumbled parroting voice) [...] It's YOU, Dodd! YOU, you knew!

I swear to God if they were in this room right now, I would hit them. Dodd and Frank, the House finance, the Senate finance. THEY KNEW, DON'T POINT A FINGER AT ANYBODY ELSE OR I'LL BREAK THAT FINGER OFF.

SO, YOU GOT CORRUPTION ON THE RIGHT AND YOU GOT CORRUPTION ON THE LEFT, and who gets it? YOU GET IT? You, the hard working person. The next politician that gets up there and points a finger, I'm going to go after them myself!

SHUT UP! FIX IT! THESE ARE PEOPLE'S LIVES! I got enough money in the bank, okay?

Unless a bank fails, I'm fine. But you're probably NOT fine. I'm lucky, and I'm tired of these charlatans on both sides lying to you because they're ideological Kool-Aid drinkers or corrupt toads.

And I'm talking to you, Barney Frank. Who's the guy that was 'OH, if you don't lend money to poor people, you're a bigot!' Who was saying that, Barney?

Man, I gotta take a break.


And here's the YouTube clip:





Sure, there's plenty of blame to go around on the political side of the fence, but how are conservative talk hosts misleading the American people? Yes, some of them are against the bailout, but there's no uniform sentiment. A few appear to see it as a necessary evil, while others are adamantly opposed.

If anything, Rush Limbaugh now seems to support what he considers a money-making "rescue" rather than a bailout:


RUSH: The bottom line is that he says the government, if Paulson is able to buy up all these mortgages -- and, by the way, most of them are not into foreclosure yet. Most of them haven't defaulted. If Paulson, if the Treasury is able to buy up for $700 billion, $800 billion all of these mortgages and hold onto 'em and then sell 'em off as the market value is established on them, this guy's model say anywhere from $1.1 to 2.1 trillion could be realized by the government being in the mortgage business, the government as an investment bank.

He says, "My calculations, which assume 50% impairment on subprime loans, suggest it is possible, all in, for this portfolio to generate between $1 trillion and $2.2 trillion -- the greatest trade ever. Every hedge-fund manager will be jealous. Mr. Buffett is buying a small piece of the trade via his Goldman Sachs investment." And, by the way, a lot of people are saying this means we've reached the bottom.

When the smart money gets in, the smart money in this case being Buffett -- by the way, I never have trusted a guy named after a smorgasbord. But nevertheless when they're saying the smart money gets in, Warren Buffett gets in, that means we're near the bottom of the market. And that's one of the reasons why the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a little bit.

Now, I have some thoughts on this because this piece makes it clear this is not a bailout. It's a rescue. Now, these things still have some value. I don't know what the value is, and they haven't been foreclosed on. They're pretty close to worthless, but it's not technically a bailout. And of course you're hearing all these warnings if we do this then there's not going to be any credit. Okay, now, what does that mean? Well, it could mean something like this. Now, I'm just giving you an extreme example. It could mean that all of our credit cards, outstanding balances are going to be called in, 'cause there's no more credit. If the credit markets have no cash to lend money, and if the assets that they hold are worthless, then there's no credit, and if there's no credit, there's no expansion. If there's no expansion, there's no growth. Now, this is an extreme scenario, but they're using two things to sell this rescue plan. They're using fear of you losing and everybody losing their credit, and the come-on, "Wow, look how much money the government can make here, $2.2 trillion, can you imagine the debt service that we could --" debt service. Remember the peace dividend? What did they do with it? It didn't even exist. They grew the government. This is the kind of money, if Obama is elected, this is the money that will fund all of his brand-new big-time social programs. There's a lot to think about here.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, here we go. The piece I just read to you, Andy Kessler, I should give you the headline. "The Paulson Plan Will Make Money for Taxpayers." He's a former hedge fund manager, and that's how he analyzes this. He's one of these economists that has commuter models and he's run some projections. Now, if this guy is right -- and who knows? See, we don't know who to trust, and we don't know who's going to end up being right. Our experienced is, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," means we're going to get screwed. And we know there's not one single person involved in this I trust with that prediction. There's not a Ronald Reagan here. If a Ronald Reagan was saying, "We gotta do this," I would believe it. There isn't one of those. So you've gotta scrounge around. It's actually a great educational process.


What we can say about O'Reilly's rant is that it was a passionate talk radio moment on a subject that has many feeling more than a bit emotional.

His strongest point is in attacking Frank, who has repeatedly been interviewed by fawning mainstream media outlets without the slightest hint of a tough question. As head of the House Financial Services Committee, the Massachusetts Democrat certainly deserves a large share of the blame for his lack of oversight while the financial system was melting down.


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23 September 2008

Al Franken's Curious Accountability Demands

'BLANK'-EN FRANKEN

Does Stuart Really Believe He'll Get Away With This?





*** Lieberman Defends Coleman's Oversight Record ***


There are nervy, brazen and obnoxious people in this crazy world and then there is Al Franken, truly one of a kind. While he may not win November's senate election in Minnesota, this alleged comedian could easily score a top prize as the most shameless hypocrite on the campaign trail.

At this point, however, Franken himself may not be the biggest problem. For letting him get away with these dishonest antics, fingers ought to be pointing at the rest of us. After all, ol' Stuart Smalley's simply staying true to character.

As he dares to criticize Norm Coleman for his supposed lack of "accountability" while chairing a Senate oversight committee, can we really remain silent? Where was this zeal for ethics and morality when his employer, Air America Radio, was looting a children's charity to fund staff salaries?

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:


From 2003 to 2007, Coleman was chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). Coleman led several probes as chairman, including music pirating on the Internet, Pentagon travel abuses and abuses in the United Nations' oil-for-food program.

But Franken said Coleman held no hearings on waste and fraud during the war at "the bidding of the White House."

Coleman "let our country down. We paid a steep price. Now it falls to the people of Minnesota to hold him accountable," Franken said.

Coleman campaign officials responded that the PSI has uncovered more than $70 billion in payroll tax abuses, Medicare fraud and unpaid contractor taxes since Coleman joined the committee.

"Al Franken would rather have him doing things that were being done by other committees ... that were better equipped to handle this," said campaign spokesman Luke Friedrich.


And from KARE-TV 11, Franken parrots his party's talking points, with unintentionally funny results (perhaps he's a comedian after all):


Meanwhile, DFL Senate candidate Al Franken says Congress should not give the Bush administration a "blank check" as it considers a $700 billion plan to bail out the financial industry. Franken says any plan should include independent oversight by Congress.

He also says that taxpayers should get an equity stake in companies that are being bailed out. Like other Democrats in Congress, Franken says that CEOs of such companies should not receive excessive salaries. And the candidate is calling for a freeze of home foreclosures. Franken is challenging Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican.


While he made greedy salary demands of a radio network that was using siphoned charity money to make payroll, where was the accountability? And isn't that "blank check" concept strangely reminiscent of his own Air America deal?

Where has Al Franken ever set the example that he would compel others to follow?






This factually- correct ad, created
by the Coleman campaign, ought to be required viewing for every Minnesota voter.

Are we really going to let Al Franken get away with this stunningly hypocritical campaign approach, or instead use the opportunity to shout from the rooftops that this guy is as dirty as they come?


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21 September 2008

Bill O'Reilly Latest Target Of Anti-Palin Hackers

ANOTHER HACK ATTACK

Vandals And Supporters Again Blame The Victims







Underscoring the amoral, anything-goes nature of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's political enemies, cable talker Bill O'Reilly has become the latest target of their destructive campaign. And once again, weak excuses have been cooked up to justify their illegal actions.

It began with last week's hacking of Palin's email account, with private messages splashed across the Internet, followed by a laughably twisted effort to blame the victim for their invasion of her privacy.

Federal authorities are still investigating, with the son of a Democratic Tennessee legislator emerging as a potential suspect.

Instead of condemning those who were responsible, the mainstream media focused on the content of the emails, hoping to bring down Palin.


But when O'Reilly criticized the hackers on his program, they turned against him, targeting his website in retaliation. Instead of damaging the host himself, however, they chose to attack his subscribers, making their personal information public.

Here's the O'Reilly Factor clip that angered the hackers:






Beyond their well-honed
hacking skills, it should be obvious to all that these guys aren't particularly bright. But the especially weak (and overtly partisan) justification given for the O'Reilly attack is breathtaking:


While this is a crime, it was done not to cause harm or embarrassment, but merely to prove whether or not Palin was using a private email account to conduct government business. But rather than look at the facts surrounding the hack, ultra-conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly just went for the jugular and verbally attacked not only the hackers themselves, but even the sites publishing the material on the Internet.

[...]

O’Reilly has now got his comeuppance as unnamed hackers have reacted by hacking in to his official website, billoreilly.com, and obtained the names of premium subscribers. They not only managed to discover the names of these O’Reilly fans but also their addresses and passwords to the site.

All affected members of the site have been notified, and it has since been locked down to avoid any further incidents. But, as with the Palin hack, this virtual break-in wasn’t done for malicious reasons. No credit card details were stolen, and no harm was done to the website itself. The hackers seem to have hit O’Reilly just to prove the point. And I can’t say I blame them.


Clearly, there are a lot of angry (but not terribly intelligent) lefty basement-dwellers out there looking for targets. It's no different than the schoolyard bully who blames the children he's terrorized once caught and held accountable.

Computerworld believes this is the start of a partisan hacking war between liberals and conservatives:


Given the online animosity over Palin's email hack, Ferguson said the O'Reilly attack could be the next step in a "hacktivist" war between liberals and conservatives. "It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out," he said.


So far, however, all of the vandals have been leftists. Where is the evidence that conservatives are planning their own response?

Right-leaning computer hackers, if any happen to actually exist, should not plan to retaliate. Why sink to their sick level?


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19 September 2008

Media Elites Angry Over Sean Hannity's Sarah Palin Interview

SLICE-AND-DICE

Hannity's Highly-Rated Palin Interview Angers Media





*** Anger Over Radio Host's Savage Beating ***


With record ratings resulting from her appearance on the FOX News Channel, Palin Derangement Syndrome has begun to target those who merely interview the Alaskan governor as well as the candidate herself.

Yes, to gain the approval of Sarah Palin's liberal enemies, the interviewer apparently must insult her, question whether she can be trusted around teenage boys, or ask about her private (yet somehow hacked) emails.

Of course, that Sean Hannity was granted this interview, as opposed to Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews or Whoopi Goldberg, was bound to set off this crowd. And we should have seen the personal insults coming a mile away.

But is it really necessary to be quite so nasty? At least they've come up with one or two new ones: at NewJersey.com, Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine derides Hannity as a "steak salesman":


Steak salesman was in rare form with Palin

[...]

Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the various other radio talkers are pitchmen, not conservatives. Their job is to sell you products, and they're pretty good at it. But only a complete moron - oops, I mean a populist - could take Hannity seriously when he analyzes presidential politics one minute and then gives a pitch for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse the next.

Though I confess it does make me want a steak aged in butter.

Seen in that light, Hannity's interview of Republican vice-presidential contender Sarah Palin Wednesday night was a new low in the descent into populism I lamented in my column the other day.

Palin has been dodging journalists from the day she got the nomination. This is always a bad sign. If you don't think you can handle any question anyone throws at you, then you have no business running for office. Until recently, John McCain's claim to fame was taking on all questions from reporters.

Palin though chose the most compliant of interviewers in Hannity.


Funny enough,
if Hannity didn't have advertisers (as is the case with our friends at Air America Radio), he'd be slammed for that as well. That's the way these guys play the game.

Perhaps what's really motivating this slice-and-dice analysis, however, is anger over the huge ratings generated by part one of the interview (part two figures are due soon):


Hannity & Colmes (well, mostly Hannity) welcomed Gov. Sarah Palin last night, and was helped to its second highest ratings in Total Viewers during 2008. In the A25-54 demo, it was the 3rd highest of the year.

Palin was involved in the top-rated H&C as well — it was the night of her speech at the RNC.

In prime time last night, FNC averaged 4,107,000 total viewers and 1,093,000 in the demo.


Obviously, no one expects Palin and Hannity to get a free pass from their opponents in the Obama campaign and his media fellow-travellers. But the depths to which they've been willing to sink in the name of destroying Sarah Palin are breathtaking.


For his part, Hannity took the opportunity to get a sense of Palin's personal nature, asking how she's felt about some of the attacks from the Obama campaign:


HANNITY: When you were first announced as Senator McCain's running mate, the Obama campaign put out a statement and here's what it was. It said, "Today, Senator McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000, with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat from the presidency." Perhaps they forgot you got promoted.

But how did that make you feel?

PALIN: Oh, you know, it's motivating to me, Sean. Because it's, OK, not only personally, well, I have opportunity to prove what the capabilities are here. But I so respected John McCain, his maverick streak in him there really being made manifest in choosing someone who has a track record of that commitment to reform, of being able to share the examples of the reform, the practices that have been implemented and have been good for the people whom I have been serving. I've been working for the people of Wasilla and Alaska. And in my job also in overseeing such a healthy portion of the U.S. domestic production of oil.

Those things that I add to the ticket, certainly our opponents are going to ignore all that and they're going to send their opposition researchers up to Alaska. They've got dozens of them up there now.


He also pressed her to address key points that were glossed over during Palin's previous interview with Charles Gibson:


HANNITY: You said that — in the last part of your interview with Charles Gibson — you said that you thought that Senator Obama, he probably regrets it now, in terms of not picking Senator Clinton.

Why do you feel that way?

PALIN: I think Senator Clinton had shown a lot of determination and stick-to-itiveness in her campaigns and I have to respect that. I don't have to agree with all that she tried to push through and parts of her agenda. In fact, I don't agree with all of it.

But there are some things that Hillary Clinton did that nobody can take away from her. And that is the 18 million cracks that she put there in that highest and hardest glass ceiling in America's political scene. She was able to affect that and I respect that.


Her nearly invisible Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, has claimed she's "sheltering" herself from the media. But almost no one seems to be paying attention to the Delaware senator. What's worse, facing a barrage of personal attacks, or being ignored?

Palin's taking unprecedented heat because it's clear to the left that she's an effective leader. That has them running scared.


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17 September 2008

Coleman Campaign Unleashes Damning Franken Ads

'I'M MEAN SOMETIMES'

Franken's Own Words, Deeds Come Back To Haunt Him







Opening up a new front in the war against Al Franken's relentlessly- fluffy mainstream media coverage, the Norm Coleman for Senate campaign has released two damning new ads, one of which uses the alleged comedian's own words against him.

The other features your Radio Equalizer's 2005-2006 investigative work with Michelle Malkin into Franken's role in Air America Radio's Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal, where $875,000 in taxpayer funds were diverted to fund the liberal network's operations.

In 2006, our probe into Franken's outrageous compensation package revealed that he was demanding substantially more money at the same time the network was refusing to return the siphoned taxpayer funds.

Now, Senator Coleman (R-MN) has released this new ad, which correctly fits the pieces together:





While we don't expect Franken to roll over and play dead, he really doesn't have a potential defense. If he did, it would have been utilized at the time, but Stuart usually ducks tough questions on this issue.


In the other new ad, Franken's notorious hot temper and potty mouth have come back to haunt him and at one point even admits that he's "mean sometimes." Here's the clip:






And they didn't even have time for Franken's all-time most unhinged caught-on-camera moment ever: that kooky Amazon promotional video clip featuring Franken kicking a guy in the groin and attacking him with a chair.

But WCCO-TV actually tried to blame Coleman for Franken's language, using this contorted "logic" courtesy of a "political analyst":


The ad goes on to feature DFL candidate Al Franken repeatedly swearing. While the bad words are bleeped out it's not hard to tell what the swear words are.

"I cannot recall an ad this harsh with this kind of language as long as I've been in Minnesota," said political analyst Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute.

Jacobs said the ad charts new territory in a race that has seen both campaigns go negative.

"This could well outrage some Minnesota voters who don't want to see swearing on their television screens," he said.


Though a recent poll shows some voters turning away from both Franken and Coleman, the latter has no choice but to reveal the truth about Stuart Smalley's past. Voters deserve to know what Al is really all about.


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16 September 2008

Roseanne Barr Makes Yet Another Attempt At Talk Radio

BARR THE DOOR!

Roseanne Again Seeks Elusive Talk Radio Success







Is Roseanne Barr incapable of taking a hint?

After failing at talk radio several times in the last few years, the comedian/ unhinged lefty is taking yet another stab at it, returning to the same Southern Californian station that was the scene of some of her previous crimes against broadcasting.

During an unsuccessful attempt at permanently joining Air America Radio's lineup, Barr actually called for riots during Denver's Democratic National Convention. Though much of the mainstream media covered for her (with just a few exceptions), this type of dangerous rhetoric has become the norm during her program.

From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:


After a year-long absence from the airwaves, Roseanne Barr will return to radio this afternoon on Inland-based KCAA Talk Radio 1050 AM.

Her show with partner Johnny Argent will air from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday for at least six months.

"She wants to have a voice," said Todd Rowan, of Rowan Kelly, a radio programming and advertising consulting agency that brought Barr to KCAA.

She originally kicked off "Roseanne Talk Live" with Argent in March 2007 and it ran for three months before she ended the show.

During her first run, Barr broadcast the show from Las Vegas, where she was performing. Rowan said the new show will be broadcast from Full Moon & High Tide Productions & Studios in El Segundo. KCAA's studios are in San Bernardino.

Barr and Argent often talked politics and religion on the radio show.

"With the political season coming up, it's going to be great," Rowan said.

An Emmy-winning comedienne, Barr is best known for her sitcom "Roseanne," which ran for nine years and tackled issues facing a lower-middle class family.

Argent was one of the writers for Barr's 2006 HBO comedy special and appeared as himself on "The Real Roseanne Show" in 2003.


Could someone please bar the studio's front door before she finds her way in front of a microphone? Oops, it's too late, the show apparently began today.

From here, there's little doubt Rosie & Co will push for national libtalk syndication, given the limited reach of her current outlet and the fact that she will be using a remote studio in another city, rather than KCAA's San Bernadino studios.

Given her history of reckless outbursts and miniscule audiences, however, how much luck can she really hope to have?



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15 September 2008

MN GOP Demands Franken 'Fess Up Over Boys & Girls Swindle

NOT FORGOTTEN

Air America Scandal And Franken Focus of New Attention







Did Al Franken really think he could run for office in another state without being called to account for his potential role in the sleazy Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal?

That's where $875,000 in taxpayer funds were diverted from the Bronx-based charity and used to fill the liberal radio network's coffers.

Though we've never accused him of directly taking part in the scheme, we're convinced he knew the dirty money was being used to fund his bloated salary and did nothing to stop it. Only with public pressure did Franken even address the issue on the air, refusing to come clean with what he knew and when he knew it.

Now, the Minnesota GOP has had enough. Burdened with the alleged comedian as Senator Norm Coleman's opponent, they would like to know more about Stuart's antics in New York City. Will he come clean?

Don't hold your breath.

Today, they've issued this press release, pegging exactly the issue at hand:


Republican Party Of Minnesota Calls Franken To Divulge His Role In Air America And Boys And Girls Club Scandal



St. Paul- At a State Capitol press conference today, Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey called on Al Franken to provide more detailed answers to his role in the cover-up involving nearly $900,000 that was stolen from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club by Franken’s Air America company.

“Al Franken did nothing to help return nearly $900,000 to the New York Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club while his employer, Air America, continued to use the money to possibly pay Franken’s salary and benefits,” said Carey. “At a time when Franken’s temper tantrums and bad behavior could have been put to good use by publicly demanding and threatening to expose his employer’s role in this massive fraud, Franken remained silent. But, while he negotiated for a multi-million contract, he was well aware that his nearly bankrupt Air America employer had stolen money from the Boys and Girls Club and he did nothing and said nothing to get the money returned.”

In 2004, Air America, through a series of financial irregularities, and under the leadership of Franken’s former CEO, took an unauthorized “loan” of $875,000 from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club to pay for operating costs, possibly including “operating costs” at the struggling radio network.

Franken, who repeatedly denied any role in the scandal, finally was forced to admit on-air that his company did indeed take the money, and that it was likely being used to cover the station’s operating costs.

At the time, Franken was also negotiating a huge salary increase, while Air America was continuing to delay returning the money to the Boys and Girls Club. And, Franken, who was caught misrepresenting when he was aware of the scandal, never called on the station, or the management of the company to return the money.

According to Chair Carey, while Franken may not have been involved in taking the money in the beginning, his lack of effort to get the money returned raises questions about what his role was after the fact.

“Al Franken said his company had no legal obligation to pay back the money they stole. So, while kids, senior citizens, and thousands of people who were looking for services from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club weren’t getting them, Al Franken remained silent – and never once called for an audit, or an investigation or any type of oversight in the matter. Why did Franken stay quiet? Was he afraid of jeopardizing his contract negotiations? Or, was it because he didn’t want to raise any suspicions about how deeply involved he was in the station’s financial situation? He needs to answer these questions.”

Chair Carey also raised questions about Franken’s signature on a document that clearly showed that Air America owed money to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

“Franken claims he never saw the list of creditors that were owed money by Air America when it filed bankruptcy, and therefore, couldn’t have known that Air America still owed $875,000 back to the Boys and Girls Club.

Isn’t it ironic that once again Al Franken has a sudden loss of memory when it comes to financial irregularities with a company and business that he is involved in. He didn’t know he was supposed to pay taxes – he didn’t know he was supposed to pay workers compensation premiums – and he claims he didn’t know Air America stole money from poor kids. There’s a pattern here, and it’s one that has dogged Al Franken for years.”


The Minnesota GOP has nailed it: Franken towed the party line for a bunch of crooks, all so that his bloated paychecks would continue to arrive.

That's an important distinction, as his defenders have sometimes tried to blur this issue, accusing critics of claiming he participated in the theft itself.

Even if one didn't take part in the heist, or drive the getaway car, taking a share of the loot is still a crime. While Franken may have escaped punishment in New York City, Minnesota voters may yet have something to say about it.


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Classic AAR images: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer, AAR Scandal logo: Darleen Click

13 September 2008

Libtalker: Sarah Palin Has Unhealthy Interest In Teenage Boys

SINKING DEEPER

Rhodes Suggests Palin Likes To Sleep With Teenage Boys







Just how far are lefty pundits willing to go to smear Sarah Palin? On behalf of the "progressive" movement, libtalker Randi Rhodes seems determined to sink to new depths of moral depravity, with the limits of imagination as her only impediment.

Less than a week after her wildly dishonest claim that John McCain was "well-treated" during his wartime imprisonment in Vietnam, Rhodes is at it again, this time making a strong inference that Palin likes to sleep with teenage boys.

It's further evidence of a widespread smear campaign that involves lefty bloggers, libtalkers and the mainstream news media. With this gang, the ends apparently justify the means. That there isn't a shred of evidence to back up any of their claims is irrelevant: this is full-scale character assassination.

From Friday's Rhodes show, here's a transcript, followed by the clip:


RHODES (HOUR TWO -- 47:59): She’s the woman who shows up at the kid’s birthday party and starts opining about everything from politics to lawn care. This is the woman that knows it all. Will shout you down, will get revenge on you. That’s who she is.

She's friends with all the teenage boys. You have to say no when your kids say, 'can we sleep over at the Palin’s? No! NO!'






What's next? Can they possibly sink any deeper?


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12 September 2008

Al Sharpton Claims Black 9-11 Victims Have Been Treated Poorly

AL'S 9-11 RACE CARD

Were 'Bankers' Treated Better Than African-Americans?







Just when you thought every possible 9-11 conspiracy theory had been concocted, disseminated and happily adopted by its natural constituency, along comes Al Sharpton to make the average kook look like an amateur.

Yes, seven years after that horrible day, Sharpton & Co still see the terrorist attacks as a vehicle for their divisive message of hate. Claiming African-American victims have been mistreated in favor of white "investment bankers" and others, Al found someone willing to back up his nonsense: Amsterdam News editor Eleanor Tatum.

Here's a partial transcript of yesterday's show (which he billed as "seven years later- now you can hear the truth of what really happened") along with a video clip immediately thereafter:


SHARPTON: I think a lot of people would be surprised as we see all of this sanctimonious behavior that none of these people have been aided in any way. And wasn’t even invited to the ceremonies this morning. I mean people that survived and ran for their lives are not part of what you are watching on television.

I think people need to know that. And over half of the people that were killed were people of color. You would not know that. Not that I condone anybody being killed. I certainly feel for the white families as well, but they’ve put a white face on this and you have to ask yourself why.

[...]

SHARPTON (44:40): That’s one of the reasons Ellie I wanted to do this show. This happened to us (blacks) too. Whoever did it, whether you believe the conspiracies or not, let’s not act like this happened to us too. And I think that is the point I am trying to make today.

ELEANOR TATUM: Yeah, that’s why the black press is so important because because we’re really the only ones that told the story of our communities as to what happened all across this country.

SHARPTON: Exactly, exactly right.


[Next hour]


TATUM (21:04): Even if we look at the rescuers, the rescuers you saw on television were white, for the most part. And in the days afterward you saw mostly white rescuers being interviewed and then the dogs.







Other than to incite hatred along ethnic lines, what in the world is the point of this kind of rhetoric? And when they are unable to provide any evidence to back up these outrageous claims, shouldn't Sharpton & Friends be held accountable?


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10 September 2008

Civil RIghts Activists, Cuomo, NYC Council Denounce 'Racist' Radio Ratings

HIP HOP PROTECTION SQUAD

Accurate Audience Measurement System Denounced







Why would anyone fear the most accurate, high tech radio ratings system ever invented?

Just ask elected officials in New York, such as Democratic state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the New York City Council, as well as the left wing, so-called civil rights activists who have spent more than a year working to shut down Arbitron's new Portable People Meter system. They can't wait to kill it and may succeed in doing just that.

Today, they're leading the charge against PPM, with Cuomo wasting tax money to open an investigation, while the council has just held a hearing on the matter.

Under the old diary-based system, cheating was a cinch: major fans of a program could simply "vote" for it by recording a wildly inflated amount of listening over the week-long survey period. This tended to favor Hip Hop and perhaps one or two other formats where listeners have a particularly strong devotion to the music and personalities.

In New York, where dueling Hip Hop morning hosts actually provoked violence, the stakes were high. For several years, it began to resemble gang warfare, with call letters replacing traditional designations.

While the PPM system has already been implemented in a number of major cities, New York was forced to abandon it after a one-month trial last year resulted in collapsing Hip Hop numbers and a surge for conservative news talk radio.

Interestingly, in San Francisco, more recent PPM results have shown large drops for both liberal and conservative talk radio.

Here's what this site had to say in November 2007 about the first results under PPM, versus the old diary-based system:


WABC's outgoing Curtis & Kuby Show, bumped for the return of ratings- challenged Don Imus, had been undercounted by 75,000 weekly listeners. Under the new system, their audience looks especially strong and termination all the more foolish.


Between 10am and 3pm, a period that includes Rush Limbaugh, WABC was shorted 96,000 listeners, which now appear under PPM. Total weekly reach for the station during this time period is now estimated at 646,000.


Sean Hannity was the biggest winner under PPM: his audience was found to be 182,000 persons larger than previously believed, bringing the the station's 3-7pm total to 642,000.


And at night, a similar story: a 154,000 undercount under the diary system, bringing WABC's 7pm - midnight tally to 438,000.


No wonder the Sharptonians want a recount: this is the worst news they've heard in years. Not only is gang- banging hip hop far less popular than anyone previously believed, but conservative talk radio is much bigger in New York City than expected.

For years, talk radio programmers have felt the old system punished talk radio, calling the phenomenon "phantom cume". Now the proof is at hand, using scientific methodology.


And from Brian Stelter in today's New York Times:


Arbitron produces radio ratings that are used to buy and sell advertising time. Despite resistance from some broadcasters, the company has gradually introduced the personal people meter, a cellphone-size device that recognizes which station is being tuned in. The company estimates the audience size for radio stations by extrapolating from the results of its consumer sample.

Arbitron says the devices are more accurate than diaries, which are based on recall.

Initial tests of the meter last year showed steep ratings declines for some radio stations that cater to minority groups and younger listeners. James L. Winston, the executive director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, said the people meters were not measuring an adequate sample of African-Americans and Hispanics, thus putting stations with urban formats at a disadvantage.

“The sample size they are conducting their studies with is too small, and that causes their data to be unreliable,” Mr. Winston said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Arbitron maintained that the audience sample that had been selected to carry the people meters “fully represents the diversity of New York radio markets.” The company previously delayed the introduction of the meters in New York by nine months to improve the diversity of its sample, and it says that the sample is now broadly inclusive.

Minority broadcasters had encouraged the attorney general’s office and other government agencies to investigate Arbitron’s use of people meters. A coalition of broadcasters petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to intervene last week, and the commission is now conducting a public comment period.

Mr. Cuomo’s office is going further. On Tuesday it issued a subpoena to gather information about the people meters.


And from All Access, a major industry trade publication, here's an account of what "civil rights" pressure groups argued before the council today:


NABOB Exec. Dir And General Council JAMES WINSTON testified that, "I am here to talk about the greatest threat to the survival of minority owned radio in the UNITED STATES."

He continued, "ARBITRON maintains a monopoly over the business of measuring the audiences of radio stations. The existence of ARBITRON's monopoly means that, if radio stations do not subscribe to the ARBITRON ratings service, those stations will have no ratings data to present to advertisers who purchase advertising time on radio stations. In short, radio stations live and die according to the audience ratings and market ranks reported by ARBITRON."

"It is for this reason that NABOB is asking that the FCC and other government entities investigate ARBITRON's PPM audience measurement system, said WINSTON. "ARBITRON has been denied accreditation by the MRC in both NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA. The failure of ARBITRON to obtain MRC accreditation for PPM in PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK is a situation that calls for investigation, because that failure suggests that there are other deficiencies in the methodology that are not yet apparent."

"If ARBITRON is allowed to move forward issuing flawed reports on African American and Hispanic audiences, it will result in huge financial losses for radio stations serving those audiences and might even force some stations out of business."


NABOB refers to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

Funny enough, within the industry, Arbitron has a history of bending over backwards to make sure minorities were well- represented in the ratings. At times, they've even been accused by some of oversampling certain groups, Hispanics in particular. That's what makes these arguments seem so peculiar.


The bottom line is this: so-called "urban" stations enjoyed years of wildly inflated audience estimates that resulted in unsustainable ad rates. Now that an accurate system for measuring listenership has finally come along, it has been turned into a political issue by those who stand to lose the most money. Recruited for this dubious "cause" are pressure groups who have succeeded in generating political momentum.

That Cuomo and other Democrats would be foolish enough to go along with this scheme demonstrates shameless liberal pandering toward a bunch of nattering nabobs.


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