The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 April 2009

Politicized Environment Turns News Issues Into Ammunition


Left Plays 'Gotcha' Game With Talk Radio Over Swine Flu


In an era where political spinmeisters look for opportunities to score points from almost any news event, a widely-publicized swine flu is too profitable to ignore. From the earliest outbreaks, some immediately look to smear their enemies.

And with talk radio under the left's microscope, "progressives" have been watching it closely, looking for "gotcha" moments that will build their case for a crackdown against the popular medium.

Already, they've launched attacks on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fred Thompson and Michael Savage over swine flu comments deemed offensive, particularly those who might dare to criticize the Obama Administration's handing of the crisis.

Attacking talk radio is only half of the strategy, however: in addition, Republicans are being blamed for opposing pandemic funding in the pork-laden stimulus bill. Complicating that message, however, is the fact that some Democrats voiced the same objection, including Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). That could make the partisan blame-game a bit tricky.

The left-wing Talking Points Memo was so eager to use swine flu to smear talk hosts and other conservatives that it didn't even wait for the programs, instead resorting to this supposed "parody":

Glenn Beck: "Am I mistaken or is Swine Flu one of the plagues that the ancient Egyptians used against the Jews? Could this be just one of several plagues that the Pharaoh Obama will unleash against the American people? I..I..fear for my country. I......don't want to see MY country......consumed by the pestilence of this president's Islamo-fascist communist Muslim agenda and the diseases that it will unleash."

Rush Limbaugh: "Here it is, folks. The nanny government is going to move in and tell you that you have to go get shots with dangerous vaccines against some made-up disease. 'Swine flu? Swine flu?' That was something that Jimmy Carter made up back in the 70s to try to distract everyone from his foreign policy disasters and blowing up the economy. There's no such thing, folks. It's a joke. And, even if there was, if you choose to live in a place where some disease from Mexico can come into your neighborhood and infect you and your family, you only have yourself to blame for it. For anyone that dumb, I say 'tough luck.' You should have known better. Stop looking for the government to save you from yourself."

At least the George "I'm having a very good crisis" Soros-funded Media Matters waited for the programs to get actual quotes:

Following an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and subsequent confirmation of dozens of cases in the United States, conservative media personalities have baselessly blamed Mexican immigrants for spreading the disease across the border, continuing their long-standing trend of scapegoating immigrants while discussing major news stories. However, Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, M.D., the interim deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's science and public health program, stated in an April 26 media availability: "I know that we have confirmation of disease in people who have traveled to Mexico, and I don't know the numbers, but I know that that is definitely the case in some of our cases, and that's an important factor to consider." Indeed, several media reports on U.S. swine flu patients indicated that they had recently traveled to Mexico.

[second post]

Following the confirmation of swine flu cases in the United States, radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fred Thompson purported to detect possible political motivations in the U.S. and United Nations' handling of the situation, with Limbaugh suggesting on his April 27 show that the official response "is designed to expand the role and power of governments and schools" and accusing the media of "fall[ing] right in line here with amplifying the nature of the crisis."

Also on April 27, Beck asserted that there are "only two ways to look at" the government's response to the swine flu. First, he claimed that it "could be that because Barack Obama's administration is so incredibly efficient, could be that they know that this is much worse than we think it is." Second, Beck claimed the administration's response to the crisis "could be to move his Health and Human Services person [Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius] into the office rapidly." He added: "She can be confirmed right out of the gate because of this swine flu. So don't look over here, look at the swine flu, look at the swine flu, look at the swine flu. And she just goes right through the gate."

For his part,
Limbaugh made light of Obama's "not to worry" approach to the swine flu, taking particular note of the president's governing-from-the-golf-course strategy:

RUSH: Imagine a flu outbreak, swine flu, bird flu, Democrat flu, whatever, imagine a flu outbreak, and George W. Bush going to play golf and getting hourly reports on the golf course. This flu, folks, let me tell you something. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to sweat here.

I'm not going to worry about this outbreak of flu until Fox News puts Geraldo Rivera on 24 hours a day. Geraldo Rivera is the grim reaper, and when enough people start dying from this then we'll get Geraldo all day and night and he'll be in 15 different cities at one time to report on it. Great to be back with you, folks. How are you? Rush Limbaugh here behind the Golden EIB Microphone at the distinguished and prestigious Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. Telephone number if you want to be on the program today, 800-282-2882, and the e-mail address,

Well, everybody's getting all caught up in the hundred days. The press is running numerous stories about the hundred days, and there's this giant disconnect, there's absolutely not one thing that has been fixed, not one thing that this administration has taken on has even been improved, and yet President Obama's approval numbers are higher than ever. This means, ladies and gentlemen, that there is a perception of President Obama that is nowhere near the reality of President Obama. And this phenomenon is going to continue until somehow, some way, President Obama can be tied to all of the failures that his administration is racking up, until he could be tied to them in terms that he will be held responsible. That's going to be very, very, very, very difficult because of the cult-like belief and status that President Obama benefits from. The situation is that he's trying, and he cares. And he's got a magic word. Barack Obama has a magic word: "Bush." He's actually got another magic word: "torture." Any time the administration wants to distract anybody from economic news, failures here, failures there, just bring up torture.

By the way, I need to point out here on this flu stuff, we've got some Obama sound bites coming up where he says not to worry, it's cause for alarm, but not panic. Obama has not yet chosen a Surgeon General or even put in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (interruption) How does that affect you, Mr. Snerdley? I'm just running a little test here. Well, but no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. It's a good thing I asked the question. We don't have a Surgeon General. We don't have Centers for Disease Control director. I asked Snerdley, "What does this mean?" He said it means we don't need one; we can handle it without them. I understand what you're saying. But to me the concern over not having -- what's a Surgeon General do anyway but teach kids how to masturbate so as to prevent AIDS? Hello, Joycelyn Elders. What's a Surgeon General do except run around and attack Joe Camel to get kids not to smoke? What's a Surgeon General do? The Surgeon General doesn't even perform surgery. I have yet to see the Surgeon General in this country in my lifetime actually operate on anybody.

UPDATE: the cheap shots continue as WOWOWOW, a liberal site for women, took Limbaugh's tongue-in-cheek commentary and turned it into this week's OUTRAGE (!!!!), using Media Matters as a supposedly credible source:

Rush Limbaugh is doing his best to pin the swine flu outbreak on President Barack Obama.

The radio host used his show yesterday to suggest that Obama’s recent trip to Mexico caused not only the flu pandemic, but also an earthquake. "[E]verywhere Obama is spreading Obamaism, there is a deadly disease taking place, either in the TARP community or in the newspaper business … Obama goes to Mexico — they have an earthquake. Obama goes to Mexico — get pig flu," according to The Huffington Post.

[second post]

While Rush Limbaugh and other right-wingers want to blame Barack Obama for the swine-flu pandemic, medical authorities say they’ve traced the illness back to its true source: a four-year-old Mexican boy, Edgar Hernandez.

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  • The parody of Beck is spot on, this is exactly how Beck does his show, he wets his pants andpanics like a sissy, every day. Beck represes sissy bed, wtting conservatvies better than anyone else. I love Glen Beck, he is the average right winger, hiding under their bed at night, hiding from commie Islamo-fascism, which does not even make sense, as commies ban religion

    The parody:Glenn Beck: "Am I mistaken or is Swine Flu one of the plagues that the ancient Egyptians used against the Jews? Could this be just one of several plagues that the Pharaoh Obama will unleash against the American people? I..I..fear for my country. I......don't want to see MY country......consumed by the pestilence of this president's Islamo-fascist communist Muslim agenda and the diseases that it will unleash."

    Serious that is his show sounds. The funnies host on the air, Glen Beck. and you people think Rhodes is wacky? Beck's gimmick is so funny it is almost parody. Every day the sky is falling on the Beck show, as a leftie Ilove his show

    By Anonymous Beck=Comedy, at 28 April, 2009 10:11  

  • to Susan Collin's credit, she is a proponent of spending regarding pandemic virus preperation, Collins wanted the funding in the omnibus bill, not the stimulus bill. Rght wing hosts such as Levin, despise Collins, she is an evil lib because she believes in spending on science an prevention! You fools earned this reputation. The left is wrong on Collins regarding this issue
    However, the right have been clowns regarding spending, calling volcano monitoring "pork" as a volcano became active in Alaska.
    The right has earned the reputation of considering anything regarding science "pork", this is why the left instantly blames Republicans, you clowns actually called volcano monitoring "unnecessary pork" Bobby Jindal said it on national TV
    and nobody questioned it o the right.

    Damm commie scuience spending! The right has become a self pardoy. You fools did it, you shrieked like sissies over everything, now America thinks the right are a bunch of clowns

    Viva Glen Beck, every second Beck is on air, America moves furthur away from the right

    By Anonymous Science="pork", at 28 April, 2009 10:18  

  • Nice Piece!

    the Swine Flu 'event' may indeed be a contrivance of the Obama administration so that they can appear 'competent.' It is easy to appear 'competent' when there isn't much of a crisis to solve.

    For a humorous look at a really dangerous 'flu' take a peek at:

    By Anonymous MAS1916, at 28 April, 2009 10:56  

  • Piggies Everywhere!
    Rhodes slithers out from her rock: swine flu soon follows... WOW! Swine flu is common in swine and rare in humans. People who work with swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching swine influenza.

    Randi is back for her 16th Minute of Fame!
    Run for your lives!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 April, 2009 18:43  

  • Yeah I’m sure you support the green house tax you no that other science stuff.

    I’m sure you support Susan in her support for Pro-death for babies and Pro-life for convicted murders.

    As for Beck, I have no use for his shows.

    By Blogger pf1, at 29 April, 2009 00:45  

  • What happened to Air Force One? OB has no idea. I think he had some visitors from the hood and they took it for a joy ride. Is that called Grand thief airplane.

    Maybe if he fixes his teleprompter it will tell him what happened.

    By Blogger pf1, at 29 April, 2009 00:51  

  • Pf1

    with hundreds of innocent people removed from Death row, you have to be insane to support the DEath penalty. Nobody is against th Death penalty because they support killers, we have an imperfect justice system. How many innocents will you allowed to be killed by the state?

    . I think he had some visitors from the hood and they took it for a joy ride.

    racism showing, let your white hood fly baby! Black does not = ghetto, I know Limbaugh told you otherwise.
    Obama is not the kind of guy that hangs with the hood.
    The FAA head should be fired immediatly, I agree but of corse as a bigoted ditto-head you have to sound like the typical, hatefull, basement dwelling conservative troglodyte that you are just to make an obvious point. I believe Obama is far more aware as to what is going on than your hero George W bush, was for 8 years.

    How's that Bradley effeect goin? Opration chaos??

    By Anonymous troglodytewingnut, at 29 April, 2009 12:08  

  • Innocent’s removed from death row. OMG that must mean the system is working. So when they say we as humans don’t have the right to put a person to death. Is that the nobody you are talking about?

    Mop your racism is showing. I never said ,like YOU, that black’s are who lived in the hood. I said supporters, that means who ever lives in the hood that supports him.

    Who said B.O. hangs in the hood. He’s rich and only goes in the hood to buy votes. If you would learn to understand English I would not have to keep explaining things. But then again if you understood things you would not be a socialist.

    Why should the head of the FAA be fired do you have information that he was in the wrong. What about BO do you think he signed off on the airplanes trip? I personally think you don’t know anything but by god you will support him till the end.

    As for Rush, I wish I had the time to listen because he sure can piss you off. Don’t you wish you had someone to listen to that agrees with your twisted view of life? You’re a loner makes for a good movie but a lonely life.

    I live life to the fullest and love every second of it. I have a wife that’s incredibly smart and beautiful and enjoys life with me. Just keep picking up those crack whores and you will die alone.

    By Blogger pf1, at 01 May, 2009 02:40  

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