Talk Radio Leads Surge Of Interest In MA Senate Race
Blogs, Talk Radio Know The Stakes In US Senate Race
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What normally would have been a quiet race to replace a deceased US Senator in Massachusetts has instead become a flashpoint in a national struggle over the future direction of our country.
With the opportunity to stop ObamaCare riding on the outcome of a single seat, blogs and talk radio have taken center stage in the battle. The showdown pits Republican State Senator Scott Brown of Wrentham against entrenched incumbent Attorney General Martha Coakley.
For Democrats, Tuesday's special election offers a lot to lose and almost nothing to gain: at best, they hang on to what is considered the ultimate safe seat. But if Republicans manage to come close or even squeak out a victory, it could be considered one of the greatest political upsets of all time.
While libtalkers remain oddly quiet on the race, even ignoring the topic altogether (near silence from Air America), with one exception to be discussed below, conservative hosts from coast to coast are devoting entire programs to the latest news.
Howie Carr: the regionally-syndicated host, Boston Herald columnist and best-selling author has the advantage of a network of stations in Massachusetts and New England, from Cape Cod's WXTK-FM to Worcester's WCRN, Springfield's WHYN and flagship outlet WRKO/ Boston. Carr has pounded on the Democrat in recent weeks and months, doing what he can to counter the questionable antics of the partisan Coakley backers / faux journalists at the Boston Globe.
If Carr can get his troops to the polls on Tuesday, it may well provide the winning margin for Scott Brown.
Margery Eagan: a struggling morning libtalker at the ratings-challenged WTKK-FM and Boston Herald columnist. Adamantly supporting Coakley, she believes her candidate will win as a result of female support on January 19.
Michael Graham: a token conservative on the increasingly left-leaning WTKK, Graham is also a National Review Online blogger and Herald columnist. Hot on the trail of campaign scoops and polling data.
Rush Limbaugh: determined to stay out of the discussion for as long as possible, Limbaugh (widely carried on WRKO, WXTK and other top-rated Bay State outlets) switched gears this week, devoting much of his time to the race. Rush told listeners this week he didn't want to become a campaign issue, but Coakley placed Limbaugh in an anti-Brown hit piece anyway.
Today, Rush Limbaugh lambasted the Boston Globe for what he saw as its slanted coverage of the race:
RUSH: The headline: "Reporter Takes Tumble, Chasing Massachusetts Candidate." That's not what happened! The reporter was pushed to the sidewalk. "A reporter trying to question Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley was involved in a scuffle with one of her aides. John McCormack of the Weekly Standard fell Tuesday night as he tried to speak with the Democrat while simultaneously videotaping her and trying to pass a metal grate on a Washington sidewalk. Photos and video of the incident show Coakley aide Michael Meehan trying to help McCormack up. A scuffle broke out as Meehan tried to block McCormack and determine if he was an operative of a rival campaign." He's not an operative. He's an accredited journalist. They know who he is. He's the guy, by the way, that Dede Scozzafava called the cops on in New York 23 were approaching her as she tried to get in her car. This is just amazingly outrageous and hilarious.
RUSH: Now, back to this Coakley story. This Boston Globe story, it is comical. It is to wrong as to almost be a parody. See, this is exactly what's wrong with print media. Everything that they write can be fact-checked by their readers. All one has to do is go to the Internet and look at the video and see that this reporter did not "fall down." He did not "stumble." He was pushed down by a guy named Michael Meehan (he's been identified, or it's pretty close) and then Meehan hurriedly, "Oh, ho-ho. Let me help you up, man. What happened here?" and the way this is reported is just comical. "A reporter trying to question Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley was involved in a scuffle with one of her aides." So far so good. "John McCormack of the Weekly Standard fell Tuesday night as he tried to speak with the Democrat while simultaneously videotaping her and trying to pass a metal grate..."
He was pushed into the metal gate and then ended up "on a Washington sidewalk. Photos and video of the incident show Coakley aide Michael Meehan trying to help McCormack up." Yeah. That's true. But the "photos and video of the incident" also show Meehan pushing and shoving Coakley into the metal grate and to the sidewalk. "Meehan tried to block McCormack and determine if he was an operative of a rival campaign," when everybody knows he's a journalist. He's been asking questions in this campaign throughout. It's a taught tactic. Now, something similar, ladies and gentlemen, has happened in the Gallup poll, the way something's been reported here. In the Gallup poll, Obama's ratings on the economy and health care have reached a new low in the Gallup poll. Do you know what their headline is? "Obama Approval on Terrorism Up to 49%. -- "Americans' views of Barack Obama's handling of terrorism remain closely divided, but mark a slight improvement from before the Christmas Day bombing attempt, with more Americans now approving than disapproving of how he is handling the issue. ... While Obama's approval rating on terrorism has inched up, his approval ratings for handling the economy and healthcare have declined slightly since they were last measured, in late November. His current 40% approval rating on the economy and 37% rating on healthcare are the lowest of his presidency to date." Just a slight decline, just a slight decline out there. Oh! But he's really, really up on terrorism. So two great examples here of how the bad news is, in the Gallup poll, buried. Well, it's not buried but it doesn't lead, the terrorism stuff does. And this Boston Globe story on this incident with Meehan and McCormack is just comical. And as I say, it is exactly why they're having big problem.
Syndicated talkers: in Boston, many are not carried as the medium remains focused on local issues. But Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage are popular on WRKO, while Sean Hannity delivers top ratings on the Cape's WXTK-FM, the number one radio station in that market.
The latter's impact is much greater on television, of course, where his Fox News Channel program has covered the race extensively. Hannity has also interviewed Brown for both of his programs.
Jeff Jacoby: though not heard on the radio, Jacoby's role as a beacon of hope inside the otherwise morally and intellectually corrupt Globe cannot be overstated. His columns are high-quality and the most recent piece on Brown's debate performance was particularly solid.
Jon Keller: a rare independent analyst inside WBZ-TV's partisan newsroom. He's not afraid to criticize Coakley when others refuse.
Andy Hiller: WHDH's resident political analyst comes on strong and often seems reliably liberal. But he was one of the first to spot problems in Coakley's campaign performance, which he called "stiff".
Bloggers: conservative blogging in New England has only recently become well-established, where sites like Red Mass Group, Hub Politics and our own SaveWRKO have strongly fought for Brown. Traffic (and influence) is significantly higher than a few years ago. On the left, Blue Mass is perhaps the best-known site.
National blogs and political websites have been providing outstanding coverage during this race. Where would we begin?
The bottom line: media outlets are tripping over each other to get the hottest scoops on what has become the hottest political race in recent memory. Just a few months ago, this would have seemed unthinkable.
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