Whether the removal of Dr Laura Schlessinger from the airwaves and the donation are directly related isn't known, but the rare public disclosure of a key funding source certainly suggested the international financier was pleased with the "progressive" group's sudden "success".
After all, Media Matters has tried for years to directly bring down conservative talk show hosts, without a single victory to show for millions in expenditures. It wages a daily war against Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Levin, Michael Savage and even local hosts in major markets.
The liberal watchdog Media Matters for America was a persistent critic. Its leadership didn't accept her apology and sought to encourage advertisers to drop her show. She was reading the Media Matters website when she decided, "that's it, I'm done with this," Schlessinger said.
Schlessinger announced she would leave the program when her contract was up at year-end, saying she needed a forum where she was free to say what she liked.
"I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart, and what I think is helpful and useful, without somebody getting angry — some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent, and attack affiliates and sponsors," she said in August.
Sirius XM Radio announced the multiyear deal with Schlessinger for the Dr. Laura advice program. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Dr. Laura set to bring her hate to satellite radio
November 27, 2010 11:43 am ET by Karl Frisch
When we last left Dr. Laura she had announced that she would be ending her nationally syndicated radio show on December 31 due to criticism over the now infamous rant in which she used the N-word 11 times.
There's a broader trend at play, one Media Matters is inadvertently accelerating: satellite radio as a refuge for free speech at the very time when struggling land-based outlets increasingly fear controversy.
Our lefty friends have little to complain about, actually: Sirius XM feature a significant roster of libtalkers, who have all the freedom they'd like to spread hate, vulgarity and bigotry. Rosie O'DonnellremainsExhibit "A", of course.
Once again, this begs the question: what exactly is the point of Media Matters? How is the next liberal billionaire to be reeled in for a mega-donation?
DECISION DERISION Brisk Bush Memoir Sales Inspire Libtalk Hate
Nothing frustrates our lefty friends more than the idea that not everyone hates George W Bush the way they do. And with brisk salesof the former president's new memoir, Decision Points, wounds that never quite healed have reappeared bigger than ever.
How's an unhinged "progressive" to deal with a resurgent Bush? There aren't many good options, leaving critics to nitpick the book's contents.
Like a time-honored Thanksgiving recipe, libtalker Randi Rhodes adds equal parts hate, slander and innuendo to the mix. Why stop with George when mother Barbara can be smeared as well?
Listen as she compares Bush with infamous Psycho hacker Norman Bates:
RANDI RHODES (22:11): Do facts and accuracy mean anything to anybody in this family? No! No they don't! So George remembers wrong when he actually goes over this story with his mother and gets her permission to put it in the book - and I mean he wanted to show how close he is - I hadn't seen a relationship this close since Norman Bates and his mother, this is kind of creepy I gotta say!
And now they are lying about the stupid fetus in a jar story - so when he actually remembers the story and asks his mother if he can put it in the book, he remembers being scared by something, apparently he associated it with his mother, who now goes on Larry King to say what he wrote is in the book was inaccurate! Paula, the housekeeper, put the fetus in the jar!
As mother Barbara admits her own memories of the incident are a bit fuzzy, wouldn't it be reasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt? Otherwise, this comes across as especially petty, even for the likes of Rhodes.
Sharpton Calls For FCC Action Against Rush Limbaugh
SHARP-LY REPRESSIVE Reverend Al: Time For FCC Crackdown On Rush
With Democrats holding a majority on the FCC's board, lefties are salivating over a post-election opportunity to quietly impose a crackdown on free speech in talk radio. There's little risk in approving a rule change during the holidays when few are paying attention and it can no longer be raised as a campaign issue.
Brazenly suggesting that Rush Limbaugh personally be targeted, the Reverend Al Sharpton is most certainly on board with this idea.
Listen as he pretends to support free speech, but quickly imposes his own limits on what Limbaugh should be allowed to say:
AL SHARPTON (Friday 19 Nov 2010 - 32:20): And part of what I think the FCC needs to do is give the guidelines of what is excusable and what is not. What is permit-able or permitted I should say and what is not because clearly you’re not trying to block free speech.
But, I think that for people to engage in programming shows that will use racial or gender bias as their format, we’ve got a right to say there are standards that the FCC can say that you cannot continue to have licenses to do that. You got to remember that those stations that Rush Limbaugh is on and others are regulated by FCC, granted by FCC. They go back to them to get wavers. They go back to them to get consolidation.
They have the right to set standards that does not impair your right to speak what you believe, but it does say that you are not going to be able to do that to offend groups of Americans based on their race their gender, their sexual status, none of that.
Anyone foolish enough to believe the left learned anything from November's Democratic drubbing clearly has no idea how these people operate. Losing a president-for-life referendum did nothing to slow down Hugo Chavez's takeover of the Venezuelan economy and there's no reason to believe Obama & Friends will behave differently.
Sharpton: There Are Bigger Issues Than Bristol Vs Brandy
The Reverend Al Sharpton has finally found a flap he wants no part of: the silly politicization of Dancing With The Stars.
With conspiracy theories running amuck regarding Bristol Palin's continued presence on the show, the syndicated libtalk host has found himself inundated with anti-Bristol correspondence. In particular, the removal of Brandy from the most recent episode has Sharpton's supporters in a tizzy. The singer has since blasted the voting results.
But rather than organize a march, Sharpton has indicated his megaphone will remain in the closet this time. During yesterday's radio program, he seemed irritated while lecturing listeners on "keeping our priorities together":
AL SHARPTON (HOUR ONE - 30:54): Keeping it real, keeping it real, I’m your host, Reverend Al Sharpton, and a lot going on, we gonna be talking about all of it today.
A lot of people upset about the Dancing With The Stars last night, I talked about it on my Tom Joyner commentary this morning. People seem to be more upset with Brandy getting knocked off for Sarah Palin’s daughter than the midterm election, we need to get our priorities together, I’m going to talk about that today.
SHARPTON (HOUR TWO - 1:21):Well I know a lot of people were emailing me and calling me about Dancing With The Stars last night and I didn’t watch it. I don’t usually watch Dancing With The Stars, but a lot of people are upset about it and if people want to call and say what they want to say about it, I’m willing to hear it.
I did not see it, but I understand that people feel Brandy was done wrong and there’s some politics at play here on behalf of the daughter of Sarah Palin. Having said that, I want to ask my non-political question of the day.
When even Al Sharpton finds a controversy too ridiculous to jump in front of, it should be clear to the tin foil crowd that battling Dancing With The Stars over vote counting is a waste of energy.
The real issue is this, however: liberals are unhappy with any activity that serves to culturally mainstream the Palins and Bristol's presence on DWTS has already accomplished a great deal of that.
Lefties Struggle To Make Rush Racism Charges Stick
SPRAY CAN SMACKDOWN
Frustrated Left Still Can't Take Down Limbaugh
On one point, they get it: Rush Limbaugh probably IS intentionally antagonizing his political foes. If that's clear, however, why do our "progressive" friends continue to accept his bait?
The answer is simple: lefties still believe Limbaugh can be taken down and if twisted in precisely the right way, each new flap presents an opportunity to win the Super Bowl of media censorship: The End Of Rush.
Does a secret bounty exist for the person who figures out how to make it happen?
When that once again fails to inflict damage, outright frustration is the result. From last Friday's Al Sharpton Show, that annoyance comes through loud and clear:
AL SHARPTON (32:25): This is a man (Limbaugh) that I was criticized for saying should not be allowed to own a NFL team and should not be allowed to deal with things that we public has to pay for, which is things like NFL teams. I mean this is not even borderline, this is not sending a signal this is blatant. I’m gonna do msnbc on this today and I just want you to know all of the sponsors all of the people Jim Clyburn says "the way we can work it all out is he can get a new position, driving Miss Nancy."
SHARPTON (33:39): What do you think of Mr. Limbaugh?
SMOKEY FONTAINE [SHARPTON ENTOURAGE / GUEST]: You know what, unfortunately Reverend, it does not surprise me. What this should be hopefully and your efforts are going to be, take lead in this is we are exposing these folks who have incredible political power through the lens of entertainment. I mean the Rush Limbaugh show is an entertainment show far more than it’s a news show.
But the danger of it masquerading as that is that it is extremely influential and people believe him. They feel like he is a politician. They almost want him to be a politician and they trust him more, his audiences trust him more then they even trust their own elected officials. And this exposes a man who has consistently overtime has said some of the most egregious and prejudicial and racists things of anyone who has that kind of microphone. Now, our biggest story of 2010 on News One is a listing of the top ten Rush Limbaugh racist quotes.
FONTAINE: That’s our number one story and that’s a story we actually put up in 2009. People continue to refer to it. We continue to update it and the fact that this man continues to build his audience, not only still on the air, but builds his audience, should tell us where the kind of mind of many many folks in this country are and we have to hold him to not being allowed to do this and it goes down to economics., it goes down to money Rev Sharpton, you’ve done this so many times in your past so far. His sponsors should not feel okay to support his man anymore.
SHARPTON: No, the heat must be on the sponsors as well as those in the Congress, the Republican members of the Congress that host him at Republican events. You gotta remember he keynotes Republicans event. They ought to be called on this.
FONTAINE: He (Limbaugh) is the de facto leader in my mind of the Republican Party. I mean last Friday you know you had Michael Steele on this show during the hour that I was here. He (Steele) in no way guides the voice of the Party. He doesn’t reflect the identity or shape the identity of the Party. Folks like Rush Limbaugh does, right now to this day and has for many many years. And so he’s the leader. And so he’s a leader we have to pay attention to. His ratings have gone up. I saw some loyalty ratings and some metrics of his show recently and you know the amount of fervor his audience has for him, they do feel like he’s someone that whatever he ask them to do they will do.
This isn't REALLY about race at all, however, the real issue is POWER. Sharpton and other activists have enormous egos that require constant feeding and the idea that opponents exist who cannot be quickly brought down via a pressure campaign or march is simply unacceptable, hence the preoccupation with bringing about his demise.
Rush knows this and happily provides all the fodder he can generate for the express purpose of publicly demonstrating their inability to destroy his career.
Yes, the audience is small, but what if just a handful of his crazed fans decided to take action motivated by one of Malloy's unhinged monologues? The results would be unthinkable.
It may be a relatively empty theatre, but Malloy's screaming 'fire' nonetheless. Listen as he fans the flames of racial tension during his program earlier this week:
MIKE MALLOY (23:03): Now, of course Republicans are so goddamn stupid - so grossly stupid and ignorant - they think it's a good thing! Oh, goody goody good, the government will be insolvent! YAY! This is what the Tea Baggers uh and - and the right wing Republicans and Libertarians have been pushing for for a long time. Well, you animals are going to get it, you really are, you're going to get your wish!
MALLOY (25:06): Here are these late middle-aged cretins who are cutting their own throats because there's a black man in the White House? Really? Is that all black folk had to do to pound the white race into oblivion - is get a black man in the White House and the white people will all stand up and commit suicide? Is that all it took?
Malloy's not the obscure figure dismissive lefties might have one believe: his background includes stints at CNN, major talkers such as WLS / Chicago and WSB / Atlanta, in addition to Huffington Post contributions.
Should this really be ignored? Or is it time to speak out against increasingly violent rhetoric in liberal talk radio?
Ed Schultz Pleads With Radio Listeners Not To Abandon MSNBC
LONG-TERM DAMAGE? Big Eddie: 'No Sense In Torching The Place'
Though it may appear MSNBC has already moved on from the Keith Olbermann debacle, where cable talk's ultimate oddball was temporarily suspended (it WASN'T A STUNT, we swear), it's possible that long-term damage has in fact been done.
That prospect has fellow blabber Ed Schultz worried, especially after apparently receiving emails from viewers who've sworn off the network for good. With Keith back, have they already returned, or is the fallout more severe?
After Olbermann's reinstatement had just been announced, we caught Schultz pleading with radio listeners to return to loyal MSNBC viewership. Note the strange, sinister laugh at the end of this clip:
ED SCHULTZ (53:04 Hour One) (Monday 08 November 2010) : I know very little. I'm in charge of the Ed Show at six o'clock and that's all I want to know. But I have to tell you that I'm somewhat dismayed at some listeners out there and viewers out there who sent me emails saying that you're never going to watch me again because of what they did to Keith. Keith is coming back! Everything's fine.
But I don't understand that logic. What did anybody do, I mean, I'm playing by the rules, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. It was probably an honest mistake on his part. He probably didn't even know it was in the rules.
It was, you know, they'll work it out, everything's going to be fine. There's no sense in torching the place. [laughs]
We've seen this in talk radio many times: management mistakenly believe listeners will quickly forget about an ill-advised talent suspension / termination. The truth is quite different, however: a damaging loss of trust carries forward for years to come. Schultz has worked at the local station level and understands this well.
That's why it's worth sniffing around a bit for some real answers. Was the primetime cable talker really yanked from the airwaves as a result of undisclosed campaign contributions?
According to one inside source in the cable news industry, it may be just part of the reason. First, Olbermann's long been known for primadonna antics behind the scenes, including frequent threats to quit for reasons that may seem quite silly to the rest of us.
With new owners in place, what may have been excused by one company is not tolerated by another. Comcast may well be sending Olbermann a message that his behavior must change.
In addition, according to the source, Olbermann created his own conflict by placing himself above others, claiming objectivity. Of course, it's absurd to think of an analyst that way, he's a talk host, not a news anchor. But somehow, Keith expects us to believe he's above all of that. He's long portrayed himself as a journalist, which is absurd.
MSNBC hasn't helped matters by allowing him to sit in the anchor's desk on election night, blurring the distinction between news and talk.
Many have already made the comparison between Olbermann and Fox News Channel counterparts who have also contributed to candidates. But Fox has its own set of policies and it's up to that network to enforce them if there are violations.
The issue at hand is between Keith and NBC. At the same time, the latter has certainly not uniformly enforced its standards. But that's their problem, isn't it? Does that demand a sudden and sweeping new crusade against political activism in broadcasting that threatens nearly everyone in the medium?
In the meantime, MSNBC has a mess on its hands: how many other of its on-air personalities have donated to candidates? Joe Scarborough has, was that disclosed? Are the standards uniform?
Talk radio mostly settled this debate many years ago: hosts who have roles in campaigns shouldn't talk about the race on the air. Contributions to candidates aren't considered a big deal because talkers serve as advocates and it's only natural to assume they'd back that up with their pocketbooks.
The bottom line: it's easy to over-analyze network management's motives when it's more likely to be a case of new owners unwilling to shell out big money for a huge ego and see no ratings payoff.
Could Comcast decide MSNBC as a whole is no longer worth the trouble? Such a decision could prove a relief to NBC itself, where some are said to find it embarrassing.
Lefties Race To Define New House Speaker Negatively
With John Boehner now the presumptive House speaker, the race is on from the left to define him their way as quickly as possible. That means the smear machine remains cranked up even with election day behind us.
Because many Americans haven't formed much of an opinion of the Ohio Republican, Democrats are in a big hurry to turn him into the next Newt Gingrich or Robert Bork before the congressman has a fair chance to introduce himself.
Liberal talk radio's role is to road-test strategies, using his election night tears as a weapon against him. Clearly, he was choked up over what he'd just accomplished, it was a moving moment. For Democrats, however, it's just another smear opportunity.
From yesterday's Randi Rhodes Show, here's how much of the upcoming partisan bullying will sound:
RANDI RHODES (11:06): I can't understand what's with the crying. Bush used to cry all the time, he cries all the time. Glenn Beck cries all the time. What is this crying? There's no crying in politics!
CALLER: Well, with Boehner I think he's just one of those sad drunks.
RHODES: I do too.
CALLER: When he's drunk he cries!
RHODES: Yep, I think he's maudlin, I do and I think he drinks the second he wakes up! I don't think he can - I think he's unfortunately one of these guys that, you know, that can't start the day without having a drink because he shakes.
I think that's how in the tank he is, you know and he needs Candy Finnigan - he needs intervention! And now he's in charge of the palace!
Sometimes it's easy to forget how white liberals are automatically excused from accusations of racism, and as such they can shoot off their mouths on race issues with impunity.
That doesn't make this kind of conversation any less jarring, however. Listen as regular guest / liberal blogger Lee Papa makes an astounding comment about black voters to host Stephanie Miller, who laughs upon hearing it.
What were they thinking?
STEPHANIE MILLER (21:08): One of your posts is if Republicans lose on Tuesday, there will be blood because there is always a chance in a democracy that the pundits could all be wrong.
LEE PAPA: That’s right. If black people decide that rain won’t hurt them[Miller laughs] than that way they and there’s a huge turnout for the Democrats and they get out the vote factor comes into play, then yeah, there is a vague chance.
Imagine a conservative making that crack- the firestorm would rage for days, if not weeks. How was this funny?
Rosie O'Donnell Not Convinced Dems Deserve To Stay In Power
IT'S NO BIG WHOOP
O'Donnell Surprisingly Unmoved By GOP Takeover
With so many of her lefty Hollywood friends in a state of panic thanks to the high probability of a GOP congressional takeover, Rosie O'Donnell might be expected to share their anxiety.
But the actress / alleged comedian / liberal talk host is instead surprisingly nonchalant about today's elections, because "it's not as though they got a lot done." Is this the enthusiasm gap about which we've been hearing so much?
After Rosie wonders out loud what difference a party shift might actually make, one of her on-air producers salvages the moment for the left by claiming Republican victories might actually HELP Obama.
From Monday's satellite radio program:
ROSIE O'DONNELL (1:03:01): When [Democrats] had the House and the Senate, it's not as though they got a lot done, so what's gonna be the big difference [if the GOP takes control]?
Yes, no doubt Obama will be cheering every Republican victory. What good were those pesky Democrats in Congress, anyway?
Where talk radio and politics collide: influencing the debate since 2004. From longtime host / analyst / rabble-rouser Brian Maloney, seen on FOX (including a number of O'Reilly Factor appearances), CNN, Court TV and elsewhere.