The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 June 2005

So You Think Talk Hosting Is Easy?

On The Fly

Rush Limbaugh Shows Why He's Still Number One

The next time you hear someone suggest talk hosting is easy, have them try this exercise:

It's 30 minutes into your show, when suddenly, crazy news breaks out of left field, that the identity of "Deep Throat" has just been disclosed. In fact, the man has come forward, with confirmation from the Washington Post following soon after and the decades-old mystery finally revealed.

On your monitors, FOX, CNN and MSNBC are all showing the man waving from his Santa Rosa doorstep, with his family behind him.


But you already had a show planned, with topics, perhaps guests and thoughts laid out on the day's issues. Suddenly, all your prep work is worthless, you have no choice but to jump all over this story.

In mere moments, you must instantly have both the key details and your own initial reactions to the news, with almost no time for thinking it through.

Would you know what to do?

Would you sound confident, relaxed, comfortable, with the ability to immediately dissect this unexpected news and explain it to a waiting audience?

Only a minority of working talk show hosts are skilled enough to handle a situation like this and even fewer can take such circumstances and soar.

Does it mean you need to be a walking encyclopedia, with a solid background on Watergate and the Nixon Administration?

The surprising answer is no.

What it really takes is a well-developed ability to think on one's feet, analyze what's being said, who's behind it and what they're really getting at.


The truth is, for all the debate over which host is the most entertaining, or the talker's ideological slant, what really counts is the ability to deliver compelling content.

Could the inexperienced winner of a Milwaukee station's talent contest do this? No, I'd bet the farm on it.

Can the FM music jock who made the sudden jump into talk radio, without much of an education or a lifelong interest in the day's issues, pull it off? Nope.

One person who time and again makes it look easy, like McEnroe playing tennis, is Rush Limbaugh.

Yesterday, he proved it again, even though he didn't know a thing about the person who came forward as "Deep Throat", W Mark Felt.

In this real life case, Rush and other hosts with noon start times had at most 30 minutes to follow the events and come up with something interesting to say.

That's slightly better than my above scenario, but do you think he woke up that morning expecting to talk about Watergate and Nixon? No, that's why this type of situation is the skilled talk host's true test.

It requires a look at part of Rush's program transcript to really understand what I mean:

"W. Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after--" Have you ever heard of him, Mr. Snerdley? I haven't heard of him either but MSNBC, Chris Matthews, "Oh, yeah, yeah, long been one of the suspects." Come on, Chris, nobody ever heard of this guy. First time I've ever heard of his name.

"W. Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after rising to its second most senior position, has identified himself as the 'Deep Throat' source quoted by The Washington Post to break the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation.

'I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat,' he told John D. O'Connor, the author of Vanity Fair's exclusive that appears in its July issue. Felt, now 91 and living in Santa Rosa, Calif., reportedly gave O'Connor permission to disclose his identity.

Felt said he was 'only doing his duty' and did not seek to bring down Nixon over the cover-up of a break-in at Democratic Party offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C."

Now, he was head of the FBI's investigative division at the time. So basically what -- (Laughter) what we have here is an FBI guy leaking criminal investigative information to reporters.

(Laughter) Great, folks. Let's celebrate this guy. Let's celebrate him.

Now, this guy is a hero to the left today. Fox isn't doing anything on this right now. CNN has gone wall to wall with this, since about 11:45. They did it wall to wall at 11:25. They're talking to Jeffrey Toobin.

They're talking to Bill Schneider. They're talking to a bunch of people. What does it all mean? The Vanity Fair story, I have it, it's in a PDF version, 7 pages, felt worried that he could be prosecuted if he came forward too soon. I wonder why he worried about that?

Here's the guy heading up the investigative division at the time, the FBI, leaking criminal investigative information to reporters. I wonder why he thought that he could get in trouble over that? Anyway, there is a little silver lining here in the cloud, folks, and that is that a giant reveal book or stories, whatever, that Woodward and Bernstein had planned are now up in smoke.

Their thunder has been stolen and I guess all we're waiting on now is for one of them or both of them to come forward and confirm that W. Mark Felt was, indeed, their guy. Was Deep Throat.

Limbaugh didn't know anything about Felt, but pulled it off anyway. He utilized his experience and talent to make it work.

He looked at how it was being covered, who was saying what and their motives. Nailing Chris Matthews, Rush then laughed about Felt's obvious fears at the time of facing criminal prosecution, for breaking the law.

In addition, Rush made observations about political agendas and noted the damage to the Post and its celebrity reporters/editors. No doubt a future book concept, where Deep Throat would be named, has now been scrapped. Big money has been lost.

Rush's program is proof positive it takes brains, talent and experience to know how to do this correctly. For anyone who doubts that, especially a few industry dunderheads who think they can stick in anyone as a talk host, Tuesday's events should make it clear.

Morning Update: Rush helping Al Sharpton? Here's the story. Watch for mine, later this morning.


  • Let me get this straight: Rush gets credit for "nailing Chris Matthews?" If you look at some old Hardball transcripts about Deep Throat (including an old interview with John Dean), Felt's name has, indeed, come up.

    Amazing you give Rush kudos for saying something factually inacurate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 June, 2005 09:20  

  • Yup, Matthews last discussed the possibility of it being Felt on Feb. 22:
    MATTHEWS: James, are you with the university of Illinois students who think it`s Mark Felt or Mark Felt who was Deep Throat?

    WARREN: No, I have got no clue. I just wait for my friend John Dean to go online once a year with a theory that then seems to be different than the theory he had the year before. No clue.

    MATTHEWS: I think it`s -- they say -- they say now it`s Fielding or Mark Felt, the assistant director of the FBI.

    What do you think? Any insight on that?

    ORIN: I have no idea.

    Maybe Rush is so good off-the-cuff because he makes facts up as he goes along. But so long as he "nails" a liberal like Matthews, I guess Brian Maloney is OK with a few falsehoods.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 June, 2005 10:44  

  • Actually, you can give the credit to Gen. Alexander Haig for the hat tip towards Felt in 2003. He called it before Chris Matthews ever did.

    And which channel is Gen. Haig usually featured on: Fox News.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 01 June, 2005 14:17  

  • It's not a question of WHO called Felt (at least this thread isn't), but why Brian would give Rush credit for "nailing" Chris Matthews, when the basis of that "nailing" was faulty. If Haig also talked about Felt on Fox, wen it simply makes Rush look even more ignorant for claiming that no one had heard of Felt, and Brian that much dumber for celebrating rush's false commentary.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 June, 2005 14:50  

  • Spin and launder, I see.

    I simply make a correction, and you say it doesn't apply. It does apply. Maybe not to this conversation, but definetely to the debate as a whole.

    The basic statement is that BOTH of you are wrong. Only, Anonymous, thou art more incorrect than Mr. Maloney is.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 01 June, 2005 19:04  

  • At least I can understand Brians mistake. Only 16 people watch that left wing nut job anyway. It would be tedious going through all the transcripts.

    By Blogger RUMPLEMINTZ, at 01 June, 2005 19:53  

  • Rumple,

    Yeah, it took a whole five minutes on Lexis-Nexis. But hey, who needs to do any fact-checking? Maybe the problem is that Brian's lips were too firmly planted on Rush's butt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 June, 2005 11:06  

  • Could you loan me some money so I can buy a subscription to
    Lexis-Nexis? Have you got any idea how much that costs? On second thought since you have it I take it your a trust fund liberal.

    By Blogger RUMPLEMINTZ, at 02 June, 2005 15:21  

  • No trust fund here rumple... working for a living (in a job that happens to include a lexis subscription). Of course, my economic status has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Brian's blog post is innacurate, and that he has not yet issued a correction.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 June, 2005 18:43  

  • Rush, once again, pulls facts out of his butt, and the wingnuts think it's gold.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 13:47  

  • Brian-

    Your silence here is deafening. Unable to admit a mistake? Or just no longer reading your own blog?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 June, 2005 18:49  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger