The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 November 2006

Al Franken, Ed Schultz, Liberal Talk Radio


Other Libtalkers Smell Blood, Take Positions

Clearly anticipating a sudden end to their key rivals, liberal talk show hosts are setting their sights on slots currently held by Air America Radio talkers.

And first out of the gate, at least in public, is Fargo- based syndicated talker Ed Schultz, who today announced he will soon move from the 3-6pm timeslot to noon-3pm ET.

Who says the left is unified? Obviously, they eat their own.

While Schultz and his backers were quick to spin the move as a direct battle with Rush Limbaugh, few in the radio industry are likely to buy that notion. That's because conservative and liberal talk radio are essentially two different formats.

Nonetheless, here's what the left wants you to believe:

Move over, Rush Limbaugh.

Ed Schultz, the nation’s largest progressive talk radio host, is moving head-to-head with Rush Limbaugh’s sometime in December, industry insiders familiar with the deal tell RAW STORY. The move – which puts Schultz in the choice noon to 3 p.m. window – will also bring him face- to- face with Air America’s flagship talker, Al Franken.

Two radio insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the move. Both characterized the decision to move The Ed Schultz Show from drive-time to early afternoon as one intended to bolster a rapidly growing national audience.

The decision to move Schultz to noontime eastern could put another nail in the coffin of Air America, which filed for bankruptcy Oct. 13.

The real truth is that Schultz intends to get out in front of any move by Al Franken to exit talk radio, after the latter's dismal run. It has nothing to do with Rush whatsoever.

And today, there was renewed speculation that Stuart will soon give up his show, even if the network somehow survives.

Watch for more fireworks to come.

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29 November 2006

Air America Radio, Boston, Network Sale Deadline


Will Stations Drop LibTalk On Friday?

With Air America Radio's bankruptcy court- mandated sale deadline rapidly approaching, will stations stick with the network's liberal talk programming even if it continues to broadcast?

On the Internet today, that's the subject of speculation and debate.

One Boston- area radio insider, who makes it clear she's on the left side of the fence, claims the two liberal talk stations serving the region will dump the format on Friday, regardless of the company's fate:

Somebody whom I trust says that Clear Channel is pulling the plug on the progressive format in Boston on Friday, no matter what Air America does as far as finding a buyer. (Btw, whether the format had ratings in Boston, it certainly has ratings in Springfield / Northampton since WHMP starting doing it full-time on 2 stations...

Meanwhile, industry publication Inside Radio (where your Radio Equalizer works as a staff columnist) believes other companies may be eyeing any slots that might open up as a result of a potential network shutdown:

Are other progressive talkers eyeing the struggle at Air America?

Just speculation — but if Air America folds or shrinks there will be fresh opportunities in a space that didn’t exist just three years ago. That’s especially if midday talent Al Franken really does want to try wresting away Norm Coleman’s Senate seat in the great state of Minnesota. That could create some windows - in Franken's timeslot and others - for progressive talkers like Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann.

Of course, those potential opportunities hinge on stations actually keeping the libtalk format after Air America's possible shutdown. And so far, we've already witnessed a half- dozen or so outlets dumping it for sports and other programming in recent weeks.

As always, we're watching for the latest developments, so keep checking back for more.

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28 November 2006

CAIR, WMAL / Washington, Talk Radio


WMAL Host's Stunt Pleases Islamists

Are Islamic extremists programming Washington's WMAL Radio? Given the talk station's recent history, it's certainly a fair question.

Last year, as you may recall, talker Michael Graham was fired from the ABC- owned station after upsetting the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR). And now, another on- air incident has so pleased representatives of the group that they've actually paid to issue a PRNewswire release (excerpted here):

Radio Spoof Draws Support for Nazi-Like Treatment of U.S. Muslims; CAIR Says Callers' Reaction is a 'Wake-Up Call' on Anti-Muslim Bigotry

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A parody of anti-Muslim bigotry on a Washington, D.C., radio station drew support for treating American Muslims in a manner similar to how the Jewish community was targeted in Nazi Germany.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that the reaction to the parody is a "wake-up call" for religious and political leaders who remain silent on the issue of growing Islamophobia in America.

In his 630 WMAL program on Sunday, November 26, talk show host Jerry Klein seemed to advocate a government program to force all Muslims to wear "identifying markers." He stated: "I'm thinking either it should be an arm band, a crescent moon arm band, or it should be a crescent moon tattoo." (4:00) Klein said: "If it means that we have to round them up and do a tattoo in a place where everybody knows where to find it, then that's what we'll have to do." (11:38)

[The program focused on public reaction to the removal of six Imams, or Islamic religious leaders, from a US Airways flight in Minnesota last week.]

Some callers to the program rejected dis- criminatory treatment of Muslims, but others supported Klein's statements and even suggested that even more severe measures be taken against American Muslims. "Richard" in Gaithersburg, Md., said: "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their foreheads; you round them up and then ship them out of this country, period." (15:58)

"Heath" in Upper Marlboro, Md., said: "I don't think you go far enough ... you have to set up encampments like they did during World War II like with the Japanese and Germans." (23:50)

Later in the program, Klein revealed that his call for discriminatory actions against Muslims was "baloney." Klein said: "I can't believe any of you, any of you, are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything that I have said in the last half hour." (25:15)

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Listen to the entire program. Jerry Klein was NOT advocating discriminatory measures against American Muslims. He was actually ridiculing and exposing anti-Muslim bigotry.]

"The public reaction to Mr. Klein's courageous parody should be a wake-up call for American religious and political leaders who remain silent in the face of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in our society," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Americans of all faiths must come together to marginalize extremists and to challenge ethnic and religious bigotry."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:

So what gives? Is this an attempt to again do CAIR's bidding, especially after the Graham flap kicked off this apparently harmonious relationship with WMAL-AM?

Or is it simply about a weekend libtalker looking to generate some publicity? If so, it may have worked, but at what cost? It's a pretty cheap stunt that required Klein to sell his soul to anti- American extremists. Is that part of the "progressive" agenda? Even the folks at Air America Radio never stooped this low.

And since the host appears to have set out to achieve this outcome prior to the show, how do we know these callers were real? They easily could have been planted, or screened in such a way that only the most extreme views made it to the airwaves.

As for Graham, he had this to say about CAIR's seeming partnership with the station: "I'm just delighted to see that CAIR supports ANY free speech. It's a refreshing change for them."

As this has gone down just a bit too perfectly for CAIR, something indeed smells fishy inside the Beltway.

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Top photo: WUSA- TV

Rush Limbaugh, Middle East Comments


In Latest Attack, Progs Twist Limbaugh Comment

Perhaps sensing they could create another Michael J Fox- like controversy for their arch- enemy, so- called "progressives" have seized upon a comment made yesterday by Rush Limbaugh, quickly blowing it out of proportion.

After the success they've recently enjoyed with anti- Rush attacks taking root in the mainstream media, it's pretty clear his program is being closely watched for further opportunities.

In this case, Media Matters and other lefty websites are today trying to assert that El Rushbo wants to blow up the Middle East, completely missing his real point:

Limbaugh on Middle East: "Fine, just blow the place up"

On the November 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, in response to claims made by King Abdullah II of Jordan on the November 26 edition of ABC's This Week that "we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands," Rush Limbaugh said: "[W]ell, let's just have them. Let's just have the civil wars ... because I'm just fed up with this." Limbaugh then asserted: "Fine, just blow the place up. Just let these natural forces take place over there instead of trying to stop them."

Additionally, Limbaugh claimed: "[E]verbody comes to us. ... So we go and try to fix it and our own people, Democrats and the left in our country do their best to sabotage our efforts, and then we get blamed for trying to clean up the messes that these people start."

Here, Media Matters also provides a transcript:

LIMBAUGH: So anyway, [This Week host George] Stephanopoulos asks King Abdullah II of Jordan if this is the case:

ABDULLAH [audio clip]: George, the difficulty that we're tackling with here is we're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region. Whether it's the Palestinians of Lebanon or of Iraq, and I hope my discussions at least with the president --

LIMBAUGH: [heavy sigh]

ABDULLAH [audio clip]: -- will be to provide whatever we can do for the Iraqi people, but the same time we do want to concentrate ourselves on the core issues which we believe are the Palestinians and the Palestinian peace process, because that is a must today --

LIMBAUGH: Oh, give me a break.

ABDULLAH [audio clip]: -- as well as the tremendous concern we have had over the last several days with what's happening in Lebanon. And we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands.

LIMBAUGH: All right, well, let's just have them. Let's just have the civil wars and let the crumbs crumble and the cookie crumble where -- because I'm fed up with this. The Palestinian situation -- for 50 years we've had the Palestinian situation, and it's not going to be solved until the Limbaugh Doctrine is imposed or tried. And that is, this is a war, and until somebody loses it, it isn't going to stop. And now, you know, we've done everything we can to make Lebanon a democracy, and it's crumbling because Syria keeps killing the popular leaders there. Meanwhile, the Hezbos [Hezbollah] keep expanding their influence in Lebanon.

But what the hell! We're going to bring Syria and Iran in to fix Iraq, why not let them just fix the whole region? If we're heading to civil war -- I mean, everybody comes to us: "You got to fix this and you got to fix that." So we go and try to fix it, and our own people, Democrats and the left in our country do their best to sabotage our efforts, and then we get blamed for trying to clean up the messes that these people start. And then they come on our television show: "[Gibberish] George [gibberish] civil war [gibberish] we gotta do something. Palestinians it's a must, it's a must, we must [gibberish] right now [gibberish] war."

Fine, just blow the place up. Just let these natural forces take place over there instead of trying to stop them, instead of trying to use -- I just -- sometimes natural force is going to happen. You're going to have to let it take place. You can spend all the time you like with diplomacy, and you can spend all the time you want massaging these things with diplomatic -- you're just -- you're just delaying the inevitable.

Even after reading just the excerpt supplied here, are you left with the impression that Rush really wants to blow up the Middle East? Is that a fair headline?

Or, was he more accurately expressing frustration over the media's obsession with emphasizing the "civil war" angle, diplomatic non- developments and the left's relentless "cut and run" push?

And taking the misrepresentation of Rush's words even further was the Northwest Progressive Institute's site:

So the problem with Limbaugh isn't that he makes much sense, because he doesn't and never has, but by legitimizing emotion over reason and blame over cooperation, he puts opinion that otherwise would be justifiably dismissed as lunacy into the mainstream. The people of Iraq didn't "come to us" asking us to help them. The war in Iraq is failing because it was and is a bad policy, not because anyone in the U.S. is sabotaging it.

But it's just hyperbole, right?

It's become fashionable on the right to point to the excessive and violent rhetoric used by radical Islamic terrorists, but here we have the host of the biggest radio show in America calling for the wholesale destruction of an entire region of the world. Do we think that maybe, just maybe, Limbaugh is not exactly helping the situation?


But Limbaugh takes things to a whole other place. It doesn't really matter whether Limbaugh believes the crud he spouts, what matters is that he continues to have such a large presence when he clearly has no credibility. Shame on the radio stations who carry him, shame on the advertisers and shame on those who support him. It's not entertaining and it's not responsible to put this kind of nonsense on the air. It may be a First Amendment right, but so is marching through Skokie.

Overall, it's very clear what these guys are up to: by slamming Rush for nearly everything he says, the hope is that at least a few of their charges with resonate with the mainstream media. And after the pounding he took over the Michael J Fox political ad controversy, there's no doubt they're assuming it will only be a matter of time before Limbaugh is brought to his knees.

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27 November 2006

Randi Rhodes, The Big Encyclopedia Of Republican Hypocrites


Randi's 'Hypocrites' Disappears Before Release

One of the more peculiar developments in the ongoing Air America Radio saga has been the apparent shelving of the first book by libtalker Randi Rhodes. Just what has become of The Big Encyclopedia Of Republican Hypocrites?

After the release date was repeatedly pushed back, it appeared Hypocrites might finally emerge in time for the holiday season.

Now, however, there's no sign of it at, where it has been deleted entirely from their non- fiction section.

Deepening the mystery, searching under the book's ISBN number (1401352480) also reveals little, other than this information from

Product Details Key Information Authors: Randi Rhodes

Nonfiction Category Political Science

Nonfiction Subcategory Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
Book Editions
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Hyperion Books (August 30, 2007)
ISBN: 1401352480

Here, however, an August 2006 date is indicated.

Elsewhere, gives two release dates: August 2007 and December 2006:

by Rhodes, Randi
List Price: $22.95
Today's Price: $14.83
You Save: $8.12 (35%)
Shipping: $1.40
Format: Hardcover
Publish Date: 08/30/2007
ISBN: 1401352480
Catalog #: 10206498

This product is not yet released, and is expected to ship in 12/2006**. This date is subject to change. In order to assure you receive's low price on this item, your credit card will be charged upon order placement. The item will ship immediately upon release.

So what gives? Did Randi finish the book or not? Did she simply realize that there are just as many hypocrites in the Democrat Party as anywhere else in politics?

Or, did her pampered lifestyle at Air America contribute to a general inability to get things done?

Only one unverified (and probably outdated) hint has emerged that might answer our question, via Wikipedia:

The Big Encyclopedia of Republican Hypocrites, 2006, (ISBN 1-4013-5248-0) (to be released August 30). While the book was supposed to have been released by the end of August, Randi has stated on her show that she was unable to finish it due to all the findings making her sick to her stomach.

If that's the real reason, it's a truly weak excuse, one that doesn't bode well for her post- AAR career. Was she forced to return the advance? Would anyone take a chance on her again?

Small Encyclopedia: David A Lunde, Once I Was: Pete at IHillary

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Rush Limbaugh, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Talk Radio


Limbaugh's Kiss Fuels Rumor Mill, Incites Enemies

Even more than his political philosophy, Rush Limbaugh's personal life sometimes seems to drive enemies particularly batty. That's especially true when it comes to dating women.

Apparently, it's not enough for Rush to merely be wrong on the issues, he must also be so grotesque that no self- respecting gal would dare to be seen anywhere near the talk titan. As a result, anyone linked romantically with him must surely be nuts, right?

In one way, perhaps a women dating Rush would be forced to question her sanity, as being torn to shreds by the mainstream media is certain to follow. Remember Daryn Kagan?

That history may help to explain why 24 actress Mary Lynn Rajskub has been so quick to distance herself from El Rushbo. From Page Six:

ACTRESS Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" wants to set the record straight - Rush Limbaugh has not bedded her, nor will he ever.

"Last summer, I was on a panel about terrorism that [he] was moderating," the blonde tells FHM.

"He said hello to everyone and kissed me full on the lips. I was like, 'Oh, that was odd.' Then the picture was on the Internet and people thought I was going out with him. He's brilliant and hilarious, but I wouldn't say I wanted to get it on with him!"

You've got to give Mary Lynn credit for one thing, however: in Hollywood, it takes guts to admit you believe Rush Limbaugh is "brilliant and hilarious". Could that alone cost her a future role or two?

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25 November 2006

'Civility' In Politics, Democrat Party, Talk Radio


Phony 'Civility' Push Utilizes Loaded Language

What's a little "-ic" between enemies?

For whatever reason, some lefties are clearly miffed about the way radio talk show hosts, conservative columnists and Republican leaders routinely describe their political organization. Does it really matter whether one chooses to call it the Democrat or Democratic Party?

Though it might seem petty to many people, to some Democrats, dropping the "-ic" is akin to anti- semitism or McCarthyism.

Think your Radio Equalizer is joking? From Washington Post editorial writer Ruth Marcus, just get a load of this (also here):

If he wanted to, President Bush could change the tone in Washington with a single syllable: He could just say “ic.” That is, he could stop referring to the opposition as the “Democrat Party” and call the other side, as it prefers, the Democratic Party.

The derisive use of “Democrat” in this way was a Bush staple during the recent campaign. “There are people in the Democrat Party who think they can spend your money far better than you can,” he would say in his stump speech, or, “Raising taxes is a Democrat idea of growing the economy,” or, “However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses.”


Democrat Party was used, pardon the phrase, liberally by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy. According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, “Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth- century Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence” by McCarthy, “who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic.”

The word also achieved a prominent run with Bob Dole’s especially ugly reference to “Democrat wars” during the 1976 vice presidential debate.

But Demo- crat- as- epithet has seen its fullest flower- ing – on talk radio, among cong- ress- ional leaders and, more than with any of his predecessors, from the president himself – during the recent Republican heyday.

As Hendrik Hertzberg pointed out in the New Yorker in August, the conservative Web site takes pains to scrub Associated Press copy “to de-‘ic’ references” to the party.


But as a matter of simple politeness – something the Bush family is famously good at – it’s rude to call people by a term that makes them bristle, even a seemingly innocuous one. There’s also something grating and coarse-sounding about this abbreviated appellation, like saying “Jew” instead of “Jewish.” It is, conservative wordsmith William F. Buckley wrote in National Review in 2002, “offensive to the ear.”

Yes, if only we nasty conservatives would listen to Buckley and restore the missing "-ic", then we too could avoid swimming in the sewer with anti- semites and McCarthyites. Does this seem even slightly rational?

After a long absence, why are we seeing the phony "civility" debate return now? To your Radio Equalizer, it's obvious: even the left realizes that with Democrats now in charge of Congress, conservative media opponents will gain in popularity.

So calling for civility, even in this loaded manner, is a way to undermine in advance any resurgence of talk radio or other emerging media critics of the Pelosi- Reid regime.

So why do conservatives often refer to their opponents as the Democrat Party? To us, it doesn't seem terribly complicated: the idea that one political organization should be able to present itself as "democratic" in nature, as though it has a monopoly on this concept, is simply dishonest.

According to Marcus, however, it appears there are several theories as to how the -ic was stripped away. Whatever the real reason, in this crazy world, aren't there more important things to worry about?

ELSEWHERE: our friends at Gateway Pundit and VCrisis are covering huge anti- Chavez rallies in Venezuela. In an effort to cut off the protests, Hugo shut off every entrance to Caracas, but it didn't affect turnout whatsoever. No doubt friend- of- global- thugs Rep Bill Delahunt (D-Mass) is furious.

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23 November 2006

Tucker Carlson, MSNBC Layoffs, Conservatives


Ratings- Challenged Carlson Survives T-Week Sackings

That bird pardoned at
the White House wasn't the only Thanksgiving turkey spared yesterday: our old friend Tucker Carlson has once again defied the odds at MSNBC.

Despite his continued inability to build a substantial following, the ratings- challenged cable talker has again survived a wave of NBC cuts. This time, even his own staff has been sent packing, but the faux conservative just seems untouchable.

For some time, we've argued that Carlson serves as the mainstream media's useful "right- wing" idiot, for two reasons: he's both a token conservative and an easy lefty punching bag, especially when he makes particularly stupid comments.

Given the purpose Tucker serves, there's no doubt in the world the liberal MSNBC network would never resort to hiring a real conservative for the ever- floundering cable news and talk channel.

From TV Newser:

First on TVNewser: Staffers on MSNBC's Tucker are facing layoffs as production responsibilites are consolidated with the cable net's other afternoon production teams.

However, Tucker Carlson isn't losing his show. "We have found some efficiencies in how we staff our late afternoon programs," a spokesperson says. "Tucker will continue to host our 4 and 6pm hours, where he's achieving impressive growth in our audience."

The affected staffers were informed yesterday, a tipster says. They are being encouraged to consider other opportunities.

Funny enough, from looking at these ratings, he appears to have the same tiny audience previously achieved in the late night hours.

And here, Carlson himself makes light of the massive cuts that have nearly everyone other than him running for cover:

As long as Tucker serves the MSM's purposes, expect him to survive even the harshest storms this season of network cutbacks can bring.

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22 November 2006

Al Franken, Minnesota Senate Race, Air America Radio


Even Franken's Friends Wonder What He's Up To

So what's he up to now?

You've really got to hand it to our friend Stuart Smalley; he knows how to keep just about everyone guessing regarding his future plans, including friends and allies.

This time, however, he's truly playing games.

Rather like the odd on- air remark yesterday that had Randi Rhodes listeners wondering if she was signing off for good, Franken's cryptic comments during a Lou Dobbs appearance on CNN yesterday instantly fueled speculation.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Franken: No announcement until January

The political blogosphere was slightly atwitter Wednesday with a rumor that Al Franken might make an announcement next week about a 2008 run in Minnesota for the U.S. Senate.

The speculation was spurred by Franken's comments Tuesday to CNN's Lou Dobbs that he and his family would be "deciding" the matter over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Actually, Franken clarified Wednesday, this weekend will be just the beginning of the "deciding" process about a Senate run and about the future of his syndicated radio show.

"My son is just home from college, so we'll talk about it over Thanksgiving and probably over Christmas, too."

Franken, who plans to travel again on a USO tour to Iraq, added that he "probably won't have any announcement until January."

Given what we already know, however, the mystery isn't as great as it might appear. If he does sign off from the airwaves sometime during the next few weeks, he would be in position to announce a US Senate candidacy almost immediately.

From what we're hearing, however, Franken may have other plans that include another media foray. If so, it could delay his official campaign announcement by a number of months.

Why go this route? We're told that Al still needs (or wants) to make money before his candidacy begins. But as of yet, nothing on this end appears to be solidified.

Classic Franken images: Pete at IHillary and David A Lunde

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Randi Rhodes, Air America Radio Bankruptcy


After On-Air Comments, Rumors Fly

Like Thanksgiving cranberry sauce that finally emerges shaped just like the can it came from, rumors and the radio business are nearly impossible to separate. Though often entertaining, many of them must be taken with a grain of salt.

That's why it's fascinating to watch so- called "progressives" openly worry about the fate of Air America Radio today.

According to some on the Internet, there's a rumor the network will shut down even before a single tofurkey is "carved". Already, we've received emails from readers wondering if this could be true.

After searching the 'Net, we've learned that it may have started with an on-air crack by Randi Rhodes, the liberal radio network's afternoon drive host. In addition, former AAR talker Mike Malloy is said to have made recent predictions that the network would fold within weeks.

Since we already know that the network has been given an additional week to find a buyer, courtesy of the bankruptcy judge handling their case, we see no reason why Air America couldn't at least continue through the end of next week. It would make no sense to shut it down today.

As for Randi, we also believe she's inclined to stick with Air America Radio as long as possible, especially if she believes a buyer is on the way with bailout money.

To see how far the rumors spread, we'll be monitoring the Internet today.

UPDATE: more discussion here.

The Randimobile: Pete at IHillary

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21 November 2006

Charlie Rangel, Talk Radio


Rep Rangel Is One-Man Fodder Machine

For talk hosts searching for holiday- time topics, one man has proven even more valuable than Michael Richards and his ill- fated comedy act: Rep Charles Rangel.

Simply by cranking up his magic political gimmick machine, the New York Democrat can get talkers buzzing, even as party leaders run for cover. Recently, for instance, he handed pundits a pot o' fodder gold with this anti- Mississippi comment, according to the Clarion-Ledger:

Rep. Charles Rangel is poised to become chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee when Democrats take control of Congress in January. He told The New York Times that he wants to bring more federal money back to his home state.

He added: "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"

Rangel might as well have asked a whole state to roll up its sleeves and step outside.

Phones rang nonstop at talk radio shows. Some folks dashed off indignant letters to the editor, while others jumped onto Internet chat rooms to either defend their state or cast aspersions on New York and New Yorkers.

How did that help the Democrats?

This week, talk radio has also enjoyed a sustained boost from Rangel, as he attempts once again to push his "reinstate the draft" gimmick through Congress. Party honchos are again scrambling to put some distance between 'ol Charlie and their own political careers:

Rangel's draft proposal gets little traction with Democrats

WASHINGTON - The new Democratic-controlled Congress will not seriously consider reinstating the draft, even if concerns about the military's strength and resiliency grow, party leaders said Monday.

Key Democrats, including the incoming House speaker, House majority leader and chairmen of the House and Senate armed services committees, said they do not support a resumption of the draft. They predicted that the idea will gather little momentum in the 110th Congress, which convenes in January. Pentagon officials also restated their opposition to a draft. (Sun - Herald / South Miss)

Their comments came a day after Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who will chair the Ways and Means Committee, said he would again introduce a bill calling for a return to the draft, suspended since 1973.

Rangel's previous bids to reinstate the draft have stirred little interest in Congress but considerable agitation among some bloggers and talk radio hosts who suggested the public was about to be blindsided.

Are bloggers and talkers really agitated, or more likely thankful to have the likes of Rangel on the other side of the fence? After all, he has no real interest in bringing back the draft, it's simply a trick meant to undermine the war effort.

Hey Charlie, got anything else up your sleeve? It's going to be mighty slow during Thanksgiving, so this would be a good time to unveil your next gem!

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20 November 2006

Air America Bankruptcy, Al Franken


Judge Gives AAR One Week To Find Buyer

At the eleventh hour, Air America Radio has received a very short stay of execution.

Just two days before its court- ordered deadline to find a buyer, the bankrupt liberal talk radio network managed to convince the judge that it was close enough to securing a bail-out to justify an extension.

From the AP:

NEW YORK (AP) - Air America Radio, the liberal news and talk radio network headlined by the comedian Al Franken, has another week to find a buyer.

A lawyer for the network, Tracy Klestadt, told a bank- ruptcy hearing Monday that the company was in "advanced negotiations with a few parties" about a sale, and expected to have more definitive news on a deal in a week.

Under its financing agreement, the network had faced a deadline of this Wednesday to have a deal in place for a buyer, but Klestadt said the network's lender had informally agreed to extend the deadline by about a week.

It is continuing to operate in the meantime as it searches for a buyer. Klestadt declined to say who the potential buyers are.

The big question: does it really have a buyer, or is this a stalling tactic? We're looking into that angle, watch for an upcoming report.

Losing Money: David A Lunde

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18 November 2006

Al Franken, Air America Radio Departure


As Air America Fades, Al's Future Questionable

When writing about Al Franken, it turns out, your Radio Equalizer just can't win. It's time to put on our Frankenflak jackets.

For weeks, we've been getting snippy emails from readers wondering why we hadn't reported on Stuart's impending departure from Air America Radio, despite the strong hints that it was about to occur. Far from a right- wing plot, some of these were coming from liberal listeners and bloggers.

Do they consider Franken a burden to their cause? The agenda wasn't clear.

Then, when we did report on this still- likely outcome (because enough evidence had finally emerged), some lefties criticized this site for being late to the party. After all, some of them had apparently posted Internet messages to this effect some time ago. That's why we didn't label it as an exclusive story.

Now, we're being slammed at the Huffington Post and elsewhere for supposedly jumping the gun, because Franken either isn't leaving the network, or isn't yet ready to announce it.

Here's the HuffPo's Steve Young (a sworn O'Reilly enemy who recently posted a fake obit for the FOX News Channel talker) on why your Radio Equalizer is wrong:

Franken's Leaving Alright...For Iraq...
News of Leaving Air America, Premature

Right Wing media outlets in the know about liberal talk, reported the breaking "news" that Al Franken would be leaving Air America on 12/8.

Newsbusters, Brian Maloney's Radioequalizer, and a number of other sites all gleefully reported Al's departure from AA.

One right wing site announced that they only reported on the story because it could be "verified via the affiliates." Perhaps they got the info from the same guy at the Quake in San Francisco who has posted premature and inaccurate news of Al's departure in the past.

Even an idjut from Huffington Post, who sometimes uses my body, took off with story.

Yessir, they were right on the money. Except for a couple little things.

1. Al is leaving all right...for Iraq and Afghanistan on a USO Tour.

This is Al's third trip to entertain the troops in the war torn area. You know, like Sean Hannity and Rush Lim... Oh, yeah. Better nix those last two. I forgot. It's only the ones who undermine the troops who head over to the front lines with our guys. The ones pushing to send them over...well, you know. Busy, busy.

2. While some have said he's leaving Ait America, he hasn't. As Al told me last night, at this point, he's "made no decision on leaving the show." And it is up to him. Which means, as of today, when he returns, he could just as well be back at the Air America mike as begin a run for Senate or study the history of bakliva. Nothing has been determined.

First of all, "the guy at the Quake" happens to be the program director of what has been one of Air America's largest affiliates, KQKE- AM. Word of Franken's departure was made on the air by one of their announcers. No right- wing plot here.

Second, many of these stations, if not all, have been informed that Franken's not going to stick around. In fact, Inside Radio, your Radio Equalizer's employer, reported on speculation related to that clear back in October. The only question has been the actual date, which we took from the KQKE- AM audio clip. If we're off a bit on that, so be it.

Finally, if Air America doesn't have a buyer lined up by Thanksgiving, it's all over anyway. We'll be reporting more on that very soon. Somebody has to put up the ca$h to keep it going, or what remains of the dying network will likely go into Chapter Seven liquidation. That could push all of them off the air very quickly.

At the same time, we're hearing that Franken is making other pre- campaign plans, perhaps elsewhere in the media world. We're looking into that now.

In the meantime, here's a memo to our "progressive" detractors: we're either late to a story, early or wrong altogether. We can't be all of those things, it doesn't make any sense. Pick your criticism and stick with it.

ALSO: from Tim Graham at NewsBusters: "Matthews Laughs As Al Franken Jokes John Fund's GOP Buddies Are 'Crooks'"

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Images by David A Lunde and Pete at IHillary

17 November 2006

Rush Limbaugh, Washington, WMAL


Limbaugh, Kerry Nearly Meet

What would happen if Rush Limbaugh and John Kerry bumped into each other in a public place?

According to the Washington Post, that's what almost occurred at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center yesterday, as the talk titan missed the unpopular Massachusetts senator by mere moments. Both were there to visit injured servicemen and women.

From their story:

When Worlds (Nearly) Collide!

All kinds of close calls these days!

John Kerry came thisclose to bumping into Rush Limbaugh when both made unannounced visits to troops at Walter Reed yesterday morning.

The conservative radio host was in town for a WMAL fundraising appearance at the Warner Theatre for Fisher Houses, which accommodate families of wounded vets; a radio exec accompanying him said the hospital staff seemed to do "some fancy footwork" to keep him from intersecting with the Senate Democrat.

A Kerry aide said the senator (who's made several quiet visits there in recent years) had no idea Limbaugh was in the building.

On today's show, Limbaugh himself noted that he also had no idea Kerry was nearby, as they were intentionally kept apart by tour supervisors. He expressed hope that the two would someday meet.

El Rushbo was in town for a performance sponsored by WMAL-AM, the ratings- troubled DC news/ talker.

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16 November 2006

Al Franken, Air America Radio


Franken Leaving Air America Radio

*** Breaking News -- Friday Updates ***

Is this the end
for Stuart Smalley on the airwaves?

We're hearing that Al Franken is leaving Air America and giving up on talk radio, most likely for good.

His last day on the air will apparently be December 8. Already, a few libtalk stations have begun to leak word of Franken's impending exit.

One is KQKE Radio in San Francisco, which recently cancelled Franken and replaced him with Thom Hartmann, a more obscure "progressive" who airs in the same time slot. A check of Franken's site Thursday evening did not turn up any mention of a departure and the company itself has as of yet said nothing.

This confirms rumors we'd been hearing for weeks from industry sources and Air America listeners that are now backed up by these on- air announcements. What A Mockery, a liberal blog site, captured the audio of KQKE Radio's announcement here. Its main page is found here.

While Franken's contract was recently rewritten in order to extend through the spring of 2007, all bets were off once Air America entered bankruptcy, since Franken's continued participation was directly tied to the network's solvency.

With just a week remaining in which to nail down a buyer, Air America is truly skating on thin ice at this point. Does the impending loss of Franken's show hurt its resale value?

In addition, is there any connection between this move and the five stations that have dropped the liberal talk radio format since election day?

As for his likely US Senate run, it would not have required Franken to exit his radio show until a formal announcement was made, which is likely to occur at least nine months from now. So this departure appears to be tied to the network's financial troubles.

We'll have much more on this breaking story as details emerge.

FAIR QUESTION: why report this now, rather than when rumors first surfaced weeks ago? The difference is that it can be verified via the affiliates, while there was no way to do so at the time.

ALSO COVERING THIS TODAY: Newsbusters, USS Neverdock, the Dental Blog, BoreAmerica and others.

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Frankendisaster, I'm Rich: David A Lunde

Liberal Talk Radio, Michigan, Ann Arbor


Since Election Day, LibTalk Cancellations Keep Coming

At this point, it's safe to call it a trend.

Today, yet another liberal talk radio station announced it would dump the format, this time in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In just over a week, that brings the count to five, with cancellations spread out across the country.

As talk radio reporter Perry Simon reports, 1290 WLBY will follow the lead of many of the others and adopt a sports format:

Another liberal Talk station bites the dust, this one in ANN ARBOR, where CLEAR CHANNEL jettisons the Talk format of WLBY-A and goes into a stunt starting at 12:01a tomorrow (11/17).

The station will air what it's calling an "all-VICTORS, all the time" format concentrating on the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, with marching band tunes, "MICHIGAN Memories" clips, and sports updates, flooding the frequency with the Maize and Blue in time for SATURDAY's big game against OHIO STATE.

In fact, WLBY's libtalk website has already been removed, but a cached version of it is available from Google, here. And in Michigan, the Detroit News had this to say in its sports section:

Big game report

Ann Arbor station goes all 'Victors', all the time

 So, you love "The Victors". You think it's the greatest college fight song in the history of college fight songs.

 Just how much do you love it? Enough to listen to it for 24 hours?

 You'll get that opportunity beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday when Ann Arbor Radio's WLBY 1290 AM begins playing "The Victors" and continues to play it and play it and play it some more.

 "With the University of Michigan football team on the verge of another national championship, we expect rabid listenership for The New 1290 WLBY," station general manager Bob Bolak said in a release.

 Bolak said he is not worried about the redundant nature of playing the same song repeatedly.

 " 'The Victors' is the kind of song that you can listen to over and over and never get tired of," Bolak said.

Angelique S. Chengelis

For our previous coverage on the subject, click here.

As always, we'll bring you the latest updates as they emerge.

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15 November 2006

Air America Radio, Keith Olbermann, Powder Scare, Chad Castagana


Progs Turn Nutcase's Arrest Into Anti-Right Fodder

White powder, it turns out, can be useful for many purposes. Placed into an envelope and sent to unsuspecting recipients, it can serve as a powerful terror tool.

At the same time, it can be used to unfairly smear conservatives, as we've learned today.

After the arrest of Chad Conrad Castagana, a Californian, on charges that he allegedly mailed a number of powdery letters to MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, as well as Jon Stewart, Sumner Redstone, Nancy Pelosi, David Letterman, Chuck Schumer and others, the left side of the blogosphere immediately went bonkers.

Attempting to tie the possibly deranged individual to mainstream conservatives, so- called "progressives" went all out, with seemingly few concerns about their credibility, no matter how far out on a limb they might have gone.

Almost immediately, for instance, liberal bloggers attempted to prove that Castagana was a participant of the Free Republic conservative online discussion forum, though the evidence was anecdotal at best.

Even if it was the case, so what? Anybody can join and post comments.

From The Raw Story, a liberal site:

The man arrested on Saturday for sending more than a dozen envelopes containing "fake anthrax" to anti-war celebrities, journalists, and politicians may have ties to the conservative supersite Free Republic, RAW STORY has found.

Chad Castagana, a 39 year old Californian named as the FBI's prime suspect in the case, is due in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles today, where procecutors are expected to file criminal complaint against him for sending threatening letters through the U.S. mail. Castagana has an extensive online history, often writing about science fiction and conservative politics, and many bloggers are convinced that he is also a contributor at the conservative activist Free Republic website under the name Marc Costanzo, whose online profile, once available here was suspended after this story first ran this morning.

Earlier today, users at the liberal websites Democratic Underground and Daily Kos brought to light the similarities between Castagana's Internet footprint and Costanzo's writings at Free Republic, and RAW STORY has found a series of eyebrow-raising connections between the two men.

Next, the Huffington Post's Steve Young attempted to pin the threats on Bill O'Reilly, even if indirectly, but also without a shred of evidence:

Words have consequences.

The commodity successful talk radio hosts produce is talk. Usually, the consequences of their talk come in the form of lucrative syndication deals and big time book sales. Or soft ball interviews with the President.

Sometimes manufacturers are held accountable when their product kills.. Like cigarettes. Okay, bad example. Let's try the Pinto.


So, would we be able to hold Bill O'Reilly, in any way, culpable in the case of the Woodland Hills, California man, Chad Conrad Castagana, who was arrested for mailing threatening letters laced with white powder to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer and "Late Show" host David Letterman, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and other high-profile political and entertainment figures.

At first glance, this would seem the case of just a far right kook who wanted to scare the Secular Progressiveness™ out of a bunch of left wing moonbats™. If blame for placing the Traditionalist™ bull-eye on these liberal elites was due, than you'd have to bring in the entire AM talk radio dial for an interrogation, which wouldn't be so bad.

But at closer look, there is more than a hint that Chad had gotten his marching orders from one Lord of Loud in particular. While Pelosi and Schumer might have shared the wrath from any number of right wing talkers, only one has added David Letterman as embodiment of the Hate America First™ SPs™ and had laid blame at Stewart's doorstep for the potential killing of Christmas...The Culture Warrior™ himself... BILL O'REILLY.

And when you add O'Reilly's chief nemesis since Franken had the last legal laugh, Keith Olbermann, to the stack, it's not hard to imagine that Bill might have penned the hit list himself.

Dollars to donuts, Chad is a Factor Folk.

And topping them all, as if this were some sort of contest to see who could make the sloppiest allegations, is Keith Olbermann, who used the arrest to smear Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter during his MSNBC show:

Over the weekend, authorities arrested 39-year-old Chad Castagana on suspicion of sending threatening letters to media outlets and the homes of several public figures including "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann.

On Tuesday, Olbermann spoke to Radar Online senior writer John Cook who has been covering the story. Cook said Castagana appeared to be admirers of conservative pundits Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham.

"Ann Coulter and Malkin...sort of present a kind of rhetorical world view where they have their troops out there," Cook said, "and I think he thought of himself as one of their troops and wanted to live up to their standards."

You can read the full transcript of Olbermann's conversation with Cook below.

OLBERMANN: Federal authorities still expect the preliminary hearing for Chad Conrad Castagana to continue day after tomorrow. He was arrested over the weekend, accused of mailing at least 13 threatening letters, maybe 17, filled with white powder to the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer, Speaker presumptive Nancy Pelosi, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and me.

Our third story in the COUNTDOWN, more details tonight, some from an FBI affidavit obtained by “Radar Online” magazine about the suspect. According to that affidavit, on the same day Castagana was picking up the envelopes and stamps at the post office for some of his terroristic threats, he purchased a
$15 money order and had it made out to Friends of Katherine Harris. The money order, in fact, may have provided some of the trail that agents needed to trace the threatening letters back to Castagana.

The affidavit also describes him as a 39-year-old white man who lives with his parents in Woodland Hills in Southern California. It includes details of some of the notes Castagana sent with the white powder. One message, intended for Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, but sent to the wrong Jon Stewart read, quote, “Do you know Alan Berg? You should. Death to demagogues.”

That reference is unmistakable, as the FBI affidavit notes. Alan Berg was the talk radio host murdered by white supremacists in 1984.

There are also references to poison and demagogues. Quote, “all of you are poisoning the well.” One to David Letterman that read, quote, “Your kind are the real poison.” The messages intended to Viacom Chair Redstone and Congresswoman Pelosi cannot be repeated on this broadcast.

Castagana has also been identified as a gushing online admirer of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham. And the Web site RawStory reports that many bloggers believe he is also a contributor, under a different name, to the conservative Web site FreeRepublic. In fact, the name used is supposed to be Marc Costanzo.

Say, if the devil expressed admiration for your work, does that make you demonic? What a cheap way to attack one's political opponents.

At NewsBusters, Brad Wilmouth has more:

On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann devoted an entire segment (video available on Countdown Web site) to discussing links between a man arrested for domestic terrorism and "far right-wing blogs," describing the man as a "gushing online admirer" of conservative commentators Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter, as the Countdown host suggested conservatives had inspired the man to commit terrorism.

Olbermann also compared past actions by Malkin (see Malkin's blog for details) to "the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket." Olbermann: "There were the students at the University of California in Santa Cruz who protested military recruiters on their campus, Malkin posted their addresses and other personal information on her blog, and then when people harassed the students at their homes, Malkin did the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket, 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' 'I never told anybody to do anything to them.' This is the problem, right? I mean, you can come out, you can directly encourage people to act violently, Ann Coulter has done that, or you can do it in this sort of thinly disguised way the way Malkin has."

Olbermann, who recently linked President Bush to domestic terrorism against Bush critics, as the MSNBC host had referred to King Henry's plea for someone to "rid me of this meddlesome priest," Bishop Thomas Becket, made a similar attack on Malkin. The Countdown host repeated his criticism of Malkin dating back to April 2006 when she posted on her blog the personal contact information of UC Santa Cruz student protesters who had blocked military recruiters from campus, a confrontation that had led to some recruiters being assaulted.

Olbermann, who in April had called Malkin "crazier and dumber than we all thought," not only did not inform viewers that recruiters had been assaulted in the incident, but also did not mention that the student organizers had originally solicited responses by providing their contact information on a press release, which is from where Malkin transferred the information. At some point after the student protesters received threats, Malkin posted on her blog: "I do not condone death threats or foul language."

Olbermann's interest in going after conservatives contrasts with how little interest he showed in recent revelations of Democratic Congressman Murtha's involvement in a bribery scandal. While the NBC Nightly News had earlier run a story by correspondent Lisa Myers describing Murtha's involvement in the ABSCAM scandal, even showing a secretly recorded video of Murtha speaking with an undercover FBI informant about potential bribery, Olbermann only vaguely referred to a Washington Post article citing "Democratic concerns over Murtha's alleged ethics issues," as the Countdown host provided no details on the scandal. But Olbermann spent almost seven minutes discussing conservative bloggers and domestic terrorism.

Wilmouth is right: this is exactly the kind of "scandal" the left is looking to cook up in order to deflect attention from Nancy Pelosi's insane push to install Murtha as Majority Leader.

In the meantime, Malkin, Ingraham and Coulter are owed a collective apology for this wildly unfair white powder smear.

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