The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 February 2007

Lars Larson, Thom Hartmann, Talk Radio


Over Military Avoidance, Libtalker Taken To Task

After years of conservative talk show hosts and Republican politicians being criticized over personal military service records, isn't it time to see the same standards applied to their liberal counterparts?

In a new piece for Human Events, Portland- based syndicated talk host Lars Larson has done just that, blasting Al Franken replacement Thom Hartmann (seen in left image) over a statement the latter recently made to the Oregonian newspaper.

In the story, Hartmann claims he avoided combat during the Vietnam War by flunking, perhaps intentionally, a necessary physical exam:

"LBJ wanted to kill me"

Born in 1951, Hartmann was raised to be a Republican by his father, Carl, a tool-and-die worker who sent his son to ring doorbells for Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign in 1964. Off to Michigan State University in 1967, the academic surroundings and the shadow of the Vietnam War pushed young Thom -- a precocious student -- leftward.

"I realized Lyndon Johnson wanted to kill me," he says.

Still, Hartmann joined the Air Force in 1968, thinking he could work as an engineer, thus avoiding dangerous duty. Quickly realizing he was wrong, Hartmann managed to flunk an end-of-basic-training physical, earning a quick ticket back to civilian life.

Back at Michigan State, Hartmann spun records and read the news on a local radio station. He met his wife, Louise, and dropped out of school, eventually starting an advertising agency with a friend. On the side, he founded an herbal tea company, which didn't do well. ("Celestial Seasons ate our lunch.")

Just yesterday, by the way, we took Hartmann to task over the same story, for a different reason.

Now, conservative rival talker Larson (seen here) has come out swinging against Hartmann over his Vietnam record.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Air America's New Standard Bearer
by Lars Larson

The standard liberal rap on President George W. Bush includes the often-disproved allegation that he failed to deliver on his military service commitment during the Viet Nam War.

Specifically, the left accuses the President of signing up for the National Guard to avoid being sent to Viet Nam and then reneging on his Guard duties to go off and do something frivolous while American draftees were fighting and dying in Asian jungles.

I was reminded of this liberal mantra this week as I read a fawning piece on the new standard bearer for the nation's only liberal talk radio network, Thom Hartmann...

(Second excerpt)

The guy picked to fill the funny man’s shoes… and go toe-to-toe with the single most successful man in talk radio… is Thom Hartmann. Thom and I know each other; we work in the same city (Portland, Oregon) for different companies but in studios that are only a few hundred yards apart. We disagree about almost everything political, but we regularly swap emails and we’ve even broken bread on occasion.

Then I read about his military record.

The February 19 Portland Oregonian newspaper (aka, The Daily Fish Wrapper) ran a glowing piece about Franken’s replacement this week. It quotes the Viet Nam era college student saying, "I realized Lyndon Johnson wanted to kill me," and then went on to say:

"...Hartmann joined the Air Force, thinking he could work as an engineer, thus avoiding dangerous duty. Quickly realizing he was wrong, Hartmann managed to flunk an end-of-basic training physical, earning a quick ticket back to civilian life.

Back at Michigan State, Hartmann spun records and read the news on a local radio station."

From this it's only reasonable to infer that Hartman lied his way out of the Air Force, which is a federal crime. Under Article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

Any person who--

(1) procures his own enlistment or appointment in the armed forces by knowingly false representation or deliberate concealment as to his qualifications for the enlistment or appointment and receives pay or allowances thereunder; or

(2) Procures his own separation from the armed forces by knowingly false representation or deliberate concealment as to his eligibility for that separation;

shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

The man who will now lead the liberal battle against Rush Limbaugh in talk radio and who will tell America daily about the illegal war by the illicit president with the questionable military record has some very serious questions to answer about his apparent violation of the UCMJ.

I challenged Oregonian writer Peter Carlin about the softball treatment of Hartmann's departure from the military and he responded via e-mail on February 19, 2007:

If Thom were aggressively advocating that other people go off to fight after avoiding wartime service -- e.g. noted military enthusiasts Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, et. al -- the conflict would have been that much more striking.

For Thom, who is nothing if not a persistent voice against the war, it's just another step in the established pattern. An interesting topic, though. Were you draft age during 'Nam? And what'd you do about it?

Thom will now lead the AAR talkers in telling America that we are in an illegal war created by an illegal President with an illicit record of military service. I wonder whether he will tell his audience that in 1967 America had a legal draft and a legal right to demand service from Thom and he found a way to get around it? Will he admit or deny lying his way out of the Air Force?

Eager to join the fun, Willamette Week, a lefty "alternative" publication serving Portland, has already weighed in on the battle.

Larson's point is well taken: if Hartmann really wants to be a big- shot after stepping into Al Franken's shoes, it's time for some honesty regarding his background.

In addition, we'd love to see him verify these wild audience claims.

You've stepped into the kitchen, Thom, here comes the heat.

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  • Lars is yet another functionally retarded con earning a paycheck by spouting moromic opinions.

    Big difference between Hartman and the drug addled, prostitute loving, 3 times divorced low life, Hartman does not sell WARS and show contempt for the soldiers like Limbaugh does.
    Limbaugh sells death and promotes Bush's and PNAC's endless war on a daily basis, while he dodged the draft over a wart on his rar end.
    Hartman at least showed face in the military and is not a war mongering, chest thumping idiot.
    Lars has no argument

    Good thing about Hartman, he takes conservative guests on in civil debate every single days and embarasses them without raising his voice. In the battle of ideas, cons always lose.

    evil liberal propaganda network
    mocking the right
    exposing the right

    podcasts have been updated , live tomorrow night 10PM (EST) on indieairplay (i-tunes radio)

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 21 February, 2007 20:38  

  • You wanna play the "where were you" game regarding talk show hosts?

    Do anal cysts count??

    And who the hell is this squarehead Larsen? What rock didja drag him up from?

    This idiot (as well as ALL knucklebrained neocon warmongers) can, as far as I'm concerned, meet their ends in a fiery Beltway pileup...ask a few guys in Walter Reed if they can be all they could have been NOW....

    President is a draft dodger, veep is a draft dodger....Limbaugh?

    You want to get the list going, boys?

    Props to Hartmann for having the PATIENCE to try and reason with the patriotards that call his show...he actually considers them HUMAN and believes they are worthwhile time...I have few such delusions of compassion for America's enemy, the rabid right.

    A novena for their destruction....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 21 February, 2007 21:12  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 21 February, 2007 21:26  

  • There is no issue, dumbass.

    Hartmann hasn't concealed anything, and, as an American, he made the correct choice. He could very well have been needlessly lead to slaughter, as you and yours would lead hundreds of thousands more of our people toward a similar fate.

    For a LIE.

    That's my opinion. If you don't like it, go volunteer for service yourself.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 21 February, 2007 22:32  

  • Am I to understand that you are advocating the beliefs of a man who has claimed he will shoot his daughter if she tries marijuana, Brian?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 00:16  

  • Oh, a lot of these wingnuts have that...especially around me, ever since the 9/11 occurrences and the Mexicans (the latter is justified).

    They are deranged, and well committed to living in a spirit of fear.

    I am the furthest thing from an advocate of gun control...if it weren't for guns, I wouldn't be here...but how they equate simple common sense with having to be boosters for rewriting the map of the world, having the right to rape and kill foreign women they have no right to, and try to bully everyone who calls them on it...

    Something's got to be done about these characters. And our kids have to be shown and taught that mob-style blind patriotism is NOT virtuous, indeed goes against God.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 01:29  

  • good choice or stories, this is definitely more important than the XM - Sirius merger. good call.

    as for Hartmann's service, he is an anti-war guy, so it isn't surprising that he didn't want to go to war. its the HYPOCRISY of the other talkers and Administration officials that gets them called out - if you want to start a war, you probably need to know what war is like and not avoid it because of a bump on your ass.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 22 February, 2007 09:40  

  • Reading comprehension issues, "stacy"?

    YOU GO TO IRAN for your handlers, and leave our young people ALONE!!

    Now, HCG...

    You should know by now that you will NEVER see any commentary on the XM/Sirius merger here! That would require acknowledgment that satellite, internet streaming, podcasting, etc. are actually FORCES affecting talk radio, and why the ratings catechism is invalid and actually fraudulent in any assessment of talk-radio culture.

    Lynn Samuels, Andrew Wilkow, Neil Boortz, and Jay Diamond could band together, down several Grey Goose Cosmos in rapid succession, and proceed to torture small Yuppie children with electrical cattle prods at the Varick Street playground, and our fine Equalizer would somehow fail to notice. The future here is analog, and strictly terrestrial.

    It's part and parcel of the latest trend, debate in promotion of cryto-fascism and ("Wow, that Schultz really is down-to-earth, just like us...")

    There is no alternative (at this juncture) but to simply play along and exploit this silliness for righteous purposes....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 10:38  

  • Hash
    Jay Diamond is on satellite radio? I loved that guys old radio show, I loved his honesty and how he actually transformed on the air from a conservative ( not wing nut) to a full blooded liberal. Most honest talk show host to ever step to the microphone.

    Maloney is somehow terrified of internet radio and satellite radio. I do not quite underastand why. Brian, I would love to hear you do a podcast, it would be hysterical hackery at its finest!

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 February, 2007 11:44  

  • I heard a bit of Jay Diamond when
    WRKO used to have him on Saturday
    nights. He had a socialist on--
    a real dyed in the wool commie. Seemed to agree on some things, disagree on others, but after hearing the commie
    I can only agree with the Reagan
    clip that Ingraham's show is now using as part of their opening montage:
    "Communism only works in two places--heaven, where they don't need it, and hell, where they've already got it."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 22 February, 2007 12:38  

  • Reagan destroyed America's manufacturing industry, all his feel good anti-comie talk will not change what he did to America, he destroyed industry forever. It all started with him eliminating tariffs for cheap good.

    Reagan destroyed America with a goofy smile on his face.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 22 February, 2007 13:11  

  • Thom Hartman is the breath of fresh air that radio has needed for a long time. No rants, very courteous and intelligent. This guy beats any other radio commentator by a mile. Ratings mean nothing, Character is the true measure of a man. He sure scares the hell out of Larson, that ought to tell you something.

    By Blogger dudeson, at 22 February, 2007 15:18  

  • Ha, ha....the mental regressives at that moral cesspool we call the Moonbattery site have picked this "story" up.....RIOT!!

    They must be depending on Brian for their "Two Minutes Hate" segments now...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 21:38  

  • as for Hartmann's service, he is an anti-war guy, so it isn't surprising that he didn't want to go to war. its the HYPOCRISY of the other talkers

    That's the test, eh? Then all Liberal talkers are hypocrites for calling for higher taxes and then not voluntarily paying the rate they're advocating.

    By Blogger BF, at 22 February, 2007 23:14  

  • One of the most widely circulated websites a few years back among soldiers overseas was the Washington Post online's Chickenhawk List, which revealed that nearly every supporter and even most planners of the Iraq War either dodged the Vietnam Draft, or refused to serve. Conversely, all of the Dem opponents like Kerry, Daschle, Kennedy, etc. were either War Heroes or served honorably.

    I discovered how blind the right is to this when I called in Limbaugh and confronted him about how he had dodged the Vietnam draft and he lied about it on the air. Dozens of callers were outraged that the unpatriotic liberal would challenge their greatest fighting hero Rush. Joe Conason was listening and documented the call and Rush's draft deferments on

    Lars Larson is having his ass kicked in Portland by progressive talk radio.

    After 30 years of fightin the right, I can wholeheartedly swear that nearly each and every one of them is an utter fraud. In fact, you can almost spot a right wing fraud by what he is screeching against, and be sure that he is doing exactly that or something worse. Think: Susan Smith who drowned her 2 sons in the lake (her Christian Coalition President father had molested her for 10 years), Mark Foley, Druggie Limpballs, etc, etc. ad nauseum.

    And nothing infuriates them more than being challenged since they expect complete obedience to their crackpot schemes, none of which have ever worked. What is needed is another FDR who gleefully campaigned against "these malefactors of great wealth" and "economic royalists." Thom Hartmann will give you a complete education on this exciting period in liberal resurgence as it makes the Clinton years pale by comparison.

    By Blogger gregrocker, at 22 February, 2007 23:38  

  • Brian!

    Hope you didn't miss it.

    You're buddy (well, you want him to be your buddy) Bill O'Reilly just lied again.

    The Sean Hornbeck story (is that his name? forget) - the kidnapped kid? Bill said the believed the kid enjoyed being with the kidnapper since he was free to do as he pleased - or he should have run away.

    Bill flat-out suggested he enjoyed life with his kidnapper, rather than being with his family.

    Then (as you failed to report) Bill was dumped from speaking at the National Center for MIssing and Exploited Children in FL - don't know how you missed that, but you did....

    Of course, it was people telling the truth that did in his speaking engagement. He was going to be a speaker at a fundraiser to help missing and exploited children - right after he mocked a missing and exploited kid - irony, that.

    Now, he's said that his comments were "taken out of context", which is a complete and total lie. He's trying to rewrite history.

    Be a man, Maloney - call out your good buddy on his bullshit.

    Or is your nose in just so deep that you can't do it?

    Are you pleased by your affiliation with this man?

    Are you more interested in trying to cow-tow to a specific set of people in order to advance yourself more than common decency?

    You appeared on Bill's show - more than once, I believe (and interestingly, after the Andrea Mackis bit) - have you no shame?

    Don't you want to clearly separate yourself from such an awful, awful person?

    By Blogger TJ, at 23 February, 2007 10:13  

  • Linn, die in a fire.

    If we thought you'd have anything worthwhile to contribute, we'd have contacted you in person by now...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 24 February, 2007 23:26  

  • When will the leftie keyboard commandoes like hash and MoPee sign up as Human Shields and go to Iraq to protect Al Sadr's militia or go to Iran and protect AlSadr himself?

    By Blogger PCD, at 26 February, 2007 08:54  

  • Fudgie, we're waiting for you to be waterboarded (except a little perv like you probably gets off on that sort of thing)....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 26 February, 2007 10:17  

  • First off Thom Hartmann,is one of the smartest voices on talk radio today,left or Right,I believe him along with Michael Medved,could be the abattoirs of political civility,however I have to go with Thom here,see Liberals are atleast willing to admit that they wanted to get out of the Vietnam War,not like guys like Limbaugh,Cheney,Bush(who served in the Texas Air National Guard,over a thousand miles from the conflict,thanks to his daddy's connections),also Dick Cheney the Pro-War Hawk had five(count'em)five deferments to avoid going to Vietnam,and none of them were for being physically unfit,and every conservatives favorite rock star Ted Nugent,faked being mentally insane,buy crapping his pants and allowing the crap to collect in his pans by the time he met with the recruiter,now who's talking about hypocrisy,Brian I know that you started this blog,because you think Talkers Magazine is too Liberal( I guess just giving a positive review to a progressive talker,is enough to get labeled as biasely Liberal),but come on old Lars has no leg to stand on,and is just working on jealousy of a much smarter mind!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 May, 2008 17:59  

  • Late to the argument, but here it is:
    Lars Larson can't argue his way out of a paper bag. He's not capable enough of hauling Thom Hartmann's garbage, much less matching his rhetorical and research skills, and when you have the truth on your side, you don't have to rely on bluster and on straw man arguments like Lars Larson does on a regular basis. I can only hope he gets swept out with the massive firings that are likely to hit in the new economy. I hope the new economy puts stock in facts over hyperbolic opinion.

    Larson can't handle a decent argument, and as often as he spouts off, he almost never has the facts on his side... Say what you want, Hartmann can quote chapter and verse to back his arguments.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 27 January, 2009 02:28  

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