The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 April 2007

Rush Limbaugh, New York Post Page Six


When Even Restaurant Tabs Become An Issue

Hey, Joe Media Guy (or Jane Media Gal): are you sure you'd like to be as successful and famous as Rush Limbaugh?

As Rush could probably explain better than anyone else, fame has a price, a pretty big one in the talk titan's case. Imagine having your dating choices scrutinized, even to the point where the women themselves face mainstream media pressure for daring to be seen with the left's archenemy.

Taking it a step further, consider being unable to order a steak dinner with a friend without seeing your tab reproduced in the next day's New York Post:

April 30, 2007 -- RADIO host Rush Limbaugh is far from conservative when it comes to his big appetite. The Post's Braden Keil reports that Limbaugh and a female companion lived large at Kobe Club last Thursday night, devouring bacon with truffles, Japanese strip steak, Kobe beef cheek ravioli, a large seafood platter, a combo of American, Australian and Japanese wagyu steaks and several "side" dishes.

After finishing their $700 feast, Limbaugh left the server a $1,000 tip.

On a previous night, Limbaugh and another female friend were spotted by patrons sharing a $4,000 bottle of wine at '21.'

While we wait to see how giddy Huffington Post- types use this item to further their anti- Rush agenda, there is a bright side: at least he wasn't caught leaving a tiny tip, which would have fueled their fire for months to come.

Even worse, ordering the vegetarian platter or leaving the restaurant in a Subaru could have been damaging to his reputation.

The real beef is this: most people like to go out to relax and have a good time, rather than have every move scrutinized by other patrons and waitstaff. As you shoot your way to the top, it's something to keep in mind.

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29 April 2007

Buddy Cianci, Rhode Island Corruption, Talk Radio


Cianci's Release Could Further Damage Medium

Why has talk radio suddenly become a dumping ground for sleazy felons and other washed- up politicians?

With the impending prison release of notorious former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci (shown left in photo with Boston Mayor Tom "Mumbles" Menino), Northeast talk stations may continue the troubling recent trend of hiring hosts from the ranks of convicted felons.

Who says crime doesn't pay? So much for cleaning up the sleaze- ridden radio business.

According to the Providence Journal's Mike Stanton, Cianci's early release could mean a faster transition to the airwaves, depending on whether an agreement is reached:

Although Cianci’s five-year sentence for racketeering conspiracy doesn’t end until July 28, plans are for him to be released from prison in Fort Dix, N.J., on May 30, a longtime associate said yesterday.

Cianci will be sent initially to a halfway house in Boston, the Coolidge House, but he will probably be back in Rhode Island soon after, living in home confinement in East Greenwich with his nephew, Brad Turchetta, a Warwick orthodontist and son of Cianci’s sister.

Under government rules, Cianci will have to show that he is working before he can move to home confinement, and he will have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet until his sentence expires on July 28.


Cianci, 66, will return to a different world than the one he left after his 2002 conviction for racketeering conspiracy. There is a new mayor in City Hall, one who has criticized Cianci’s corrupt regime. New high-rises are sprouting downtown.

And Cianci’s longtime national radio foil, Don Imus, is history.

Will Cianci be replacing Imus on local talk radio?

“We haven’t had any talks with Buddy, but we hope to have lots of talks with him after he’s released,” said WPRO station manager Paul Giammarco yesterday. “If Buddy wants to be on the radio, we want him to be on WPRO.

“Buddy wants to be relevant, and he wants to find a place where his voice can be heard, whether it’s radio or television or the movies.”

Giammarco said that station officials have devised plans to shift WPRO’s current talk-show lineup, which includes Cianci nemesis John DePetro in the morning and Dan Yorke in the afternoon, as well as syndicated host Rush Limbaugh at midday, to make room for Cianci.

“There’s room for everybody — the whole gang,” said Giammarco, who declined to elaborate.

Officials at WHJJ, which recently fired Arlene Violet and is down to just one local talk show, could not be reached for comment.

Talk radio “would certainly be a natural spot for him,” said Artin H. Coloian, his former chief of staff, who declined to comment on Cianci’s employment plans. “I’m excited about his coming back. I think he’ll be as dynamic a champion of the city as he ever was.”

Others who have had contact with Cianci say that he has been working as a prison librarian at Fort Dix and writing his memoirs.

At least in this case, Cianci had some level of popularity with the public, unlike convicted felon Tom Finneran, a former state legislative leader and Democrat Party insider who recently took a similar job in Boston.

But make no mistake about it: Cianci is a crook. And even from a ratings and revenue perspective, it's hard to make a case for Buddy. For one thing, advertisers are not especially keen to associate themselves with known criminals.

And beyond that, there are other problems: he's now 66, has been out of the public spotlight for some time and is likely out of touch with local and national issues. Clearly, Providence has moved on as well, with growth and revitalization that is no longer associated with Buddy's brand of civic corruption.

Beyond just Providence, this pro- felon hiring trend is damaging to talk radio as a whole. Can't we do better?

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Menino / Cianci photo:

28 April 2007

Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Radar Magazine


Stern's Rush Rip Ignored, RADAR's Cheap Shot


Five or ten years ago, wouldn't it have been a whole different story?

Back then, a tirade by Howard Stern against just about any celebrity could have generated headlines across the country, especially one with talk titan Rush Limbaugh as the target.

Now, however, Stern's attempt at knocking down Rush has fallen flat, as evidenced by this generally- ignored RADAR Online item:

Howard Stern Blasts Bloated Rush

Shock jock Howard Stern weighed in on racism and conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh at last night's Tribeca Film Festival premiere of The Hammer.

Asked what he thought of Limbaugh's "Barack the Magic Negro skit," Stern replied, "I heard it. He's guilty of not being funny, as usual. I don't mind race humor, or people talking about racial stuff, [but] it was just lame. He's lame." He went on to remark that even though Limbaugh "got thin, he still looks fat. He's an OxyCotin-head, and he can't even come clean about that. The guy's got issues."

Actually, Stern's slam fell so flat that it wouldn't rate a mention here at all, except for one reason: it's part of a larger campaign by RADAR against Limbaugh.

Disguised as a gossip magazine, RADAR has long had a far- left agenda and tends to utilize a sloppy approach to the facts. In fact, your Radio Equalizer can think of no better example than their dishonest recent attempt to stir up Imus- style outrage over one of El Rushbo's song parodies:

Limbaugh Guest Makes Imus Look Tame

IMUS WOULD BE PROUD Limbaugh, targets Obama and Sharpton

Forget that Imus guy. Before he was slinging his wannabe hipster, racially insensitive lingo, one of Rush Limbaugh's sidekicks sang the words "Barack the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon." Listen here.

The song is performed by white comedian Paul Shanklin mimicking Rev. Al Sharpton in a bad "black" voice, and it's based on an LA Times article that explains how the "Magic Negro" was a figure in lore who cropped up during the Brown vs. Board of Education era.

Rev. Sharpton, got room for another guest this week?

What's particularly infuriating here is while it (sort of) admits the "Magic Negro" tag was actually applied to Obama by a Los Angeles Times columnist, it blames Rush anyway!

Yet anyone who actually heard Rush's show would know he was pointing to the irony of a liberal daily newspaper dismissing Obama in such a blunt manner.

From the original LA Times piece:

Obama the 'Magic Negro'

The Illinois senator lends himself to white America's idealized, less- than- real black man.

By David Ehrenstein

March 19, 2007

AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.

But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. "He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia.

He's there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.

While the writer does have a point (the political careers of Obama, as well as new Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, are both largely the products of white guilt), it was an incendiary column from a supposedly "progressive" publication.

To blame Limbaugh for merely spoofing this piece, however, reveals RADAR's extreme partisan agenda. Luckily for Rush, it's going to take a lot more than this to bring him down.

UPDATE: In a rare case of independent thought at the Huffington Post, columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson is backing Limbaugh!

ELSEWHERE: New at SaveWRKO, it's Howie's sardine can Saturday show!

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27 April 2007

The Radio Equalizer At 2.5


Where We've Been, What's Next

*** Scroll Down For More New Posts, This Will Remain On Top Until Friday ***

Thanks to your support, the Radio Equalizer is going strong after two- and- a- half years in operation. While generating readership growth, we've put a spotlight on wrongdoing at Air America Radio, fought well- funded "progressive" smear sites and defended conservative hosts against malicious mainstream media onslaughts.

In addition, Dave at Lundesigns and Pete at IHillary have kept us laughing with unique images that were custom- designed for this site (here's Pete's classic Soros Sugar Daddy gag).

And while Internet traffic can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next, we're quickly approaching an all- time visitor count of two million unique individuals.

Luckily, this effort has not gone unnoticed by industry heavyweights. Bill O'Reilly, for example, has chosen to include this site in his list of "featured links" at In addition, Sean Hannity has added the Radio Equalizer to his "favorite links" section at

And finally, this site has recently been selected to join "Rush's Blogosphere", a group of 13 blogs Rush Limbaugh utilizes as part of his daily show prep.

Here's the full list, if you'd like to visit the others:

National Review's The Corner Hugh Hewitt Captain's Quarters Power Line Red State Little Green Footballs Strata-Sphere Michelle Malkin Debbie Schlussel Hot-Air Instapundit American Thinker Radio Equalizer

All of this support is greatly appreciated, especially your readership.

At the same time, this site is facing the same revenue challenges that currently threaten much of the Internet's conservative side. At this point, most of us have not yet figured out how to turn our sites into substantial earners, despite the tremendous amount of time and effort put into them.

On Tuesday, we explored the difference between well- funded "progressive" sites and those on the right, most of which operate on shoestring budgets. While it's not realistic to expect conservative versions of George Soros and Peter Lewis to emerge anytime soon, perhaps the gap could be closed at least slightly.

To that end, some of us have recently become less shy about asking for your help. Modeled after efforts undertaken at similar sites, the Radio Equalizer is now seeking your contributions. At the same time, if you are able, please consider donating to other blogospheric favorites.

While your Radio Equalizer is reluctant to spell out a specific goal, here's the purpose of whatever is raised:

- To cover site hosting charges related to our long- delayed move to

- To fund design improvements planned for later in the year

- To cover travel expenses so that your Radio Equalizer can report from talk radio- related events and political functions elsewhere

- And finally, if anything is left over, to provide some level of compensation to cover the amount of time spent updating this site's content.

If you're interested, please know the Amazon box below carries a $50 per transaction limit and doesn't reveal who made the donation (unless you send an email on your own).

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Lou Dobbs, CNN, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Gavin Newsom


CNN Host Runs Afoul Of Illegal Immigration Activists

*** See Main Page For Other Updates ***

Move over, Don Imus, the next termination target has officially been identified!

For the high crime of offending San Francisco politicians and illegal immigration supporters, a group of left- wing activists are calling on CNN to fire Dobbs.

After Dobbs apparently compared city officials and illegal immigration advocates to Nazi rulers, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society demanded the network immediately sack the populist host.

From JTA:

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society called on CNN to fire Lou Dobbs after the broadcaster likened immigrant advocates to Nazi propagandists.

Dobbs, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration who hosts an opinionated evening news hour, criticized San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Monday, saying he and immigrant protection advocates "might as well work for Hermann Goering. I mean, they're running so much propaganda, trying to confuse the debate, the national dialogue, by talking about immigrants rather than illegal aliens and legal immigrants. It's mindless beyond belief."

Newsom had said he kept local law enforcement from participating in illegal immigrant raids in part because he believes legal immigrants fear raids as well.

Dobbs apparently was referring to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief. Goering headed the Nazi air force.

"Comparisons to Nazis, especially in this day and age, are abhorrent," HIAS President Gideon Aronoff said Wednesday. "Mr. Dobbs has crossed the line between responsible television commentary and hate speech propaganda of his own. Keeping him on the air is essentially sanctioning by CNN, which is why we're asking CNN to remove Dobbs from his very public platform."

CNN did not respond to JTA's requests for comment.

Creepy Mayor Newsom was quick to offer his own view, according to the San Francisco Sentinel:

The vitriol expressed by CNN broadcaster Lou Dobbs toward San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today led Newsom to conclude Dobbs and other critics were not hugged enough as children.

And he will pray for them, Newsom intoned.

Newsom made the remarks this morning in response to Dobbs likening Newsom to nazi propagandist Hermann Goering.

The comment came following a 10:20 a.m. press conference announcing San Francisco is the only American city through which the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay will pass.

In addition to Dobbs, “Michael Savage said the federal government needs to come in and take over the City,” Newsom recalled.

“Bill O’Reilly has ‘countdown for arrest.’

While it's not clear whether an effort led by a weirdo like Newsom has a chance in hell of succeeding, what this story does underscore is just how emboldened fringe activists are feeling in this post- Imus media era.

How far will this go?

ELSEWHERE: Isn't It Rich ponders phony carbon offset schemes, while Kim at Musing Minds had a crazy week.

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Sheldon Drobny, NovaM, Liberal Talk Radio, Boston


Drobny ProgTalk Tour Reaches Boston

If you thought oddball Air America Radio co- founder Sheldon Drobny had disappeared along with his failed attempt to buy that infamous money pit, guess again.

With his NovaM progtalk outfit now a year old and struggling to gain affiliates, Drobny has hit the road, working with lefty activists in local areas.

At the moment, he's in Boston, where his followers are having more success than one might expect, but perhaps not in the way Drobny had hoped.

For the full rundown, see SaveWRKO.

ELSEWHERE: OlbermannWatch has some great new video clips of our pal Olby!

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Imus Fired, Bernard McGuirk, Hannity & Colmes


In Fox Interview, Fired Imus Producer Blasts Away

During the height of the recent Don Imus firestorm, did Al Sharpton "terrorize" network executives until they met his demands?

That's the explosive charge levelled last night by fired Imus producer Bernard McGuirk. In an interview on FOX's Hannity & Colmes, McGuirk said corporate suits were stuck "in a fetal position under their desks" while apparently cowering in fear of Sharpton and Jackson.

From ABC News:

But McGuirk said he and Imus had engaged in the same locker-room humor for many years, and received pats on the back and raises from their superiors before CBS Radio fired them this time.

He sharply criticized the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the campaign to get them fired.

"It seemed like he terrorized broadcast executives," he said. "It seemed like they were in a fetal position under their desks sucking their thumbs on their Blackberrys, trying to coordinate their response."

The concept of "crossing the line" is hard to under- stand when it's not clear where the line is, he said.

"It's a horrible thing for this country where people can't poke fun at each other and just joke around, have a good time, without fear of being hammered by the PC police or lose your livelihood over it," he said.

And from the New York Post:

April 27, 2007 -- Fired shock-jock Don Imus' longtime producer ripped the Rev. Al Sharpton last night, blaming him for blowing out of proportion the I-man's infamous "nappy-headed ho's" comment and unfairly driving their show off the air.

"The media treated him like he was Nelson Mandela, for God's sake, without asking him about his past comments, this sanctimonious skunk," Bernard McGuirk said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."

McGuirk, speaking publicly for the first time since the April 4 comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, said there was "legitimate anger" following the radio rant - but he and Imus never should have been fired.

"They caved to this guy with that record," he said, referring to CBS axing Imus on April 12 after Sharpton demanded the firing. "They appeased this terrorist here. It's almost like free-speech surrender."

While McGuirk does make some good points here, it's hard to know what to do with him. Is he a racist? Yes, that has long been quite clear.

In addition, he's the one who got Imus in trouble in the first place.

On the other hand, we now have Sharpton and Jackson with veto power over NBC and CBS. That is completely unacceptable.

What's next for McGuirk? He's so closely associated with the I- Man that it's hard to see him doing much of anything else. In addition, the Imus team has alienated nearly the entire broadcast industry over the years, leaving him with few places to turn.

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26 April 2007

Talk Radio, Seattle, KVI, Political Contributions Ruling


Free Speech Beats Effort To Silence Talk Radio

*** Update Below ***

An outrageous attempt to undermine conservative talk radio via the courtroom has officially gone down in flames.

In a unanimous decision issued this morning, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that talk hosts who take positions in favor of political initiatives cannot be compelled to report the airtime as an in- kind campaign contribution.

The case began when objections were raised to on- air support of an anti- gas tax initiative by two KVI / Seattle hosts.

From David Postman at the Seattle Times:

Supreme Court says radio talk not a political donation

The state Supreme Court said in an opinion released this morning that KVI talk show hosts did not need to report their advocacy for an anti-gas tax campaign as an in-kind political contribution. And the court has reinstated a countersuit filed by the No New Gas Tax (NNGT) campaign against local governments that initially sued.

We hold that RCW 42.17.090 did not require NNGT to disclose the value of KVI's radio broadcasts supporting the initiative campaign as an in-kind contribution. The statutory media exemption, RCW 42.17.020(15)(b)(iv), excludes from the definition of "contribution" political advocacy for or against a political campaign by the hosts of a regularly scheduled talk show, broadcast by a radio station that is not controlled by a candidate or political committee. We reverse the order dismissing NNGT's counterclaims and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Last year, the Radio Equalizer covered this story at length. Click here to visit the archives.

Had the lower court's decision stood, it could have opened the door for a widespread crackdown on talk radio, especially during the upcoming election season, which is seen as crucial for stations in terms of ratings and revenue.

Here's how the Seattle Times covered the story last year:

At the center of the dispute are John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur, conservative talk-radio hosts for KVI who last spring ran an extensive on-air campaign for an initiative to overturn the biggest gas-tax increase in state history.

The initiative ultimately failed. But the legal fight over the anti-gas-tax crusade could set new boundaries for talk-radio hosts and determine at what point political speech becomes political advertising that can be regulated by the government.

Groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, oppose a lower court ruling that Carlson's and Wilbur's talk-radio campaign amounted to an in-kind political contribution to the gas-tax opponents.

If the ruling is allowed to stand, "it would give the government the power to micromanage and second-guess the editorial judgment of the press," William Maurer, an Institute for Justice attorney who represents the anti-gas-tax group, told the Supreme Court.

But the government lawyers who brought the case say reversing the ruling could open the door for powerful media corporations to become "king makers" by mounting unregulated political campaigns.

"In this case there was no limitation on anyone's right to speak," Mike Vaska, a Seattle attorney who represents four municipalities in the appeal, said in an interview this week. "The only requirement that came out of the case was that the people be informed about who was funding the campaign."

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by San Juan County and the cities of Seattle, Auburn and Kent last year against, the group backing Initiative 912, which was aimed at repealing a new 9.5-cent gasoline-tax increase.

Carlson and Wilbur promoted the initiative vigorously on KVI, asking listeners to collect signatures and donate money to the effort. Many of their on-air remarks suggested they were launching the initiative.

Last year, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham ordered that the I-912 committee had to disclose the on-air pitches as in-kind contributions from Fisher Communications, which owns KVI.

The I-912 campaign filed a countersuit, accusing the municipalities of infringing on the radio hosts' First Amendment rights. But Wickham dismissed the counterclaim, saying that Wilbur's and Carlson's close ties to the initiative rendered their on-air solicitations political contributions.

The ruling sent "shock waves" through the talk-radio industry, said Brian Maloney, a former KVI host who now runs Radio Equalizer, a Web site that focuses on talk radio.

"If it's allowed to stand, it would be a devastating blow for freedom of speech on the radio," Maloney said.

As additional information becomes available, we'll update the story.

UPDATE: "progressive" bloggers, obviously unhappy KVI wasn't muzzled, are nitpicking at the ruling. Trouble is, the Washington State Supreme Court hardly has a "right- wing" reputation!

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25 April 2007

Rush Limbaugh, Vanity Fair, James Wolcott, War On Rush


During Escalating War On Rush, Vanity Fair Gets Personal

If there's any lingering doubt that the "progressive" left's next target is Rush Limbaugh, a new Vanity Fair hit piece puts this to rest for good. Today, the War On Rush has officially been kicked up a notch.

In a mean- spirited rampage full of highly personal slams, James Wolcott takes the smear campaign a step further by attacking Limbaugh's audience as moronic. Clearly, Wolcott's Unhinged Anger knob was set to "11".

Otherwise, we've seen elements of this in the past, where it isn't enough to portray Rush as merely wrong on the issues. Instead, he must also be a horrible person, bent on global destruction after first ruining the lives of those around him.

When the author resorts to rehashing cheap personal attacks against the piece's target, he exposes inherent weaknesses in his arguments.

Designed to reinforce a cartoonish Rush image created for "progressives" who never listen to the show, Wolcott goes so far as to republish Limbaugh's home address and rehash the addiction issue.

From the piece:

Limbaugh— a man, a mission, a mighty wind—has carved out his own principality in Florida's Palm Beach, a lion preserve where he can roam undisturbed. Drinking in the rays, puffing on those big-shot cigars, riding the range in a golf cart— he's got the complete Jackie Gleason how-sweet-it-is package deal. But just as the Great One suffered from melancholia aggravated by alcohol, Limbaugh's indulgence in his own creature comforts hasn't been able to insulate him from the demons within.

An addiction to painkillers reduced this human boom box of self-sufficiency and strict enforcement—"If people are violating the law by doing drugs," he once lectured on his syndicated TV show, "they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted
and they ought to be sent up" (up the river, that is)—to the furtive, needy ploys of any other junkie who finds the medicine cabinet running dry. After he entered rehab, his third wife, Marta, reportedly vacated the luxury estate (they would later divorce), leaving Rush a Tarzan without his Jane in what the Palm Beach Post in 2004 called his "$24.2 million, 36,500-square-foot secluded monster at 1495 N. Ocean."

Secluded for now, but perhaps after this god of the airwaves shucks his mound of flesh so that his soul can meet Reagan's in Republican Heaven (where all the angels look like June Allyson), his compound can be converted into a tourist attraction—a combination museum, shrine, gift shop, and spiritual mecca modeled on Elvis's Graceland, Dolly Parton's Dollywood.


For us non-dittoheads (that is, the unconverted), a more fitting memorial to Mount Rushbo might be a diorama of the environmental destruction that he did so much to enable in his multi-decade reign of denigration. Global warming's most popular denialist, talk radio's most imitated showman, conservatism's minister of disinformation, he has injected millions of semi-vacant American skulls with a cream filling of complacency that has helped thrust this country into the forefront of backward leadership.

Here, Wolcott (with a straight face?) actually cites intellectual giant Al Franken as proof that Rush Is Wrong:

In 1996, Al Franken swung for the fences with his lyrical study Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, having fun with Limbaugh's fictional fact-checker, Waylon, who's often baffled himself by the bizarre stuff emanating from Rush's mouth. ("Al: Okay, let's jump right in. First of all, back in 1991, Rush claimed that Styrofoam was biodegradable and paper wasn't. Waylon: Right. I remember that. That is … uh … that's totally wrong.") Anyone can make mistakes, and anyone doing a three-hour broadcast five times a week is likely to make lots of them, but Limbaugh's mistakes all lean in the same direction and leave the impression that they're intended to obfuscate and make fact-checking as time-consuming, painstaking, and futile as picking shrapnel out of the wall or mopping up after Ann Coulter.

Goebbels propagated the theory and practice of the Big Lie, in which constant thumping reiteration wears down rational resistance and fuses heartbeat and drumbeat. Postmodern conservatives prefer to let little lies proliferate and take on a viral life of their own that becomes impossible to arrest.

In many ways, the piece reads like the kind of anti- Rush attacks we saw in 1993 and 1994. What's new, however, is the escalated level of raw anger and renewed determination to yank El Rushbo off the air for good. Will they succeed?

ELSEWHERE: Newsbusters offers its own take on the VF hit piece.

ELSEWHERE: Latest Boston talk radio rumblings here.

Frankenhumpty: David A Lunde

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24 April 2007

Media Matters, Melanie Morgan, Bill O'Reilly, George Soros


Who Will Take On Soros-Funded Smear Machine?

In the escalating ideological war for Internet dominance, do conservatives stand a chance?

The problem is mainly one of resources: with millions of dollars supporting a network of "progressive" smear sites, versus an unfunded, loose- knit collection of grass roots- based conservative blogs, it's amazing the race is even this close.

On the left, that mega- money is building a force of "progressive" cyberthugs, bent on bullying Internet conservatives and wiping out right- leaning talk radio. By now, you know the names: Media Matters, the Huffington Post, DailyKos and others.

Learning from past mistakes, billionaire leftist George Soros and his friends have shifted their resources away from Air America Radio's money pit and into websites like those mentioned above. Apparently, it's easier to tear down enemies through the web than to sell one's ideas via talk radio.

While "progressive" activists receive full- time salaries to monitor and report on conservative talk radio and blogs, on the other side, most are essentially volunteers. On the right, there are no counterparts to Soros, Peter Lewis and the Democracy Alliance backers.

On the O'Reilly Factor this week, Bill has been connecting the dots between Soros, his fellow- travellers and the organizations they have founded in order to conduct ideological warfare. Michelle Malkin, never one to fear the battle, has been working with him on key background research.

In addition, your Radio Equalizer has done previous research into these fat cat donors. Here's a good starting point.

The impact is clear: conservatives are at a 'net disadvantage when it comes to search engine results, fighting back when firestorms are generated against talk show hosts and bringing forward an issues- based agenda. It can even hurt fundraising efforts for GOP candidates.

Money isn't the only issue: by our very nature, we tend to be individualistic, while "progressives" usually take a group approach. Usually, that's not a problem for the right.

Here, however, conservatives sometimes don't provide enough support for one another. When the smear sites have selected their latest conservative target, that can be damaging, as the person is left to fight them nearly alone. With that kind of environment, who stands a chance?

In addition, there's another key difference: while lefty sites overwhelmingly support the Democrats, their counterparts on the right want little to do with the GOP these days.

While your Radio Equalizer strongly advocated for the removal of Don Imus long before nearly anyone else on the Internet, the manner in which he was whacked was disturbing. Though clearly a leftist, this site believes he was targeted by these sites anyway, as a trial run for going after the big guns: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and others.

For the right, the situation is alarming, according to The Examiner's Robert Cox:

Web 2.0 worse for the right than it thinks

Robert Cox, The Examiner
Apr 24, 2007 10:48 AM

WASHINGTON - For several years now, a common refrain among left-wing online political activists has been “We need to own the Internet the way the right owns talk radio.” Based on recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, it looks like the left has succeeded — with Democratic presidential candidates as the primary beneficiaries.

Last fall in this space, I asked, “When will the right recognize the cost of conceding Web 2.0?” With that cost now readily apparent in the form of online campaign contributions for the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, the only remaining question is whether conservatives can do anything about it in time for the elections next fall. It appears likely the answer will be a resounding no.

In the first quarter of this year, Democratic candidates raised almost $80 million, far ahead of the Republican candidates, who combined raised just over $50 million. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised $6.9 million over the Internet from 50,000 individuals, most of whom gave in small amounts. That means they can be tapped again during the campaign. More than 8,000 individuals signed up as volunteers through the Obama Web site.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., raised $4.2 million over the Internet. The Republican candidates did not break out online contributions separately but all of this suggests the gap will only grow wider over the course of the 2008 election cycle.

Joe Trippi, who has since signed on to work for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign said, “We built it and they didn’t. Now it’s paying big dividends.”

The first step in recovery for the right is to admit they have a problem. But admitting you have a problem requires you come to terms with just how bad a problem you really have. When conservatives get around to taking a hard look, they are not going to like what they see. The left has constructed a complex web of intersecting points of information and propaganda, which the right may never fully undo.

To better appreciate the dilemma now facing the right in a Web 2.0 world, it may be instructive to look at one example of how the right is losing in the online arms race — the nexus between Google, Wikipedia and far-left blogs and online forums.

Because it reveals real financial damage to the GOP's presidential contenders due to this Internet disadvantage, Cox's piece is particularly on the mark.

But what about the impact of lefty smear pieces on conservative commentators? When the words of talk hosts and television pundits are twisted and distorted, who is there to fight back?

It's no secret that their next target is Rush Limbaugh. When a coordinated attack is mounted against him, will conservatives be ready for the mainstream media's onslaught?

One host who is not taking their bullying lying down is KSFO / San Francisco host Melanie Morgan. A frequent target of Media Matters (there's a whole section on their site devoted to her), Morgan earlier this week had this to say about them:

When the Los Angeles Times noted that the loss of Imus' radio program (and accompanying MSNBC simulcast) would hurt liberal causes and Democrat candidates for office, Media Matters launched an attack on the Times story because it showcased the non-conservative leanings of Imus.

This is standard practice for Media Matters and its incessant war against conservatism and the movement's most prominent media figures.

The list of conservative figures targeted by Media Matters is endless: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, Fred Barnes, Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, Ann Coulter, Debbie Schlussel and many others.

Media Matters was founded with the support and funding from key Democrat operatives, including John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. The group has documented ties to far-left organizations such as and the Center for American Progress – both of which have been funded by far-left billionaire George Soros.

I have lived on the other side of the gun barrel pointed by Media Matters for America for the better part of three years, and I know what it feels like when a bunch of crackpots with keyboards pull the trigger, backed by millions upon millions of dollars in funding from George Soros.

I co-host "The Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Show," a conservative news/talk program on KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco, every weekday morning for four hours. Liberals are disgusted that our conservative program is one of the most-listened to radio programs in the notoriously liberal San Francisco Bay Area. We've endured several vicious campaigns waged against us by liberal activists with the backing of Media Matters for America, as they worked ruthlessly to have us silenced.

Several times these left-wing free speech Nazi's have almost succeeded.

The transcripts and audio files of my comments have been excerpted, misrepresented and reconfigured to take statements out of context, reprinted with lies and distortions, and then disseminated to other liberal media outlets with fierce resolve.

The Democratic Party wants to silence us, and they use Media Matters for America to wage a war against us replete with character assassination, personal threats, lawsuits and efforts to have us fired or suspended.

I can live with being targeted by these "vile, despicable ankle-biters," as Bill O'Reilly calls Media Matters. In an odd way, the attacks against me have energized me to fight even harder for the conservative causes I believe in. One of those causes includes the right to bear arms, a right that had been denied to the students and professors at Virginia Tech University who were unable to defend themselves from a deranged murderer who took no notice of the school's status as a "Gun Free Zone."

Here's their response, complete with a claim that Soros money doesn't fund their operation (perhaps not directly!):

KSFO's Morgan: Media Matters like Virginia Tech gunman

In an April 20 column for, Melanie Morgan, co-host of San Francisco radio station KSFO's Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Program, compared Media Matters for America to the Virginia Tech gunman who killed 32 people before shooting himself to death. Morgan wrote: "Like that mentally unbalanced and angry gunman at Virginia Tech, they'll methodically march through the domiciles of the conservative movement, targeting the movement's leaders for career elimination -- until and unless we stand up and fight back against their campaign of mayhem against conservative leaders and causes." Morgan also attacked Media Matters as "left-wing free speech Nazis."

Morgan wrote: "I have lived on the other side of the gun barrel pointed by Media Matters for America for the better part of three years, and I know what it feels like when a bunch of crackpots with keyboards pull the trigger, backed by millions upon millions of dollars in funding from George Soros." She added: "The transcripts and audio files of my comments have been excerpted, misrepresented and reconfigured to take statements out of context, reprinted with lies and distortions, and then disseminated to other liberal media outlets with fierce resolve." Morgan offered no evidence to support these accusations. Moreover, Media Matters has never received money from progressive philanthropist George Soros.

Morgan has smeared Soros in the past, agreeing with co-host Lee Rodgers' assertion that Soros "apparently very cheerfully and willingly went to work for the Nazis" as a young boy, and adding that Soros did so to "further his own career." KSFO's program director announced in a subsequent show that Rodgers' and Morgan's comments about Soros "are not accurate, and KSFO regrets that they were broadcast." Morgan also has announced that "[w]e've got a bull's-eye painted on [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's] big, wide laughing eyes."

From this point forward, it's going to take a team approach, as well as fresh ideas about funding and financial viability in order to have any chance at countering this very real threat. Let's not wait until they succeed in yanking Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly off the air, or wiping out prominent conservative bloggers.

Is the right paying attention? Failure to grasp the severity of the situation could be deadly.

Following this post, your Radio Equalizer will be spelling out just where this site stands in the scheme of things. While some will find it self- serving, it should make more sense to others who have followed this work from the beginning.

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Some images: AP

23 April 2007

Free FM New York, New Racial Flap, JV & Elvis, Hot Talk Radio


China Calls CBS Talkers Anti-Asian Racists

*** New: Fighting The Soros- Funded Bullies - Click Here For Sheryl Crow Latest ***

Is America ready for another flap over racist content on the radio?

You say you'd rather have a few unnecessary root canals?

According to state- run Chinese television network CCTV, Asian- Americans are furious with FREE- FM / New York hot talkers JV & Elvis over a recent skit they claim was racist. If the story proves accurate, it could create new headaches for CBS, at the worst time one could imagine.

In a report airing today in China, CCTV contends JV & Elvis demeaned Asians with derogatory slurs:

Chinese Americans outraged by CBS radio

Source: Xinhuanet | 04-23-2007 16:24

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) on Sunday expressed outrage over a recent CBS radio segment, which it described as "racist, vulgar and sexist."

The Dog House with JV & Elvis is a radio talk show airing in NYC.

WFNY 92.3 Free FM, which is part of CBS Radio, aired twice a segment of a talk show involving a prank call to a Chinese restaurant.

In a press release, the OCA called for an immediate apology from the hosts of the segment, JV & Elvis, their producer and the station.

The leading Chinese American group also demanded the immediate firing of JV & Elvis and their show's producer.

In the segment, the caller began by telling the first restaurant employee, "I would like some Asian food, son of a bitch" as well as to the second employee, "I would love to have lots of Asian food, son of a bitch."

The caller then told the restaurant's female employee, "Should I come to your restaurant so I can see you naked? " and continued, "That way, I can see your hot Asian spicy ass." As the caller went on, he told another employee that he would like some "flied lice," but not "some old dung" and indicated that "I am training in Kung Fu, bitch" before ending with "Tell that hot Asian girl answering the telephone, I'd like to tap her ass."

OCA-New York President Vicki Shu Smolin said that what is especially disturbing to the Asian American community is that even after CBS fired Don Imus for referring to the Scarlet Knights, the Rutgers University women's basketball team, as "nappy-headed hos" on April 4, one day before the segment was first aired, JV & Elvis aired it again on April 19.

It is apparent that not only did JV & Elvis not learn anything from the Don Imus scandal, but CBS and CBS Radio decided that Asian Americans are easy prey for racist radio broadcast, he said.

John Tandana, executive vice president of OCA-Long Island, said:" Once again, radio has tried to gain ratings to the detriment of Asian Americans. The segment lasted over six minutes, the entire time, casting Asian Americans and women in a demeaning manner. We will not allow talk radio to spread stereotypes that hurt our community."

Here's the big question: is this report accurate? With FREE FM's ratings at rock- bottom and CBS Radio's "hot- talk" or "guy talk" format a nationwide disaster, it's hard to believe many heard the show.

Upon further review, your Radio Equalizer found this audio excerpt from the show in question. Unfortunately, it does back the Chinese government's claims.

However, it appears the skit may have first aired earlier in the year, but was re-run in the last few days, likely leading to the new controversy. Here, listeners react with their own racist comments.

In the wake of the recent Imus meltdown, how could anyone be so stupid?

And here's the big question: do we have different tolerance levels for racism targeted at Asians versus African- Americans? Over the next few days, the reaction to this latest incident will provide an easy answer.

UPDATE: Have JV & Elvis just been suspended by CBS?

UPDATE: From tomorrow's New York Times:

CBS Radio Show Hosts Suspended After Prank Call

Published: April 24, 2007

CBS Radio suspended two hosts from an FM station in New York City today after an Asian-American advocacy organization complained about the broadcast of a six-minute prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant that was peppered with ethnic and sexual slurs.

The call was first played on “The Dog House With JV and Elvis,” a midmorning show on WFNY, on April 5, the day after Don Imus made his comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team on WFAN, another CBS-owned station. The call was then replayed on “The Dog House” on Thursday, a week after Mr. Imus was fired by CBS Radio.

In the skit, a series of apparently unsuspecting employees of a Chinese restaurant are berated by a caller who tells one woman he would like to “come to your restaurant” to see her naked, especially a part of her body he refers to as “hot, Asian, spicy.” The caller also attempts to order “flied lice,” brags of his prowess in kung fu and repeatedly curses at several employees.

In a statement on Sunday, the four New York-area chapters of the Organization of Chinese Americans, an advocacy group, demanded an apology from the show’s two hosts and from CBS Radio, and called for the firing of the hosts and their producer.

UPDATE: Other than the New York Times piece published late Monday, this story has so far been slow to catch on in the media. The obvious point is this: where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson this time around? Do they have a selective view of racism?

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Sheryl Crow, Talk Radio, Toilet Paper


Rocker's Loo-nacy Gives Talkers Something To Crow About

Pardon me, but can you spare a square?

On what could have been a slow news day, talk hosts have a bird- brained pop star to thank for lighting up their phones.

With rocker- turned- envirokook Sheryl Crow calling for a one- square maximum on toilet paper usage per potty visit, talkers went to town, blasting, spoofing and generally having a great time at the dim- bulbed singer's expense.

Thanks to Sheryl, show prep has never been easier, even if the subject matter was atypical for political talkers.

Talk titan Rush Limbaugh took calls on whether it was even possible to use only one square, while Laura Ingraham had her own on- air fun. And, at, fans yukked it up over Crow's bizarre enviro- weirdness.

Meanwhile, Internet sites were just as quick to pick up on the firestorm. Here's an interesting discussion from

From the BBC:

Crow calls for limit on loo paper

Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.

Crow has suggested using "only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required".

The 45-year-old, who made the comments on her website, has just toured the US on a biodiesel-powered bus to raise awareness about climate change.

She teamed up with environmental activist Laurie David for the shows.

The pair targeted 11 university campuses to persuade students to help combat the world's environmental problems.

"I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming," Crow wrote.

"Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

While Crow sits on her perch and preaches to the world about making it a better place, what kind of example has she set in her own life? As so- called "progressives" adopt her as their new poster child, they might care to take a peek into Sheryl's background.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, this damning 1996 expose (finally available in the paper's online archives) sheds quite a bit of light:

More Than `The Piano Player'

Dumped by Sheryl Crow after propelling her to success, brilliant musician Kevin Gilbert died before finding his own


Sunday, September 15, 1996

Los Angeles -- A black hood covered his face. He wore a black skirt. His head was slumped against a leather strap chained to the headboard of the king-size bed in the sparsely furnished living room.

Kevin Gilbert, 29, was dead. That much his manager could see peering in at the front door that morning last May.


Gilbert was a prodigy musician from San Mateo who could play any instrument; colleagues invariably called him ``the most talented musician I ever met.'' To the rest of the world, though, his only real claim to fame lies in the credits to ``Tuesday Night Music Club,'' the 1993 debut album by Sheryl Crow.

``I saw something in Entertainment magazine that said Kevin Gilbert, the piano player on Sheryl Crow's record, had died,'' said songwriter David Baerwald, a member of the Tuesday club of the album's name. He paused, sadly shaking his head. ``He hated that Sheryl Crow record and that's all he's going to be known for. The piano player? Roll over, Kevin Gilbert.''

When Gilbert first brought his girlfriend Sheryl to informal Tuesday night songwriting sessions with his friends, he played a pivotal role in shaping an $85 million megahit. For her, the album brought three Grammys, stardom and an industry buzz that makes her forthcoming CD one of the most eagerly anticipated releases this fall. But for him, it was hardly a triumph. ``I don't know if I can ever forgive her,'' he wrote in his journal. ``I don't hate her -- I'm just soooo disappointed.''

In a way it's a classic Hollywood tale: Gifted boy artist meets girl artist, mentors her to success and is left in the dust -- equal parts ``Sunset Boulevard,'' ``A Star Is Born'' and ``All About Eve.'' By any measure, Gilbert's career was a fitful tumble of brilliance and happenstance, a series of near misses and one hit that wasn't his. And his Tuesday night cohorts describe Crow -- who refused to be interviewed for this story -- as a marginally talented singer who exploited his skills and theirs in a ruthless grab for success.

But this wasn't a movie, and so the real story is inevitably messier and more complex. As the circumstances of his death suggest, Gilbert had a dark side, a hidden face making him an enigma to his friends. There was a history of antidepressants, a string of journal entries registering acute self-loathing and doubt. Once, he wrote about feeling intimidated when meeting a well-known session musician at a concert. ``I suck,'' he wrote, circling the words for emphasis.

He had a promising start. As a South Bay teenager, Gilbert was given the run of Sunnyvale's Sensa Sound studio after hours; there, he recorded tracks with his progressive rock group, Giraffe. In 1988 he won the U.S. and worldwide finals of a talent contest run by the Yamaha piano company. One of the judges -- Pat Leonard, a producer for Madonna -- invited Gilbert to make a record in Los Angeles.

That album, ``Toy Matinee,'' sold nearly 200,000 copies in 1991, thanks in part to an MTV video featuring actress Rosanna Arquette (whom Gilbert had dated). Gilbert put together a road version that included his then current girlfriend on background vocals and second keyboard -- Sheryl Crow.

Making that album, Gilbert, at 21, met another record producer, Bill Bottrell, who became a kind of father figure. Bottrell brought him to sessions for Madonna and Michael Jackson; before long, Gilbert had sublet the space adjacent to Bottrell's Pasadena studio, Toad Hall. From there he set about recording his solo debut.

Drawing on all his perfectionist instincts, along with his ingrained self-doubts, Gilbert didn't just work on his record; he suffered over it, recording and rerecording, polishing, tweaking, rethinking, redoing.


Crow had finished an album for A&M Records, but despite the $500,000 spent on it, nobody at the label was thrilled with the results. Hoping for a quick fix, A&M hired Gilbert to remix the album, which was, in the immutable illogic of the record industry, already scheduled for release. Crow's manager asked Bottrell to step in as well.


For most of that year, Bottrell and his Tuesday crew -- now working all week long -- scrupulously fashioned and reshaped Crow's album. Because everything was a collaboration, songwriting credits were equally shared. ``Everybody was equal,'' said Baerwald, ``except Sheryl. She wasn't one of us. We helped her make a record.''


After nearly a year of working together, all for one and one for all, the Tuesday Night musicians were shocked to learn they didn't figure into any more of Crow's plans. Bottrell got the news when he met her to hand over the finished master in a Sunset Strip coffee shop. Although there had been much talk of hitting the road together to promote the record -- bassist Dan Schwartz even bought a new bass for the tour -- ``she essentially told me to get lost,'' Bottrell said.

``I add Sheryl Crow to a long list of people in Hollywood who told me they were my friend until they got what they wanted from me,'' Schwartz said.

As Crow's relationship with Gilbert deteriorated -- apparently she turned her attentions to an executive at the record label, Baerwald said -- an increasingly bitter Gilbert threw himself deeper into his own album.

From this point, there's little doubt talkers are hoping for more headline- making from Crow, especially on slow Monday mornings. Keep squawking, noisy bird, you're a dream come true!

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