The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 July 2007

Talk Radio, Second Amendment Groups, Boston Globe Columnist Steve Bailey


From Boston Columnist, Pro-2A Group Wants Accountability

From one end of I-90 to the other, there's a battle of wills underway over gun laws and whether a Boston Globe columnist has admitted to violating one during a local radio program.

On the Interstate's free side is Alan Gottlieb, the Bellevue- based Second Amendment activist, publisher and owner of several Northwest talk radio stations. Three- thousand miles away, on the toll- taking end still held hostage by MassPike, we find liberal Globe columnist Steve Bailey, who also contributes to WRKO's morning drive talk show.

In a press release distributed yesterday, Gottlieb claims Bailey (seen in right photo) openly admits to having violated at least one gun law by engaging in a so- called "straw purchase":

BELLEVUE, Wash., July 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Second Amendment Foundation today sent a letter to Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, asking that Globe columnist Steve Bailey be fired for his acknowledged participation in the straw purchase of a handgun in New Hampshire about two years ago.

Bailey wrote a column about his trip to the gun show in the Globe's Nov. 30, 2005 edition, but only recently did he disclose important details of the transaction during a live on-air discussion with WRKO radio hosts Tom Finneran and Todd Feinburg. The Globe is owned by the anti-gun New York Times.

During that July 10 radio segment, Bailey explained that he visited the gun show with an unidentified New Hampshire man. He was also with John Rosenthal, head of Stop Handgun Violence in Massachusetts. They wanted to prove how "easy" it would be to purchase a handgun at a gun show.

Here's what Bailey told his hosts on the air: "We finally settled on a .38 Special. To be fair we took a new Hampshire resident with us who was a guard, a prison guard. It would have been much harder; you would have had a waiting time if you were a Massachusetts resident...

"But he (the New Hampshire man) bought it for me. I gave him a couple of hundred bucks. We expensed it to the Globe by the way. One of the first things I learned when I came to the Globe was I never saw a receipt I couldn't expense."

SAF founder Alan Gottlieb (shown left) was astonished by the statement, noting, "Bailey admitted to committing a federal felony on live radio, and he also involved the Boston Globe in his criminal enterprise by having them reimburse him for the illegal purchase. He claims he gave the gun back to the New Hampshire man, and doesn't know where it is now. Bailey's admission is simply outrageous.

"Just because you hate guns, and Bailey made it clear that he thinks 'we have way too many guns in this country,' illegally buying a gun just to write about it is still a federal crime," Gottlieb added. "We've called for an investigation of this incident, and based on what's said in that audio, we think Bailey should be terminated as a Globe employee. We also want Rosenthal's involvement investigated, because it is clear from the broadcast and statements he made to Gun Week that he was a party to this transaction."

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

So far, beyond a well- balanced story on the controversy from the Boston Herald, a rival publication, local response has been typically stuffy and dismissive, in a way only provincial northeastern media types are capable of generating.

While Bailey himself does address the issue in a new Globe column published today, he also chooses to personally attack Gottlieb and other Second Amendment supporters, calling particular attention to Alan's past troubles with the IRS.

The Boston- based Media Nation blog has addressed the issue as well and is firmly supporting Bailey, calling Gottlieb's position that the law was broken "idiotic". Since your Radio Equalizer does not claim to be a legal expert, that task will be left to others.

While at the Globe, this approach may be par for the course, Bailey is known for having a particularly obnoxious style.

And for some time at our other site, we've been questioning why he is even part of WRKO's morning show and have learned it may be based on a personal friendship with the station's general manager. According to the Globe, the segment is meant to discuss business, but Bailey's lefty politics often seem the higher priority.

There, some of our readers have wondered why the Globe employs a business columnist whose support for capitalism seems a bit fuzzy.

Having worked and lived in Washington state for a number of years, your Radio Equalizer is familiar with Gottlieb and his work. Generally rather quiet, he is not known for calling attention to himself or the organization unless he sees a good reason to do so. He is reasonably well- respected in the Seattle area and only occasionally attacked by leftists in the local press.

By contrast, Bailey is often angry and emotional, particularly on the radio.

This site's sense is that Gottlieb wouldn't have picked a fight unless he felt passionately that Bailey's on- air confession represented exceptionally illegal and unethical behavior.

While it's easy for Bailey and his New England media establishment defenders to deride Gottlieb as a "gun nut", the columnist still needs to be held accountable by his employer for potential ethical transgressions conducted in the paper's name.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site.

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Bailey photo: Boston Globe, 2A image:


  • Talk about a 2-faced hypocrite. Bailey doesn't want anyone else to buy a gun, but when he does it illegally, he expects a pass.

    Screw him!

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 20 July, 2007 22:04  

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    By Blogger Oscar1986, at 21 July, 2007 00:47  

  • Brian,

    I took Bailey to task (again) here.

    A few key points...

    Bailey left out the fact that he could have done nearly the EXACT SAME THING (bought 100 guns, though not tax-free, put 'em in the trunk and driven home) in Massachusetts. The only difference being that your buyer would have had to have been a Massachusetts resident who had coughed up the $200 needed ($100 for a pistol class, $100 for a License to Carry) and who lived in any of the gun rights-friendly towns in MA.

    There are actually quite a few of those, you know.


    All Bailey was able to demonstrate was that someone willing to violate state and federal gun laws (and able to find someone else willing to do the same) can illegally obtain handguns.

    Oh, and had the buyer actually purchased 100 handguns that day, the dealer would have been required under federal law to report that multiple purchase to the BATFE.

    Oops, I guess he “forgot” to mention that one too.

    Damn the NRA. It’s all their fault.

    By Blogger Bruce, at 22 July, 2007 09:45  

  • As to this comment by Bailey:

    Here's what Bailey told his hosts on the air: "We finally settled on a .38 Special. To be fair we took a new Hampshire resident with us who was a guard, a prison guard. It would have been much harder; you would have had a waiting time if you were a Massachusetts resident...

    "Waiting time"? Yeah, try "impossible time".

    Bailey's either lying or woefully ignorant.

    Or both.

    No MA resident, even those with an unrestricted License to Carry a Firearm, can purchase and take possession of handguns in NH.

    There's no "waiting period" of any kind to consider. It simply can't be done.

    See here for more details, and to see how full of s*** Bailey really is.

    By Blogger Bruce, at 22 July, 2007 09:52  

  • Thanks Bruce, great to have your expertise on the 2A subject here.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 22 July, 2007 23:31  

  • Look at the two pictures.

    Research, and compare agendas.

    Now...who controls the media in this country? Mmmmm....

    I have no problems with folks having guns, but, I must say, in an ever-cutthroat, hyper-corporatized media environment, this is nothing more than a setup and a smear job, that serves the added purpose of getting the gun nuts in New England headlines that most Americans could care less about.

    One needs only to look at the comments in the linked article to know it is America's Left, and not criminals or wild game, that they plan to hunt down and kill.

    The harassment and hounding of liberal media figures is only Step One (i.e., Mike Webb).

    "Libertarians"? Take note of the fact that Bailey won't be able to keep his gun, either....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 July, 2007 02:01  

  • Brian: You don't have to be a "legal expert" to know that it's perfectly all right to give someone money so that person can make a legal purchase. Bailey gave money to Belair to buy a gun for himself. Belair kept the gun. End of story.

    Even if, as Gottlieb charges, Bailey described this as a "straw man" purchase on the air, the fact is that it was not a straw-man purchase.

    By Blogger Dan Kennedy, at 24 July, 2007 16:01  

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