The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 August 2007

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) Bathroom Flap, Talk Radio


Libtalker Claims Bush Out To Get GOP As Well

By now, it should be clear to all that the GOP and its wildly- disillusioned conservative base are tired of weird scandals related to disgusting personal behavior. There's little doubt these flaps are hurting the party and those on the political right.

That's why Republicans are pushing Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) to resign as soon as possible, which may occur as early as today. With important races right around the corner, the party doesn't have time to deal with this sort of rubbish, does it?

Unfortunately, that creates a big problem for the "progressive" spin machine, which now must invent a way to sustain the topic beyond the point at which Craig stands down.

And if President Bush can somehow be implicated in this mess, all the better. But how?

As usual, that's where libtalker Randi Rhodes comes into the picture. When it's time to find clever new ways to bash Bush, nobody does it better than Air America's most notorious moonbat.

And sure enough, she didn't disappoint during yesterday's broadcast, accusing Bush of bringing down Craig in order to send a message to wayward Republicans in Congress. Astonishingly, Randi's guest, Newsweek Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe, raised no objection to this crazy rant (not that it is terribly easy to get a word in edgewise):

RHODES: (30 August 2007, hour one, segment three, referring to Larry Craig) ...yeah, and this guy has been implicated before. And what’s really interesting about Larry Craig is that not only has he been involved in stuff before, like in 1982, and then there was a big, giant scandal about young underage boys being brought into the Reagan – Bush White House in ’89, and the media was successfully intimidated by the White House then, it seems like nothing has changed, Republicans… (unclear phrase).

You know, I get calls from people who’ve surmised that, this warrantless wiretapping was wiretapping not just against war protesters and people the Bush Administration found inconvenient, but against political opponents of every stripe and some people are starting to believe that the reason why Larry Craig was finally exposed, if you will (laughs), is because the administration is trying to send a message to other Republicans, because the list is long, that we will ruin your life, ruin your career, look at what we just did to your friend Larry Craig, we’ll do it to you too, we’ve got the goods on you, we wiretapped you.

Hey Randi, thanks for managing to muddle what otherwise might have been a clear victory for your "progressive" cause. Nice to see the left degenerate into their own version of the "black helicopters" crowd the right was forced to deal with during the Clinton Administration.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. New: those wacky Rooneys! Andy and Emily.


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30 August 2007

Al Franken Senate Fundraising, Norman Hsu Scandal


Tainted Dem Donation Also Reached Stuart

Where have we heard this one before?

Former Air America Radio host and current Minnesota senatorial candidate Al Franken is among the Democrats caught up in a fundraising scandal involving fishy cash from an even fishier source. Had the donor's background not been exposed by the news media, would our friend Stuart Smalley have been willing to give back the cash?

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.

The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.

Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu's contributions to charity. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu's contributions.

Hsu is a fundraiser for Clinton and is described as a devoted fan of the presidential candidate and New York senator. He had planned to co-host a money event for Clinton on Sept. 30. In a statement Wednesday, Hsu said he believed he had resolved his legal issues, but said he would halt his work raising political money.

"I would not consciously subject any of the candidates and causes in which I believe to any harm through my actions," he said. "Therefore, until this matter is resolved, I intend to refrain from all fundraising activities on behalf of all candidates and causes."

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said the $23,000 included contributions from Hsu to Clinton's presidential campaign, her Senate re-election and her political action committee. The campaign did not plan to return any money Hsu raised from other donors, Singer said.

"In light of the information regarding Mr. Hsu's outstanding warrant in California, we will be giving his contribution to charity," Singer said.

Granted, this fundraising scandal is sinking boats quite a bit bigger than Franken's, but it's still interesting to see a pattern of behavior emerge where Stuart quietly benefits from shady inflows. Shouldn't voters take a closer look at the real sources of his campaign cash?

Meanwhile, last night's Hannity & Colmes show did a great job delving into the broader scandal with guest John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. Here's the transcript. In addition, Minnesota Public Radio has a lengthy report on how the MN senate race is playing out at the summer fairs.

IMAGE: Frankensucker by David A Lunde

AT NEWSBUSTERS: Batty Baldwin brother wears moonbat T-shirt.

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28 August 2007

Alberto Gonzales Resignation, Liberal Talk Radio


With Resignation, Key Libtalk Issue Vanishes

For the nation's liberal talk radio hosts, the not- so- surprising resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has proven a mixed blessing, should they believe in such a concept:

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation Monday after months of draining controversy drew expressions of relief from Republicans and a vow from Democrats to pursue their investigation into fired federal prosecutors.

President Bush, Gonzales' most dogged defender, told reporters he had accepted the resignation reluctantly. "His good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," Bush said.

The president named Paul Clement, the solicitor general, as a temporary replacement. With less than 18 months remaining in office, there was no indication when Bush would name a successor -- or how quickly or easily the Senate might confirm one.

Apart from the president, there were few Republican expressions of regret following the departure of the nation's first Hispanic attorney general, a man once hailed as the embodiment of the American Dream.

"Our country needs a credible, effective attorney general who can work with Congress on critical issues," said Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire, who last March was the first GOP lawmaker to call on Gonzales to step down. "Alberto Gonzales' resignation will finally allow a new attorney general to take on this task.

For months, "progressive" talkers have been pounding away at Gonzales, accusing him of lying before Congress and demanding his impeachment. While their conservative counterparts continued to focus on a variety of current issues, libtalkers have spoken of little else.

During guest interviews with US Senators and presidential candidates, Gonzales has usually come up during within the first two or three questions, if not leading it off. While many conservatives merely see the AG as incompetent, liberals see sinister motivations behind his actions.

What libtalkers have failed to hide, however, are their real intentions. They're not actually especially concerned with the Attorney General's office.

Instead, they've been pushing for the AG's impeachment as a proxy for the person they'd really like to take down: President Bush. Because congressional Democrats won't go for that, "progressive" radio has been forced to fight for the next best thing: Gonzales.

Now, without Alberto in office, continuing this crusade will be much more difficult. With their number one target now off the radar screen, what's a libtalker to do?

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27 August 2007

Peter Lewis, Progressive Insurance, Air America, Rachel Maddow


Did AAR Host Realize She Was Attacking Network Backer?

For today's radio libtalkers, attacking evil corporations is most certainly second nature. Often, their anti- business approach seems driven by emotion more than anything else.

That said, what caused one of Air America's hosts to bash a key network founding supporter on the air Thursday? Was something more personal involved?

During Thursday's Rachel Maddow Show, the talker herself proceeded to attack Progressive Insurance, based on a story that originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. Here's a transcript of Maddow's rant:

MADDOW: In August, 2005, a couple, a male-female couple joined the Southside Christian Fellowship Church in Atlanta. They joined the church and they joined a support group that was hosted at the church minister’s home. I think it was like a family and couple’s marriage support group or something.

And the minister said at the beginning of every meeting of the group, this is private, this is confidential, what’s said in this room stays in this room. Turns out the new couple that joined that month was secretly taping the support group sessions in an effort to try to get dirt on tape on two other people who were participating in that group.

The new couple were private eyes, hired by Progressive Insurance to try to get something embarrassing and personal on tape about a couple that was involved in a lawsuit with Progressive over an auto accident in 2004. They wanted something to discredit them. The couple who was spied on filed another lawsuit against Progressive last week, charging invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, and emotional distress, yeah!

But it wasn’t until the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote an article about their case and about what Progressive did that the insurance company, the country’s third largest, finally issued an apology today.

So now when you hear those incredibly annoying ads for Progressive Auto Insurance (Maddow airs brief Progressive Auto ad excerpt), you can not only think, Wow, gremlins, could there be a more obscure hook for an insurance ad, ever? You can now also associate them with spying on people they are suing in church groups. Awesome.

Hey Rachel, aren't you aware that one of Air America Radio's first financial backers was Peter Lewis, Chairman of Progressive Insurance? He remained a Piquant unitholder until the bankruptcy reorganization was complete.

In fact, he's also associated with Democracy Alliance, the group that very nearly bailed Air America out before bankruptcy was finally declared. Lewis is associated with far- left causes and has a longtime political connection to George Soros.

That begs the question: did Rachel realize she was attacking one of her own? Does this have something to do with past conflicts over Air America's funding, or was Maddow really foolish enough to bash a key supporter, one who supplied start- up funding to pay her own salary?

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26 August 2007

Keith Olbermann Makes NBC Primetime Debut, Bill O'Reilly


Will Unhinged Host Self-Promote, Or Simply Bash Rivals?

With an unprecedented primetime opportunity to show his stuff on NBC tonight, will Keith Olbermann take the opportunity to prove himself, or merely waste it furthering his all- consuming anti- O'Reilly agenda?

While a true professional would choose to entertain and inform the audience, angry Olbermann may not be able to resist wasting the time going after everyone on his long list of enemies.

Think we're off base? Take a look at this:

Keith Olbermann says the NBC debut of Countdown Sunday will be business as usual, so that can only mean one thing — Bill O'Reilly will be the "Worst Person in the World."


"I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he's in there," Olbermann said in an interview this afternoon. "He can't go two days without doing something worthy of mention."

Olbermann will anchor a special 7pm edition of Countdown live from MSNBC's Secaucus, NJ headquarters. Then he'll bolt to 30 Rock for a commentary on disgraced quarterback Michael Vick for NBC's Sunday Night Football studio show, which he joins this season.

In case Olbermann doesn't arrive before halftime of the Eagles-Steelers preseason game, he'll tape a "safety" copy at MSNBC.

Olbermann, on vacation this week, has no plans to tone down anything in Sunday's Countdown, he says.

"Not one word has been said to me about any content. It will be driven by the day's, or the weekend's news. There will certainly be a political roundup and a presidential campaign segment. Since this is the one week of the year without a debate, there won't be a debate story."

Olbermann sees the NBC shot "as a great opportunity to advertise our product. It's an hour-long infomercial. Obviously, it's the biggest storefront we have.

"I don't think anyone expects us to do really well in the ratings. We can do basically whatever we want. If they're good, everyone can be pleasantly surprised."

Is it a tryout? Maybe.

Hey, why would NBC expect big ratings? It's not as though he's ever delivered them at MSNBC.

Meanwhile, in other unhinged, anti- O'Reilly news, this appeared in today's Page Six:

August 26, 2007 -- OUR secular society has done away with religious art, but painter Alex Gardega has come up with a way to revitalize the genre. "I'm painting a large version of Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' with Bill O'Reilly featured as Christ and the rest of the Fox folks at the table," he said. "In place of Judas there will be Alan Colmes, and Sean Hannity will replace Peter. I'm painting it to explore the concept that media has become our new religion."

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24 August 2007

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) On Approval Ratings, Talk Radio


Harry Blames Bush For His Own Terrible Poll Ratings

*** Exclusive To The Radio Equalizer ***

With less than two years to go in President Bush's second and final term, Democrats have grown so accustomed to blaming him for anything and everything that it must by now be instinctive and automatic.

But even within their own so- called "progressive" ranks, isn't there a limit to just how much can be pinned on the leader they so deeply despise?

During an interview with libtalker Bill Press yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took Bush- bashing into a new realm, actually blaming the president for his own rock- bottom approval ratings!

Take a look for yourself:

(Ed Schultz Show, Bill Press filling in, 23 August 2007, 14:00, segment one)

PRESS: Senator, I’m sure you were disheartened to see yesterday the Gallup organization came out with a new poll that showed that currently today the Congress holds an approval rating among the American people of an all-time low of 18%. Uh, how do you deal with that?

REID: Of course I’m disappointed in that, but if you go back to before they started doing polling, Will Rogers made a living criticizing Congress. Congress has always been criticized and as well it should be; the American people express their frustration through how Congress is doing. But if you go back historically, you’ll always find that when you have a president that is so terribly unpopular, it also affects Congress. Ah we have been able to break through this, we’ve been able to pass minimum wage for the first time in ten years, pass ethics and lobbying reform which is so long overdue, we passed the balanced budget, we have been able to get disaster relief for farmers and ranchers, we’ve been able to fund children’s health ‘till the first of October, we’ve accomplished a lot. But we have to accomplish a lot more, of course I’m disappointed, I wish our poll numbers were a lot higher, but I understand the realities of the situation.

PRESS: And the reality also, Senator, is that the Republicans have put up a sixty-vote obstacle on most issues, and they have enough votes that they can stop you from getting to sixty.

REID: Bill, they have set the record for filibusters, by more than, if you go back and look at any time in history, you will never find more filibusters than the Republicans have initiated, which has made it very difficult for us to get things done. And I think the reason we were able to get a few things done right before we had our summer recess is because the Republicans have come to the realization that their game isn’t working, the American people, you can tell with all the polls going on around the country with senatorial candidates, the Republicans are taking a terrible beating and unless they change dramatically in the next few months, come a year from this November there’s gonna be no longer a 51-49 majority in the Senate, there will be a significantly higher (Democrat majority)…

(Reid goes on to suggest that Dems may pick up nine Senate seats next year, due to GOP obstructionism)

Senator, how can Bush be to blame for how Americans see Democrats? That's downright kooky! In fact, that may take first prize for the craziest political statement of 2007.

In addition, even if the president is somehow dragging down your party as well, what explains the fact that his approval rating stands at 33%, while yours is a mere 18%?

Also note how instead of challenging Reid on what he must have known was an absurd statement, Press actually tried to cover for him by blaming the GOP's supposed obstructionism for harming congressional Democrats.

Last November, Democrats regained control of Congress based partly on dissatisfaction with Bush and his performance. Now that the public sees Dems as a bigger problem than Bush, attempting to blame the president is a great way to see those historic poll numbers fall even further.

UPDATE: Ian provides the audio clip.

AT NEWSBUSTERS: Hillary thinks a new terror attack would help Republicans

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23 August 2007

Bill Press Comments On Reading And Bush, Liberal Talk Radio,


Former CNN Host Blames Bush For Reading Deficiencies

When does endless Bush- bashing become so silly that it no longer succeeds in infuriating opponents of so- called "progressive" politics?

While that point may have been passed some time ago, libtalker Bill Press certainly isn't helping his movement regain credibility. Filling in for Ed Schultz yesterday, the former Crossfire co-host and California Democrat Party honcho once again moved anti- Bush rhetoric into new territory, blaming him for the fact that a significant minority of Americans apparently don't read books.

From the show:

PETER (Press show news anchor): Here’s what’s making news from the Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good: an AP poll reports that (Press briefly interrupts) One in four Americans have not read a book in the past year. Now, some people might not know how to read (clears throat and says ‘President Bush’ in lower voice), but this is about literate Americans who just don’t want to read.

The typical American claims to read about four books a year and half of Americans read fewer than that. Here’s the interesting part: (Press interrupts and says ‘that’s disgusting’): the poll also found that 22% of liberals say that they have not read a book in the past year…

PRESS: No! No! Wait! Throw them out! They don’t belong in the party, no, they don’t. As the chief liberal (unclear), I say they no longer belong.

PETER: 38% of conservatives say they haven’t read a book in the past year, though, so…

PRESS: The difference is that liberals can read and conservatives can’t. I mean, that’s, no wonder, that is really embarrassing.

PETER: That is kind of embarrassing.

PRESS: But you know, what do you expect when Bush is the president, right? My Pet Goat.

First, this is factually incorrect, as Bush is known as a particularly voracious reader. In addition, Laura Bush is a former librarian and known for promoting literacy. She holds a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from the University of Texas.

In addition, this provides an additional example of the "progressive" left coast's obnoxious tendency to see itself as "well- read" while the rest of the country is apparently home to millions of Homer Simpson- like idiots.

The question not asked, however, is what specifically these people are reading that makes them so superior to the rest of us. The survey was about quantity, not quality. Reading one brain- damaging Noam Chomsky diatribe after another does not lead to real intelligence.

By the way, if you're surprised to hear Bill Press is now a radio libtalker, please see our background pieces, including one on his shady early backers.

AT NEWSBUSTERS: new example of anti- Bush bias at Google News.

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22 August 2007

Bob Grant Returns To WABC, Talk Radio, New York City


After 11-Year Absence, Bob Grant Rejoins WABC

*** Exclusive To The Radio Equalizer ***

Eleven years after his termination over a poorly-received comment about Commerce Secretary Ron Brown's death, conservative talk legend Bob Grant is set to return to New York City's WABC-AM, according to high-level industry sources.

An official announcement is set for later today.

Grant will assume the 8-10pm slot vacated by Jerry Agar, who was hosting the show from a studio in Chicago. Until early 2006, Grant held down afternoon drive at fossil-talker WOR-AM.

In the most recent quarterly ratings report, Agar turned in a 1.5 share, significantly below his competition at WOR (Michael Savage with a 2.3 and Steve Malzberg at 1.9).

While continuing to enjoy popular support in New York City radio circles as well as industry respect, there are questions about whether Grant is a good fit for WABC's long- term needs. At 78, he remains a legend, but it's hard to imagine this run as more than one last lap around the track.

On the flip side, he remains very well- known in the area and there's little doubt fans will be excited to hear this news.

Paving the way for his return was the recent ownership change at ABC Radio, with Citadel Communications taking over from Disney. That takeover has meant that a lot of the previous quirkiness (and fear of on-air controversy) has been swept away, which overall should be good for talk radio.

In the big picture, talk radio is still failing terribly at building the next generation of talkers who can move it forward. As it now stands, the medium appears to be milking its oldest hosts until their final days. When they are gone, does radio's most important format simply shut down?

UPDATE: we scooped the NYC papers by hours with this announcement.

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21 August 2007

Janeane Garofalo Joins 24, Joel Surnow, FOX


Could Hothead Garofalo Boost '24' Ratings?

Memo to aspiring unhinged Hollywood liberals: uncontrollable rage can be good for your career. Not just good, in fact, but downright fantastic!

Leading the way is eternal sorehead Janeane Garofalo, whose resume just seems to build with each public outburst. Now, she's been added to the cast of Fox's 24.

Can she bring additional ratings to Joel Surnow's primetime show, a feat she couldn't accomplish for Air America Radio?

From the Hollywood Reporter's story:

The political left and the political right are going to meet on Fox's "24" this coming season.

Actress-comedian Janeane Garofalo, an outspoken liberal, is set to co-star on the conservative-leaning real-time drama, whose co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow jokingly describes himself as a "right-wing nut job."

On the Imagine TV/20th Century Fox TV series, Garofalo will play a government agent who is part of the team investigating the crisis befalling Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and company in the upcoming season.

Garofalo is the second major cast addition to the action drama, which is going through a major revamping coming off a lackluster sixth season. Cherry Jones was tapped last month to play the new president (HR 7/21).

After two production delays related to major changes to the story line, "24" is now slated to begin production on its seventh season Sept. 10 (HR 8/16).

Garofalo's most recent TV series gig was a role on "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin's left-leaning White house drama for NBC.

For a trip down Garofalo memory lane, here's an account of her stand-up act stumbling in British Columbia, her talk show on life support and the final exit.

Memo to the co-stars: don't rip Scientology in her presence, unless you're begging for an elbow in the groin.

Meanwhile, the American Thinker believes 24 may very well have Jumped The Shark.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. Today: the Finne- felon makes a big grab for ca$h.

IMAGES: classic Garofalo images by Pete at IHillary

AT NEWSBUSTERS: Olbermann expanding to NBC!

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20 August 2007

Sean Hannity Support For Rudy Giuliani, Dan Rather


Media Raises Questions About Sean Hannity's Rudy Backing

For ethical purposes, is a talk show host compelled to remain neutral during hotly- contested presidential primaries, just as we would expect from a television news anchor?

That's the assertion being made in today's New York Daily News, as FOX News commentator Sean Hannity's support for Rudy Giuliani is compared to Dan Rather's past political transgressions. Is that reasonable?

In the story, Hannity's presence at a recent Rudy fundraiser is seen as an in-kind contribution by FOX News toward the former New York City mayor:

It's no secret that Sean Hannity, the conservative Fox News commentator, has helped to raise Rudy Giuliani's profile - but now he's helped the former mayor raise money, too.

In a little noticed event this month, Hannity - co-host of Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" and host of a popular WABC radio show - introduced the Republican front-runner at a closed-door, $250-per-head fund-raiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge.

In so doing, some believe that Hannity - while clearly a commentator paid to express his opinions - crossed the line from punditry into financial rainmaking for a presidential candidate whose bottom line is now better for it.

"Fox's in-kind contribution to Republican politicians in the form of softball coverage is one thing," said Steve Rendall, senior analyst at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a left-leaning media watchdog group. "But this is the first time they have crossed this line into fund-raising."

More independent observers said Hannity's appearance underscored the blurring lines between news and advocacy and could be interpreted as a kind of endorsement.

"It signals within that brand of conservatism that they ought to vote for the guy," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communications.

Hannity declined to comment, but his bosses at Fox News Channel and WABC, flagship station for his national radio show, defended their marquee star by arguing that he's not a journalist and shouldn't be judged as one.

"Sean is not a journalist - Sean is a conservative commentator," said Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming. "Sean doesn't hide, and never has hidden, his beliefs from anyone."

Hannity isn't the first news figure to cross the line into fund-raising. James Carville, a Democratic consultant and CNN personality, has stumped for Democratic candidates in recent years.

And then-CBS anchor Dan Rather caused howls of protest when he attended a Democratic Party fund-raiser in Texas in 2001 organized by his daughter.

Rather - whose transgression was in many ways worse, since news anchors are expected to betray no bias in covering the news - immediately apologized.

But the dustup led to a public debate during which one Fox News colleague of Hannity's, commentator Bill O'Reilly, made it clear that he saw an ethical problem in attending political fund-raisers.

"Now Rather gave a speech at a fund-raiser, so money changed hands. I mean, I wouldn't do that," O'Reilly said on his own Fox show, "The O'Reilly Factor."

Hannity's leanings for Giuliani have been well-documented. The Hotline, a political journal, has noted that through July 15, Giuliani had enjoyed 115 minutes of free face time on Fox - more than half of that on "Hannity & Colmes." His airtime on Fox was 25% higher than any other Republican candidate, data show.

Can we count the number of ways this story is off the mark? First, Rather was a news anchor, while Hannity is paid to give opinions. While the piece admits that fact toward the bottom, why isn't this seen as a major distinction to the "experts" who were interviewed?

Second, Hannity's support for Rudy on his own time no more represents an official stance by FOX than Rather's appearances did for CBS. As a result, it's foolish to suggest that networks are providing an in-kind contribution.

Next, conservatives know how to think for themselves and aren't waiting for a "signal" from Sean before they decide which one to support. It's not like Oprah's book club.

On a practical level, however, there's a good reason why most hosts remain neutral: it can alienate listeners and viewers, who may already have strong feelings about other candidates. That's a good reason to stay out of the nomination fray and wait for the general election.

By choosing to support Rudy, Sean is risking potential anger from segments of his audience, but that's his call to make. He certainly hasn't crossed any ethical boundaries, however.

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19 August 2007

Talk Radio, Don Imus Return, Rev Al Sharpton Op-Ed


Anticipating The Return Of Imus, Al Makes His Demands

Remember the Reverend Al Sharpton's futile attempt at securing the Democratic nomination in 2004? As it turns out, he actually won not only the primary contest, but took the general election as well!

Who knows how he did it (perhaps by ringing his friends in an alternate universe?), all that matters is that he's now calling the shots. With talk radio running America and Sharpton in charge of programming the medium, he may as well take up residence in the White House.

And with Imus set to return to the airwaves, Sharpton has issued his list of five rules by which the I-Man must abide:

Indeed, if Imus wants to get back in front of the microphone, there are five steps that he should take to prove that he has learned from the experience — and not simply waited for the furor to die down.

First, he should squarely deal with the Rutgers fiasco, not just through a cosmetic meeting as before, but by coming to terms with the women he denigrated in a concrete way. One of the Rutgers women has filed a lawsuit, and rather than play legal games with her, he should settle that suit — and any other claims that the team members may make due to the psychological and public damage he did to them personally.

Second, he should publicly make clear that he sees himself as an example of how we as a society have increasingly allowed the hunger for humor and the drive for ratings to make the American public immune to the casual expression of racism and sexism.

Specifically, Imus should state (if true) that he now understands what led to his termination: Americans of all races and economic levels believe we can no longer move forward as a society by taking cheap shots at women and blacks or any other group.

He was not a pariah; his removal did not undermine his free speech rights.

Third, he should pledge to refrain from attacks on innocent people who cannot defend themselves and who may not have the coping mechanisms to deal with being ridiculed on the airwaves.

It's one thing to ridicule Al Sharpton; it's another to attack young women who did nothing more than seek to achieve excellence in college athletics.

To that end, Imus and his new prospective employer, if and when one emerges, should publicly release a contract clause making clear that he will not be permitted to engage in any racist, sexist or homophobic comments (unlike a contrary clause in his last contract).

Fourth, to show that he is truly committed to turning the page in whatever new show he launches, Imus should set aside some regular weekly broadcast time to sit with an ombudsman — preferably a member of the National Association of Black Journalists or someone else of color — who will mix it up with him and critique issues of the day. No, I'm not volunteering for the job.

Fifth, Mr. Imus should encourage all corporations, including the record industry, to stop subsidizing and promoting people who engage in racist and misogynist language, even in the name of entertainment. The rules must not be different for black rappers than they are for white broadcasters.

How could the Op-Ed honchos at the Daily News print this work of art with a straight face? Are they really unfamiliar with Sharpton's past transgressions? Why did the mainstream media put him in charge of content?

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. New: hardball legal tactics expected against Howie Carr

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18 August 2007

Portland Oregon Radio Ratings, Rush Limbaugh, Maine


Now Number One In Rose City, Follows Seattle Climb

What is it about the Northwest and Rush Limbaugh?

Following El Rushbo's number one market- wide showing in recently released Seattle radio ratings, the results have been now been repeated. And this time, it's in the extreme- left stronghold of Portland, Oregon!

In the Rose City, Rush beats every local and syndicated show between 5am and 10pm in the all- important adults 25-54 demographic. From what may be the nation's most competitive talk radio market, that's no easy feat.

There are at least five Portland talkers generating enough of an audience to show up on our radar screen, more than is the case in most major markets, including New York City.

Rush's 5.2 25-54 audience share on KEX topped Michael Savage's 5.1 afternoon drive showing on KXL-AM (though the latter was also up, by 70%). That represents a 58% gain for the talk titan. In head- to- head competition, Rush beats Bill O'Reilly on KXL (3.0 share), libtalker Thom Hartmann (3.1 on KPOJ) and consumer host Clark Howard (1.3 on KPAM).

Also realizing strong increases: Lars Larson's regional show, up 41%, "progressive" talker Ed Schultz (+93% to a 2.9 share), Sean Hannity (+75% on KPAM-AM), local KPAM talker Victoria Taft (+55%) and Tom Leykis (+108% on KCMD-AM).

So what is it that fuels Rush's success in such seemingly- inhospitable climates? Perhaps listeners are looking for an alternative to the fringe politics that are forced upon them day after day. Whatever the case, El Rushbo has recently been on the upswing in some of the nation's most liberal cities. That has got to be an indication of something.

Speaking of Portland, the Atlantic version also saw its conservative talk station score big gains. In Portland, Maine, WGAN has retained its number one position in overall ratings, rising to an 8.8 12+ share from 5.4 a year ago.

It carries Limbaugh, Pine Tree State native Howie Carr and other conservative programming. Because of the market size (it's ranked #167), we don't have specific show- by- show breakdowns.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. New: mystery solved?

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17 August 2007

Al Franken US Senate Campaign, Strange Personal Behavior


At Home, Questions About Franken's Sanity

Could Al Franken become the first dog in the US Senate?

Thanks to a Minneapolis- based newspaper, the cat is out of the bag regarding Stuart's doggy- style, semi- public antics. From Ben Westhoff's already- infamous report in the Minneapolis City Pages:

Some aspiring politicians find Jesus, but Al Franken would have you believe he's had a conversion of his own, from Saturday Night Live goofball to Deadly Serious Issues Guy. He swears as much in a long, rambling video posted to his U.S. Senate campaign's web site.

"I want you to know that nothing means more to me than making government work better for the working families of this state," says the wannabe senator, speaking before a bookshelf crammed full of undoubtedly important tomes. "And over the next 20 months, I look forward to proving to you that I take these issues seriously."

In his down time, however, Franken is apparently still quite the class clown. At least that's according to several of his neighbors in a downtown Minneapolis luxury high-rise. They say the Stuart Saves His Family star exhibits endlessly zany behavior on the treadmill in the communal workout room.

"He yells, 'Go Al!' and then puts his sweaty towel in his mouth, shakes his head back and forth, and growls like a dog," says Lauren Zeller, a 28-year-old risk consultant. "The cycle repeats: 'Go Al!,' towel, shake head, growl."

Hilary Cheeley, a health care technology project manager, says she recently caught him yelling at the television during a Twins game.

"When someone would strike out or whatnot he would say, 'Oooh!' or 'C'mon, hit it!'" says Cheeley, who is 32 and lives in the Grant Park condo building with her husband. "He was just kind of chatting up the TV while he was walking on the treadmill. I swear he was doing it just to get a rise out of me."

He later put his towel in his mouth, "maybe to curb his yips and yells," she speculates.

Cheeley had previously introduced herself to the chubby, ever-smiling Franken. She recognized him from Saturday Night Live and had listened to him on his erstwhile Air America Radio show. Months later, she says, he was extremely friendly when she "accosted" him in the lobby while he was walking his black lab, Kirby.

But on a recent Sunday afternoon, Franken seemed to regress back to his days as an entertainer.

"He had his earphones on and was singing out loud," Cheeley says, adding that the two were alone in the workout room. "I couldn't recognize the song. It put a big smile on my face and made me laugh, and I think that was intentional."

Zeller wasn't quite so amused. She encountered Franken in the workout room once in April and once in late May or June, she says, and both times he was decked out in a white t-shirt, white socks pulled halfway up his calves, and white tennis shoes. Also on both of those occasions, he asked her to help him find C-SPAN on one of the televisions. "He said he watches a lot of C-SPAN because it's important to stay politically informed, or something along those lines," Zeller says. He then began what she describes as a "politician's run"—a light jog with a whole lot of swinging elbows—before commencing the "Go Al!" towel-biting routine.

"It's clear that his activities in the gym are a performance, like a Saturday Night Live skit gone wrong or something," she says. "I think I felt mostly annoyed. When you're the only other person in the gym, it's hard to ignore. I actually left early so that I wouldn't have to see the growling and cheering himself on!"


In any case, Franken's oddball behavior seems well known around the building. Cheeley and Zeller report that two other residents have also had strange encounters of the Franken kind, although neither responded to City Pages' request for comment. "My friend said a half a year ago or so that he was down there lifting weights, kind of pep talking himself, like 'C'mon Al, you can do one more rep!'" says Cheeley.

In the piece, Franken's campaign spokesman seemed caught off- guard by the complaints from his neighbors. And since it first appeared online earlier this week, the paper has apparently seen some blowback, even being accused of moving "rightward":

Meanwhile, a diarist at Democratic website Daily Kos wonders if the article signals a “rightward turn” at City Pages. Writes “the Big E”: “This is a perfect example of conservative framing: Al Franken should not be considered a serious candidate, we have anecdotal evidence that you should take at face value.”

To answer the Big E’s question: No, it doesn’t signal a rightward turn, as should be evident by this week’s feature story, which is plenty critical of several prominent local Republicans.

Sure enough, Kos Klown "The Big E" can see only political motivations behind the piece, despite the fact that it appeared in a left- wing "alternative" weekly:

The artist, Jay Bevenour, lives in Philadelphia, PA. The writer, Ben Westhoff, lives in Brooklyn, NY. Westhoff mentions way at the end (the last paragraph) that his main source is a Republican. I consider this barely mentioning that his source is more than likely politically motivated and completely disingenuous.

Westhoff claims to be a Democrat and typically writes music reviews for the Village Voice. From his debut political article, he sounds like a Joe Lieberman Democrat. The VV and CP are owned by the same media corporation, Village Voice Media.

Even if Franken's Hollywood
supporters succeed in spinning this issue, the question remains: is Stuart fit for office? In his defense, it isn't a particularly sane political chamber and Franken's yipping might liven up particularly boring policy debates. However, something tells your Radio Equalizer there will be more revelations to come.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. New: big developments in the local sports-talk saga, Dennis & Callahan humiliated by Entercom!

IMAGES: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer

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16 August 2007

Greenstone Media Shutdown Flap, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Rosie O'Donnell


Failed Femtalk Network May Leave Staffers Out In The Cold

What was expected to be a relatively quiet shutdown of the failed GreenStone Media feminist talk radio network has instead turned into a noisy flap over the way its founders are treating outgoing employees.

According to two new reports, the Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and Rosie O'Donnell- backed outfit appears ready to ditch its staff without providing severance payments or offering other assistance.

In addition, there have been accusations that the firm is utilizing questionable financial tactics in order to avoid giving staffers their fair due. In fact, it isn't even following through on contractual promises made to key employees!

Eventually, the charges found their way to the New York Post's Page Six:

FORMER staffers of Green Stone Media, the defunct women's radio network, are grumbling that its founders aren't living up to their feminist creds. Women's libbers Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda are "putting their own reputations above their female employees' finances," one source told Page Six.

The recently shuttered station is "refusing to pay severance, and the founders won't file for bankruptcy protection because it would publicly embarrass Jane and Gloria." A spokesperson for Fonda told us, "This is pure speculation. There is no foundation to the accusations and the staff has been informed throughout."

Today, Fonda herself appeared on one of the network's final broadcasts to refute Page Six, but didn't seem especially convincing, even to the hosts, according to Radar:

The show's cohost was more interested in how much severance she and her female compatriots will get, and whether they'll have a chance to extend their health benefits until they land other gigs. Steinem, however, insisted on nitpicking the gossip item.

"The item was just backward," she said this morning. "We chose to dissolve rather than go bankrupt because it cost money to go bankrupt. It saved money for the staff." The idea is that, by avoiding bankruptcy, a company can sell off assets, and Steinem suggested that those dollars would be distributed to employees. But a source inside GreenStone tells Radar, "There are no assets! They rent a tiny space and all the equipment." GreenStone CEO Susan Ness told the staff that no one gets paid after Friday—"No severance, no extension of health insurance (COBRA), no honoring of personal contracts," some of which call for three months' severance pay, the source said.

When gently prodded by the morning show cohost, Steinem said employees would get some money but sidestepped specifics. "The important thing is that the [Page Six] item was just backward," she said. "If we'd have gone bankrupt then they'd have been paid even less," she snapped.

What's less than zero?

In fact, it was your
Radio Equalizer that first reported GreenStone's ties to Air America Radio. Those "assets" that consist of leased space were actually inside Air America's Manhattan studios!

Meanwhile, today's Seattle Post- Intelligencer includes a column by Bill Virgin where GreenStone execs make excuses for why their project failed.

After years of being lectured about politics, family life, male- female relations and gender roles by these very people, it's now amazing to see Team Fonda- Steinem- O'Donnell stiff their supposedly "empowered" female staffers.

After this fiasco, why should anyone listen to a word they say?

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site. Today: Felon Talk II: The Crappy Sequel.

AT NEWSBUSTERS: Rush smeared by Paul Begala over OxyContin use

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