The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

29 February 2008

Citadel's Financial Troubles Threaten Talk Radio


Talk Radio Operator Citadel Reports Shocking Q4 Loss

*** Trades Report Substantial Layoffs Are Expected ***
*** Developing: WABC Layoffs Begin, All WJZW-FM Staffers Dismissed ***
*** Large-Scale Atlanta Layoffs ***
*** Major Redundancies Hit DC - All Access: WMAL Cuts, Chris Core Fired***
*** Staffers: Send Confidential Tips To Radioequalizer (at) ***
*** John Gambling Fired At WABC ***
*** Sackings Hit West Coast: LA, SF ***
*** Report: KABC's Peter Tilden Let Go ***
*** WLS Chicago "Bloodbath" ***
*** KGO, KSFO Expected To Be Hit Next ***

In what must be an unnerving development for a number of the nation's top talk show hosts, station owner Citadel reported devastatingly bad earnings this morning.

Confirming the worst fears (and then some) of broadcast industry insiders, CDL reported a stunning fourth- quarter loss of $3.24 a share, against Wall Street's expectation of a 7 cent profit, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, expenses grew and sales came in below expectations, according to the wire service:

Operating expenses grew to $1.29 billion from $103.1 million as asset impairment and disposal charges surged to $1.1 billion from $24.3 million in the year-ago period. The company said the asset impairment charges are related to a continued deterioration in the radio marketplace and a decline in the company's share price.

Sales for the period ended Dec. 31 more than doubled to $245.5 million from $114 million mostly due to the June acquisition of ABC Radio Holdings Inc. from Walt Disney Co. for nearly $2 billion in cash and stock.

Analysts expected sales of $246.5 million.

Because Citadel now owns ABC Radio, this places the nation's biggest news-talk outlets in a precarious position, even while ratings are as strong as ever and even poised to break records during this white- hot election year.

The Las Vegas- based company owns WABC/ New York, KABC/ Los Angeles, WLS/ Chicago, KGO-KSFO/ San Francisco, WBAP/ Dallas, WJR/ Detroit and many other mega- talkers nationwide. But the longtime operator of small and medium- market outlets seems to have bit off more than it could chew with the ABC acquisition.

In addition, it hasn't brought needed programming expertise to ABC's stations. Instead, Citadel CEO Farid Suleman pushed for an expensive deal with aging talker Don Imus, but a planned push to place Imus on its stations nationwide mysteriously didn't come to pass.

So far, Citadel has avoided slashing its workforce, but cuts seem inevitable, even if they aren't likely to do much to slow the firm's continuing collapse.

Today, CDL shares are down 10 cents to $1.26 per share, after a 20-cent drop yesterday. About an hour ago, Citadel hit an all- time low on Wall Street. In 2003, it was trading over $22 a share.

We have previously covered Citadel's troubles here and here.

UPDATE: CDL shares now trading at $1.22, down 14 cents and hitting a new all- time low.

UPDATE: sell-off continues, now down 17 cents to $1.19.

UPDATE: it's getting worse, now down 26 cents to $1.10. How soon will it close below $1?

UPDATE: at 11:47, now collapsing further, down 31 cents to $1.05.

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27 February 2008

Talk Radio Mourns Passing Of William F Buckley Jr


Buckley's Passing Has Talkers Reminiscing

*** Updated With Exclusive Hannity Reaction ***
*** NEW: Special Rush Transcript Sneak Peak ***
*** NEW: CBS Uses Buckley Passing To Bash Rush ***
*** NewsBusters Goes After CBS ***
*** Mark Levin Tribute Added Below ***

The passing of conservative icon William F Buckley this morning has conservative talk radio hosts mourning this great loss, while reminiscing about his impact on the movement.

Though Buckley, who passed away at home in Stamford at 82, was never a radio talk host, his impact on the medium could not have been greater. His writings and record- setting television tenure on Firing Line served as the primary inspiration for Rush Limbaugh, who went on to revolutionize talk radio. That set the tone for many other talkers as well.

Bloggers are busy weighing in with their reactions as well, while the National Review Online site appears to have crashed from a probable avalanche of traffic. (Note: site seems to be working now)

Opening his show with an immediate outpouring of emotion over Buckley's passing, Limbaugh called it "a very sad day here for a lot of people, including me..."

Remembering his first encounter with Buckley, he added, "what a thrill it was to finally be able to meet him."

The talk titan continued by revealing how it was Buckley's columns, rather than school, that motivated a young Limbaugh to want to accomplish something in life. As a regular reader to his newspaper column, published in the St Louis Globe-Democrat, Rush remembers "just being mesmerized" by Buckley's words.

"He literally created my desire to learn," Limbaugh added just minutes ago, "it's the single greatest motivation I've had, to read, write, learn, it came from William F Buckley"

Speaking of the prolific author's long life, Rush noted, "he did not waste a moment."

"It was his intellect, his humor that was inspiring to me."

We'll have other reactions as they emerge today.

UPDATE: asked for comment, Sean Hannity told your Radio Equalizer, "one of the highlights of my career has been to meet and interview Bill Buckley. With intellect, wit and humor, he advanced the conservative movement into the mainstream of American society. Every conservative commentator, author, and politician owes him a debt of gratitude for his life's work, as we stand on his shoulders, advancing the cause of liberty and freedom. He was truly a GREAT American and will be missed by all."

UPDATE: Limbaugh callers are adding their own moving reactions to Buckley's passing. One woman said that "the conservative torch has now been passed on to Rush".

UPDATE: a special sneak peak Rush transcript is now available. Here's an excerpt:

RUSH: William F. Buckley passed away either late last night or this morning at his home in his study in Stamford, Connecticut, a place that I have been privileged to visit countless times. I've been reading some of the quickly produced obits and bios on Buckley on the wire services and I've had a chance to listen to some people on television who worked for him or knew him intimately talking about him, and I want to leave it to others to describe his history and his role in conservatism. I think a lot of people are not aware of it. I'll take my spin at that at some point.

But in talking about Bill Buckley, I'd rather focus on the instances that I spent time with him, that I got to discuss things with him and the things that we discussed and what a thrill it was to be able to finally meet him under the circumstances that happened. For me to trace my knowledge of William Buckley, I have to go back to when I was 13, 14 years old and hated school. I felt like school was prison. I felt like I was being controlled and dominated. When I feel like I'm being controlled, I'm outta there. I just revolt, I leave, don't want any part it from anybody anyhow. So school was not a particularly productive place for me. I did absorb a lot there but only because I had to be there.

My desire to learn actually came from outside the classroom. It came from my father, perhaps the most brilliant man I ever knew intimately, and my grandfather, of course, and many members of my family, and tossed into the mix was Mr. Buckley, who had a newspaper column. I remember at age 12 or 13 it was published in the St. Louis Globe Democrat, which was the morning paper in St. Louis at the time that was conservative for the most part. No longer publishes, of course. But I remember at age 13, 14, all the way up through high school just being mesmerized. It was the things that Buckley wrote in those columns that literally created my desire to learn. Of course, listening to my father just rant on about a number of things constantly regarding politics, cultural things, we were a very active family in that regard, and, you know, the old image of families sitting around the dinner table and talking about stuff was true at our house. For me it was a listening experience, and, of course, peppered with questions and so forth. The single greatest motivation I had to learn to read, write, speak the English language the best I could, to expand my vocabulary, came from Bill Buckley.

Bill Buckley is indescribable. He's irreplaceable. There will not be another one like him. And although that's true of all of us, once you take the time to learn about Buckley and his life and look at what all he did with it, he did not waste a moment, did not waste a moment. He was able to pursue, as he called it, his sybaritic delights, his pleasurable delights, such as sailing around the world numerous times, traveling the world with his work. He was prolific in output, but it was his intellect and it was his good humor that was literally inspiring to me. Even after I went through one year of college and I was having trouble, flunked speech, should have called the course Outline 101. Flunked speech, did every speech, showed up at every class and still flunked it. I said, "This is not for me." And one morning I was sitting in the house 20-years-old and I said, "I'm quitting." I told my dad, "I'm quitting. I can't handle this. I'm leaving. I've got a job offer in Pittsburgh, and I'm going to go there." And of course he came from the Great Depression, and that was the worst news he could hear. The formative years of his life were the Great Depression and World War II. You go through the Great Depression, and if you didn't have a college degree you had no chance of getting a job.

He had great fears. I'm the only member of my family I think that doesn't have a college degree. He was very concerned he was a failure as a father, and I remember telling him, "Well, I want to be like Bill Buckley." He said, "What do you mean?" "Well, I want to be able to sit around and write and think and speak," and so forth, and my dad blew up at me. "What are you talking about?" He gave me a two-hour lecture on, "Where do you think Bill Buckley went to become what he is? Do you think Bill Buckley just sits around and writes and thinks and speaks, and people like you have this reaction to him?" I got a serious lecture on how hard and time-consuming achievement is. When you see the output of someone's work but you don't see what goes into it, you can make the mistake of assuming it comes easy to them, especially those who are great at what they do. They make it look so easy that you think you could do it, too. And you form impressions of how they do it, and you see these people on television and so forth, you really don't see any of the prep or any of the hard work that goes into the final product, and my dad was right about that.

So it wasn't until I left the formal academic setting at age 20, that I got serious about education above and beyond what I'd learned at home. I'm not just talking about politics and political things, I'd absorbed a lot of that. But I started working on my vocabulary, all of these things, trying to acquire just as much knowledge as I could. I described it in trying to imitate Mr. Buckley, thinking he would say something like this. I was reading omnivorously and voluminously, meaning anything I could get my hands on that was of interest to me. So one thing leads to another, my career spawns, it starts and stops, but eventually I got my break in Sacramento in 1988, which led to moving to Sacramento in 1984, which led to moving to New York in 1988. I had over the years developed a halfway decent, with two or three words at a time, impersonation of Bill Buckley. Bill Buckley and his books, his magazine, National Review, I thought Buckley was so unique and special that when I found out about National Review, I thought you had to be invited to read it. I didn't think anybody could. I didn't know he was writing a magazine and publishing one just for profit. I thought there was select group of people that were entitled to be part of that. I'd never seen it on a newsstand. I had never seen it anywhere at anybody's house. But I heard about it and I read about it and so forth.

So one day I called National Review in New York when I was in Sacramento. I was very sheepish, a woman answered the phone and I felt like I was calling God. I didn't ask to speak to Buckley. I said, stammering, "Can I subscribe to your magazine?" "Of course, of course. Where can we send it?" I was taken aback. I was in that much awe, is what I'm trying to say. I was as nervous making that phone call as any phone call I can remember making. So I began to subscribe to it, got a hold of more and more, continued to read his column. And of course he was one of the formative forces in my world view, political, conservative view of all things: domestic, cultural, political. My first real understanding of the concept of lowering tax rates to generate revenue came from Bill Buckley. I could cite countless other things of conservative orthodoxy. It's a shame to even attach the term conservatism to this because it's too narrow. It's just right. These are principles by which people live and order their lives, and they have been shown over the course of human history to work and to be infallible in governing people, in governing one's own affairs, leading one's own life, establishing mechanisms by which people, nations, can manage their affairs to the best of society's purposes and intents.

All of this, all of this body of thought, all of the inspiration, all of the bright lights going off in moments of just ecstatic understanding -- all due to Bill Buckley, after I had left home. When I start my radio show in New York in 1988, of course, I profusely comment on Buckley and National Review and quote him. I was invited -- I guess within the first three weeks I got to New York -- I was invited to a reception that was at the townhouse of Lewis Lehrman, and there were a number of people who worked at National Review there that afternoon. Richard Brookhiser was there, one of the editors, a number of other people, and I was a kid in a candy store, even though I am 40 years old. I feel like I'm mingling with giants, intellectual giants, people I wish I could be, people that I may not be able to be, but if I hang around 'em I'll absorb a lot from them and I'll be better than I am. To shorten this story, because I'm a little long here and I have to go to a commercial break pretty soon, I forget the year, because all these years run together. But it wasn't long after I got to New York in 1988, might have been by 1990, I received a phone call from Frances Bronson, who was Mr. Buckley's personal assistant. And if every executive could have a Frances Bronson, there would be nothing that didn't get done.

UPDATE: syndicated talker Mark Levin adds this tribute:

I never met Mr. Buckley, but I sure felt like I knew him. As a teenager, I couldn't wait for my copy of National Review to show up in the mail. And boy, did I love watching Firing Line. I didn't understand everything Mr. Buckley wrote or said at the time, but enough to know that he was right. He was an inspiration, who motivated me to read as much as I could about philosophy, economics, political science, and history. I even picked up some of his debating tactics, or at least tried to.

When I was about fourteen years old, I sent Mr. Buckley a short manuscript on conservatism. I told him I'd appreciate his input as I would like to get it published. It was a pretty bold endeavor, bordering on the silly. But the manuscript wasn't all that bad for a fourteen year old. It certainly wasn't up to Mr. Buckley's standard. Still, Mr. Buckley took time from his incredibly busy schedule to write a kind letter to me. He let me down gently, explaining that I might want to continue to my studies and give publishing another shot a few years down the road. LOL.

I wrote him a few more times back then about different issues, and he always responded with a pithy and gracious note. When I go home this evening, I will rummage through some of my old boxes in search of those letters. And I will take some time to remember not only one of the greatest and most influential thinkers of our time, but one of the kindest men, too.

Thank you, Mr. Buckley. You made a huge different not just in my life, but in the lives of so many. My prayers and sympathies to the Buckley family.

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26 February 2008

McCain Apologizes For WLW Talker's Remarks


McCain Believes Obama's Full Name Is Off-Limits

*** BREAKING: William F Buckley Jr Passes Away at 82 ***

Giving us a depressing taste of his "nice" (read: losing) campaign to come, presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain has apologized for the "over- the- top" rhetoric delivered by his on- stage warm- up act, WLW / Cincinnati's Bill Cunningham.

Given McCain's wildly apologetic response, one wonders whether he had heard even a word of Cunningham's speech, which pushed the envelope a bit but clearly didn't cross the line.

There is full coverage of this developing story at NewsBusters, Hot Air, libtalk blogger Blatherwatch and many others.

But the mainstream media has cranked up its "outrage" knob all the way to 11, ensuring that McCain will soon be suspending the campaign in order to embark on a national apology tour.

From the coverage so far, Cunningham's apparent crime was in stating Obama's full given name, which happens to have "Hussein" right in the middle of it. Why McCain or anyone in the media believes it's off limits to point out that clear fact is simply doing the left's bidding. That's made clear in stories filed tonight by the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Cincinnati Business Journal and elsewhere.

Funny enough, just yesterday, Rush Limbaugh discussed at length the GOP's distressing fear of criticizing Obama in any way, shape or form:

RUSH: In The Politico today, David Paul Kuhn. Here's the headline: "'GOP Fears Charges of Racism, Sexism' -- Top Republican strategists are working on plans to protect the [Republican Party] from charges of racism or sexism in the general election, as they prepare for a presidential campaign against the first-ever [black guy or woman] Democratic nominee.

The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups..." (snorts) I only read the first paragraph. What I just read came from the second. But the bile is starting to go north from my stomach. "The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate... The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior [Republican] operatives see for a party often criticized for its..." See, here we go. We accept their premise, and then we act on it.

We will accept some of their agenda, we believe what they tell people about us, and we then accept it and have to go out and try to prove that we're not that. In the meantime, we lose. We pick up little crumbs of their agenda and then we run around and say, "Conservatism doesn't work; conservative ideas don't work," when nobody even tries them.

"The RNC project is viewed as so sensitive that those involved in the work were reluctant to discuss the findings in detail. But one Republican strategist, who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, said the research shows the daunting and delicate task ahead. Republicans will be told to 'be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion' and that 'the key is that you have to be sensitive to the fact that you are running against historic firsts,'..." So what do we have? The Republicans are planning here on getting the black and liberal white vote, by not attacking the liberal candidate in the campaign. If this guy wins it, it's McGovern all over in terms of policy! I think this is bogus. I was talking to a reporter last week. "Are you going to criticize Obama?"

"Hell, yes, I'm going to criticize him!"

"How are you going to do it?"

"Fearlessly! I'm going to do it on the issues."

I've got Snerdley here as the Official Obama Criticizer. When the situation is warranted, he will be brought in also to assist in the project.

What is most distressing about the incident is that it provides an early reality check for conservatives, who face a repeat of 1996, where an "honorable" candidate ran a "nice" campaign and was clobbered in November.

And because talk radio was just finally beginning to warm up to the Arizona senator, the timing of this incident couldn't be worse for his candidacy. Hosts are faced with their own ugly reality check: McCain's campaign is all about pleasing the mainstream media, rather than winning in November.

Already, Cunningham says he is no longer backing McCain and your Radio Equalizer doubts he will be alone in that regard. Say good-bye to any hope of winning over the conservative base, Johnny Boy.

Beating everyone else to the story by hours, Rush Limbaugh addressed the issue on today's program:

McCain is in Cincinnati. Mrs. Bill Clintons is reporting that a McCain supporter repeatedly calls Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama. This supporter -- it was essentially a talk show host but I'm not sure, was on the mic at a McCain rally and kept referring to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Now, may I ask a simple question? Is that his name? It is. So why can't it be used? Because McCain apologized for this. McCain went out there, after the event was over and virtually apologized and said that kind of disparaging reference to his opponent is not the way he runs his campaign.

He said he accepts full responsibility for it because his campaign set up the event but he didn't know that the talk show host was going to be speaking. So it's Barack Hussein Obama. Now, we don't make a big deal out of it here, but other people do, and it happened at a McCain rally. McCain went out there, (doing McCain impression) "I'm sorry. It's uncalled for. It's uncalled for in American politics. I take full responsibility, although he did it. I didn't even know he's going to be here."

Now, what if McCain's middle name was Adolf instead of Sidney? His name is Sydney. What if Obama, what if the Democrats started talking about John Sidney McCain? Is somebody going to say, "We're not going to tolerate that? That's the kind of disparaging reference to my opponent we're not going to put up with." His middle name is Hussein. "Come on, Rush, you know they're trying to use it in a disparaging way." How? Because of Saddam Hussein, because it's an Arabic name, what? It's his name.

As I say, we don't make a big deal out of it here, but this just illustrates the fact, we're not even going to do that. In fact, if somebody does call him Hussein, we're going to apologize for it because it's disparaging. So we're going into this defensively.

Some of you may think strategically it's wise to stay away from it because it's only going to gin up sympathy for him because the name is obviously highly charged. But, you know, you can't call Barack Obama a liberal. I have a story in the stack here, he doesn't want to be called a liberal -- no, no, you can't call him a liberal. I'm not kidding. I'm going to find it in the stack here somewhere. He does not want to be called a liberal.

Did you mistakenly believe McCain's goal was to win the presidency? Sorry, he'd rather be "liked" by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and CBS.

Thanks, Bill Cunningham, conservative voters and talk show hosts owe you one. Thanks for opening our eyes to the sham candidacy that is to come. Just be ready for President Obama, as that is now looking inevitable.

UPDATE: Lou Dobbs has a peculiar panel of (mostly liberal) talk hosts debating this issue, with one Chicago talker (and admitted Daley supporter) attacking Cunningham.

UPDATE: Cunningham is on CNN now, saying he meant no offense to Obama. He thinks McCain should attack Obama, not talk show hosts. He says McCain is lying when he claims they've never met, Cunningham insists they've met twice previously. He says "I got thrown under the bus, the Straight- Talk Express."

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Talk Radio Fights Reimposition Of South African Apartheid


Hosts, Reporters Fight Emerging SA Racism

After experiencing disturbing signs of a new form of South African apartheid, local talk radio hosts and reporters are fighting back. Can they prevent their country from becoming the next Zimbabwe, where whites (including foreign leaders) are routinely blamed for economic and social ills?

Since last week, when white journalists were barred from attending a Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) conference featuring African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma, the country has been reminded of its ugly past, this time with a reverse- racism twist.

Equally distressing is that black and mixed-race journalists who walked out of the meeting in sympathy with their white colleagues were called "coconuts", a derogatory term similar to "Uncle Tom" in the United States.

Now, led by Talk Radio 702 and its multiracial lineup, the medium is pushing to hold those responsible accountable, according to The Citizen:

The ‘coconuts’ strike back


JOHANNESBURG - Journalists and the public will be given an opportunity to debate the recent show of racism towards white journalists.

The two journalists from Talk Radio 702 who expressed anger after being labelled “coconuts” have been invited to take part, SA Human Rights Commission chairman Jody Kollapen said.

One of the people accused of using the derogatory term “coconuts” is Sunday Sun columnist Jon Qwelane.

Kollapen said talk show host Keino Kammies (shown below left) and Primedia news head Yusuf Abramjee had agreed to join the forum.

Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes (shown right) Ben Said of and another white journalist were barred from attending the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) function in Johannesburg last week where ANC president Jacob Zuma was a guest speaker.

Kammies and Abramjee later stormed out of the event in solidarity with their colleague.

Kollapen said the commission had decided to invite all affected parties.

But the racist journalists and their ruling party friends aren't without a defense, even if sounds like something lifted straight from a UC-Santa Cruz student guidebook. From al-Reuters, take a look:

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's leading human rights agency is investigating why white journalists were barred from a briefing with Jacob Zuma, the leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), media reported on Monday.

A number of white reporters were asked to leave or refused entry at an event on Friday sponsored by the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ).

Black, Indian and other non-white journalists were allowed into the briefing, where Zuma was the guest speaker.

South Africa's Talk Radio 702 said it had formally complained to the South African Human Rights Commission after one of its reporters was told to leave the event in a Johannesburg suburb.

The commission is expected to make an announcement later on Monday, the Citizen newspaper reported.

The incident has stirred controversy in South Africa, with many drawing comparisons with the racist policies of the apartheid system, which was dismantled before the 1994 all-race elections.

The FBJ has defended its decision to exclude whites.

Abbey Makoe, the chairman of the FBJ's steering committee, told Talk Radio 702 that black journalists had been disadvantaged and sidelined historically and needed a forum to discuss their issues separately.

From here, one can only wonder how long the ruling ANC will tolerate talk radio's ability to fight back. Will South Africa soon follow Zimbabwe's path and shut down opposition voices? Will racism once again become the country's defining international concern?

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25 February 2008

Barack Obama Fanatics Still Fixated On Perceived Threat


If Real Threats Emerge, Will Talk Radio Take The Blame?

Why is the left obsessed with the idea that Barack Obama is in grave physical danger? We've been tracking this issue for some time, especially since some of these phantom "threats" have been blamed on conservative media figures.

And should any real menace emerge, there's no doubt talk radio hosts would be slammed for supposedly inciting Obama's would-be stalkers or assassins.

Remember how Democrats blamed the Oklahoma City bombings on the medium and its major personalities? Get ready for a repeat.

It's a controversy that has been manufactured entirely by liberals, with no evidence to indicate the Illinois senator is in any extraordinary danger. Is there a reason to believe he's more at risk for attacks than Hillary Clinton, President Bush or other major political figures?

Let's call it Obama Supporters' Head Trauma Syndrome.

Last month, for example, Harry Smith of CBS News rendered Ted Kennedy nearly speechless with an unexpected question about the senator's safety, while two incidents involving Bill O'Reilly have been used to advance the idea that both Barack and Michelle Obama are in danger.

And every time the issue begins to fade, our liberal media friends find an excuse to resurrect it, with the New York Times providing today's example:

In Painful Past, Hushed Worry About Obama


DALLAS — There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?

In Colorado, two sisters say they pray daily for his safety. In New Mexico, a daughter says she persuaded her mother to still vote for Mr. Obama, even though the mother feared that winning would put him in danger. And at a rally here, a woman expressed worries that a message of hope and change, in addition to his race, made him more vulnerable to violence.

“I’ve got the best protection in the world,” Mr. Obama, of Illinois, said in an interview, reprising a line he tells supporters who raise the issue with him. “So stop worrying.”

Yet worry they do, with the spring of 1968 seared into their memories, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated in a span of two months.


Not long ago, his advisers worried that some black voters might not support his candidacy out of a fierce desire to protect him. It was a particular concern in South Carolina, but Mr. Obama said he believed the worry was also rooted in “a fear of failure.”

Now that he has won a string of primaries and caucuses in all corners of the country, and built a coalition of black and white voters, failure would seem to be less of an issue. The fears, however, remain.

The common flaw in all of the coverage so far is that no one can point to any credible threats against Mr Obama, instead, the stories merely echo a fear that he will be targeted. What about the significant level of Secret Service protection he's been given since last year?

Another key point: by raising the issue so often, do lefty Obama backers risk turning this into a self- fulfilling prophecy?

Conservative talkers, including cable hosts, should be prepared for a heavy helping of media- led criticism the first time any random nut escapes from an institution and threatens the Democrat presidential front- runner. This will provide the opening they've been seeking to blame talk radio's "irresponsible" tone for the potential demise of their deity.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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22 February 2008

Al Sharpton, Mike Malloy Misrepresent O'Reilly's Michelle Obama Statement


Libtalkers Twist And Distort O'Reilly's Obama Comment

An unfortunate choice of words by Bill O'Reilly has been twisted and distorted by liberal talk show hosts, with one saying "this is murder" in response.

Reacting to Michelle Obama's now- infamous "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change" remark, O'Reilly said this on his radio show:

O'REILLY: I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.

Like clockwork, O'Reilly's enemies milked the controversy for all it was worth, expressing "outrage" that the word lynching had been used in the same sentence as "Michelle Obama". Soon enough, O'Reilly himself recognized the mistake and issued a public apology:

O'REILLY: While talking to a radio caller, I said there should be no lynching in the case, that comment off Clarence Thomas saying he was the victim of a high tech lynching (he said that on 60 Minutes, you may remember). I'm sorry if my statement offended anybody. That, of course, was not the intention. Context is everything.

Before the apology was issued (which the left hasn't accepted, by the way), liberal talk show hosts took their rhetoric to the extreme, pouring gasoline on an already- raging fire. Leading the way was Mike Malloy, who accused O'Reilly of "murder":

MALLOY (21 FEB 08): I'm surprised O'Reilly doesn't try to slip the n-word in when he's talking about this couple" - "What's he gonna say, 'hang the negress?'


If they got rid of Don Imus for talking about 'those some nappy-headed hos', isn't it time to get rid of O'Reilly for this kind of racist lynching? This is murder! This is what black people have been putting up with in this country for 350 years! Oh, the negro got in your way, give me the son of a bitch and let me hang him. Let me lynch him!

And what O'Reilly is saying is 'I don't want to go on a lynching party for Michelle Obama unless this is the way she really feels!

GODDAMN! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MAN JUST SAID - HE WANTS TO LYNCH THE PERSON WHO WILL PROBABLY BE THE NEXT FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES! How many of you people listening tonight are going to sit on your asses and let this pass? How many of you?

Here's a YouTube clip featuring Malloy's comments:

Not to be outdone, the Reverend Al Sharpton took an even more inexcusable approach, at first correcting the caller's "lynching party" comment, only to reverse course and agree with her. Even though he clearly knew better, Sharpton allowed subsequent callers to continue their fire- in- a- crowded- theatre approach. From the transcript:

FEMALE SHARPTON CALLER: Yes, ah thank you for taking my call ah Rev Al Sharpton. I have been trying to call you all day because you don’t come on until one O'clock. So, I am calling about um Bill O’Reilly...

SHARPTON: Go ahead, but I don’t come on the air until one O'clock. I’m up way before one O'clock, but go ahead.

CALLER: I’ve been trying to call since this morning I am so fired up. Let me tell you, when I heard this on NBC ah on Countdown that Bill O’Reilly had said that he’s gonna get a lynching party out for...

SHARPTON: I think he said he wasn’t gonna get it.

CALLER: Well he said after he finally do more research he needed to do. He’s gonna get a lynching party. The point is this man is on national TV...


CALLER: Dealing this hate we’ll all never never this is not Jim Crow this ain’t the 20’s this ain’t the 30’s this ain’t the 40’s it ain’t even the 80’s. We are not going to allow no man on national TV to he ut he to say that he is gonna lynch, he gonna get a lynching party even if he don’t do it. If he if somebody else on the street or in different countries that I mean different state that they have to go to if they did that then they might do it. So you cannot go around saying and I called.” Sharpton: “I think that you right.

CALLER: I called Fox News this morning. I was so mad I told....

SHARPTON: And what did they say?

CALLER: Well they put me on the answering service for Bill O’Reilly ah complaints. I was calling for the complaints. That’s 8-2-4- 0-0 you see I’m in Washington D.C on Capitol Hill 0-0 with a 8-2-4-0-0-0-1. I hope everybody calls Obama don’t have to say anything. Every black white green yellow, I don’t care what color you are, you call and let Fox News know we are not going to allow Bill O’Reilly or anybody else saying they’re gonna lynch anybody in a a we have had a history of a lynching going into people’s houses killing people waking them up in their sleep and lynching them. We will not have that Jim Crow attitude will not stand in Washington D.C again. I refuse. I was mad I was fired up and I say I called NBC and I I mean not NBC, Fox News and I told them that I was gonna call you and we gonna take care this matter and we are gonna get Bill O’Reilly fired, He has to be fired. Michelle Obama, th they can’t do it. It’s up to the people to do it.

SHARPTON: I think I think the people have got to make their statements and ah ah I will certainly be dealing with this. I will let you know tomorrow ah what response I get from the Obama camp. Ahhh because I think again, the term and I repeat I think one caller reminded me, last Tuesday while I was at the White House George Bush said the term should never be used. As the caller said Bill O’Reilly admires and respects George Bush. So let’s see how you justify this.

And here's a YouTube clip of the exchange:

By going so far over the top to criticize O'Reilly, liberal talkers have actually overshadowed his comment with their own irresponsible rhetoric. Instead of damaging O'Reilly, they have instead called further negative attention to their own on- air excesses.

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21 February 2008

Limbaugh's McCain - Media Predictions Come True


Over Media's McCain Treatment, His Words Prove Prophetic

Is Rush Limbaugh
psychic? As another one of his political predictions quickly comes to pass, talk's reigning titan is once again finding himself in the spotlight. But how the situation will ultimately play out is still a mystery.

After pegging the real motives behind the mainstream media's almost unanimous endorsement of McCain over his GOP primary rivals, his enemies are busy trying to discredit the newly- vindicated host.

Over the past several months, Limbaugh has maintained that liberal media support for McCain has been aimed at securing the nomination for someone they believe can be easily torn down later. With today's New York Times hit piece, which alleges a past affair between the Arizona senator and a lobbyist, Rush's prediction has come true perhaps earlier than he could have anticipated.

From his 25 January 2008 program:

RUSH: The New York Times, by the way, yesterday, hold onto your coffee cup or your steering wheel if you haven't heard this. After months of pondering, the New York Times announced its endorsements for the Democrats and Republicans, and here they are. There was no surprise who they endorsed for the Democrats, and there was not much surprise about who they endorsed for our side. They endorsed Hillary on the Democrat side and they endorsed McCain. So this is a serious, serious question. A serious number of liberal newspapers have endorsed John McCain.

I ask myself -- I'm not even asking you to think about this -- I'm thinking to myself here, and I happen to be verbalizing thoughts. What in the world am I supposed to think when liberal newspapers endorse McCain as the Republican, when I know for a fact they're not going to vote for him? When I know for a fact that when it comes to November, whenever they issue their final endorsements, they're going to endorse Hillary or whoever the Democrat is? So what is the game plan here? What is the gambit? What are these liberal papers trying to do? Are they trying to be consistent?

Well, if we're going to endorse a liberal Democrat on the Democrat side, how can we endorse this big-time conservative on the right? I don't understand it. Well, I do understand it, but I don't understand what they hope to accomplish. Well, I understand that, too. Sorry, I do know what they hope to accomplish. What I don't know is what Republican primary voters think of all this. They probably don't think too much about it because they don't care about the New York Times. Three newspapers here in Florida have endorsed McCain, one the Palm Beach Post. I forget the other two, Gainesville, maybe. Tallahassee was maybe the other one. There will be others. They're all liberal newspapers. When we get to November they're not going to endorse McCain.

Also from that particular program:

RUSH: But you have to know now that when you get down to November, the New York Times has a choice, let's say it is McCain, say McCain gets this nomination, and, of course, Hillary gets the nomination for the Democrats, and the New York Times is going to write an editorial endorsing who?

CALLER: Hillary.

RUSH: Right. So what is the value of their endorsement of any Republican? What is the value of anybody in the mainstream media's opinion of any Republican? We got all these stories yesterday, day before, criticizing Bill for being too mean to Barack and he's out there acting undignified and all this horrible stuff, it's all over the place, Democrat state officials. Gets to November, who are they going to vote for?

If Rush missed the mark in any way, it was in understating the severity of the Gray Lady's sleaze: what kind of newspaper endorses a candidate while in the middle of cooking up a potentially career- ending hit piece destined for its front page? If it seemed possible after so much past misbehavior, the New York Times may actually have reached a new low.

Otherwise, Limbaugh's January monologue is so on target it really does suggest psychic abilities, right down to naming the particular paper that would engage in these dirty tricks. But Rush's own position is that it's merely the media behaving as it always has, which he believes ought to teach McCain a lesson. From today's program:

RUSH: Would you give me a break? You're surprised that Page Six-type gossip is on the front page of the New York Times? Where have you been? How in the world can anybody be surprised at the New York Times? I cannot believe how everybody's missing this! I even have guys from The Politico, Jonathan Martin saying, "You got a reaction?" I sent him a couple paragraphs, and it's being misinterpreted a bit. I guess I wasn't clear enough.


What have I always said that today is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt? It is this: If you let the media make you, you are subjecting yourself to the media being able to destroy you. Senator McCain -- the important thing about what has happened here in the New York Times, the only important thing to me -- I don't care what's in this story. The story is not the story. The story is that this paper endorsed McCain, sat on this story and now puts it out just prior to McCain wrapping up the nomination.

And McCain says he's disappointed. Why? Why is anybody disappointed or surprised but this? They are who they are. A snake is a snake. A tiger is a tiger. The New York Times is the New York Times. Folks, if you expect me to be angry about the story and angry at the New York Times, you have tuned to the wrong radio show. I refuse to get mad when something I have predicted is going to happen, happens. I refuse to get mad when something I know is true, is true. It's a total waste of energy.

While post- publication reaction (particularly from the mainstream media) has focused on how the story may finally motivate conservatives to support McCain's campaign, what has instead occurred is a complete vindication of Limbaugh.

Remember the heat he took from the MSM and liberal Republicans for refusing to back McCain? If even a shred of it proves (or appears) true (despite the protestations of McCain, his wife and the lobbyist in question), today's NYT hit piece makes it clear that despite his long tenure in elective office, the Arizona senator wasn't as well- vetted as blue- blooded supporters would have us believe. Rush's doubts have proven well- founded.

Their angry instance that Rush support McCain for the "good of the party" has already been proven wrong and could look even more foolish if subsequent allegations emerge.

Some liberal media elitists may have already figured this out and have been looking for new ways to discredit him. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews today wasted no time declaring him "irrelevant". ABC, meanwhile, accused Rush and fellow talker Laura Ingraham of "attacking" the poor, defenseless New York Times.

The left- leaning Radar took it even further, claiming "John McCain's right-wing machine is fired up and purring," with the same Limbaugh / Ingraham focus. And the "progressives" at Think Progress twisted it into "Limbaugh Spins NYT Story As Hate Radio Victory".

In addition, media foes aren't interested in uniting the right, which explains why they are pushing the idea that McCain's "honor and integrity" campaign has been permanently damaged.

Though Limbaugh today insisted the story's details were not important, that the real issue was McCain's naïve belief that the mainstream media was his friend, there is the chance that the affair allegations could stick. Since the press isn't likely to let the story go away (or criticize the NYT), especially since the Washington Post has joined the party, this remains possible.

If so, his campaign may yet sink (though one consultant believes it will quickly blow over). If there was any doubt about the NYT's partisan leanings, they were put to rest for good today. In particular, the timing of the story was perfect for Democrats, coming just as McCain had locked up the GOP nomination.

If McCain truly learns from this experience, the pundits may have it backwards: perhaps he will join with conservatives, instead of spending so much time and energy fighting the movement.

Can a stubborn, 71- year- old man be taught a new trick? We will soon learn.

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20 February 2008

O'Reilly Targeted By Erroneous Report


Anti-O'Reilly Smear Just The Latest Personal Attack

Continuing their long
campaign to destroy conservative talkers through sleazy personal attacks, shadowy enemies of Bill O'Reilly have accused him of stinking up a local gym.

According to an unsourced item in yesterday's New York Daily News, an O'Reilly assistant was supposedly in charge of clean-up:

Bill O'Reilly is causing yet another stink, but this time it's in the gym. The Faux-news man has relied on one of his minions to wipe the sweat off exercise equipment after he's done.

"It was really disgusting," said a nauseated onlooker. "The poor kid followed him around, just sopping up O'Reilly's body fluids."

But as TVNewser notes, the story appears baseless and the O'Reilly Factor host is not amused:

O'Reilly says he "does not belong to a gym," nor "own gym equipment." An FNC spokesperson confirms that he doesn't go to the company gym, either.

On his show Monday night O'Reilly called out the misreporting of Rush & Malloy.

Here's their clip of Bill's response:

Interestingly, O'Reilly arch- nemesis Al Franken was also once accused of odd exercise- room antics, but the finger- pointers didn't hide their identities:

(Minneapolis City Pages) "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."

In that case, there was no dispute over whether Franken actually worked out there, the room is located inside his condo building.

Don't expect the truth to stop the ongoing campaign to discredit conservative voices through personal smears.

And this certainly isn't limited to O'Reilly: Rush Limbaugh has long been targeted as well, with sleazy attacks on both his appearance and dating choices. Worse, any woman known to be dating Rush can expect full- scale character assassination.

Though Bill could have chosen to ignore the latest slime from his mainstream media enemies, he instead decided to confront it head-on. While that might not always be the best idea, here it did seem to work.

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19 February 2008

MSNBC's Hardball Behind Latest Obama - Osama Confusion


Time To Stop Blaming Right For These Gaffes

With yet another example of Osama / Obama confusion airing on network television, can we finally put to rest the idea that conservatives, especially talk hosts, are somehow behind this persistent phenomenon?

Since Chris Matthews and MSNBC can hardly be considered part of a right- wing cabal, his Hardball gaffe will be difficult to pin on FOX News, Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh. But your Radio Equalizer has little doubt they will try.

Hardball's on- screen blunder actually made it appear Osama bin Laden had been accused of plagiarism by the Clinton campaign. Does that make Obama a terrorist? Ha ha, just having fun with our Media Matters / HuffPo friends.

Via TVNewser, here's the clip:

When reviewing the previous Obama / Osama slip- ups, it appears that liberals (and their mainstream media allies) have actually edged out conservatives, at least slightly, in making this surprisingly easy mistake. In December, it was a CNN morning anchor guilty of the name switcheroo, while Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck have also made this error.

In the latter two cases, both Romney and Beck were widely chastised by the left. Earlier in 2007, CNN had made exactly the same gaffe, with even more embarrassing results.

And of course, the granddaddy of them all is Ted Kennedy's mega- mix-up, which occurred during a 2006 speech:

Even though Kennedy started it and several of the subsequent examples have come from MSNBC and CNN, there's little doubt this will continue to be blamed on Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives. Here's what he had to say about this back in December:

RUSH: Did you hear what former Senator Bob Kerrey had to say about Obama? He said, "I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim," Bob Kerrey said to the Washington Post. After the
Clinton campaign says, "We're going to get rid of all these kind of references to his being a Muslim and drug dealer and all this," here comes Bob Kerrey using the middle name! I keep getting accused of calling him "Osama Obama." Ted Kennedy called him that! We just made a joke out of it in the parody, but Ted Kennedy called him that in answer to a question at the National Press Club. "There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal," Bob Kerrey said. The New York Post headline is this: "Kerrey's Praise of Barack a Big O-Bombo."

Here's Media Matters slamming conservative talkers for repeating Kennedy's gaffe over a year ago.

Yet, according to Volokh, even Microsoft spell- checkers can be faulted for turning "Obama" into "Osama" with the use of certain programs.

Rather than a right- wing plot to smear the Dem presidential contender, can we finally agree that confusing Obama with Osama is a surprisingly easy mistake to make? Otherwise, why would it occur on CNN and MSNBC?

FLASHBACK: Remember the Osama Mama?

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