The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 May 2009

UK Ban Turns American Talk Host Into Celebrity


Backlash Over Britain's Move Ignites Talker's Career

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade: what was intended to bolster an embattled politician's career has instead led to an unbelievable boost for an American talk show host.

Beyond turning the previously-unknown Michael Savage into an instant UK celebrity, the boneheaded move by British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to ban him from entry into the country has provided the syndicated talker with an avalanche of publicity in America as well. Networks that normally ignore Savage, including CNN and the BBC, are forced to cover him, especially as he fights back against Smith and her widely-derided list.

Smith, already under fire as a result of unrelated scandals, may lose her post as she increasingly becomes an albatross in the final days of Britain's troubled, highly unpopular Labour government.

The BBC has aired his demand for an apology from the Labour Government, while CNN is covering his request to be removed from the prohibited list:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- American radio talk-show host Michael Savage said he wants an apology from Britain's home secretary and his name removed from a list of people banned from entering the United Kingdom.

American radio talk-show host Michael Savage calls the British government's description of him "demented."

"I've heard from British attorneys who are salivating to set the record straight and win quite a large settlement should she not remove my name from the list," Savage said in an interview broadcast Thursday on CNN's "American Morning."

Savage was referring to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, whose office recently excluded 22 people from entering the country because the government feels they have been "stirring up hatred."

The British government has cited Savage -- who is on the list under his real name, Michael Alan Weiner -- for "seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence."

Had Smith researched Savage before the ban, she might have noticed Savage's propensity to sue political opponents. Clearly, the Home Secretary knew little about his background.

Having made a number of enemies at home on both the left and right, the "Savage Nation" host is even enjoying a rare bit of sympathetic coverage, as many wonder why anyone should be banned from entering a country as a result of his or her political beliefs.

Writing for the Irish Independent, Ian O'Doherty views the move as the final nail in Smith's coffin:

They say that all political careers end in failure and it has been hugely entertaining to watch Jacqui Smith destroy her career with all the aplomb and subtlety of a pissed-off suicide bomber.

After all, when it emerges that you have been fiddling your expenses in an effort to buy things like sink plugs, and your husband puts the cost of his one-handed shuffle movies on the public purse, you kinda know that your time as British Home Secretary is coming to an ignominious end.

So, what do you do? Do you resign with dignity? Or do you act with such egregious venality and arrogance that even an Irish politician would wince with shame?

Obviously, she chose the latter.

And her diversionary tactic is hilariously ham-fisted and obvious -- she has just released a list of people she won't allow into Britain.

One of them is American radio host and DJ Michael Savage. Savage is one of those rabid right wingers who populate the more bonkers areas of talk radio in America and is, in turn, provocative, amusing and mad.

There's just one problem -- Savage has no plans on visiting England any time soon, saying: "Why would I want to go there, for their great cuisine?"

The next question talk radio and the blogosphere should be asking: how can we get in on the action? When there are so many hosts and bloggers with views Labour finds abhorrent, why leave everyone else off the list?

And for that matter, why not have Obama join his Labour friends in developing an American version? If there still are any, European conservatives could be shut out from entering this country. From there, meat eaters, gay marriage opponents, incandescent light bulb users and people who refuse to buy Fiats could be turned around upon arrival.

While Jacqui Smith's career may be just about over, the can of worms she's opened may be with us for years to come.

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

Smith image: Daily Mail

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  • Why wasn't Howard Stern on the list? Or Don Imus? Or Randi Rhodes? Or Keith Olbermann? Or Neal Boortz? Or Al Franken? Or Opie & Anthony? Or Bubba the Love Sponge? Or Mancow Muller? Or any number of American shock jocks and radio talk show hosts who have been just as political and sometimes outrageous just like Michael Savage?

    The stupidity of this whole event by the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is just surreal and overtly laughable.

    By Blogger Carl, at 07 May, 2009 16:55  

  • Why stop with "presenters"? Why not ban everyone you disagree with?

    By Blogger PCD, at 08 May, 2009 09:52  

  • Just before 8:30 tonight I heard part of an interview on Michael Savage's show at the end of which he said thanks to 'Brian Maloney.' Was that you?

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 11 May, 2009 20:40  

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