The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

26 May 2010

Rush Bio, Anti-Rush Book Compete Head-To-Head


Rush Bio, Anti-Rush Book Released On Same Day




In a classic case of literary irony, an angry anti-Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio book has hit store shelves the same day as a long-awaited biography of the talk titan. As the duel begins, how will they fare?

On one end of a dusty main street at sundown is libtalker Bill Press, who with Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves, makes a case for structural unfairness in the medium, based on group ownership that supposedly favors conservative talkers over their liberal counterparts. This leads to unchecked rhetoric that somehow damages American political discourse.

But as Randall Bloomquist notes in today's Wall Street Journal, there's plenty of "toxic" material in today's "progressive talk radio":

Mr. Press weakens his case by ignoring or glossing over comparable sins made by progressive talk-show hosts and media figures. Liberal radio host Randi Rhodes recently aired a song parody that repeatedly calls Mr. Limbaugh, among other things, a Nazi. (Mr. Press says that she is "colorful" and "convincing.")

During the campaign to fill the Senate seat long occupied by Ted Kennedy, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked Republican candidate Scott Brown as a "homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees." Actress and former radio talker Janeane Garofalo has described the Republican Party as a "white-power movement."

Liberal talker Mike Malloy's show is "a hell of a lot of fun," Mr. Press says, approvingly noting Mr. Malloy's "fun" nicknames for President Bush, including "Unelected Idiot."

Proving especially devastating to Press' thesis is today's column from Brent Bozell, who crushes the book's assertion that hate speech is absent from liberal talk radio:

But wait. It’s about to get better. He also writes in his column: “You never hear those kinds of ugly comments from progressive talkers Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, or Thom Hartmann, if you can find them on your radio dial at all.”


Who said this: “You're damn right, Dick Cheney's heart's a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him. I'm glad he didn't tip over. He is the new poster child for health care in this country.”

Who said this: “How can Evan Bayh sit there as an honest player for health care reform when his wife works for an [insurance] industry that is just absolutely butchering the American people?” The same host denounced Mrs. Joe Lieberman: “Does the word 'whore' apply? Are we there yet?”

Who said this: “You rat bastards are going to cause another Murrah Federal Building explosion, you are. And then...maybe at that point Beck will do the honorable thing and blow his brains out. Maybe at that point, Limbaugh will do the honorable thing and just gobble up enough Viagra that he becomes absolutely rigid and keels over dead. Maybe then O'Reilly will just drink a vat of the poison he spews out on America every night and choke to death.” Even the Christian evangelist Franklin Graham recently made this host’s please-kill-yourself list.

Who offered a Limbaugh song parody, with lyrics including these: “I’m a Nazi!...That’s right! I really I am!...I’m a Nazi! That’s right, you’re being scammed! I’m a Nazi! I don’t care about the middle class. I’m a big fat conservative butthead, with the face of a horse’s ass.”

And finally, who said this: “Taking a page right out of a Nazi playbook, [conservative] organizers bus in professional protesters and arm them with instructions on how to take over meetings, shut down discussion, shout over any pro-health care reform speakers, and then post video of the resulting chaos on YouTube. It's mob rule, pure and simple.”

The answers are: Leftwing radio and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz offered the first two pearls. The third comes from the especially vicious left-wing radio host Mike Malloy. The fourth attack, words and music, comes from Randi Rhodes, the former Air America darling.

And the fifth should be familiar to Bill Press -- since it came from Bill Press.

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh: An Army Of One has predictably been met with derisive scorn from the liberal establishment, including scathing reviews published in the New York Times and Washington Post written by foes.

And of course, the usual suspects at Media Matters are busy "fact-checking" the book based on their version of history and thundering over a missed interview opportunity with the author.

The bottom line, of course, is that any allegations of unfairness in radio programming certainly don't apply in the case of dueling books, where each has a chance to succeed equally based on public demand.

So how are they faring? As of today, the biography ranks 53 overall at Amazon, while the Press book checks in at 700.

Will Bill write a follow-up about the "structural unfairness" of


  • I am sure Bill Press has written books about the systemic unfairness in TV and the print newspapers too, right?


    Rush said today he never heard of the guy who wrote that book. At leat I think that is what he said.

    By Blogger GeronL, at 26 May, 2010 14:22  

  • Toxic Talk will sell in the dozens, if not hundreds, and will become required reading at the People's Universities all over the US(SR)A. It's truth will resonate amongst the nuanced classes and utopia will be one mile closer than it is now. Gaia praise Al Gore, who art in Tennessee.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2010 17:33  

  • Bill Press has'nt mattered since his days on "Crossfire" on CNN. Sorry Billy boy, you are over, & if you top 10,000 actual copies of your book being sold, I'll be shocked.

    By Anonymous danybhoy, at 28 May, 2010 08:05  

  • Boy, did I screw up my prediction. I told Press on his blog (before he deleted my comment) that his book will rocket up to #312 on the New York Times best seller list. If the #1322 listing on Amazon is an accurate indicator, then I was way too generous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 May, 2010 00:25  

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