Our friend Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer has an excellent run-down of Media Matters (MMA) latest attack on another of its favorite bogeymen: Rush Limbaugh. Earlier this week it was sharpening its knives over Bill O'Reilly:
Not content to wait until Bill O'Reilly's hoped- for demise, the George Soros- funded Media Matters / mainstream media smear machine has added a second target: Rush Limbaugh.
And this time, the distortion of words may actually be more severe than in O'Reilly's case.
Now, Media Matters has twisted and edited Rush's words in a way that makes it appear he's insulting the troops. They've taken the false idea that he called anti- war soldiers "phony troops" and spread it across the Internet. But Limbaugh said nothing of the sort.
Maloney explains that MMA took out of context a remark Limbaugh made about "phony soldiers:"
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
That was the cry of many an alternative rock fan in D.C. in January 2005 when WHFS went from alt-rock to 99.1 El Zol, a Spanish language station playing mostly salsa music. [Although to be perfectly honest most music snobs agree that WHFS was past its prime in cutting edge programming, having become too corporate, etc.] Don't expect the same donning of sackloth and ashes to mourn the loss of persistent money-loser, Washington Post Radio.
Yes, the Washington broadsheet's radio edition, once described lovingly by a radio executive as "NPR on caffeine" will shut down in September, the Post's Paul Farhi reported in the August 28 paper.:
Can a radio station owner submit an obscene set of call letters for his station and have it approved by the Federal Communications Commission? Brent Bozell's culture column passes along that two prospective stations in Hawaii were granted the call letters KUNT (and KWTF), which the station owner quickly apologized for submitting. But the FCC, for its many millions in expenditures, has no living, breathing human checking to make sure that embarrassing call letters aren't included in their usual online submission process. Brent elaborates:
Just a moment ago, radio host Rush Limbaugh was blasting the mainstream media's notion that the YouTube debates represent a revolution in American presidential debates.
Not so, says Limbaugh, at least in terms of the content of the questions asked. They're still as inane and moronic, or brilliant (in rare circumstances) as they've always been because they're the same inance, moronic, or brilliant (rare circumstances) people asking them.
Instead, Limbaugh insists, we are seeing a revolution in media technology being confused for a nascent political revolution.
Now couple that, the notion that "new voices" are being heard in the YouTube debates ,with the wild left-wing skew we've documented at NewsBusters, and you see the media's liberal bias at work in staging the 2008 election in terms of liberal issue battlegrounds.
If someone tries to say the left-wing radio shows aren't fringy, check out this exchange from Wednesday's Stephanie Miller show. Jim Ward, the show's impressionist (and a pretty good one), is mocked by the other regulars as a conspiracy theorist, but he just throws them in without comment from the others On Wednesday, he suggested Osama bin Laden is on the U.S government payroll, and Miller just rolled along with it. The context was mocking Fran Townsend as she talked about where Osama is:
MILLER: "That would have been good to, what's the word, Fran - kill him, wouldn't it? - that would have been good. If we would have - "
JIM WARD: "Except he's on the payroll."
MILLER: -smoked him out, or maybe even got him, oh, I don't know, I'm going to make an old expression, ‘dead or alive,' that would have been great if we'd done that, wouldn't it?
Chris Wallace and Mike Gallagher did a good job of exposing Mark Green's double-talk on the Fairness Doctrine on today's Fox News Sunday.
Green, who with his brother Stephen have brought Air America out of bankruptcy, was in to debate the issue against conservative talk-show host Gallagher. But when Wallace put it to Green that liberals have plenty of outlets for their views "without having the government mandate that they appear on radio," Green's answer was astounding.
AIR AMERICA'S MARK GREEN: I don't want the government to mandate that.
Really? Expanding on his answer, Green said he doesn't favor the Fairness Doctrine, but wants broadcasters to "have diverse views for diverse communities" and "have local hearings for license renewals."
When Gallagher observed that "it's preposterous to propose that the government mandate speech," Green retorted snidely.
GREEN: Mike, I don't blame you for pretending that you didn't listen to me. I don't want the government to mandate speech.
When Green repeated his claim that he didn't support the Fairness Doctrine, Wallace interjected.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Wait a second, Mr. Green, let me ask you about that. First of all, I believe you told our people that you did support the Fairness Doctrine. But if you weren't going to do the Fairness Doctrine, what's the point of all this? If some station has completely conservative talk and doesn't want to put on a liberal, what's going to happen? Are they going to lose their license?"
I've been too busy with the Hillary book to blog, but I've been really wanting to agree with Radio Equalizer and others that the Center for American Progress/Free Press talk-radio study has huge holes in it. The biggest one is excluding public radio talk shows. It’s simply inaccurate to argue there’s little or no progressive talk in major markets with NPR affiliates broadcasting the Diane Rehm show, or Fresh Air with Terry Gross, or the new Michel Martin vehicle Tell Me More, or the Tavis Smiley radio show, or the other national and local left-leaning talk programs. A right-winger could even count Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion sometimes!
Big HT to Larry Elder, who brought this up on his radio show Tuesday (5/5/07). And thanks, Les!
On the May 26, 2007, episode of his syndicated radio show "Costas on the Radio," veteran sports broadcaster Bob Costas asserted that George W. Bush was not even "among the 500 most qualified people to be President." He then stated that it is "an inescapable fact," that "all doubt has been removed," that the Bush presidency is a "tragically failed administration."
Apparently in earlier recent episodes of his show, Costas had hosted guys like Tim Russert, Bernard Goldberg, Bill O'Reilly, and Bill Bradley. So it seems that Costas felt the need to air a few things out on this particular day. (All emphasis mine:)
Some people may wonder about the [political] feelings that I've expressed, and I won't get into all the particulars. I think it is now overwhelmingly evident, if you're honest about it, even if you're a conservative Republican, if you're honest about it, this is a failed administration. And no honest conservative would say that George W. Bush was among the 500 most qualified people to be President of the United States. That's not based on political leaning. If a liberal, and I tend to be liberal, disagrees with a conservative, they can still respect that person's competence and the integrity of their point of view.
Publicly, American media elites often deny that they attempt to influence the national agenda. They're professionals, so the story goes, and completely capable of not letting their personal viewpoints intrude accidentally into their stories. It's laughable given the mountain of evidence to the contrary and the fact that journalists support affirmative action on the grounds that white reporters can't cover minority issues as fairly.
Every so often, however, you hear journalists privately say the complete opposite--that not only do they have the ability to influence news, they also choose to influence it. Such statements are usually more common among the non-American press where the sham of "objectivity" is not perpetrated on the public.
With that in mind, I was still quite surprised to see the following statements said at a panel discussion in Israel on the influence that country's media has had on its foreign policy:
On Tuesday, Chris Matthews made clear his displeasure with the Mexicans who booed the American entrant at the Miss Universe pageant. Matthews was back on the conservative side of the cultural divide today, letting Air America's Mark Green know in no uncertain terms that he didn't appreciate being classified a bigot because he does not support gay marriage.
Green, a perennial candidate for office in New York who now with his multi-millionaire brother has bought Air America out of bankruptcy, was Matthews' guest on this afternoon's Hardball along with GOP consultant Ed Rogers.
At about 5:38 pm EDT, the topic turned to gay marriage.
Air America, the liberal radio network that launched to great fanfare and media accolades has gone bankrupt, foundered in the ratings and done nothing for its "celebrity" hosts. That hasn't stopped the network from being aborted though:
Air America is scheduling a high-profile lineup of presidential
candidates, political players and celebrities for next week as part of
the liberal talk network's "relaunch" after suffering financial woes.
candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, along
with luminaries like Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Gloria Steinem,
are among the more than 30 guests scheduled, the network announced
New shows are also being added to the schedule,
featuring famous correspondents and hosts, including Robert F. Kennedy
Jr., Arianna Huffington and Bob Kerrey. The network also redesigned its
Web site, where hosts will regularly blog along with a newly-hired
blogger, Nancy Scola.
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the
subject of persistent presidential speculation despite his denials of
any interest, was to tape his interview Thursday, facing questions from
a former political foe, Mark Green.
The Fairness Doctrine, the law that effectively put the kibosh on political talk radio for a number of years, might be coming back if congressional Democrats have their way. According to Fred Thompson, this turn of events was prompted in part by the failure of Air America radio:
The real issue here is not what you “can” see or hear — which is what the Fairness Doctrine was about originally. It’s what you’re “choosing” to see or hear.
Insiders say it was the collapse of the radio station “Air America” that led to this attempt to retool the Fairness Doctrine as a form of de facto censorship. I guess the idea is that, if you can’t compete in the world of ideas, you pass a law that forces radio stations to air your views. In effect, it would force a lot of radio stations to drop some talk show hosts — because they would lose money providing equal airtime to people who can’t attract a market or advertisers.
A NewsBusters reader sent us an MP3 clip
of an ABC News radio report from the afternoon of May 15 by "Nightline"
host Terry Moran. In it, Moran boils down the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's clerical career and political activism to one extreme soundbite from
shortly after 9/11.
Moran left unmentioned that Falwell later
clarified his statements to reflect more accurately his belief that God lifted the "curtain" of His protection to allow 9/11 to happen, and closed his report emphasizing Falwell as a marginalized political actor:
In 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Falwell infamously and
appallingly blamed the mass murder not on terrorists...
FALWELL sound bite: The pagans and the abortionists...
XM Radio announced today that radio shock jocks Opie & Anthony will be suspended for 30 days. The news release excerpted below makes a nondescript reference to a crude May 9 radio bit with a homeless man in which said man suggested he'd like to rape Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Here's an excerpt:
Radio deplored the comments aired on "The Opie & Anthony Show" last
week. At the time, the company strongly expressed its views to Opie and
Anthony, and they issued an immediate apology.
Comments made by
Opie and Anthony on yesterday's broadcast put into question whether
they appreciate the seriousness of the matter. The management of XM
Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air
talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom
requires of them.
Patrick Ishmael of NewsBuckit notices that XM didn't find the rape references worthy of discipline but rather that the shock jocks may "appreciate the seriousness of the matter." Ishmael also points out CBS Radio plans to keep airing O&A, even though it quickly canned Imus shortly after MSNBC killed his simulcast:
Brent Bozell called us into a huddle yesterday at American Media Bias HQ and said there's a clear message on Opie & Anthony's incredibly crude rape remarks about Condi Rice. It's not about the shock jocks: all they care about is shock. It's about the left demonstrating another double standard. If a Rush Limbaugh made this kind of very objectionable remark about Maxine Waters, how many leftists would break an ankle running to the public square?
For their part, Opie & Anthony are truly equal-opportunity assassins. They encouraged public sex in historic Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City (which got them fired). They joked that Boston Democratic Mayor Thomas Menino was dead (which got them fired). Even if this is satellite radio -- and in a few cases, like New York and DC, "free FM" CBS stations -- will they be fired yet again? How will the left respond?
I wouldn't call this the ideal outcome but it's definitely progress. Michael McGee, the racist liberal talk show host who said he wished a local conservative talker had burned to death along with his mother has been suspended "indefinitely" from his program:
Radio station owner Jerrel Jones said Saturday that he's
indefinitely suspending Mike McGee from his radio show on WNOV-AM (860)
for remarks he made about the death of Katherine Sykes, the mother of
radio talker Charlie Sykes.
Jones would not say how long "indefinitely" might be.
"Forever is a long time, and I don't want to say something that I
may not be able to deal with," he said Saturday. "But I do want to make
it clear that he won't be on anytime soon."
Directly following the tragic death of Katherine Sykes, the mother of the Wisconsin conservative radio talk show host and blogger Charlie Sykes, liberal talk show host Micheal McGee, Sr. has come out with this statement, live on his radio show (via Channel 12):
“Mother Sykes, she dead. To me it’s the vengeance of God. I ain’t got
no tears. Matter of fact a woman that would have a fool like that
deserve whatever is coming her. She raised a sure enough idiot,” McGee
said on his radio show. “My instincts say Charlie Sykes killed his
momma, cuz she live out in this big palace in Mequon all isolated. He
got tired of waiting for her money.”
Where is the outrage? Only one small local media outlet, Channel 12, and a number of blogs (Badger Blogger, Marquette Warrior, Michelle Malkin and Gop3.com) have covered it. If this story was reversed, and a conservative said this about McGee's mother, the entire national media along with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be on the scene. The article on Channel 12 has indicated that McGee's next show will not air but subsequent shows are not in jeopardy yet. Without public outcry, this type of double standard will continue.
Here's another sign that public broadcasters aren't worried about the appearance of Democratic favoritism. National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg -- legendary (or infamous) for championing Anita Hill's unsubstantiated sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas, and then yawning at all harassment claims against Bill Clinton -- is hiring the daughter of liberal Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards as a summer intern, and her NPR bosses "gave the green light, since the election is still 18 months away."
The Washington Post gossip column that broke the story couldn't even get word from NPR as to whether Cate Edwards will stop making campaign appearances during the internship. Here's what the "Reliable Source" column by Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger passed along:
Hard-left radio talk show host Stephanie Miller will be filling the Don Imus morning-radio-simulcast gap on MSNBC next week from April 30 to May 2. On her show Thursday morning, she was joking to her male sidekicks about what can be said on MSNBC: "You can't call me a whore. I can call myself a whore." It is in a sense, like Old Home Week, since she co-hosted the CNBC program "Equal Time" with Bay Buchanan for a while ten years ago.
The buzz from Jossip is "according to someone with a vested interest in seeing her succeed, 'the network is hoping to build Stephanie into a major face of the network.'" As for her politics and more about her radio show, see her Progressive interview: "I love Russ Feingold. I love Barbara Boxer. And Howard Dean and John Conyers."
In all the media furor over fired radio host Don Imus, one fact was very rarely reported: that Imus is not a conservative. In truth, he is a moderate liberal. Aside from his stand against the Iraq war, support of John Kerry, abortion-rights, and the Democratic takeover of Congress, perhaps the biggest indicator of his liberal credentials was that liberal media elites like Tim Russert, Jonathan Alter, and Nina Totenberg appeared on his show on a daily basis.
Being in like Flynn with the left-wing media snobs didn't do anything for Imus when it came down to it, however. Many GOPers and conservative intellectuals would do well to learn this lesson. Trying to get in with the liberal media crowd (bashing fellow conservatives works best) will never earn you any protection.
Even if you're naturally a moderate conservative, it still won't earn you any respect from the far left's rage, as centrist conservative radio host Michael Smerconish is finding out. Writing at Classical Values, Eric Scheie reports:
Touchy, touchy! Diane Sawyer is in the business of dishing out tough questions and challenging people's answers. But when a guest on today's "Good Morning America" politely corrected her on a First Amendment matter, the GMA host was quick to accuse him of "attacking" her.
Los Angeles-based radio talk show host Larry Elder was Diane's guest, in to discuss the Imus matter. Sawyer introduced him as a "conservative radio host" though on his own site Elder describes himself as a "libertarian" and "a blend of fiscal conservative and social liberal." Of course we all know how many times the MSM has described Al Sharpton as a "liberal" in the course of his innumerable appearances over the last week or so: that would be precisely zero, at last count.
Elder opined that Imus' punishment did not fit the crime. Imus' comment was offensive, sexist and racist, said Elder, "but he apologized, apologized again, did the obligatory beatdown tour à la Michael Richards by appearing on the Al Sharpton show, and as far as I'm concerned, that should have been enough. In the grand department store of life, Don Imus operates in the toy section and I think that those remarks should have been taken with some perspective, but they weren't."
Give Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira credit. On this morning's "Today," Lauer suggested to his boss's face that in firing Don Imus he had caved to pressure from advertisers and people like Al Sharpton. And Vieira held Al Sharpton's feet to the fire, now that he had Imus' scalp, about going after rappers and others who use similar language every day.
Here's part of the exchange, which came at 7:05 AM EDT, between Lauer and NBC News President Steve Capus:
CAPUS: This one went so far over the line, Matt, that it was time.
LAUER: But the timing, the timing. You really don't have to try too hard to think that NBC News caved to the pressure from advertisers like Proctor & Gamble and GM and others and perhaps caved to pressure from people like Reverend Sharpton, who we'll talk to in just a second.
It's a universally acknowledged phenomenon that conservatives and libertarians dominate talk radio while liberals love television and print. The reasons why each side does so well at each particular medium are many.
I do find myself agreeing with Neal Boortz's recent thought experiment (h/t Small Dead Animals) of why liberals aren't good at talk radio: they just can't argue very well. He does the experiment by trying to extrapolate two left-wing editorials from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution into a talk radio context. It doesn't work out so well because the subjects, "income inequality" and firearm-phobia just aren't very rational ideas, Boortz argues.
Those of you who are liberal and reading this surely will disagree. If so, how do you account for the fact that not a single liberal talk radio show has ever been popular?
With Representative Kucinich already talking about reconstituting the Fairness Doctrineas
far back as January, a far from Conservative radio talker may have provided
said Congress with just the opening it seeks. The ultimate prize the liberals in
Congress are after has nothing to do with race, as always, it's about politics
more than anything else.
Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.
And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. “Putting things in perspective,” Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, “despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM],” a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.
Call it a flying-pig moment, or chalk it up to his concern for Dems' long-term best interests if you will. But there's no denying that on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer absolutely unloaded on Nancy Pelosi and her ill-conceived venture into foreign policy.
The segment was entitled "Democratic Diplomacy: Has Pelosi Gone Too Far?", virtually answering the question by its very asking. In the set-up piece, David Gregory rolled two telling clips. The first was of VP Cheney's comments on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday to the effect that Pelosi's statement regarding her trip was"nonsensical." The second was of former congressman Lee Hamilton, warning that if his fellow Dems box in the president on foreign policy, Americans might conclude that the Democrats have gone "too far."
Interviewing Tim Russert at 7:06 AM ET, Lauer came out guns ablazin'.
LAUER: Vice-President Cheney called Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "bad behavior," a Washington Post editorial on Thursday called it "counter-productive and foolish," and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning goes a step further and suggests her trip may actually have been a felony, that it may have violated something called the Logan Act. Tim, is this the way the Democrats wanted to get off the mark in terms of foreign affairs?