Kathy Shaidle is a blogging pioneer whose FiveFeetOfFury.com is now in its 12th year. Her most recent book – "The Tyranny of Nice: How Canada Crushes Freedom in the Name of Human Rights, and Why It Matters to Americans" – features an introduction by Rush Limbaugh guest host Mark Steyn.More ↓Less ↑
“And now you know… the rest of the story.”
Talk about headlines you never thought you’d see: “Broadcaster Paul Harvey had close ties to the FBI.”
This week, major media outlets reported that, “at the cusp of his national career, he was an FBI target whose network bosses fretted about whether he should be fired. Paul Harvey, who died last February at 90, enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval.”
It’s hard to believe, but a Freedom of Information request revealed a huge – 1400 page! – dossier on the beloved broadcaster. So what put Harvey on the FBI’s radar?
Industry watcher Al Peterson explains: “In a story already well-known to many broadcasters, young newsman Harvey decided to scale a fence at the Argonne National Laboratory to get a story proving reports that security at the nuclear research sight was lacking. Caught and arrested almost immediately after scaling the fence, Harvey did get a lot of publicity – albeit not the sort he was hoping for – from the stunt. He was investigated by the FBI, but was ultimately never indicted on any charges.”
This week, Rush Limbaugh dealt with spurious accusations of anti-Semitism made against him by Anti-Defamation League President Abe Foxman.
Sitting in for Rush as he prepared for his stint as a Miss America judge, Mark Steyn called Foxman a “disgusting, craven little twerp” and a “buffoon.”
Steyn’s rant against traffic “roundabouts” (FREE audio clip), however, generated a much larger reaction from listeners, who wrote him to share their frustrations with those “safety” constructs popping up on roadways all over America.
Like every conservative talk radio host this week, Limbaugh focused on Obama’s first State of the Union address.
On Wednesday, Rush offered some suggestions for Obama’s speechwriters, while on Thursday, he read “A Letter to Barack Obama” he’d written in response to the State of the Union, calling the President “delusional and delirious.” It was so well received in hour one that Rush reread it in hour three and immediately posted the audio online (FREE audio).
“I have never been so outraged by a president. I don’t think I’ve never seen anything like it (…) I don’t even know where to begin. (…) This is beyond arrogance,” Beck said.
“Hang on to your chalkboards, folks. The only person more popular than Glenn Beck is Oprah,” declared one media watcher, responding to stunning Harris poll results.
“According to the breakdown,” comments Glynnis MacNicol, “‘Glenn Beck is the favorite for both Republicans and for conservatives, but, interestingly, also for independents. Oprah Winfrey is number one for Democrats and moderates, while Jon Stewart is the favorite for liberals.’”
“Also for independents. That’s the kicker,” MacNicol continued. “I’m not sure whether this is a measure of how politicized the country has become over the past year, or merely of Beck’s appeal … I would imagine a combination of the two.”
Sounds like a good time for Beck to launch “Insider Extreme,” a new level of premium membership for his radio listeners (FREE audio).
A few clips of the “Bold Fresh Tour” have found their way online. The sold-out events feature Beck and Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly entertaining fans across the country:
Not everyone, however, is applauding.
“Beck seems poised to inherit both Rush (Limbaugh’s) radio mantle and O’Reilly’s TV throne,” said Alexander Zaitchik, who is writing a biography of Beck due out in May called ‘Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance.’”
On Facebook, Levin shot back: “Paul Mulshine, or Moonshine if your prefer, believes justices should be free to do whatever they want, as long as they do what he wants them to do. Moonshine believes a judge’s job it is to do good, or justice, or spread liberty, or whatever. The problem, of course, is that liberal judicial activists believe they are … doing exactly the same thing. The standard is to apply the Constitution as best as possible. That’s what ‘originalism’ means. That’s what great conservative judicial and constitutional scholars have argued from the beginning. Moonshine is a jackass.”
This week, Levin told listeners he’ll have a new book out just in time for Father’s Day! It’s an illustrated guide to Lincoln’s Gettysberg Address (FREE audio clip).
After being dropped from his longtime San Francisco affiliate last year, Michael Savage is back on the Bay Area airwaves.
Starting Feb. 1, “The Savage Nation” will now be heard on all-sports station KTRB-AM.
“Sports fans are generally tuned out of politics, and I want to tune them in to what is happening in this great country,” said Savage. “Sports fans love an underdog, and in the uber-socialist Bay Area, I am the biggest underdog the media has ever heard.”
San Francisco media watcher Rich Lieberman offered an insider’s insights on the move: “Savage’ shtick has long played well, yes, even in the ‘liberal’ Bay Area, although outside the SF/Pacific Heights area into the burbs of Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Modesto and the like, the Bay Area is a conservative hotbed. … Full disclosure: I have guested on Savage’s show twice and got lambasted by liberal bloggers and pundits for being his ‘lapdog.’ My e-mail included a few choice thoughts too, which I won’t disclose.”
On the air this week, Michael Savage reviewed Apple’s new iPad reading tablet (FREE audio).
Along with a “State of the Union” address of her own, Laura Ingraham slammed Obama’s “arrogance” and his “phony spending freeze.” Plus she took on Jehmu Greene, who wants to ban Tim Tebow’s pro-life Super Bowl ad (FREE audio).
As she wrote on her blog: “Of course we know why pro-abortion types are so upset – they see public opinion slipping away from them on this issue. … The Tebow story will resonate with millions of people across America, and especially women who may be confronting similar personal quandaries. As for those who are ‘offended’ by this ‘divisive subject matter,’ there are countries around the world – China, for one – where contentious debates don’t happen in public at all.”
Speaking of “divisive,” Hannity reported on new polls calling Obama “the most polarizing president in history.”
“People see right through [Obama's] lies,” Sean told listeners. “This nightmare just continues, and they keep digging deeper, telling us that black is white and white is black and that everything is just fine.”
On his pre-State of the Union show, Hannity predicted that yet again, Obama would blame his problems on former President Bush.
“What the liberals are trying to do is both focus on blaming Bush and secondarily trying to divide us conservatives. Liberals are just mad that Obamamania is fading; after all, they’ve invested so much in this president, and they’re almost taking it personally. There are conservatives who are lecturing we should acknowledge when Obama is moving in the right direction,” warned Sean, “and that’s about as dumb as it gets, because he’s not moving anywhere. … All of this is just politics. It’s irresponsible socialist spending regardless of the words on a teleprompter.”
On the left side of the dial
Why did liberal talk radio network Air America really fail? The question has occupied political and industry minds all week.
Veteran talk media executive Gabe Hobbs agreed: “Most of what Air America did was about politics and promoting an agenda first, when that should have been last on their list. They should have been on a mission to create great, entertaining radio shows, let the politics fall where they may, and the agendas emerge organically as a byproduct of success. Instead the ‘money’ people always felt the political mission was the thing – cue buzzer sound effect here – wrong!”
Not everyone got the message. A Clear Channel rep insists the company is committed to their progressive talk format on their Portland, Ore., station, despite a “dramatic decline in KPOJ’s ratings now that Arbitron’s Portable People Meter is being used” in the area.
That’s right: As I told you weeks ago, the technology radio stations use to calculate their ratings now is much more accurate than the old method – and the results show many “popular” formats weren’t so very popular after all.
An Oregon blogger put it bluntly: “Portland liberal talk radio listeners lie.”
“Under the old diary system where a listener wrote down what they claimed to listen to and how long, KPOJ was thought to have 3.5 percent of the audience listening to them,” writes Gregg Clapper. “But when the electronic gadget registered what was actually listened to and for how long, KPOJ’s rating plummeted.
“It’s interesting to note that two of the three conservative talk stations actually increased their ratings under the new system,” he adds. “Apparently, conservative news talk listeners didn’t lie under the old system of writing down what stations they listened to and for how long.”
In other words: liberals are lousy capitalists. And they lie. Oh well, no surprises there.