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Why bother trying to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine” when you can go after conservative talk radio by targeting its advertisers?

Some pundits are raising this issue, with breaking news that Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., has called for “a Sept. 23 hearing of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (a subcommittee of Rep. Henry Waxman’s Commerce Committee) [that] will focus on ‘legislation that would regulate gold-selling companies, an industry whose relentless advertising is now staple of cable television.’”

The programs of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other conservative commentators are sponsored by companies promoting gold as a hedge against inflation. Incredibly, Weiner doesn’t even try to hide the real target of his wrath.

As Ira Stoll reports, Weiner’s own (typo-filled) press release says, “Goldline employs several conservative pundits to act as shills for its’ [sic] precious metal business, including Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham and Fred Thompson. By drumming up public fears during financially uncertain times, conservative pundits are able to drive a false narrative. Glenn Beck, for example, has dedicated entire segments of his program to explaining why the U.S. money supply is destined for hyperinflation with Barack Obama as president.”

Stoll invites readers to imagine the uproar “if a Republican-majority Congress started investigating and having a regulatory crackdown on big advertisers in liberal outlets such as the New York Times. The First Amendment freedom-of-the-press crowd would be marching in the streets.”

Rush Limbaugh

In the run up to this week’s primary elections, Rush Limbaugh issued a rallying cry to listeners he called “the Limbaugh Rule”: “In an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism, you vote for the most conservative Republican in the primary – period.”

He was vindicated when tea-party candidates swept a number of races.

Limbaugh criticized GOP strategist Karl Rove and other “establishment” Republicans who’d urged voters to choose “RINOs” over less controversial candidates. The influential host declared that these primaries made him realize that he and the Republican Party “are not on the same side” (FREE audio).

On a lighter note, football fanatic Rush took plenty of heat for his comments about the New York Jets players’ “sexual harassment” of Mexican reporter Ines Sainz. In a rare move, Limbaugh posted a clip of his webcam monologue on his new Facebook page (FREE video).

Sean Hannity

The broadcasting industry “bible” Talkers magazine spoke to Sean Hannity about what he called “the new age of talk radio.” He debunked the notion that younger listeners aren’t tuning in, especially now that the genre is making huge strides in the previously neglected FM band.

On Fox News Wednesday, Delaware Republican candidate Mike Castle blamed Sean Hannity and other conservative talk radio hosts by name for his loss, calling them liars.

“He sounds like a liberal, blaming other people!” Hannity responded.

Sean welcomed Castle’s victorious opponent, Christine O’Donnell, on the show after her big win and announced: “I want to send this message out to all these establishment types. In the end, if we unite behind conservative values and principals, it’s not only good for the country but it will be good for them politically.”

If the Republican Party doesn’t call a truce in its internal “civil war,” Hannity continued, “it will weaken the Republican Party as a viable alternative to big government.”

Hannity rarely posts free clips from his radio show on his website, but made an exception for former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined him in studio to discuss his new memoir (FREE audio).

Mark Levin

Even as rumors swirled about her allegedly troubled financial history, Mark Levin was a stalwart supporter of candidate Christine O’Donnell, saying her conservative critics were suffering from “O’Donnell Derangement Syndrome.”

John McCormack was on the receiving end of Levin’s disdain. The Weekly Standard reporter asked Levin to comment on those rumors, and receiving a curt email response from “The Great One”: “I think you’re an ass. You can quote me.”

“What Karl Rove did to Christine O’Donnell was sleazy,” declared Levin, referring to Rove with his favorite put-down – “statist”:

Levin issued a stirring call for listeners to “raise their voices” and stop listening to “experts” who say that running as a conservative will cost Republican candidates votes. (FREE audio)

Michael Savage

Bad news as Savage’s station in his adopted hometown of San Francisco goes into receivership. The controversial host moved to KTRB-AM 860 only a few months ago, and now has to look for a new broadcasting home in the city by the bay.

There was no indication of any trouble when David Brody of CBN News traveled to San Francisco for an exclusive interview with Michael Savage at his ocean-view home (FREE video).

“America has been invaded,” Michael Savage told listeners this week, using his expertise in epidemiology to explain how radical Muslims have infiltrated the United States (FREE audio).

Laurna Ingraham

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., joined Laura Ingraham at the beginning of the week to make predictions about the week’s Republican primaries and discuss the GOP establishment (FREE audio).

Like Rush Limbaugh, Ingraham expressed disappointment in “experts” like Karl Rove, who’d sided with the Party establishment over tea-party candidates.

“They are missing the tide [of evolving grassroots opinion],” Ingraham opined (FREE audio).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Rove backtracked on his anti-O’Donnell rhetoric after she won, a fact not lost on a delighted Laura Ingraham (FREE audio).

Possibly seeking publicity for her new book, Meghan McCain (daughter of Senator John McCain) joked this week that she’d like to send Laura Ingraham “a plus-sized fruit basket.” The two conservative women have been feuding ever since Ingraham commented about McCain’s weight on her show.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck joined Sarah Palin at a 9/11 memorial event in Alaska, joking about rumors that they were appearing together to announce a presidential run in 2012. The legacy media sneered, but raw video of the event quickly went viral (FREE video).

Not everyone is delighted with Beck’s astronomical rise in popularity.

“TV personality Glenn Beck is not the problem,” declared “compassionate conservative” stalwart Marvin Olasky, “but his religious syncretism is.”

In a thoughtful piece in his World magazine, Olasky wrote, “Beck is opening a window on what for decades has been obscured – not only unborn children but unknown stories from U.S. history. Civics has largely disappeared from American high schools. Many universities teach that sophistication means snootiness toward the United States. Since Beck’s televised programs emphasize the greatness of the American dream, it’s a revelation to those who heard only of nightmares.”

Olasky warns, however, that “Beck is syncretizing Mormon and Christian understanding in the service of a civil religion,” and that ultimately, that’s not in the nation’s best interest.

Finally, everyone will be relieved to learn that, contrary to tabloid rumor, there is no such thing as a “Glenn Beck sex tape” (FREE video).

And now, from the left side of the dial …

The so-called Reverend Al Sharpton – whose reputation is less than stellar, but nonetheless still hosts a (low-rated) talk radio show – has “created his own media company to produce a new 30-minute Sunday morning syndicated TV show.”

Sharpton says he’s already got lots of stations lined up to broadcast it, too.

Blogger Brian Maloney notes the sound of desperation and frustration in Sharpton’s voice this week, as he obsessed over how much media attention was being devoted to the Florida pastor who’d threatened to burn the Koran.

Sounding almost like one of Rush Limbaugh’s “Justice Brothers” parodies, Sharpton fumed on the air, “I lead a national organization, have a national syndicated show, TV and radio, and they ask why do I get press attention? … This guy in Florida is doing nothing but hate mongering, has 50 members on a good Sunday and the whole world is standing still and y’all wonder why I say the media is imbalanced and unfair.”

Sharpton sounds more desperate all the time. Could he be sensing that Americans aren’t prepared to buy into his race-baiting schemes any longer?

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