FBI begins recording call-ins

By Kathy Shaidle

Next time you call a talk radio station, beware: The FBI may be listening.

According to WMAL.com, “The FBI has awarded a $524,927 contract to a Virginia company to record as much radio news and talk programming as it can find on the Internet. … The FBI says it is not playing Big Brother by policing the airwaves, but rather seeking access to what airs as potential evidence.”

The agency’s reasons for recording all these radio programs don’t get any clearer as the news report goes on. No doubt that is intentional.

Rush Limbaugh

“Don’t hold out hope for Palin.”

That was Rush Limbaugh’s advice to a caller who was clinging to hope that the former Alaska governor would finally enter the 2012 Presidential race.

“You’ve got practical things like filing deadlines coming up, some are within a week now,” Rush explained, “so I think it’s time to move on. I think it’s time to let go and move on” (FREE audio).

Ken Hoffman at the Houston Chronicle complained that, “Limbaugh is now calling first lady Michelle Obama … ‘Moo-Chelle Obama.’ Even for El Rushbo, that’s stupid and insensitive. Limbaugh reportedly earns $38 million a year and lives in a beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. He can’t afford a mirror?”

Michael Savage

This week, Michael Savage labeled Barack Obama a “lifetime Marxist” and renewed concerns about his eligibility to serve as president.

He explained to listeners: Obama is “a man who refuses to show a valid birth certificate, a man who applies for college aid as a foreign student and then denies he’s foreign, a man who has a Social Security number from a state he’s never even lived in.” (FREE audio).

Savage also declared: “The second Bolshevik revolution is beginning in the United States of America, egged on by our first communist president and his cronies. Obama is using the rabble in the gutters to draw attention away from the ‘Fast and Furious’ Mexican gunrunning scandal, and all the other scandals in this administration”:

Sean Hannity

The New York Times shadowed Sean Hannity as part of a story about Fox News’ 15th anniversary, and were forced to concede: “Despite the inflammatory rhetoric he instigates, Mr. Hannity is good-natured and humble in person, as interested in his children’s tennis matches as in Mitt Romney’s foreign policy positions. He rarely agrees to interviews, and when he did last week, he said he did not read negative articles about him, or even the friendly Twitter account all about his abundant head of hair.”

Newt Gingrich joined Hannity on the air to analyze the most recent GOP candidate’s debate, both his own performance and those of the other potential Republican nominees (FREE audio).

Mark Levin

“These debates are starting to bore me,” Mark Levin told listeners this week. He complained that there were too many participants, and none of them will dare take on Mitt Romney (FREE audio).

Speaking of Romney, Levin slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for endorsing him. Levin feels neither of these men are “true” conservatives, and he is tired of hearing that “conservatives can’t win” (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

Two Republican governors offered Ingraham different takes on who could take the White House in 2012.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told Laura and her listeners that Herman Cain would “sweep the South” if he is the GOP nominee (FREE audio).

However, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told her, “If the election were held today, Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama in Pennsylvania – a state the president won by roughly 10 points in 2008.”

Rendell warned the party not to select a “wacky” nominee, and stick with somebody “competent.” He added, “Sometimes I think the Republican Party has a death wish.”

“I actually agree with you on that,” Ingraham replied. “In many ways I think the Republicans can screw things up easily.”

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck expanded his business empire this week, announcing the launch of his “1791” clothing line.

Beck explained, “The main thrusts of the 1791 line are to remember where we came from as Americans … and to restore values and efforts that have made America great.”

Beck sided with Hank Williams Jr. this week, after the singer/songwriter got in trouble for making a clumsy analogy that mentioned “Hitler” and “Obama” (but contrary to what’s been reported, he didn’t compare the two.) Beck played excerpts of Williams’ new song “Keep the Change,” and condemned ESPN and his former employers at Fox News for throwing Williams under the bus (FREE webcam).

And now, from the left side of the dial …

Did you ever think you’d live to see a cable news host question the “blackness” of a potential president?

That’s what happened when Al Sharpton and Prof. Karen Hunter struggled to make sense of Herman Cain’s campaign for the Republican nomination (FREE audio).

Weirder still, the producer of progressive Stephanie Miller’s radio show made a bizarre on-air suggestion that Cain was an anti-Semite. It was so outrageous even Miller expressed her embarrassment and tried to change the subject.

While these outbursts are painful to listen to, they reveal the unprincipled desperation of people whose worldview is crumbling before their eyes. That’s probably the only redeeming social value these radio programs have.