I write a lot about conservative talk radio, so (alas) I have to keep track of the Left’s hair-raising, borderline insane attacks on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other hosts.
Here’s a round up of some of the biggest and craziest (unsuccessful) campaigns to destroy these powerful and popular pundits.
First up: the latest attempt to brand a talk radio host a “racist” fails miserably…
#5 “Monkey hear, monkey don’t”
Did you hear about the racist redneck talk radio host who referred to African-American students as “monkeys”?
The truth is: he didn’t.
Earlier this month, while criticizing his city’s dysfunctional public school system, WSPD’s Brian Wilson said:
“But certainly, teaching little monkeys to peel bananas and so on and them learning to do it correctly on cue does not mean that they’ve learned everything except a funny parlor trick.”
If you don’t see anything “racist” in those remarks, you’re not alone. The city’s public school system isn’t even overwhelmingly African-American; it’s 41% white and 8% Hispanic.
Nevertheless, the local newspaper, the Toledo Blade, easily convinced a gaggle of professional race-baiters to condemn Wilson’s imaginary bigotry. Then the trumped up “controversy” led to a public demonstration, with outraged protesters demanding an apology from the station.
Most predictably of all? When Wilson’s defenders pointed out that his 14-second clip had been purposely wrenched out of context, the Blade – which had run the “story” on four consecutive front pages — refused to admit they’d made a monkey out of a molehill.
Instead, the editors kept piling on, pointing out that, “Mr. Wilson doesn’t limit incendiary remarks to the airwaves. Atop his Web site is a picture of a microphone aflame.”
(Did I mention that the name of the crusading newspaper is… the Toledo Blade?)
Thanks to persistent pressure from the city’s alternative paper, the “story” is finally unraveling, but only after two weeks of daily character assassinations, and stubborn rumors of Wilson’s looming dismissal. (He still has his job.)
As the Toledo Free Press put it in their invaluable postmortem of the smear campaign:
“Toledo is not the hub of industry it once was, but if The Blade continues to manufacture stories like its recent Brian Wilson series, the Glass City’s production will rival Pittsburgh’s during the steel boom.”
#4 MSNBC blames Arizona shooting on… Mark Levin
In the wake of the Giffords’ shooting, left-leaning pundits were quick to blame conservative talk radio for inciting the actions of a madman (who didn’t listen to talk radio, according to friends.)
Alas, the power of his bizarre rant was somewhat undercut by his inability (or refusal) to pronounce Levin’s name correctly.
(Since the name “Levin” only has two syllables, you wouldn’t think that would be a daunting task for an brilliant ag-school grad like Olbermann to perform. Keith had a 50/50 chance of being right — and still messed up.)
Another low-rated MSNBC host, Ed Schultz , also made the mistake of singling out Levin, mocking Levin’s decision to sue the network for libel after Olbermann’s rant aired.
In response, Levin said about Schultz:
“I notice this tough guy is actually a coward. We will be monitoring him. He’s dumber than dumb, so he might actually step in it. As an aside, he has no ratings, so if two of my people monitor his show, that will double his ratings.”
The timing of all this couldn’t be better. Olbermann just lost his job at MSNBC, so if Levin does sue, Olbermann won’t have MSNBC’s attorneys at his disposal, gratis.
#3 Glenn Beck is a serial killer of some kind
Here at NewsReal, I’ve chronicled the doomed-to-fail “Glenn Beck boycott” (remember that? Barely? Exactly.)
Destroying Glenn Beck is impossible, because he’s set up a separate production company, making himself independent of cowardly bosses who might cave under pressure.
Now, here are just a few of the newest attacks on Beck. (Note: these are not parodies…)
- Glenn Beck told his audience to shoot people in the head
- Glenn Beck advocates poisoning
- Glenn Beck needs to be tortured
The libertarian contrarians at the UK’s Spiked Online took time this week to scold the scolds:
Beck is certainly shrill and offensive – that’s his trademark – but in demanding that a specific individual be sacked from his job and prevented from airing his views because they are diametrically opposed to its own outlook, it is [the Jewish Funds for Justice] JFSJ that is ‘playing to the worst in all of us’. This is an intolerant, condescending and illiberal campaign – not because it is antagonistic towards Beck (who certainly deserves criticism) but because it is antagonistic to people’s freedom to express, listen to, and make up their own minds about the whole spectrum of ideas and views that are out there.
All of this seems contrary to creating a ‘just, fair and compassionate America’, which is JFSJ’s self-proclaimed mission…
#2 Michael Savage banned, then un-banned, then banned again from the UK (where his show doesn’t even air)
In May 2009, the British Home Office released a list of individuals supposedly so evil and dangerous that they must never be allowed to enter the U.K. People like actual Muslim terrorists. Oh, plus one… Michael Savage.
I was baffled, and so was almost everyone, even people who aren’t fans of the outspoken talk show host.
Since when do the British even know who Michael Savage is? If they’ve listened to his show on the internet (and that’s the only way he reaches English listeners) how will banning him from setting foot on British soil make any difference?
Naturally, Savage used the banning to garner millions of dollars in free publicity. He was interviewed by countless reporters, wrote a book about the controversy, and his latest title, Trickle Up Poverty, is a New York Times bestseller. The funny guys at The People’s Cube spoke for many of us media nobodies toiling in the trenches: “I Want To Be Banned From England Like Michael Savage.”
Well-meaning American fans attributed the banning to the Labour government then in power. Sure enough, after a flurry of embarrassing outrage, they changed their minds.
Then things got slightly weird: when the Conservatives took over (admittedly, as part of a coalition government), they reinstated the ban. (As a Canadian who currently lives under a “Conservative” government, let me assure you: having “Conservatives” in power doesn’t make as much difference as you’d think…)
Anyhow, as Savage notes in his inimitable way, he wasn’t even planning to go to England anyhow:
#1 “Rush Limbaugh Blamed for All World’s Problems”
Actually, that’s the title of a new parody video by Texas radio’s Michael Berry, but it might as well be true.
Ever since the failed attempt on Representative Giffords’ life, we’ve been hearing increased calls for “civility” from Democrats and their cheerleaders in the commentariat, but their message is nothing new.
These hypocritical bores have been complaining about Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh’s alleged “vitriol” for many years. And not all those bores are progressives, either.
The funny part is, if you ask many of these name-droppers if they’ve ever read Coulter’s columns or listened to Limbaugh’s show, they respond with outrage. “I don’t have to! I just KNOW those people are hateful!”
I maintain if you replaced Ann Coulter’s byline with P.J. O’Rourke’s and asked her “conservative” critics to read one of her columns, their reactions would range from indifference to downright enthusiasm.
Or trick a Rush-hater into listening to his show. They can’t believe the fellow with the mellow baritone, who is so polite to his callers (even the crazy ones), is the same loud mouthed blowhard who’s resided in their fevered imaginations all this time.
Some of these haters get so angry, they’re forced to make stuff up!
This week, the left’s bizarre two-decade obsession with Limbaugh, (and its profound confusion about what he’s really like), was concentrated and captured in 13 minutes of hilarity, thanks to Rush’s webcam. In case you miss it, the key word is “tone.”
Watching Limbaugh’s expressions is half the fun:
The left has been trying to sabotage conservative talk radio for decades. Their tools have become more sophisticated over the years, but even with the internet at their disposal (not to mention Photoshop and cheap audio editing software), they’ve barely gained ground.
That doesn’t mean conservatives can afford to lower their guard. We rule the airwaves for now, but we don’t literally own them. It will only take one idiotic Supreme Court decision or one insanely singleminded President to cripple conservative talk radio.
And there is only one Rush Limbaugh — as millions of panic stricken fans suddenly realized when he suffered a cardiac scare last year. We need to cultivate the next generation of talkers, establish a more or less untouchable base camp off the frequency grid and onto the web — and lastly, cut out the name-calling rivalries between hosts that mar so many otherwise entertaining and informative shows.
Let’s stop giving our real enemies ammunition and moral support, and aim at them, not each other.