Originally published on March 7, 2011.
Hyper-leftist commentators are getting punked a lot lately. That’s what happens when one is constantly parroting talking points without bothering to fact check. Earlier this week David Shuster torpedoed his credibility (or whatever was left of it) by pushing the Media Matters narrative that Fox was banned in Canada. Punked. The latest punkee? Keith Olbermann.
A few weeks ago some hack decided to accuse Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck of using a service provided by the company that syndicates their radio shows: Premiere Networks (a subsidiary of Clear Channel).
The job, the email indicated, paid $40 an hour, with one hour guaranteed per day.
But what exactly was the work? The question popped up during the audition and was explained, the actor said, clearly and simply: If he passed the audition, he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio. He would never be identified as an actor, and his scenarios would never be identified as fabricated—which they always were.
“I was surprised that it seemed so open,” the actor told me in an interview. “There was really no pretense of covering it up.”
Curious, the actor did some snooping and learned that Premiere On Call was a service offered by Premiere Radio Networks, the largest syndication company in the United States and a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, the entertainment and advertising giant. Premiere syndicates some of the more sterling names in radio, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity. But a great radio show depends as much on great callers as it does on great hosts: Enter Premiere On Call.
WHOA, right? This Premiere Networks must be some Koch-funded astroturf outfit tasked with promoting conservative causes at all costs. Keith Olbermann is on this like white on rice. He even flexes his creativity muscles and makes some crazy Bugs Bunny related analogy. What a clever boy, that Keith! Here’s the crux of his post:
The latest evidence to support a brilliant but heinous effort to forcibly swing public opinion via the use of phony advocates? A remarkable piece by a website on Jewish faith called The Tablet nonchalantly reveals that the same company that syndicates the shows of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity has also employed actors to call in to those shows and pretend to be real people with real opinions and real problems.
To be fair, there isn’t a word of documentation in the post that confirms that Premiere Radio Networks’ “Premiere On Call” actually has stooges supplying the outrage and umbrage that seemingly instantly inspires the flights of outrage and certitude which propagandists like Beck and Limbaugh take. The one documented breaking of the confidentiality agreement all the phony callers evidently signed, reveals how one of the actors permitted the host of a personal help call-in show resolve a bizarre and unlikely scenario about a groom inviting his bride to the bachelor party.
However, nowhere in the confirmation of these abject misrepresentations do you see Premiere denying that its personnel have made such calls to political hosts
You got ‘em, Keith! Way to go!
Wait. Not exactly.