Jan
03
2014

How Racist Do You Have to Be Before the New York Times Calls You a Racist?

Ku Klux Klan uniform (Wikimedia)

The New York Times offers readers a lengthy obituary for racist New York talk radio icon Bob Grant. But can they call a racist a racist?

Mar
09
2012

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher Are Alike–and Also Very Different

As he loses advertisers by the handful over his comments about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh’s supporters (there are a few!) and a few other commentators have found what I guess they believe is a good counter-argument: If you’re so offended by Limbaugh’s sexist, demeaning rants, they why are you silent about Bill Maher? Some see a clear double standard. Fox News liberal Kirsten Powers wrote a column denouncing the left’s near-silence on the misogyny of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi and Ed Schultz. And as one adviser to a Gingrich Super PAC put it, “Did USA Today […]

Jan
03
2012

New Audio of Hannity’s Homophobic History

Sean Hannity got his start in radio on UC Santa Barbara’s KCSB in the late 1980s, where he got in trouble for promoting homophobia and disinformation about HIV and AIDS. I wrote about this in a 2003 Extra! profile of the then-Fox News show Hannity & Colmes: After airing for less than a year, Hannity’s weekly show was canceled in 1989, when KCSB management charged him with “discriminating against gays and lesbians” after airing two shows featuring the book The AIDS Coverup: The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS (Independent, 6/22/89). Written by homophobic Christian-right activist Gene Antonio, the book […]

Oct
21
2011

Conservative Pundit Thinks Listeners Deserve Someone More Conservative

Conservative writer/commentator David Frum–the man responsible for writing the Bush “axis of evil” speech–has been doing left/right debates for the public radio show Marketplace. Until now, that is. This week (Marketplace, 10/12/11), Frum came to the conclusion that while he’s still conservative, he doesn’t do a good job representing the right-wing position in that kind of discussion anymore: Well, we’ve been doing a point/counterpoint here between me and Bob Reich for a couple of years. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it. But I think that there’s a kind of expectation that when […]

Jan
10
2011

With Short Memories, Violent Tone of Media Unlikely to Change

One theme in the coverage of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffordsconcerns whether the tone of the political debate will change. That’s probably going to happen in the short-term. A long-term shift is unlikely. There have been frequent allusions to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the nationaldiscussion that ensued at the time about violent rhetoric on right-wing talk shows. See Extra!‘s 1995 article “AM Armies” for more background. Roughly 10 years later, MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough convened a panel (4/27/05) to discuss talk radio extremism, in the wake of incendiary comments made by Air America‘s Randi Rhodes. As FAIR […]

Nov
15
2010

Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem

Last Wednesday (Glenn Beck Program, 11/10/10), we got a glimpse of how low Glenn Beck will go to smear a political opponent. Beck’s lie that philanthropist George Soros helped “send the Jews to the death camps” during World War II, was, in essence, an attack on a Jewish child for the heartbreaking things he was put through in the course of surviving the Holocaust. But the smear was just part of the anti-Soros crusade Beck is carrying out on his national radio program and his Fox News show, portraying Soros as an “puppet master” who operates behind the scenes to […]

Oct
20
2010

When Limbaugh Demonizes Obama, Some Listeners Take Him Literally

Rush Limbaugh (10/18/10), holding a photo montage from Drudge up to the “Dittocam,” went off on a bizarre rant that suggested that Obama was possessed by supernatural evil (Mediaite, 10/19/10): Folks, these pictures, they look demonic. And I don’t say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I’m not saying anything here, but just look. It is strange that these pictures would be released…. It’s very, very, very strange. An American president has never had facial expressions like this. At least we’ve never seen photos of an American president with facial expressions like this. It’s not the […]

Mar
20
2009

Lou Dobbs Celebrates America by Slurring Asians

Think Progress editor Ali Frick (3/18/09) has posted video of CNN‘s celebrity xenophobe descending into the Rosie O’Donnell realm of racist ridicule of Asian language: Yesterday on his radio show, anti-immigrant crusader Lou Dobbs attacked St. Patrick’s Day as a needless “ethnic holiday.” “How about an American day,” he proposed. He also wondered whether other groups, like Jews or Asians, had “ethnic holidays,” but he couldn’t think of any: “Is there a Jewish ethnic holiday? Is there one? No. Okay…. How about an Asian ethnic holiday? Is there one? You know, St. Jing-Tao-Wow?” Trying to look beyond this appallingly belligerent […]

Mar
01
2009

The Rest of Paul Harvey’s Story

On the death of radio’s Paul Harvey, it’s hard for me not to think of his June 23, 2005 broadcast as his most revealing moment. That’s the episode where he delivered this memorable rant (Extra! Update, 8/05): After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American people–he said, the American people, he said, and this is a direct quote, “We didn’t come this far because we are made of sugar candy.” And that reminder was taken seriously. And we proceeded to develop and deliver the bomb, even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima […]

Feb
27
2009

Low Power FM Radio to the Rescue

Lamenting the fact that “commercial radio stations everywhere have been swallowed up by a handful of giant corporations, playlists have shrunk and local and independent acts have been drowned out,” Free Press activist Timothy Karr (MediaCitizen, 2/26/09) also lets us know that the good news is that your rescue is at hand. On Tuesday, Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) introduced a bipartisan bill that would pry open our radio airwaves for thousands of new stations, bringing independent acts…to the audiences they deserve…. The Local Community Radio Act would unleash the potential of new music for millions of […]