The latest hire by the cable news network MSNBC-- co-owned by General Electric/NBC and Microsoft-- is Michael Savage, a radio talkshow host noted for his unabashed bigotry. Savage is scheduled to have his own weekly one-hour show on MSNBC beginning in March.
Savage routinely refers to non-white countries as "turd world nations" and charges that the U.S. "is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00). In a recent broadcast he justified ethnic slurs as a national security tool: "We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy," he explained (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/6/03).
"Turd world" immigrants are a frequent target of Savage's anger: "You open the door to them, and the next thing you know, they are defecating on your country and breeding out of control" (Oregonian, 4/24/02).
At times Savage's arguments echo the conspiratorial scapegoating of the white supremacist movement: "With the [Latino] population that has emerged, since they breed like rabbits, in many cases the whites will become a minority in their own nation... The white people don't breed as often for whatever reason. I guess many homosexuals are involved. That is also part of the grand plan, to push homosexuality to cut down on the white race" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00).
Commenting on the "Million Mom March" in favor of gun control (which he dubbed the "Million Dyke March"), he dismissed organizers' reference to American children killed by guns (5/15/00): "They’re not kids, they’re ghetto slime... they’re the same kids that are in Sierra Leone toting AK47s."
Misogyny and homophobia are staples of Savage's show as well as racism. In his book Savage Nation, he argues that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor have "feminized and homosexualized much of America, to the point where the nation has become passive, receptive and masochistic."
Discussing student volunteers distributing food to the homeless in San Francisco, Savage declared that "the girls from Branson [school] can go in and maybe get raped... because they seem to like the excitement of it. There's always the thrill and possibility they'll be raped in a dumpster while giving out a turkey sandwich" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00).
In announcing the hire, MSNBC president Erik Sorenson described Savage as "brash, passionate and smart," and promised that he would provide "compelling opinion and analysis with an edge."
A recent episode of the channel's Donahue program (2/10/03) featured a full-hour, one-on-one interview with white supremacist Jared Taylor. Does MSNBC believe that promoting hatred is a way for the struggling channel to build an audience?
ACTION: If you'd like to express your opinion on Michael Savage hosting a show on MSNBC, you can write to the cable channel directly.
Erik Sorenson, MSNBC President