Jun
24
2008

Talk Show Host Calls for Murder

Michael Reagan says activist should be killed for treason

Nationally syndicated conservative radio host Michael Reagan called for the murder of a political activist on June 10. Reagan, a frequent guest on cable news shows and the son of President Ronald Reagan, singled out 9/11 activist Mark Dice by name and called several times for his assassination.

audio symbol (Click here to listen to a 3 minute audio clip.)

Reagan had learned that political activists had reportedly been sending letters and DVDs to troops in Iraq, advancing the theory that the U.S. government had carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks. For promoting this unpopular view, the talkshow host advocated that these activists should be killed as "traitors":

We ought to find the people who are doing this, take them out and shoot them. Really. You take them out, they are traitors to this country, and shoot them. You have a problem with that? Deal with it. You shoot them. You call them traitors, that's what they are, and you shoot them dead. I'll pay for the bullets.

Even more troubling was the call for violence against a specific individual: "How about you take Mark Dice out and put him in the middle of a firing range. Tie him to a post, don't blindfold him, let it rip and have some fun with Mark Dice."

Reagan subsequently had Dice on his show (6/16/08) as a guest and stated, “I’m sorry for what I said.” As an explanation, Reagan offered, "Sometimes radio hosts we get fired up and angry and we say things that are actually stupid, and we make mistakes."

Reagan's "mistakes," unfortunately, have repeatedly involved advocating murder to his audience. On August 15, 2006, Reagan called for violently killing babies who were reportedly being named for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah:

Naming their children 'Hezbollah.'You know what I’d get 'em for a first birthday? I’d put a grenade up their butts and light it. Happy birthday, baby. Bye bye.

In response to a caller who pointed out that children are not responsible for the names they are given, Reagan repeatedly asserted, "So what’s wrong with killing the mothers and the babies?"

On December 5, 2005, Reagan said Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean "should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq War." (Watch clip on the Media Matters website) This was in response to Dean's statement (WOAI-AM, 12/5/05) that "the idea that we're going to win this war is just plain wrong."

Reagan's distributor, Radio America, also distributes the G. Gordon Liddy Show. Liddy, a former Nixon aide sent to prison for the Watergate break-in, also has a history of calling for violence over the airwaves, repeatedly advocating that listeners shoot federal law enforcement officials in the head. For example, on August 26, 1994, Liddy told his listeners:

Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests.... They've got a big target on there, ATF. Don't shoot at that, because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots.... Kill the sons of bitches.

Needless to say, calls for violence against those one disagrees with are dangerous and corrosive to the public discussion. A responsible distributor has rules against such on-air death threats--and consequences when such rules are violated.

ACTION:

Ask Radio America to explain its policies regarding calls for violence on its nationally syndicated programming. Does the company really permit its hosts to call for murder on the air?

Reagan's show is broadcast on "more than 150 stations," according to Radio America. If the show broadcasts near where you live, contact the local station management and ask them to stop broadcasting death threats on your local public airwaves.

CONTACT:

Radio America President Jim Roberts

703-302-1000 ext 215.

Email: jroberts@radioamerica.org