Right Wing Radio Week in Review: July 27 – July 31, 2009

Let’s get this over with: Glenn Beck called President Obama a “racist.” If you care, click here.

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Controversial talk radio host Michael Savage now claims he was banned from visiting the U.K. because he is Jewish — and he might be onto something.

Documents obtained as part of Savage’s lawsuit against the British Home Secretary prove that he was placed on the “banned” list to provide “balance” – because the list featured so many Muslim extremists.

“We will want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists,” one document says.

Mark Steyn commented on this troubling revelation at NRO’s The Corner in a, well, savage, post:

In essence, Michael Savage was added to the banned list as a beneficiary of non-affirmative action. The “Britain’s Least Wanted: hit parade was felt to be a bit heavy on chaps called Mohammed and Ahmed and whatnot, and the Home Office geniuses decided that it would upset the, ah, “extremists” if there were too many “extremists” on the list. Persona non grata-wise, they felt it was important to celebrate diversity.

Also: Savage was stunned this week when the venerable New Yorker magazine profiled him, in an article that was surprisingly sympathetic. The article makes for fascinating reading; Savage is full of contradictions and surprises, and while he is far down my list of favorite talk radio show hosts, this profile has reignited my interest in his program. I doubt I’m the only one.

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Rumors raged that Sarah Palin was on the verge of signing a deal to host her own talk radio show, but these rumors were squelched by the end of the week.

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Bill Moyers declared this week on PBS that Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio hosts on the right “earn millions inciting riots in the public mind.” (Of course, Moyers has “earned” millions sucking on the tax dollar teat; at least Rush & Co. earn their money in the free market…)

Needless to say, Rush Limbaugh had a lot to say in response:

I mean Mr. Moyers, there’s nothing I can do to stop anybody from doing anything. I can’t raise their taxes. I can’t send anybody off to war. I can’t tell them who their doctor is going to be. I can’t tell them what kind of car they have to drive. I have no power. I have zilch, zero, nada. Riots in the public mind?

Meanwhile, Brent Bozell wrote a fine column claiming it is liberal talk radio (such as it is) that’s the real “cauldron of hate.” And reading the examples he cites, it is difficult to argue with him.

(By the way: the co-founder of left leaning Air America Radio just got five years probation for theft.)

But getting back to Rush Limbaugh: his comments on Tuesday about smoking and health costs demonstrate why he makes the big bucks:

We group ourselves and we become victims.  That’s how we’re set up, that’s how we’re encouraged to act.  And the latest group, smokers, the fat, the obese, or what have you, these are all political calculations by a bunch of shysters who don’t care what you think.  All they know is that they can make you hate smokers, and they can make you go along with massive tax increases on smokers, and 50 years ago, 30 years ago they told us that if we just cut smoking in half, look at all the health care costs we would save.  And we’d get rid of all the secondhand smoke and people wouldn’t die.  Well, we’ve cut smoking in half, maybe more.  Have the costs of health care gone down?  Did anything they promise ever come true?  Or is it always just the opposite?

And columnist David Warren observed that so-called Republicans were often more critical of Rush Limbaugh than liberals:

In their eagerness to accuse their fellow Republican, the fat, vulgar, and extremely articulate Rush Limbaugh, of being “divisive” and scoring an own-goal, the respectables of the Republican establishment — the people with proper table manners who know how to sound their vowels — did themselves a serious injury. They created a division within the Republican party that now only people like Limbaugh can heal. And people like Limbaugh will only be doing that on their own terms.

Out of an understandable aesthetic revulsion for the speaker (I love Rush myself, and laugh with rather than at him, but then I have no taste), the respectables entirely missed his point…

Speaking of the GOP Establishment, David Frum was at it again, reigniting his tiresome feud with talk radio host and bestselling author Mark Levin.

As blogger “Conservative Punk” noted:

Frum’s real problem is that talk show hosts (and their listeners for that matter) are not his type of conservative; a holier than thou lot content to engage in political bargaining and the soft peddling of conservatism. That’s not to say Frum is not an intelligent guy, but he is undoubtedly drunk on the idea of his own intellectual superiority, seeing Levin’s uncompromising, firebrand style as beneath him and therefore a detriment to the movement. Levin might not charm the beltway insiders like Frum, but I’d hardly call him a detriment to the movement.

(Scroll down to the bottom of Conservative Punk’s post for a FREE – and entertaining – audio clip.)

Blogger Glenn Reynolds wondered why Frum chose to denounce Levin of all people. Levin is a lot of things, but he doesn’t fit Frum’s somewhat ignorant stereotype of a whining pessimist counseling despair.

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This struck me funny

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Best news of the week: Larry Elder told Dennis Prager that he’s about to launch a podcast. Many of us miss Larry Elder since he left terrestrial talk radio. Keep visiting Larry Elder’s website for updates.

Speaking of podcasts, Prager read a letter from a listener that illustrates how well talk radio and podcasting go together. The listener explained that he listened to the Prager show’s podcast when he swam laps in his pool, using an underwater mp3 player.

Prager’s archived shows, in podcast form, are available only by subscription.

(If you are a conservative talk radio fan who subscribes to all those $50/year annual Premium Memberships, you may wish to consider paying about the same amount — one time only — for special software that will record all your favorite shows in exactly the same way. That’s a good way to save money without having to cut back and chose between one show and another.

(You can try out this software free by clicking here, or watch a short video showing how it works, also free, here.)

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