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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why Ohio Needs Progressive Talkers: Righty Says Dems May Have Poisoned Chief Justice Roberts

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- MediaMatters has the transcript and audio of right wing radio talker Michael Savage's comment that "it's within the realm of possibility" Democrats caused Chief Justice Roberts to be hospitalized for a seizure. Unknowingly, Savage probably made a stronger case for FCC restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. The doctrine would give the Dems equal time to reply and knock down what sounded like slander, or worse, a criminal libel.

Savage theorizes the justice may have eaten poisoned food, perhaps in Manhattan, during a Dem-masterminded plot that unfolded like a Russian hit on an opponent of Vladimir Putin. Savage speculated that Putin had a foe knocked off with plutonium-laced sushi -- a fate that Sen. Chuck Schumer may have had in mind for John Roberts.

The talker is carried by more than 300 stations, but it is unclear how many are in Ohio.

Savage pointed to New York's Schumer as the chief suspect in a Democratic assassination plot. Here is one cite:

"So why can't we assume for a moment that it's within the realm of possibility that Roberts was in some way -- his health was in some way tampered with by the Democrats because they can't believe that no matter what they do, no matter what they do -- even if they engineer a victory for Hillary Clinton/Obama -- they're still not going to be in control because the court's moved to the center? Just a thought. Just a little thought for you to ponder tonight, and all you left wingers who are so glib in your attacks on the conservative movement."

And another:

"That's what Schumer has lived for from the time he was a little boy. That's all he wants, so he had the nerve to say on Friday he will never, ever, ever permit a Bush appointee to get onto a court, to become a judge. Then today we read that the chief justice has had a seizure and fell on a dock. Something's wrong with the picture."

[UPDATE: 6:47 AM --
Drinking Liberally, Cincinnati says Savage belongs in a tin-foil hat, a comment that might be taken as an insult to all kooks who wear tin-foil hats. Savage, perhaps, should be placed in a completely separate wing of kookdom. That is up to the psychiatrists, however.]


  1. As one of the two people who kick started the Ohio Majority Radio project last December I'm here to tell you that you are unknowingly perpetuating the false choice of:

    No fairness doctrine
    Bringing back the fairness doctrine

    There are a number of other choices besides these two polar opposites and the real fight is reform of media ownership which created the situation we are in when just weeks after the historic 2006 Ohio elections, all three progressive radio stations are pulled and replaced with content which then sank to the bottom of the ratings.

    Media ownership is where the fight needs to be not with the right wing talking point that the government will be holding a stopwatch to check for "balance".

  2. Hi Paul --

    Media reform, I suppose, entails purchasing a controlling interest in the major corporations that own the networks or produce the content, or both. I can't imagine where the capital to do that would come from. Just the WSJ alone went for $5 billion to Murdoch's New Corp., which is worth more some $30 billion or so. Didn't Clear Channel go for $19 billion, or a figure near that amount, in the LBO?

  3. So the rantings of a madman (Savage) are an excuse to bring the cold dead hand of government onto private business? I think not.

    Where was all the outrage when Wonkette crossed her fingers hopoing John Roberts would die?

  4. Bill,

    As a right winger, I don't think Savage qualifies for membership. He is a ranting lunatic with no guiding principle. I would not want to belong to any club in which claims membership.

  5. I'll go along with the Fairness Doctrine when the same standard is applied to newspapers and network news. Until then, cry me a river...

    And, yeah, I think Savage is a hack loser who gets off on being controversial... I don't think he's representative of conservative values, but I won't stomp on his First Amendment rights just as I won't move to silence Wonkette (who no longer is a chick, by the's being run by two gay guys last I heard, not that that means anything...)

  6. I'm back.

    Apparently Ed Schultz, a "progressive" talker pulled his own Savage.

    Verily, we need the feds to do something. (/sarcasm)

  7. Matt, LargeBill, Mark --

    I am pretty much an absolutist on the First Amendment. I think that Savage has a right to express his thoughts and say whatever he wants to say, and if he is smart enough to get somebody to pay him for being an idiot in public -- well, he is smarter, probably, than all of us put together.

    However, those airwaves that carry his words are mine and yours. They are public property, just like the pavement on I-71, like Yellowstone, like the Capitol Building, etc. If he can rant, then the other side ought to have equal time for its rants, or whatever it chooses to say.

    Now, Matt, I disagree with you about the newspapers. They are not publicly owned entitities. If there was a public newspaper, I would expect it to carry equal inches or right and left, or Demo and Republican, or whatever. There would have to be some kind of measurement, or fairness doctrine.

    As for broadcast news -- why not a "conservative" version then a "liberal" version on the same network, different shows, back to back, flipping times slots each week. Something along those lines. A creative solution to a problem that many have felt has existed for years.

    Or, maybe the government should sell the airwaves to the highest bidder. Imagine: All Saudi all the time.

  8. Mark M --

    Ed Schultz blamed Bush for the bridge collapse? Yikes. Yes, he's another loon with a microphone for saying that.

    President Bush should have equal time, or access to it if he wanted to respond. Mark, neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on goofballs and bloviators.

    Funny, isn't it, that we can usually have dialogue here in the Ohiosphere that has at least a patina of sensibility. Oh, I have this theory. The Bushes poisoned Roberts, he was in Maine afterall, so they could blame it on Dick Cheney because Bush wants to make McCain veep to give him an edge over Thompson, who comes from Tennessee, which is Al Gore's home state and is located next to Arkansas where Clinton came from.
    Got that?

  9. Bill,

    There are so many ways I could go with your reply.

    From a practical effect standpoint, the Fairness Doctrine would return radio to where it was in 1987 as station managers just wouldn't deal with the hassles to have political talk. The chilling effect would make for a great Supreme Court case.

    Also this is not 1934 when something like that might have been appropriate, today we have unlimited choices for our news & entertainment.

    I'm also a free speech absolutists who sees no reason why technologies developed after the passage of the Bill of Rights should not have the same rights as those before it - IOW the newspapers. Unless, of course, the Constitution EXPLICITLY gives the fed gov that right, no stretching the commerce clause please.

    Public ownership is to me an oxymoron as it lacks the characteristics of ownership. I can not sell my piece of the public airwaves, I can not keep my neighbor off my piece, and I don't remember getting a check the last time the gov. auctioned them off on my behalf.

    Lastly, it is great we can have these reasoned discussions here but it would make for boring talk radio. As boring as NPR. That's the key to that media, if you aren't entertaining you aren't going to make it without government subsidies.

    P.S. I'd be in for selling the airwaves off. If the choice comes down to Saudi Princes or FCC bureaucrats, I'll take my chances with the guys with the profit motive over those with a political motives. It's that whole "the gov big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away" thing.

  10. Mark --

    On the PS, we may have common ground. I'm not opposed to selling off the airwaves, not at all. Now, of course, the issue becomes is there a palatable buyer. I really don't care, like you. At least I don't think I would care. But that might be the hangup for others. On sellin off the airwaves, my Libertarian side comes to the fore, I suppose.