Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly Must Go
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I wanted to talk to Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly -- but they were too busy talking to talk.
I wanted to ask talk show host Savage (born Michael Alan Weiner) about his continuing attacks on gay parenting and LGBT people in general. And I wanted to ask talk show host O'Reilly about the "white, Christian, male power structure" he says he's a part of.
But first Mr. Savage Weiner. His daily syndicated radio show 'Savage Nation' appears on about 350 stations, reaching an estimated eight million listeners weekly. The program is syndicated by Talk Radio Network, which also distributes Laura Ingraham's right-wing chat show.
Savage Weiner was up to his usual, well, savage tricks on Savage Nation last week, again calling gay parenting "child abuse," echoing remarks he originally made during the February 26 program.
This time, Weiner's savagery was unleashed in response to remarks by Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney, whose stance on gay issues apparently varies depending on which office he's currently seeking, responded to a mother from New Hampshire who asked about his opposition to gay marriage by referring to same-sex parenting as part of "the American way" and an example of "freedom of choice."
Cynthia Fish, a lesbian mother of a 6- and 8-year-old, asked Romney to "explain to me more, why if we are sending our troops over to fight for liberty and justice for all throughout this country, why not for me? Why not for my family?"
According to the Associated Press, "Romney paused, asked Fish about her children and then praised her.
"Wonderful," Romney said. "I'm delighted that you have a family and you're happy with your family. That's the American way. ... People can live their lives as they choose and children can be a great source of joy, as you know. And I welcome that." He then stated his belief that "Marriage is an institution which is designed to bring a man and woman together to raise a child and that the ideal setting for society at large is where there is a male and a female are associated with the development and nurturing a child."
But -- to the dismay of Savage Weiner -- Romney didn't stop there.
"There are other ways to raise kids, that's fine," Romney continued. "Single moms, grandparents raising kids, gay couples raising kids. That's the American way, to have people have their freedom of choice."
To Savage Weiner, however, the only "proper answer" for Romney would have been to tell Ms. Fish that her parenting is "child abuse." What is needed, according to Savage Weiner, is "a conservative candidate all the way who would say to a gay woman: 'You know what? I'm very sorry for your children. I think it's child abuse for you to raise children.' "
He added that truly conservative candidate would have also said, "Marriage is a fragile institution and I think you're making a mockery of it in this manner by doing this."
Savage Weiner is nothing if not consistent. On the February 26 edition of his show, he said: "I want to puke when I hear about a woman married to a woman raising children because, frankly, I think that it's child abuse to do that to children without their permission."
Among his previous comments, Savage has called a transgender murder victim a "psychopath" and a "freak," blamed sexual reassignment surgery for the Columbine massacre, and agreed with a caller that gay rabbis would likely "rap[e] teenage boys."
Savage Nation is the third most-listened-to talk radio show in the nation, behind only The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show. There was no response to repeated requests to speak with the program's host. Perhaps the title should be changed to "Weiner Nation?"
Now on to another popular right-wing ranter my fellow Flyer Bill O'Reilly (we went to the same high school -- but one of us went seriously wrong ...) A few weeks ago, I requested an interview with him as well, citing my interest in writing about conservative talk show hosts, "in the wake of the recent Imus affair, FCC concerns, and so on..."
David Tabacoff, Executive Producer of both the Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor" and the syndicated program "The Radio Factor," replied as follows:
Bill appreciates your interest in him for the story you are writing on talk radio hosts. However, given his very busy schedule on radio and tv in the coming months, it would be difficult to provide the kind of access you need to make him the focus of your piece, so we're going to have to pass on this one.
Too bad -- among the things I would have liked to ask Bill about is his penchant for name-calling (8.88 times per minute, according to one study!)
But what I really would have liked to ask Bill about (after he finished telling me to "Shut Up!!") is his recent on-air Fox News discussion with John McCain about immigration. O'Reilly began by saying he would ask McCain about "objections from the right and from the left" to the immigration bill under consideration in Congress.
On the right, according to O'Reilly, those objections include the claim that "we are rewarding bad behavior" in offering citizenship to lawbreakers. Meanwhile, on the left, according to O'Reilly, "The objection is there's not enough illegal immigrants here ..."
But near the end of the segment, as seen in this clip McCain's campaign posted, O'Reilly then asked McCain, "But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have."
If Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage Weiner really are part of the "white, Christian, male power structure," I'd like to volunteer to help break down that structure as well. So here's a question for two top talkers too reticent to talk: Where do we sign up?