Michael Savage

sorabji.com: What are you afraid of?: Michael Savage

By Rowlf on Saturday, March 8, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

    ...whew.. good thing I dont get MSNBC


    MSNBC's Double Standard on Free Speech
    "Turd World" is OK-- "anti-war, anti-Bush" is not

    March 7, 2003

    MSNBC's claim to be championing free speech by hiring hate-talk radio host Michael Savage is disingenuous in the extreme.

    Defending its decision to give a weekly program to a commentator who specializes in diatribes against various groups, the MSNBC cable network called hiring Savage-- whose show will premiere on Saturday, March 8-- "a legitimate attempt to expand the marketplace of ideas" (Electronic Media, 2/25/03).

    This was a response to critics of Savage's record of racism, misogyny and homophobia, which includes dismissing child victims of gunfire as "ghetto slime," referring to non-white countries as "turd world nations," calling homosexuality "perversion" and asserting that Latinos "breed like rabbits." (For more Savage quotes, see FAIR action alert, 2/12/03.)

    The news channel-- co-owned by Microsoft and General Electric/NBC-- declared in its formal statement: "By bringing our viewers a wide range of strong, opinionated voices, MSNBC underscores its commitment to ensuring that its perspective programming promotes no one single point of view. We encourage debate and we would neither expect, nor want, our audience to agree with everything on our channel."

    But this enthusiasm for a "wide range of strong, opinionated voices" rings hollow in the wake of MSNBC's firing of host Phil Donahue. (FAIR's founder, Jeff Cohen, worked as a senior producer for Donahue.) His show was cancelled despite having the best ratings on the network; this occurred, according to published reports, after a study commissioned by NBC described Donahue as "a tired, left-wing liberal out of touch with the current marketplace" who would be a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war" (All Your TV, 2/25/03). "He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives," the report noted, warning that the Donahue show could be "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

    Network insiders echoed these qualms. In an email leaked to the website All Your TV (3/5/03), one executive suggested that MSNBC could take advantage of the "anticipated larger audience who will tune in during a time of war" to "reinvent itself" and "cross-pollinate our programming" by linking pundits to war coverage. "It's unlikely that we can use Phil in this way, particularly given his public stance on the advisability of the war effort," the email said.

    All Your TV's Rick Ellis quoted a network source: "I personally like Donahue, but our numbers were telling us that viewers thought he has too combative, and often said things that some respondents considered almost unpatriotic."

    According to published reports, these fears led MSNBC to "micromanage" the Donahue show. "He was often told what kinds of subjects to showcase and what kind of guests to have. And he was often chided for being too tough on some guests," consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote (Common Dreams, 3/3/03). "In the past few months, the corporate 'suits' even told Donahue that he had to have more conservative or right-wing guests than liberals on the same hour show."

    Given this treatment of Donahue's progressive, anti-war views, it is hypocritical for MSNBC to claim that it is hiring Savage merely to "expand the marketplace of ideas," provide "a wide range of strong, opinionated voices" and "encourage debate." While hatred of "turd world immigrants" is a viewpoint that the news channel seems comfortable promoting, progressive criticism of a war with Iraq is too controversial.

    Savage, who has called on the government to "arrest the leaders of the antiwar movement" in case of war (Boston Globe, 3/3/03), is in no position to pose as a free-speech martyr. "I'll put you in jail!" was his response to critics of his MSNBC hiring, whom he referred to as "stinking rats who hide in the sewers" (2/27/03). Noting that "we have a Republican president. We have a Republican attorney general," Savage suggested he would sic the government on his enemies:

    I have millions of people who vote. Mr. Bush wants to get re-elected, and just consider me a politician at that point. I'm going to ask for a trade in favor. If they keep it up, my favor is going to be I want these groups investigated. If they're doing nothing illegal, fine. If they've crossed the line, then put 'em out of business.

    When activists in Oregon organized against Savage's show last year, he issued thinly veiled threats of violence, saying he would release the names and addresses of these "little hateful nothings" to his fans (6/13/02; Salon.com, 3/5/03):

    I'm warning you if you try to damage me any further with lies, be aware of something: That which you stoke shall come to burn you, the ashes of the fireplace will come and burn your own house down. Be very careful, you are living in incendiary times. You can't just throw things at people and walk away thinking that you had a little fun. I warn you; I'm gonna warn you again, if you harm me and I pray that no harm comes to you, but I can't guarantee that it won't.

    While FAIR does not endorse advertiser boycotts and has never called on MSNBC to cancel Savage's program, these are clearly legal political tactics that are protected by the First Amendment. Threatening violence against groups you dislike, or getting the government to investigate them as a "favor," are not. It hard to take seriously MSNBC's claim to want to "expand the marketplace of ideas" when it is hiring someone with such obvious contempt for freedom of speech.

    ACTION: Please ask MSNBC to maintain a single standard on freedom of speech.


    Bob Wright, NBC President

    Neal Shapiro, NBC News President

    Erik Sorenson, MSNBC President

By Rowlf on Monday, July 7, 2003 - 06:10 pm:

    MSNBC Fires Savage on Anti-Gay Remarks

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK - MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage for anti-gay comments.

    The popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable channel referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."

    "His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.

    There was no immediate comment from Savage, according to a spokesman at his office in California.

    The brash, tough-talking Savage is one of radio's hottest jocks. His Paul Revere Society advocates closing borders, deporting illegal immigrants, mandating health tests for immigrants and eliminating entitlement programs.

    The televised version of "The Savage Nation" began March 8 despite the protests of such advocacy groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

    Aired at 5 p.m. EDT Saturday, Savage didn't translate into a television hit. He increased the ratings for the time slot marginally, according to MSNBC.

    The incident that resulted in his firing began innocently enough. Savage was taking viewer phone calls about airline horror stories, and a male caller began talking about smoking in the bathroom.

    "Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your ..." the caller said, before he was cut off and his words became unintelligible.

    "So you're one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?" Savage asked.

    The caller replied: "Yes, I am."

    "Oh, you're one of the sodomites," Savage said. "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."

    He asked for another phone caller who "didn't have a nice night in the bathhouse who's angry at me today."

    These bums "mean nothing to me," he said.

    GLAAD spokeswoman Cathy Renna said of Savage's firing: "It's about time.

    "This latest attack made the clearest case for why Savage has no place on any reputable news network. MSNBC witnessed firsthand exactly the kind of verbal assaults GLAAD's been warning them about for the past five months, and to their credit, they backed up their promises to hold Savage accountable."

By Antigone on Monday, July 7, 2003 - 06:32 pm:

    Ah, the end of an era.

By semillama on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 02:23 pm:

    Hardly surprising. Hopefully the idiots who run the networks will take this as a wake up call.

By spunky on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 03:03 pm:

    Glad that they canned that idiot

By Antigone on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 03:10 pm:

    They should have caned him.

By semillama on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 03:53 pm:

    They need to cane the genius who thought that it would be a good ratings boost to put a known bigot like that on their network and not expect him to spout off like he did.

By Rowlf on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 07:00 pm:

    apparently Savage is saying now that he didnt know he was on the air... what?

By eri on Tuesday, July 8, 2003 - 09:01 pm:

    Oh, yeah. Now I get it. That makes it all better now. He was a total fucking ass in front of the nation, but he didn't know he was on the air so it's all good (I hope you all notice the sarcasm, cuz sometimes you don't).

By patrick on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 12:41 pm:

    i don't even know this guy but he sounds like a dick.

    it sounds like NBC was attempting to make up for the huge mistake they made when they dumped howard stern many years ago by bringing in this conservative nutjob.


By spunky on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 12:44 pm:

    this guys is not, what I would consider anyway, a conservative.
    this guy is just a nutjob who claims to be a conservative

By spunky on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 12:44 pm:

    Anyone remember Morton Downy, Jr?

By Antigone on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 01:19 pm:

    Anyone remember Robert Dornan?

By spunky on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 02:03 pm:


By Antigone on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 02:24 pm:

By spunky on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

By semillama on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 - 04:05 pm:

    From that website:


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