Sunday, 12 April 2009

RADIO INSIGHT FROM A GUY WHO KNOWS (???)

Ken Berwitz

You wouldn't take marriage counselling from Elizabeth Taylor, or elocution lessons from Barney Frank.  So why would you take advice about radio programming from an Air America executive?

Tim Graham, of www.newsbusters.org, talks about how Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff did just that, by interviewing Jon Sinton.  It is both laughable and pathetic.

Vanity Fair Projects Limbaugh Audience Will Crumble -- Based on Air America Exec's Expertise?

If you want to argue that Rush Limbaugh the radio sensation will soon crumble and fail, that he's headed for a "last hurrah," would you sign up as your expert....an Air America executive? Thats what media critic Michael Wolff did in a Vanity Fair article on Limbaugh, "the man who ate the GOP." Rush has power now, but soon he wont:

Arguably no message apparatus like it exists in the nation, except, perhaps, at the White House (or in Oprahwhose position with American women is curiously analogous to Rushs position with American conservatives). It is concentrated and extraordinary power.

Except that this power ought to be ending. It ought to all be on the wane. It is not just the Obama victory and the magnitude of his approval ratings. It is not just that the gravity of the economic crisis, with historic unemployment rates, means its a lot harder to get people excited about Reagan-and-Rush-esque hands-off government.

It is, rather, a crueler demographic point. The dirty little secret of conservative talk radio is that the average age of listeners is 67 and rising, according to [former Air America guru Jon] Sintonthe Fox News audience, likewise, is in its mid-60s: "What sort of continuing power do you have as your audience strokes out?"

You can begin to make plausibly large statements about the end ofor at least a crisis inconservative media. "There are fewer advertisers, fewer listeners, shrinking networks, shallower penetration," says Sinton. "A lowering tide lowers all ships."

Whats more, its the Internet that is the fast-growing and arguably more powerful political mediumand it is the province of the young and liberal. The only sensible market view of conservative talk is that it will contract and be reduced, in the coming years, to a much more rarefied format.

If Sinton were such an expert, wouldn't he still be "growing" Air America past Limbaugh's audience? Barack Obama telling Republicans not to listen to that Rush junk put a crimp in liberal expectations, as even Wolff admitted:

And yet, by the end of Rush Limbaughs fractious month of calculated outrage, his audience was back up to 20 million.

Wolff lamented how his E-mail server was downed by a Limbaugh wave: "Shortly after the war in Iraq began, when I was reporting from CentCom headquarters in Qatar, I asked an intemperate question of one of the military briefers in the daily televised news conference and, dissed by Rush for my lack of patriotism, got the full effect: more than 20,000 e-mails in 48 hours, shutting down my mail server."

But Wolff still ended on the theme of wishful thinking, that no one under retirement age listens to Limbaugh. It sounds like a good reason to mint new dittoheads among the young:

A kinder, gentler Republican consensus would be much worse for the Rush brand and business model than even an F.D.R.-type era of Democratic dominance.

Rush is so much more lively, scary, jaw-dropping, and fabulous when hes on the attack. Add to this that he might actually be crazythe big fear of the moderatesthat it isnt showmanship but a train wreck that were all watching, one in which he takes everyone with him. "How far will he go? You dont know what might come out of his mouth. What if he truly goes to war against the leadership? He could, you know, if he wanted to just split the party. Walk out with the hard-core conservatives. He could and he knows it," said my moderate-Republican interlocutor.

At least he can until the demographic reality catches up with him. "Its a last hurrah," says Sinton, "because it isnt and has never been first and foremost about politics. Its always been about radio. And that endgame is written."

I have a question for Mr. Sinton and Mr. Wolff:  If  this is true, how do they explain the analysis from The Project of Excellence In Journalism's latest (2008) report?  Specifically, how do they explain this part?

Audience Demographics

The talk radio audience is largely male, relatively young and ideologically conservative, although not necessarily Republican. Talkers magazine put the party breakdown in 2007 at 23% Republican, 14% Democratic, and a majority, 58%, independent. Data from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found a more equal spread among regular listeners in 2006: 32% Republican, 35% Democratic and 30% independent.

Or these data:

Talk Radio Audience
Weekly Cume (in millions)

    2007 2006 2003
Rush Limbaugh
Conservative
13.5
13.5
14.5
Sean Hannity
Conservative
12.5
12.5
11.75
Michael Savage
Conservative
8
8.25
7
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
General Advice
8
8
8.5
Laura Ingraham
Conservative
5
5
1.25
Glenn Beck
Conservative
5
3
*
Neal Boortz
Conservative
4
3.75
2.5
Mark Levin
Conservative
4
1
N/A
Dave Ramsey
Financial Advice
4
2.75
*
Mike Gallagher
Conservative
3.75
3.75
2.5
Michael Medved
Conservative
3.75
2.25
*
Jim Bohannon
Ind. / Moderate
3.25
3.25
4
Clark Howard
Consumer Advocacy
3.25
3.25
2.5
Bill O'Reilly
Conservative
3.25
3.25
1.75
Doug Stephen
Ind. / Moderate
3.25
3.25
2
Ed Schultz
Liberal / Progressive
3.25
2.25
N/A

Great insight, Jon.  This certainly explains the level of success you've had with Air America.  After all, look at how well it is represented in the above chart. 

Terrific article, Michael.  You sure did pick the right guy to explain the future of radio to us.


ANOTHER BUSH-OBAMA CONNECTION

Ken Berwitz

This is a blog that I am delighted to post.

Over the past several days a small group of subhuman scum held Captain Bill Phillips hostage and, in the face of US firepower, still thought they could make demands and exact ransom from us. 

And why not?  Over the past two or so years they have made a huge fortune doing exactly that to various European countries, which have had neither the foresight nor the guts to do a thing about it other than pay up.  And the UN?  They're too busy working on new ways to condemn Israel to do anything about piracy and terrorism on the high seas.

During this time I have questioned whether President Obama had the resolve to do what had to be done.  I wondered if Mr. Obama would go the way of Bill Clinton and not act decisively against them, or go the way of George Bush and show these sacks of excrement what we are made of.

I am thrilled to report yet another connection between Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush.  Here, from Fox News, are the details:

 Obama Twice Approved Plan to Rescue U.S. Sea Captain

A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama granted the authority on Friday and Saturday to use appropriate force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast.President Obama twice authorized the military to rescue a U.S. captain held by Somali pirates and whose life appeared to be at risk.

A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama granted the authority on Friday and Saturday to use appropriate force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. The Pentagon believed Phillips' life was at risk both times, officials said.

A senior administration official said the president's order authorized force for a group of military assets that arrived at the scene late last week. When more resources arrived, Obama added them to a roster of military personnel allowed to engage militarily with the Somali pirates.

Obama was told Sunday of the rescue while he was in the White House residence, administration officials said. He phoned Phillips and Phillips' family, an official told FOX News.

"I am very pleased that Capt. Phillips has been rescued and is safely on board the USS Boxer," the president said in a statement. "His safety has been our principal concern, and I know this is a welcome relief to his family and his crew."

Obama also praised the U.S. military and the other departments and agencies for their efforts.

"We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region," he said. "To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes."

A law enforcement official told FOX News that if the Justice Department determines it has enough evidence to charge the pirate currently in custody, the prosecution will take place in New York where the pirate would be transferred within days.

Phillips was in "imminent danger" of being killed by his captors before U.S. Special Operations forces fatally shot them, a U.S. military official said.

Phillips was not hurt in the several minutes of gunfire off the Somali coast Sunday. Phillips was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

Three pirates were killed and one surrendered to U.S. forces, said the military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the event publicly.

The Pentagon briefed reporters late Sunday afternoon on the dramatic rescue.

"This was an incredible team effort, and I am extremely proud of the tireless efforts of all the men and women who made this rescue possible" Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said in a statement.

He called Phillips and his crew "heroic."

The U.S. military official described a tense and terrifying few minutes for Phillips, during which "we definitely felt there was a life-threatening situation there."

He said the situation appeared "imminent" and that forces shot the pirates to death.

Following the rescue, Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge and later flown to the USS Boxer, where he called his family and got a medical evaluation.

Full credit goes to our military, especially our Navy Seals, who pulled this rescue off so successfully.  They are heroes, and make all of us who care about this country as proud as we can be.

But they could not have performed their heroics without the go-ahead from President Obama. 

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have a lot of negative things to say about President Obama.  But not today. 

Today Mr. Obama showed us a facet of his presidency that not only is great, but should be a loud, clear warning to the next bunch of thugs or terrorists who think they can push us around.  The current occupant of the White House will stand strong against them. 

My congratulations to him!

free` Why would he have to give the OK twice? That doesn't make any sense to me. I think their is more to this than the media are reporting. (04/13/09)


ISRAEL PEACE PARTNER UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

These two items come from Palestine Media Watch (www.pmw.org.il).  Watch them and know what Israel is supposed to make peace with (if you have trouble clicking on the videos, click here instead):

Hamas Blood Libel: Jews drink Muslim blood
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Apr. 5, 2009

Jews drink the blood of Muslims and believe that God wants Jews to hate Muslims, according to a Hamas TV skit. Performed before a live audience at the Islamic University in Gaza, the segment features actors playing a father and son, in traditional Hasidic Jewish garb, discussing their God mandated hatred of Muslims.

The skit opens as the father instructs: "We Jews hate the Muslims, we want to kill the Muslims, we Jews want to drink the blood of Muslims." It is later explained that Jews wash their hands before prayer, not with water, but with Muslims blood: "We have to wash our hands with the blood of Muslims."

Blood libels were a tragic part of Jewish history, as Jews were accused of using the blood of non-Jews for ritual purposes, especially the baking of Matzah for Passover. Blood libels created deep hatred and were an effective trigger for numerous pogroms and the murder of thousands. The Hamas accusation that Jews drink Muslim blood comes the week before Passover, the anniversary of many horrific blood libels.

Following is the full Transcript:

Father: "We Jews hate the Muslims, we love killing the Muslims. We Jews love to drink the blood of Muslims and Arabs.
[Turns to the audience:] Are you Arabs? Are you Muslims?
I hate you! Yes, I hate you, to please the Lord.

To please the Lord"
...
Father: "Shimon, look, my son, I want to teach you a few things. You have to hate the Muslims."
Son: "I don't like them, I hate them."
Father: "You have to drink the Muslims' blood.

I repeat: You have to hate the Muslims."

Son: "I hate the Muslims."

Father: "You have to drink the Muslims' blood."
...
Father: "You have to stand next to me and pray, my son."
Son: "One moment and I'm coming."
Father: "Where are you going, my son?"
Son: "To wash [with water]."
Father: "To do WHAT?"
Son: "To wash before prayer."
Father: "Muslims do this, not us!
...
We have to wash our hands with the blood of Muslims."

Hamas to kids:
Death is honor and victory

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Apr. 3, 2009

Hamas continues its compelling message to children that death, not life, is the prime value. The following lyrics have been appearing regularly in a song on the children's program Tomorrow's Pioneers on Hamas TV: "Teach the children that death is honor and victory. Through death, we seek to bring the dawn and the day." [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), March 20, 2009]

While the words are being sung, a young girl throws darts shaped like missiles at a target shaped like the Star of David, promoting another repeating Hamas message - violence against Israel. When the target is hit and the Star of David falls, the young girl raises her hands in victory.

Click here to view the song celebrating death as honor.

Still think there is any realistic chance of making peace with these people?


"FREE SPEECH" IN TODAY'S CANADA

Ken Berwitz

Last year I blogged a number of times about the kangaroo-court justice perpetrated on writer Ezra Levant and others, for their crime of acting as though there was still free speech in Canada.

Levant learned what other Canadians have learned in recent years - that if you dare to say what you think in Canada you can be subjected to a fraudulent, disgraceful "Human Rights" tribunal in which you are arbitrarily told what you can and can't say - after being punished severely for your crime of exercising the free speech you thought was your right as a Canadian.

Salim Mansur of the Toronto Sun has written an excellent account of what was done to Mr. Levant.  Here it is: 

Levant defends us all

Last Updated: 11th April 2009, 11:41amEzra Levant's book Shakedown released last month might be the most important publication of the year. It documents the state of free speech in Canada.

Canadians, well informed about current news and public affairs, have heard of Levant and his experience with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (AHRCC).

Levant's troubles began when he was publisher of the now defunct newsmagazine, the Western Standard, publishing in February 2006 the hugely controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. These cartoons, first published in Denmark in September 2005, unleashed an orgy of Muslim demonstrations and violence across the Arab-Muslim world, and apprehension in Europe.

The fear of inflaming further violence brought the western media to decide against publishing or showing on television these cartoons. Levant saw the cartoons, however, as news and that the news story could not be told without them.

He published them explaining, "I'm publishing the centre of a controversy. That's what newsmagazines do." But Levant's explanation in an age of "human rights commissions" as watchdogs of how Canadians speak without offending, or likely to offend anyone, was politically incorrect. The AHRCC routinely accepted the complaint brought by one Syed Soharwardy against the Western Standard, and Levant was faced with the choice of accepting a negotiated settlement or fighting the complaint.

In making his stand for free speech on the basis of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, plus common law, reaching back to the principles set forth in the 800-year-old Magna Carta, Levant entered into the labyrinth of the human rights commissions from where no Canadian sued for "hate speech" has come out free and untarnished.

Levant did win despite such commissions' records of ruling unfailingly in favour of complainants. After more than a year of inquiry into the "Levant affair," the AHRCC dismissed Soharwardy's complaint. Yet the complaint's dismissal was not quite a win as Levant explains in his book.

The basis of the complaint -- the hate speech section of the human rights code -- remains and Canadians without Levant's abilities must speak warily or face likely prosecution knowing free speech is not free in their country.

Canada is one of the oldest democracies, rightfully proud of its traditions among which is the hard won and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. But social engineering of the 1960s gave Canadians the human rights commissions, with legislatively provided power to monitor free speech and punish those who run afoul of their codes. This is a stain on Canadian democracy.

Freedom of speech is the foundation of liberal democracy and the ground on which rests all other freedoms. Of this Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-born writer and winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for literature, noted bitingly, "The origin of freedom lies in breathing."

The lamest excuse for constraining free speech is preventing people from being offended.

Renaissance

Imagine if human rights commission-type commissars had prevailed at the beginning of the Renaissance and Reformation. The modern world would have been aborted at its conception.

In Shakedown Levant has compellingly demonstrated why it is not "normal" for a mature democracy to place any constraint -- apart from the criminal code provisions -- on free speech.

Levant deserves to be read widely and Canadians should be asking, in increasing numbers, why politicians are not moving fast enough to remove this stain from their democracy.

As mentioned in Mr. Mansur's piece, Mr. Levant has just published a book about what he endured, for his crime of speaking freely.  The book, appropriately enough, is called "Shakedown".

It is sure to blow the cover off of what passes for justice in Canada today.  Good.


WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOMALI TERRORIST THREAT

Ken Berwitz

Under Clinton we did nothing about terrorism.  It got an 8 year free pass to grow in size and scope; enough so that it was able to successfully attack us on 9/1//2001.

Under Bush we attacked terrorism at its source - in al qaeda's case, Afghanistan.  We removed the taliban's al qaeda-friendly government and took out their training camps.  We've been untouched by terrorist attacks ever since.

Under Obama?  Here is the beginning of an article in today's Washington Post about the new terror threat.  See which of Mr. Obama's two predecessors he seems more like - at least so far:

Obama Team Mulls Aims Of Somali Extremists

Seeing Potential Terror Threat, Officials Debate Their Options

Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, April 11, 2009; Page A01

Senior Obama administration officials are debating how to address a potential terrorist threat to U.S. interests from a Somali extremist group, with some in the military advocating strikes against its training camps. But many officials maintain that uncertainty about the intentions of the al-Shabab organization dictates a more patient, nonmilitary approach.

Al-Shabab, whose fighters have battled Ethiopian occupiers and the tenuous Somali government, poses a dilemma for the administration, according to several senior national security officials who outlined the debate only on the condition of anonymity.

The organization's rapid expansion, ties between its leaders and al-Qaeda, and the presence of Americans and Europeans in its camps have raised the question of whether a preemptive strike is warranted. Yet the group's objectives have thus far been domestic, and officials say that U.S. intelligence has no evidence it is planning attacks outside Somalia.

Does that tell you which way Mr. Obama is heading?  Frankly no.  Not yet.

The question is, which way do you want him to head? 

Would it be ok with you if he acted to end this threat before it comes to our shores (resulting in the USA being condemned as imperialists and aggressors by much of the world and Obama being reviled by much of his own political base)?  Or should he let it slide until we are attacked, and then angrily denounced the terrorist (resulting in the USA being sympathized with by some of the world, while the rest of it applauds the terrorists)?

In short, do you want Barack Obama to act like Mr. Clinton or Mr. Bush?

Think about it.

P.S.:  The folks at www.powerlineblog.com have been blogging for weeks about the large Somali population which has settled in Minnesota.  They are talking about the numbers of young Somali men being sent back home to train as jihadists and then re-entering the USA.  I urge you to read their material.  It will give you insight about what we're facing that mainstream media refuse to talk about.


ISRAEL PEACE-PARTNER UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

From Charles Johnson at www.littlegreenfootballs.com, we see what "peace" means to bashar al-assad of Syria:

Chinless Opthalmologist Gets into the Spirit of Hope and Change

Middle East | Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 10:48:28 am PDT

You mean there are people who actually believe that chinless Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has suddenly become a peacemaker? Bashar Assad the peacemaker? Think again.

In the last two or three years, a number of old arguments regarding Syria have again become fashionable. One of them is that peace with Syria is not only there to be had, but that it may lead to drastic changes in Syrian behavior, in turn altering regional dynamics for the better. However, in several recent interviews, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made statements that paint a very different picture.

In his comments, Assad clarified exactly what he meant by peace with Israel, and it bore no resemblance to the rosy scenarios painted by the peace processors. In fact, the president raised serious questions about the value of any such deal altogether.

In a recent interview with the Emirati newspaper Al-Khaleej, Assad made a remarkable and indeed unprecedented comment about what his concept of peace with Israel was. A peace agreement, he said, is a piece of paper you sign. This does not mean trade and normal relations, or borders, or otherwise.

There, folks, is what is supposed to define "peace" with Israel.  Would it be peace to you?  Would you consider the source of such an offer a peacemaker?

That is what Israel contends with every day of its existence.


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