A Nov. 30 WorldNetDaily article reports that "[t]rend-setting radio talk show host Michael Savage" has filed a lawsuit against the Council on Islamic-American Relations, claiming that CAIR's alleged use of Savage's rantings to raise money is copyright infringement against Savage. The lawsuit also accuses CAIR of being a "political vehicle of international terrorism" that seeks to do "material harm to those voices who speak against the violent agenda of CAIR's clients." But nowhere does WND note that Savage has a history of filing lawsuits to silence his critics.
In 2003, Savage's syndicator, Talk Radio Network, sued the operators of the websites SavageStupidity.com, MichaelSavageSucks.com, and Take Back The Media for calling for an advertiser boycott of Savage's show, thus "unlawfully interfer[ing] with TRN's business relationships with its advertisers and sponsors." Like the CAIR lawsuit, TRN's lawsuit tries to make an end run around the First Amendment to silence a critic by alleging copyright infringement. The TRN suit also cited "tortious interference with contract," "intentional interference with prospective economic advantage" and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
Interestingly, the only example of "false and malicious" information provided in the lawsuit is the claim that "TRN is owned and operated by 'cult leader Roy Masters.'" The lawsuit responds only: "These statements are false. Roy Masters does not own TRN." But as we've detailed, Masters founded TRN, his son currently runs it, and he has been accused of cult-like behavior.
Though that lawsuit was filed by Savage's syndicator, Savage clearly endorsed it, having previously threatened the boycott leaders on the air:
You rats! You stinking rats who hide in the sewers! You think you can go after my income? You think you can kill my advertisers? You think I'm Dr. Laura? You think I'm gonna roll over like a pussy? You're wrong. I'm going to find out where you get your money from. You live by handouts, all of you. You live off grants, all of you. You're a bunch of beggars, but you don't know how lucky you are. If you continue this, we're going to go after your funding sources. And we will do everything we can within the legal realm to cut off that funding! We are also going to go to the U.S. Justice Department under John Ashcroft! What you are doing is illegal! You think it's 1965 and I'm South Africa? I've got news for you: it's not 1965 and it ain't South Africa! I'll cut your funding off, and if you break the law any further, I'll put you in jail!
That lawsuit, by the way, ultimately dropped.
Of particular note in the CAIR lawsuit is how Savage's radio work is described as something akin to performance art:
Michael Savage’s show in its introduction promises “psychological nudity”. Savage’s outrage and strong language objecting to the murder of homosexuals and the mutilation and oppression of women under the guise of religion makes much more sense than the CAIR packaged spin that Savage who has repeatedly taken pro-faith views was somehow against a particular religious group in its entirety.
The audience of “The Savage Nation” expects this type of from the heart outrage and when it is directed at a murderer such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ilk, the piece is far more understandable and far more American mainstream. While the strength of the outrage is remarkable and a hallmark of “The Savage Nation”, the sentiment is shared by a huge number of Americans.
Following in longstanding tradition, WND gives CAIR no opportunity to respond to the lawsuit, nor does it disclose its previous business relationship with Savage, which included publishing his early books under the WND Books imprint.
UPDATE: A Dec. 1 WND article notes that "Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, told WND the group would not comment on the action until the document had been reviewed," but goes on to repeat attacks against CAIR by claiming that "several of CAIR's leaders have been convicted on terror charges since 9/11." WND gave no indication that it gave CAIR a chance to respond to these claims.