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Savagely Pink-Slipped

Parts of the ConWeb are surprisingly critical of Michael Savage's gay-bashing remarks -- but they also equivocate his behavior.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/15/2003

The treatment of Michael Savage by the ConWeb after getting his MSNBC talk show canceled for anti-gay remarks (we are talking about the ConWeb, so should we say "anti-homosexual" instead?) wasn't exactly, well, savage.

The gentlest on the conservative radio host was, not surprisingly, WorldNetDaily, who has a financial stake in him with one book of his already published and another one apparently in the works. The only story WND ran was on July 8, which played up Savage's defense -- that he was responding to a crank caller and thought he was not on the air when he made his remarks. The unbylined story points out that Savage is the "author of the New York Times best-seller 'The Savage Nation'," but fails to disclose WND's financial interests in Savage, which most real journalists do when they cover a story that touches on their employer's financial interests. WND has a problem with this.

But then, WND is just catering to the biases of its readers; an opt-in WND poll showed that three-fourths of them disagreed with Savage's cancellation.

(Savage repeats his apology at his personal Web site. His statements that "In no way did my comments reflect my views of disease and suffering in any way" and "I especially appeal to my many listeners in the gay community to accept my apologies for any inadvertent insults which may have occurred" sound transparently insincere the more one learns about Savage's history of gay-bashing remarks.)

Related articles on ConWebWatch:

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WND editor Joseph Farah, Savage's publisher, weighed in July 15 with a defense of Savage, accusing "establishment conservatives" who are critical of him of being "jealous" of Savage's popularity. Despite Savage's record, Farah exonerates him: "I take Savage at his word. I have listened to his radio show for a decade. I have never heard him wish death upon someone just because he disagreed with a caller." Farah adds that "I do not excuse wishing a hideous AIDS death upon anyone. It's not right. But Savage has apologized for it. It's time to grow up and accept the apology." Farah, on the other hand, has condoned the killing of adulterers, not all that far from Savage's wishing AIDS upon his caller.

NewsMax, meanwhile, reprinted Savage's insincere apology, as well as heavily rewriting (as in taking out everything critical of Savage, which cut it down to about four paragraphs) a story from the San Francisco Chronicle in which Savage complains that "I'm dead in the water on television." A July 15 story takes the Farah route in allowing Savage to attack a "phony conservative" who appeared on Fox News Channel and pointed out his TV show's allegedly low ratings. actually did a fairly balanced story (except for its insistence in using the word "homosexual"). However, it didn't reprint the entire Savage rant, which even WND did.

However, the Media Research Center, which operates, had a rather interesting have-it-both-ways reaction. Savage was criticized -- but his remarks were also equivocated with allegedly similar ones made about conservatives.

Brent Bozell himself leads with a July 8 column that calls Savage "a raving conservative cartoon figure" -- ironic considering Bozell's own numerous moments of being a "raving conservative cartoon figure," which cost him $3.5 million in an out-of-court settlement at one point -- But Bozell's real worry was about conservatives; he frets that "the conservative movement would get tagged by his outrageousness.

Then, having heaped his righteous scorn on Savage for the first half of his column, Bozell turns his focus, as he invariably does, on that darn librul media: "Wishing death on people hasn’t always been a damaging career move. In fact, if you wish death on conservatives, there’s no problem at all." Citing "big-mouthed leftist" Julianne Malveaux, Nina Totenberg and Bryant Gumbel, Bozell laments that "it’s too bad that the TV-talk titans never uphold civility on conservatives’ behalf, and liberals never suffer the slightest professional hiccup when their hate speech lights up the tube."

Brent Baker does the exact same thing in his July 9 CyberAlert, calling Savage a "ranter" and the canceling of his show "commendable," then goes on to cite the exact same "liberal hate speech" quotes Bozell does.

MRC also issued a press release that took the same path, complaining that "the same media turn a blind eye to liberals in the media who spew the very same hateful venom at conservatives." NewsMax took the bait and did a story on it, thus completing a trifecta of rewrites. Hey, at least they're admitting where they got their stuff from now, a big improvement over a couple years ago.

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