Michael Savage’s four-year-old battle with Britain continues. The popular talk radio host has wrangled with the British government for quite a while - seeking to have his name removed from a list of 16 “undesirables” banned from the country on May 5, 2009, by then British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
The list included Islamist terrorists, neo-Nazis and Russian gang members; Mr. Savage says he remains on the list despite efforts to persuade British officials that his inclusion is unwarranted and unfair.
The battle begins afresh, however.
Mr. Savage has received an invitation from Britain’s Oxford Union to participate in a debate focusing on a topic of keen interest here and abroad: is NSA Leaker Edward Snowden a hero - or not? Founded in 1823, the historic Oxford Union has been a venue for Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, among other luminaries.
But for now, Mr. Savage’s appearance is a no-go.
“If you can convince your government to correct this miscarriage of justice and they will allow me to enter England, perhaps I could arrange to debate before your prestigious organization,” the host told officials of the esteemed venue.
This will be the second time that Mr. Savage has been forced to turn down their invitation because he remains on the aforementioned “undesirables” list. It has troubled the radio host for years. His book “Banned in Britain: Beating the Liberal Blacklist,” published in late 2009, presents the case that his name was included on the roster of public enemies in order to ‘balance’ the list - which he says was primarily composed of Muslims.
“All governments are essentially amoral,” Mr. Savage told The Washington Times in an 2010 interview, addressing this very topic.
“I had hopes but did not expect that the ‘new’ UK government to restore sanity to Britain. They are still pandering to the Muslim masses. To continue to martyr me by including me on a list of known murderers and terrorists is bad enough but for the U.S. and Western media which considers itself ‘progressive’ to continue to ignore this outrage against freedom of speech is indicative that the media and governments are one and the same,” he concluded at the time.
The British government had described Mr. Savage as a “controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.”
Prime Minister David Cameron had informed Mr. Savage that his name would remain on the banned list unless he “repudiates” currently unspecified broadcast statements that Britain “deemed a threat to public security.”
Mr. Savage sued Ms. Smith and the Home Office for defamation, attempted to enlist the help of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and devoted much airtime to freedom of speech issues and the “arbitrary and capricious” nature of the list itself.
The status of the Oxford Union invitation remains unresolved.
Mr. Savage’s show, meanwhile, is doing very well indeed. Heard by some 8 million listeners a week, “The Savage Nation” has been consistently popular for more than a decade. On Jan. 1, the program moves from a nightly broadcast to the coveted and mainstream East Coast drive time hours, from 3 p.m.- 6 p.m.