- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

COMMENTARY:

When the political epitaph is finally written for Britain’s beleaguered Labor Party (now polling 19 points below their Conservative rivals), its boneheaded move to ban an American radio talk-show host from entering the United Kingdom will surely be included.

As syndicated talker Michael Savage has expressed no previous desire to travel to or even spread his political message within Britain, the government’s decision to exclude him from the country is all the more baffling.

As one might expect, the inevitable public backlash has begun: According to UTV News, curiosity has set in as U.K. residents wonder about the fuss. Until Tuesday, most had never heard of Mr. Savage - his program does not air in Britain. Now, the network believes Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has done him a huge, unintended favor.

So far, media reaction has been mostly predictable, with one BBC Radio 4 commentator wondering why Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers hadn’t also been included. Yes, the banned personality list just isn’t long enough!

Though Ms. Smith didn’t provide specific details upon announcing Mr. Savage’s exclusion from the country, the BBC indicates it was because he’s “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.”

If we take that to mean the United Kingdom no longer tolerates commentators who utilize violent or racially insensitive commentary, then why stop with Mr. Savage? Does she believe extreme rhetoric exists only on the right?

Perhaps Ms. Smith might also consider banning a few of the left’s most notorious radio talk hosts:

(1) Mike Malloy, who in 2007 expressed a “violence fantasy” toward then-White House press secretary Dana Perino. A month later, here was his wish for Matt Drudge: “Somebody ought to wrap a strong Republican entrail around his neck and hoist him up about six feet in the air and watch him bounce.”

As for Bush administration officials in general, Mr. Malloy advocates this delightful approach: “We’re going to start by hauling every one of these pigs that have ruined this country in the past seven years, we’re going to haul these pigs out in front of the American people and they are going to be forced to testify. If you testify and tell the truth, tell the truth, nothing will happen. …

“But if you don’t tell the truth, then we’re going to use enhanced interrogation techniques on you. We’re going to let you go for a little swim. We’re going to make you think you are drowning. And some of you, just for the hell of it, we may allow you to drown.”

Mr. Malloy is also known for overt racism. With producer/wife Kathy Malloy supplying the mocking Indian voice, Mr. Mallory laughed during this February exchange meant to disparage Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: “Hello, my name is Bobby, how may I give you excellent customer service today, I hear you are having problems with hard drive. I am so very sorry this is happening to you, ma’am.”

(2) Stephanie Miller, perhaps one of liberal radio’s meanest characters, last year used Democratic primary results in Guam and American Samoa to make fun of the physical characteristics of the latter’s inhabitants:

Stephanie Miller: We won Guam! Obama wins Guam (applause).

Chris Lavoie, producer: Nah, it’s a wash because each one of them gets two delegates.

Ms. Miller: And, Hillary won American Samoa and they weigh more. So technically, she is probably, in terms of small places with large people (more applause), she’s uh … .

Mr. Lavoie: Guam doesn’t have large people.

Ms. Miller: No, but Samoa does. And I’m just saying if it gets down to that, and it may get down to the weighing of delegates, they are bigger.

(3) Randi Rhodes, who has returned to the airwaves with a new contract via Clear Channel, has her own colorful history: in 2008, she was yanked from Air America after calling Hillary Clinton “a big … whore.”

She also has a history of airing creepy prerecorded skits, including one in 2008 that suggested Mitt Romney supporters would commit mass murder if John McCain won the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. And who can forget her infamous 2005 sketch that indicated a Sopranos-style hit on President Bush?

In the end, Britain has the right to exclude from its shores anyone it wishes. But that doesn’t mean the United Kingdom’s new thought-crimes list couldn’t be a bit more balanced. Is the Home Secretary listening?

Brian Maloney is a political /media analyst and blogger for the Radio Equalizer.

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