Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

A little belated but the APF team wishes you a happy Christmas and a festive holiday season for your family and friends. In keeping with the holiday theme here is a classic pundit video from Christmas seasons' past.

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly - Christmas Under Siege (2006)

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Intro - Bill O'Reilly - Christmas Under Siege
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Intro - Bill O'Reilly - Christmas Under Siege
JON STEWART: You know it seems like the 'War on Christmas' comes earlier every year now. Can't retailers wait till Thanksgiving to spit in the face of Jesus. Oh I know they wanna get as much mileage as they can from their pagan signage...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Laura Ingraham chides Bill O'Reilly, asking if "he ate an ACORN cookie?" O'Reilly calls Ingraham a "Kool-Aid drinker"

Laura Ingraham appeared on 'The O'Reilly Factor' to talk about the Healthcare bill. Before the discussion, Laura lightheartedly chided Bill for his "gushing" over the Obama family the night previous when he spoke of attending the White House Media Christmas Party. Bill takes offense at Ingraham's dig and in typical fashion overheats, angrily making note of Ingraham's stubbornness as an ideologue.

This isn't the first time Ingraham has been unimpressed by O'Reilly's cynical positioning in order to be seen as a moderate opinionmaker

VIDEO: Ingraham Calls O'Reilly Out for Kissing Up to the Obamas - 
Did You Eat an ACORN Cookie Last Night?
The O'Reilly Factor December 17, 2009
LAURA INGRAHAM: ... Its like you and Michelle Obama, we're like this
BILL O'REILLY: (facetiously) Hey me and Michelle Obama are very, very close
INGRAHAM: I'm gushing over your gushing last night over the Christmas Party
O'REILLY: I' gonna call you out on this. I thought she was very nice at the party... she was nice. I reported what happened and you have a beef with it
INGRAHAM: I have one question for you Bill - Did you eat an ACORN cookie last night? Yes or no?
O'REILLY: Oh bull! You are a blind ideologue, and even if somebody is nice to you. You won't admit it. Talk about a kool-aid drinker I mean c'mon...
Read a comprehensive transcript from Conservative blog, - O'Reilly Calls Ingraham 'A Blind Ideologue' 'Kool-Aid Drinker', She Asks If He Ate 'ACORN Cookie' At White House Christmas Party

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Stephen Colbert and Richard Branson feud

Asked which historical figure he would most like to fist fight "rebel bilionaire" Richard Branson reponded with a dig at Colbert. Watch the unfolding feud between Colbert and Branson.
May 6, 2009: Colbert-Branson Duel
RICHARD BRANSON: Yeah maybe Stephen Colbert. He's getting far to big for his boots
STEPHEN COLBERT: Branson! You wanna fight? You come over here and fight me... and since you - a knight of the realm have challenged me to a duel... in which case I say we duel with naked models clinging to our backs. A feud with the dudes with the nudes - a no-holds-barred chicken fight between you and me and a couple of hairless shoulder monkeys

Colbert-Branson Duel
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Jon Stewart mocks Laura Ingraham's Tea Party Speech, paraphrasing holocaust poem

Jon Stewart channeling Keith Olbermann at his snarkiest cut a promo on Conservative Radio Talker Laura Ingraham. It was part of a segment highlighting some of the humorous aspects of the Tea Party protest against the administration's Healthcare proposals which was well attended by demonstrators and politicians. Stewart took exception to Ingraham's cynical appropriation of the renowned 'Holocaust poem - 'First they came'
December 16, 2009: Highway to Health - Last Tea Party Protest of the Year
JON STEWART: Look! I get it, you're a little frustrated by policy choices that may or may not come to pass. But you do realise that the phrase "came for" in the poem is a euphemism for round up and kill. So let me today make this pledge to you, if the government begins to round up and kill the rich, the land-owning and those who choose to bear arms - I'll speak up
VIDEO: Highway to Health - Last Tea Party Protest of the Year
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I fully expect Ingraham to return fire as soon as she returns to the radio on Monday

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Keith Olbermann challenges Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck over Dick Wolf's Law and Order

Keith Olbermann went on his patented 10 minute promo, challenging Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly over their objection that Dick wolf's Law and Order defamed the conservative pundits by misrepresenting their stances on illegal immigration.

VIDEO: Keith Olbermann Goes Off On O’Reilly And Beck
for their take on Dick Wolf’s 'Law And Order'
KEITH OLBERMANN: NBC's Law and Order and executive producer Dick Wolf make a passing reference to the hot and cold incitement to hate and violence that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly constitute and Beck and Bill-o act as if they have been violated

Person 1: I don't get why you're defending this wacko?
Person 2: I think its the symptom not the disease...
Person 1: That symptom killed 3 people
Person 2: Garrison, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly. All of em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate. I mean they've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system...
Olbermann's rant involves a pre-emptive defense of fellow liberal talker Janeane Garofalo and a taunting roll call of every prominent Conservative talker and writer in the media from Matt Drudge to Mark Levin and the "Coultergeist". Olbermann credits Bartcop's original post on "The Myth of the liberal media" in his tirade.

Monday, December 14, 2009

WWE 2009 Slammy Awards hosted by Conservative Talker Dennis Miller

VIDEO: WWE Slammy Awards 2009 Hosted By Dennis Miller
The newest APF member, conservative talker Dennis Miller will finally be making his appearance as the guest General Manager for WWE's Raw program.
WWE 2009 Slammy Awards hosted by Dennis Miller
It will be a slamming award-winning time tonight on Raw when several honors will be up for grabs at the 2009 Slammy Awards. Hosted by renowned comedian and radio talk show personality Dennis Miller, this prestigious event will be a guaranteed can't-miss hit.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

John Ziegler debates with Cenk Uygur of 'The Young Turks'

VIDEO: Sarah Palin Defender John Ziegler In-Studio w/ Cenk!
The Young Turksiew with John Ziegler (Dec 10, 2009)
JOHN ZIEGLER: I think that its interesting that you presume that because she doesn't answer a question that it must be "Ah she's an idiot or she's stupid". To me that is a circular argument - you presume she's stupid and everything that might indicate that she might theoretically be stupid you automatically say that is the explanation

CENK UYGUR: Even if I think you're right, which I don't even for a second. Even if I thought "hey, she's just trying to dodge the question". There is a million better ways to dodge the question.

At least leave the audience with a sense that you at least understand who Hamas is, that you understand what the Gaza Strip is. That you understand what the problem is. If you frame it that way you have to understand that people are going to think you didn't know what the hell you were talking about and hence you're underqualified, you're stupid etc...
In a previous posts describing the various interview formats used by pundits I've drawn comparisons to analogous styles of wrestling matches. The squash match, the handicap match, shoot fights and the Iron Man Match.

Today's example is the "Iron Man match". Its a long format debate known for its civility and technical execution, it is rare to find these type of match in the media landscape as HotAir laments
Video: Ziegler, Uyger debate about Sarah Palin
It’s a 26-minute debate that John Ziegler describes to me as “an educated and civil discussion” with Young Turks host Cenk Uyger, and he’s right. Cenk lets John talk and addresses his points openly, and avoids the kind of shout-downs that usually happens at MS-NBC...
I've discussed why its become harder to find these types of debates on Mainstream TV in detail previously
Technical Wrestlers: Hugh Hewitt and Thom Hartmann
Its increasingly hard to find pundits who engage in fruitful debate because of the popular 'Crash TV' formats of most TV and Radio. The small amount of time alloted and the diametrically opposite viewpoints held naturally degenerates into shouting matches.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jon Stewart calls out Glenn Beck for his opportunistic shilling for Gold

VIDEO: Beck - Not So Mellow Gold
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Beck - Not So Mellow Gold
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Jon Stewart continues his skewering of Glenn Beck, this time examining Beck's motives for his constant promotion of Gold as an attractive investment option.
December 10, 2009: Beck - Not So Mellow Gold
JON STEWART: This is kind of a nice feedback loop, Glenn Beck is paid by Goldline to drum up business for Gold which increases value in times of fear. A notion reinforced nightly on Fox by Glenn Beck. Alright I'm almost sold.

Fox is vouching for Beck. Beck is vouching for Gold. Close the deal.
Its worth noting that the wrestling world also has its own character that is theatrical, God fearing, who some have described as "bizarre" and is also obsessed with Gold.

VIDEO: WWE - Goldust Make His Return At The 2002 Royal Rumble

John Gibson appears on 'The O'Reilly Factor', calls out Jon Stewart

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly And John Gibson: Conservatives Upset About Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

A new look John Gibson was a guest on the O'Reilly factor to talk about President Obama and his new book 'How the Left Swiftboated America: The Liberal Media Conspiracy to Make You Think George Bush Was the Worst President in History'.
The O'Reilly Factor (12/09/09)
BILL O'REILLY: Who is the biggest villain in your opinion in the media today?
JOHN GIBSON: One of the most influential is Jon Stewart
O'REILLY: Yeah - Jon Stewart. The Daily Show?
GIBSON: He influenced a huge number of young men, who probably wouldn't have gone out and voted the way they did...
O'REILLY: That's interesting
GIBSON: ... cuz they thought he was a real newsperson
O'REILLY: How about the dopey guy Colbert?
GIBSON: I don't bother with him...
Expect a follow up in the coming days from either Stewart or Colbert as this is perfect fodder for a continuing feud. A likely calculation on Gibson's part to generate attention for his new book.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

South Park - Eric Cartman parodies Glenn Beck

VIDEO: South Park Mocks Glenn Beck

ERIC CARTMAN: Lunch today is going to be pizza. Again. Friends our school is dying and you know it. You feel it. You're like me you want to change it but aw no Wendy Testaburger is not gonna let that happen. This is not the school we grew up in and I don't know if we can get it back.

So let's just take a look at what our School President wants, what is she trying to achieve. Let's just take a quick look at these key words right here...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stephen Colbert fights with Weekly Standard's Christopher Caldwell

Al Franken is not the only Pundit who isn't afraid to actually fight. Stephen talks about coming to fisticuffs with one of his guests on a recent episode of 'The Colbert Report'

VIDEO: Stephen on his fight with Christopher Caldwell (Nov 11, 2009)
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Sign Off - Stephen's Fight With Christopher Caldwell
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Sign Off - Stephen's Fight With Christopher Caldwell (Nov 11, 2009)
STEPHEN COLBERT: That is it for tonight's show. I thought that it went pretty well except for the violent fistfight I had with Christopher Caldwell that we had to edit out. I bet he tells everybody back at the Weekly Standard he walked into a door. Goodnight everybody

Watch Stephen's full interview with Christopher Caldwell - November 11, 2009: Christopher Caldwell

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jon Stewart tag teams with Wrestler Mick Foley to protect 10-Year-Old Gay Marriage Activist

Wrestler Mick Foley and Daily Show host Jon Stewart
Via the Huffington Post
Jon Stewart Enlists Pro-Wrestler Mick Foley To Protect 10-Year-Old Gay Marriage Activist (VIDEO)
Last week we told you about young Will Phillips, a boy who refuses to pledge allegiance to the flag and the United States of America until gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. While Will is finding support from op-ed columnists and his parents, the kids at school are not as kind. They are harassing Will and calling him a "gaywad."

Well, last night Jon Stewart decided to do something about it. After praising this precocious 10-year-old, he decided the boy must be protected so he brought out professional wrestler Mick Foley to deliver a message...
This isn't a surprising partnership as I've spoken of Hall-of-Fame wrestler Foley's involvement in Politics and Jon Stewart's support of the wrestling analogy as it relates to politics. The bully protection tag team of Stewart and Foley is reminiscent of wrestling duo 'The APA' (Acolytes Protection Agency), who acted as bodyguards for hire for their fellow wrestlers.

VIDEO: Gaywatch - Peter Vadala & William Phillips
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JON STEWART: This child must be protected. Foley! Ladies and Gentleman, Mick Foley.
(crowd applauds)
MICK FOLEY: Thank You Jon, like a lot of my professional wrestling brethren I was touched by young Will's plight. Well I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do, If I find out that anybody has hassled this young man or teased him or called him a wad of any sort. I and perhaps a few of my friends will come to his school and bring a world of pain...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jon Stewart exposes Hannity for using Glenn Beck's 9/12 rally footage

November 10, 2009: Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
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Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
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Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest FootageJON STEWART: Can we back up a little, Cuz that was weird. When that clip started it was a clear fall day in Washington DC. Not a cloud in the sky, the leaves have changed. It's well attended but sparse but then the leaves turn green again, then it's cloudy and it looks like thousands and thousands more people arrive. If Ididn't know any better they just put two different days together. Where have I seen that last footage before.

(Glenn Beck footage is played)

Wow! That was actually from Glenn Beck's 9/12 rally two months ago, his much bigger 9/12 rally.It seems Sean Hannity used footage of a totally different event to make the GOP Healthcare rally more heavily attended
Though the analogy isn't airtight in this instance, Wrestling has its own storied history of inflating audience numbers
Was the Wrestlemania III attendance really 93,173? I've heard from several credible sources that it was a work, and that the actual number is closer to 78,000. Can you guys clear that up?
First of all you have to understand that the WWF back in those days routinely lied about attendance numbers on TV to make them bigger than they were...

Meltzer asked Vince McMahon himself why they used to inflate the numbers, because the shows were sold out themselves and the real number was impressive enough. Why add a few thousand? Vince was quoted as saying what appears on television people should consider for entertainment purposes. This actually isn't exclusive to WWE, as other forms of sports and entertainment often lie about the actual attendance to make it sound impressive.
Read discussion of The Hannity shows' "creative editing" from Conservative blog 'Hotair' - Uh-oh: Jon Stewart catches Fox News’ creative editing

Update: November 12, 2009
Sean Hannity apologizes and concedes that Jon Stewart was right, thought he inserts a subtle dig by referencing "Jon Stewart's writers"

VIDEO: Hannity Apologizes To Jon Stewart For Airing Wrong Protest Footage
SEAN HANNITY: Although it pains me to say this; Jon Stewart, Comedy Central - he was right... He was correct... It was an inadvertent mistake but a mistake nonetheless. So Mr Stewart you were right, we apologize and by the way I'd like to Thank You and all your writers for watching.
Jon Stewart follows up on Hannity's apology and comments unflatteringly on the 'Hannity' program - Sean Hannity Apologizes to Jon

Monday, November 9, 2009

The View's Hot Topic - "The Battling Presidents": George W Bush and Bill Clinton

The View - Day of Hot Topics (November 11, 2009)

The ladies of 'The View' discuss the wrestling style promotion of the touring lecture series featuring former Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton.
Bush, Clinton to appear at Radio City Music Hall
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are set to appear at Radio City Music Hall in February - though if history is any guide, the matchup is likely to produce few fireworks.

The famous New York City venue announced Wednesday the two former presidents will share the same stage February 25, nine months after the ex-presidents shared a similar stage in Toronto, Canada.
As the ladies discuss, because the event was beginning to be billed as something it was not - A fight event rather than concurrent speeches from two former Presidents, it was canceled.
'The View' - Hot Topics (November 9, 2009)
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: A debate between Presidents Bush and Clinton that was billed in an ad in the New York Times as the hottest ticket in political history has been cancelled. A Clinton spokes person said it happened because it was being billed into something it was not.What do you guys think?

BARBARA WALTERS: ..the first thing that sort of annoyed me and it's happened in other place. Is this what's happening. Is this show business now? That the two ex-presidents come on together and do mano-a-mano. So I thought I'd buy the ticket, cuz they'd done this in Toronto... but evidently this was being described as a debate. But these two men don't want to do a debate. They want to do nice- nice. In the other cities it was very boring and people were disappointed. So they tried to Jazz it up. So that's why this happened and it got canceled.

JOY BEHAR: You got to sell tickets. Radio City is a big hall
The ladies go on to discuss the value of the former Presidents debating and why it should or shouldn't be billed as a wrestling style battle in order to generate ticket sales.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: ...they don't want to be billed as the battling presidents cuz that's not what they're doing

JOY BEHAR: In the Toronto report they were making nice with each other and I thought that was pretty boring

BARBARA WALTERS: So that's the point people were not buying tickets... If you're going to try this guys and you're coming on like show business. And you're getting paid $100,000 maybe more. You can't just come on and do a nice (inaudible)

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Wait a minute,Why do we have to demand show business from our Presidents

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"The 11/3 Project" - Jon Stewart parodies Glenn Beck

Jon Stewart parodied Glenn Beck in a recent episode of 'The Daily Show'. Lampooning Beck's signature presentation style and Beck-isms - making conspiratorial connections from random threads, the theatrical delivery and emotional pleas.

The jumping off point for Stewart was Beck's absence from his show due to appendicitis

VIDEO: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - The 11/3 Project
The 11/3 Project
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The 11/3 Project
JON STEWART: The powers that be don't want you to talk about this. There is a war going on in America, and the stakes are nothing less than Glenn Beck's internal organs...

I've been working on something since November 4th. That was the day that Glenn Beck was hospitalised and I wanna share it with you tonight. I wanna take you to something that I call the 11/3 project. It's 11 principles and 3 herbs and spices...
Whilst its clear that Jon Stewart is directly ripping off Glenn Beck. One could argue that Stewart is plagiarizing Stephen Colbert who is a living parody of Bill O'Reilly. Stephen Colbert was the first to reappropriate Beck's signature lines into facetiously "fearing for Glenn Beck". Colbert also established the 10/31 project before Stewart developed his 11/3 project.

So what is the over and under that Stephen Colbert takes a shot at Stewart for ripping him off? Colbert taking a shot a Stewart for copying his original parody of Beck whilst originally being a parody of O'Reilly. As a fan of meta, that might make for an interesting gag considering Stephen and Jon's partnership.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

PBS Newshour's feature on "Talkers Shaping Political Discourse in U.S."

PBS Newshour had an illuminating feature examining the role Talkers are playing in American Politics.

Some of the most poignant comments came from Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine

On why Talk Radio is the way it is and why it always has been
TV, Radio Talkers Shaping Political Discourse in U.S.
MICHAEL HARRISON: Radio, popular radio in America, all the way back to the '30s, has been a street medium. It's always been the medium of the street, reflecting populism.

So, what you hear on radio and what you're seeing now on cable news talk television, which is really an extension of talk radio, is just the First Amendment in action.
On the misleading estimation of the influence of Talkers
MICHAEL HARRISON: We have these nationally famous people who really have much smaller audiences than the awareness of them would indicate or make you believe. What happens is, they -- they talk to their faithful in terms that the faithful expect and understand. They preach to the choir. And some of the things they say are repugnant to people who have other choirs.
- Download the audio from PBS Newshour's report airing Nov 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bill O'Reilly on the Halloween episode of 'The View'

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly As Dracula On 'The View' For Halloween
Bill O'Reilly appeared on The Halloween episode of the 'The View'. O'Reilly has been a regular guest on the show, this appearance seems like a calculated move that allowed him to play off his "heel" persona by dressing up the charismatic villain Dracula. The cordial View panelists riffed on how scary O'Reilly was as he maintained his tough guy posture. Bill clumsily teased Whoopi. He reliably asserted his independence by saying he personally liked President Obama.
BARBARA WALTERS Intro: He is the most feared man in cable news, who has those who oppose him quaking in their boots but to us he's a pussy cat. Please Welcome back Bill O'Reilly.

Bill O'Reilly makes entrance as Dracula, Walters makes faux scary gesture to greet him

BILL O'REILLY: I'm afraid to touch anybody. C'mon, what are you kidding? You think you're scaring me. Are you kidding!?
WALTERS: I hear you dress like this [as Dracula] at home all the time.
O'REILLY: I do and I hang from the ceiling. I'm the scariest guy in the world
There was an interesting discussion on the popularity of Fox News and the Obama administration's fear of the network. Bill O'Reilly makes the interesting concession that it is because of CNN's "lack of pizazz".

As Matt Taibbi illustrated in his column 'Keep on Hatin', emotional, personality driven opinion news is a proven ratings winner. It's clear that Fox News hosts the most popular and bombastic pundits in Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. MSNBC, its closest aesthetic competitor has assembled its own colorful roster of pundits with Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough and Ed Schultz. This is the first time I can recall any pundit conceding that it is the theatrical wrestling-style presentation of their news which has led to their success in the ratings.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pakistani journalists grill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Apologies for the lack of updates on the APF blog, experiencing technical difficulties.

To get back in the swing of things, it seems America has successfully exported its brand of freedom to the Middle East. In this case bringing American-style braggadocio to Pakistani journalists.
Deadly Car Bombing Clouds Clinton's Visit to Pakistan
MARGARET WARNER: Well, today, yes, she met with the president and the foreign minister, but she also had this very contentious roundtable, for example, with Pakistani TV journalists.

One aide said it was like being in a room with Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, and Chris Matthews, and they're all shouting and firing questions at you. And she returned it...

And, so, she's trying to go beyond just the official meetings. Now, tomorrow, she is going to Lahore. And both tomorrow and the next day, though the schedule is being kept quiet for security reasons, she is going to have semi-public events, taking a little bit of a risk, but wanting to engage, really through Pakistani media, to the broader Pakistani public.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Newest APF member, Introducing Dennis Miller

In anticipation of his eventual GM guest hosting spot on WWE's Raw, I proudly introduce Comedian and Radio Talker Dennis Miller to the 'American Pundit Fighting' roster.

Dennis Miller first made a name for himself as a comedian and SNL cast member, moving on to host popular talks shows on HBO and CNBC. He currently hosts a daily three-hour radio show nationally syndicated by Westwood One, covering culture, current events and politics.

As a talker Dennis is distinctly known for his flowery way of speaking and use of obtuse references, which stylistically is not to dissimilar to fellow comedian (but political opposite) Janeane Garofalo. In recent years much has been made of Miller's "drift" rightwards to conservatism after 9/11.

Dennis Miller address these matters in an illuminating interview for The Politico
The Dennis Miller interview
How would you describe your political beliefs: Republican? Independent? Libertarian?

Well, I’d say it’s eclectic pragmatism at some point. I’m a moderate in some degree because I have wildly swinging opinions but through some sort of ideological feng shui they end up in the middle. Some swing far to the left, others to the far right. I’m for the war, but I’m also for gay marriage. I don’t care if two folks with the same genitalia want to get hitched, I just don’t want some a—hole from another country coming over here and blowing up their wedding to make a political statement.

In just the past few minutes you’ve referenced obscure figures ranging from a '60s-era general to a vintage talking doll. Given your audience on conservative talk radio, are you too hip for the room?

I never signed up for anything called "conservative talk radio." I’m on Westwood One, and my boss Norm Pattiz is a liberal. I’m just on talk radio. I don’t think I’m too hip for the room at all. I’ve got 194 stations after just 16 months, which I’m told is good, and my mind is boggled at just how wise and funny my callers have been. On occasion I’ll get someone who is off the grid and I’ll feel like I’m on the phone with [Ted] Kaczynski, but for the most part it’s a pretty urbane crowd. I don’t think I’m too hip for the room. People always say ‘it’s so eclectic,’ but I’m making references to the Jetsons’ robot maid — not exactly Ted Cooley or Bucky Fuller.
Newest APF member Dennis Miller:
Note: Like all new Pundit animations, click on the button on the bottom left to see an alternate costume for Dennis.

- Go to Dennis Miller's official website
- Find a glossary of Dennis Miller's favourite quotes and references

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush Limbaugh to be dropped from group bid to buy St Louis Rams

Checketts drops Limbaugh
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the story on Wednesday.

Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh's participation had become a complication in the group's efforts and the bid will move forward without him...

A Limbaugh spokesman told ESPN that Limbaugh would have no comment on Wednesday. Earlier, on his syndicated radio show, Limbaugh was defiant, holding on to hope that he still could be part of the ownership group that buys the Rams.

"This is not about the NFL, it's not about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me," Limbaugh said. "This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.

"Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we're going to have."
If that is the case, this wallpaper might be the closest Rush and Rams fans will get to see of the potential pairing.

NEW Rush/Rams Wallpaper
st louis rams, rush limbaugh, nfl, Dave Checketts
St Louis Rams x Rush Limbaugh wallpaper

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rush Limbaugh interviewed and profiled on NBC's 'Today Show'

VIDEO: Rush Limbaugh profiled on NBC's 'Today Show'

On the October 12 edition of the 'Today Show' NBC correspondent Jamie Gangel profiled and interviewed influential conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

One of the more interesting revelations is Rush's admission that he revels in manipulating the media. This recalls an argument made by Leonard Pitts Jr who described Rush as a "clown who perverts conservatism for attention".
RUSH LIMBAUGH: When I now say "I hope he fails" it is to tweak the media. I know how to do it. I know how to yank their chain. I know how to send them into insanity. I know how to make them spend the next two days talking about me.
GANGEL VOICEOVER: Rush brand of satire also keeps everyone talking... Critics say they are offensive but Rush is unrepentant
GANGEL: You know its going to illicit a strong reaction
LIMBAUGH: Would you ask anybody who writes for Saturday night Live these questions?
This exchange were Rush shows joy and confidence in his ability to get the media talking and people tuning in follows the playbook he outlined in this classic interview where Rush describes "How Talk Radio Works"

Minimising one's seriousness is a tactic often used to neutralise oneself from controversy. Glenn Beck has often referred to himself as a "rodeo clown". Allahpundit of HotAir describes Rush' revelation and compares Rush's shtick to Jon Stewart's.
Video: The obligatory "Today interviews Rush Limbaugh" clip
No one who’s listened to the show for 10 minutes will find that revelatory, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard him acknowledge the degree of manipulation as candidly as he does here. (Money quote: "Would you ask anybody who writes for Saturday Night Live these questions?") Listening to this, his approach sounds like the opposite of Jon Stewart’s. Whereas JS [Jon Stewart] dons the clown nose, attacks the right, and then retreats into his "lighten up, I’m a comedian" shtick when they hit back, Limbaugh holds his clown nose behind his back where only his fans can see it and comes at the left as a serious commentator, going over the top to piss them off and then having a laugh when the inevitable liberal freakout comes.
Jamie Gangel previews part 2 of her interview with Rush at the end of the segment "In his usual blunt style he's going to tell us what he thinks of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fake pundit Stephen Colbert compares himself to "fake" pundit Glenn Beck

One of my favorite things to highlight on this blog is reality folding onto itself with art imitating life. It is this very thing that draws me to pro-wrestling and as illustrated here happens often in Politics and Punditry.

Stephen Colbert reports on the criticism leveled at Beck questioning the authenticity of his emotions and passionate theatrics. Following that premise Glenn Beck taunts "if I'm acting, I'm the best damn actor on television. I want the daytime Emmy!". Jumping off from here Colbert goes meta and takes Glenn Beck with him. Stephen pits himself against Beck to see which pundit is more authentic, the caricature of a pundit or the caricature pundit.

VIDEO: October 8, 2009: Bend It Like Beck
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bend It Like Beck
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMichael Moore

STEPHEN COLBERT: I feel ya brother, cuz people have said the same thing about me...
(Media clips shown of Colbert being described as a fake pundit)

For the past 4 years I have meant every word I've felt. So all we really need to do to gauge Glenn Beck's sincerity is to compare him to me
(video rolls of Beck/Colbert comparisons)

Its like looking into a mirror - after you've just done a tonne of coke of of it. Clearly Glenn Beck is as sincere in what he says and does as I am...

Michael Moore VS Sean Hannity 2009: talking Capitalism, the war and religion

Sean Hannity and Michael Moore debated on Fox News' 'Hannity' program. It was a largely cordial debate with both men being gracious toward each other and even yukking it up. They recounted how they made a bet on their last encounter on Hannity's radio program in 2002 which incidentally Moore lost.

michael moore, sean hannity was right, white house In this photo Michael Moore carries a sign that says "Sean Hannity was right" holding up his end of the bargain after losing the wager that George W Bush would be impeached from office.

This latest debate was quite broad and meandering partly due to Hannity's way of constructing questions and Moore never fully engaging, mostly facetiously "uh huh-ing" for this first half of the segment

VIDEO: Michael Moore on the Sean Hannity Show - October 6th, 2009 (Part I)

Sean Hannity is one of the few high profile conservative pundits willing to challenge equally formidable liberal counterparts. Sean Hannity previously debated progressive Utah mayor Rocky Anderson in a ticketed live event. Hannity also previously sparred with Michael Moore by becoming a counter guest of honor for the students of Utah Valley State College. This was expertly documented in the 2004 documentary 'This Divided State'.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rush Limbaugh interested in purchasing St Louis Rams + Animation and Wallpaper

st louis rams, rush limbaugh, nfl, wallpaper
St Louis Rams x Rush Limbaugh wallpaper
Rush Limbaugh has been in the news lately for his interest in co-owning NFL Team, The St Louis Rams.
Rush Limbaugh says he's trying to purchase Rams
It appears conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh wants to be an NFL team owner.

In a statement released today, Limbaugh said he's partnering with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh didn't go into details, but said he and Checketts "have made a bid to buy the Rams and are continuing the process."

It's unclear whether Limbaugh and Checketts will try to buy the team outright or purchase a majority or minority stake in it. Georgia Frontiere's children own a 60% stake in the team, and billionaire Stan Kroenke owns a 40% stake.
Rush is an avid sports fan having once been a sports analyst for ESPN. He commented cautiously on the ongoing negotiations on his radio program.
Rush Confirms Interest in Rams; State-Run Media Runs With Story
RUSH: I have not commented on this on this program, even though the news has been out there since Monday. I had to confirm it when I was asked about it. It was reported Sunday on the CBS NFL Pregame Show by Charley Casserly that I am part of a group with Dave Checketts that has put in a bid on the St. Louis Rams, and that's all I can say. That's true. But Goldman Sachs is handling the sale. There's a confidentiality clause. None of the bidders can disclose anything, can't talk to anybody. We don't even know who the other team bidders are and we can't do anything other than confirm it since it's a leak. I can't discuss it. So it's out there and that is true.
As RadioEqualizer reports, the majority of reportage on Rush' bid has been tinged with outrage over Rush' history of [non-football related] controversy and the infamous Donovan McNabb statement about the media being "very desirous... and interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well..."

Read RadioEqualizer's argument of "bias against a conservative owner".
TAG TEAM: WaPo, Others Gang Up To Stop Rush's NFL Bid
Since news broke early this week that Rush Limbaugh was part of a consortium bidding on the NFL's St Louis Rams, the state-run media's outraged response remains baffling. Why do they care who owns a football team?
Animation: Rush' St Louis Rams variant

Apart from the use of the wrestling term "Tag team" in the RadioEqualizer post there is another odd wrestling link to this story. The current 40% owner of the Rams, billionaire Stan Kroenke was in a recent high profile feud with WWE owner (and football fan) Vince McMahon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glenn Beck appears on Fox Business' Imus in the Morning

Glenn Beck recently appeared on Don Imus' new show on Fox Business. Imus played devil's advocate by bringing up perceived frictions with stalwarts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who Beck threatens to eclipse in ratings and influence.

VIDEO: Glenn Beck on Career, Life Choices

Imus in the Morning
October 5, 2009: Glenn Beck on Career, Life Choices
DON IMUS: Saw you on the cover of Time Magazine. Your book's #1 I noticed this week. Sean Hannity, Rush they both hate you
GLENN BECK: No. No they don't
IMUS: They all hate you
BECK: They don't, they don't. Why? Why? Why must you stir up the hate?
IMUS: You're telling me Rush is happy you're on the cover of Time
BECK: No actually I got a note from Rush
IMUS: What did the note say?
BECK: "I hate you"
(group laughter)
BECK: Rush has - you know what- been very gracious. The whole time he has.
IMUS: Fine
BECK: Do you hate me?
IMUS: No, I'm not competing with you. They are...
For some background, read Jason Linkins speculation on Hannity's concern over Glenn Beck's ascendancy
Is Sean Hannity Afraid Of Glenn Beck?
I can imagine that Hannity might find the attention lavished on Beck to be a little bit galling. Hannity's had the longer career, after all, during which he's dutifully suited up, sat behind a desk and occasionally had to fend off actual arguments: from Alan Colmes in the pre-solo days, to various panels now. The deck was always stacked in Hannity's favor, of course, but he had to at least offer the appearance of an honest broker of debate. Beck doesn't have to do any of that. Beck gets to stand up and riff about whatever he wants, pull morning-radio stunts and, really, not even worry about making any sense at all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

NY Times David Brooks likens Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity to Wizard of Oz

NY Time Columnist David Brooks challenges the myth of influence Right-wing talkers like Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck have over the GOP base. Key players in what is derisively dubbed as the "Political Entertainment Complex". It is a reiteration of the questions raised after Huckabee's emergence and McCain's Lazarus-like return during the GOP primaries despite resistance from the "conservative-entertainment complex.
The Wizard of Beck
So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as "The Wizard of Oz," of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this story. Over the past few years the talk jocks have demonstrated their real-world weakness time and again.
David Brooks goes on to explain how pundits have managed to preserve their aura despite their many missteps. Its a similar perception juggling act found in wrestling - Aura: How pundits and politicians preserve their image
But this is not merely a story of weakness. It is a story of resilience. For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters...

So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.
Rush Limbaugh returns fire via Politico, accusing David Brooks of being "jealous" and inconsequential - "how many Americans know who David Brooks is?". A sentiment echoed by talker colleague Mark Levin
Rush Limbaugh on David Brooks: 'JEALOUS'
"Here's a little insight into conservatives, conservatism and talk radio — we don't care what David Brooks has to say," Levin said. "He is irrelevant. He is incoherent. And you guys should rely less on The New York Times. Its circulation is plummeting for a reason."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dan Riehl: Is Glenn Beck in on the joke, is he "real"

I've spoken previously about how Democratic Strategists have been attempting to elevate popular but divisive figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin as representative voices for the Republicans in order to alienate moderates and create an extreme image of the GOP.

With rabble rouser Glenn Beck's popularity sky rocketing, Democratic players have shifted to elevating him as the face of the disgruntled movement against the Obama administration. Whilst Beck in true populist fashion is quick to denounce both sides, his primary support comes from GOP voters. In recent weeks conservatives like Mark Levin and others have begun to distance themselves from Beck worried that his hugely popular high wire act might eventually hurt the Republicans.

Allahpundit of HotAir succinctly sums up the Democratic calculation in shifting the focus away from Rush and onto Beck
Video: Scarborough goes after Glenn Beck
It’s the same shtick they pulled with Republican congressional leaders earlier this year vis-a-vis Limbaugh’s "I want him to fail" comment, but they’ll adapt it to GB going forward because (a) his exploding TV ratings make him a bigger media story than Rush, (b) he’s a richer vein than Rush for oddball material that can be used against the GOP, like that weird analysis of communist symbolism at 30 Rock from a few weeks ago, and (c) by hammering Beck they get to take a shot at Fox too. Why all Republicans should be asked to distance themselves from a guy who’s neither conservative nor Republican himself, nor even sure that he’d have voted for John McCain over Hillary Clinton, isn’t clear to me, but we’re talking politics here, not logic.
The most damning denunciation of Beck I've encountered comes from Dan Riehl. Dan argues that the Glenn Beck phenomena is a joke, but disturbingly it is a joke people are taking seriously. His argument ties in well with wrestling.

Read Dan Riehl's take on Glenn Beck and his reality
I Come Not to Praise Glenn Beck, But to Bury Him
Given the down feeling across the right after last year’s elections, it’s almost exciting to watch Glenn Beck inject a new vitality into the nation’s political discourse. Nearly every one of Beck’s shows packs the respect, depth, sincerity, and intelligence of a good joke at a funeral parlor into one uproarious hour after another. I don’t know how anyone can keep from snickering … at least a little bit. So, what’s the harm in a good joke?

The harm as I see it is that so many seem to be taking the joke seriously. But can you blame them? No, probably not...
Most people dismiss wrestling for being fake, I argue that it is 'Hyperreal'. People who watch wrestling know that its outcomes are prearranged, the appeal is in watching how events unfold for characters they've invested in. Whilst characters are implausible and outlandish, like in any good science fiction movie or Comic book as the long as the verisimilitude connects people will embrace the reality created.

Now the funny part, in wrestling some actors become so invested in their roles that they believe the myths and hype created by them and for them. As a wrestler's constructed persona is often informed by their real traits and personal history, it is sometimes difficult to separate what is real and fiction. Some wrestlers never break character (kayfabe) in public. Some wrestlers are so precious about their constructed legacies that they will refuse to participate in story lines detrimental to their image, whilst actors are slaves to the scripted fantasy and sportsmen are slaves to the unpredictable nature of competition. Wrestlers, which are a hybrid of the two are essentially a new beast of their own making. The closest analogy would be to a 'method actor' who becomes so engrossed in their dual role that they essentially create a split personality that authentically inhabits reality.

This dynamic is present in Punditry also. It's why some people speculate that Ann Coulter is a performance artist in the Tony Clifton mold
- It's why Bill O'Reilly is so adamant of his "Independence"
- It's why Alan Colmes has wondered "when does one trade a good buck and a great gig for one’s soul?"
- It's why Stephen Colbert has worried of losing himself in his on-screen character
- It's why people liken Glenn Beck supporters to wrestling fans.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alan Grayson delivers wrestling-style promo on house floor -GOP Health Plan = Don't get sick!

Previously I spoke of a wrestling style-promo delivered by Republican Congressman Thadeus McCotter using a chart to caricature the opposite side.

Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson delivers a speech in a similar hyperbolic vein with his own charts.

VIDEO: Alan Grayson on the GOP Health Care Plan -
"Don't Get Sick! And if You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!"
ALAN GRAYSON: (1m 04s) Here it is the Republican Healthcare plan for America - Don't Get Sick! That's right, Don't Get Sick. If you have insurance, don't get sick. If you don't have insurance, don't get sick. If you're sick, don't get sick. Just don't get sick! That's what the Republicans have in mind for you America. That's the Republican's Healthcare plan.

But I think the Republicans understand that that plan isn't always going to work. Its not a foolproof plan so the Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick... If you get sick America the Republican Healthcare plan is this - Die Quickly. That's right, the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.
It'll be interesting to see if someone from the GOP will attempt to create his own caricature with charts in response to Rep. Grayson. In any case these over the top theatrics show that partisan and showmanship show no signs of disappearing despite the promise of comity under the Obama era.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reverend Al Sharpton to be guest GM of 'WWE Raw', Conservative talker Dennis Miller announced to host also

A new PunditFight Wrestler may have to be unveiled to commemorate this latest news. Comedian and Conservative talker Dennis Miller announced on his radio program that he will be a future Guest GM of Raw.
LAW Sept 24 Update - Mysterio Returns Oct 4
Dennis Miller has stated on his radio show that he will likely be hosting ‘Raw' in December but no date was announced.
WWE has been welcoming celebrities in a storyline involving the trial of several high profile General Managers for their Monday 'Raw' program. The list of celebrities that have appeared so far include Shaquille O'neal, ZZ top, Bob Barker, Floyd Mayweather and former wrestling superstars Trish Stratus and Dusty Rhodes. The scheduled Celebrity GM for the September 28 show is Civil Rights leader, talk show host and former Democratic Presidential contender, Reverend Al Sharpton.
Read the full list of GMs here - Raw: Special Guest Hosts
Raw: Rev it up!
Can Raw get an Amen!? Shouldn’t be a problem next week when the Rev. Al Sharpton joins the prestigious list of Raw celebrity guest hosts, including Olympic gold medalist Shaquille O’Neal, Emmy-winning actor Jeremy Piven and television legend Bob Barker.

The outspoken activist, and frequent center of controversy, brings his headline-grabbing candor to the Sept. 28 edition of Monday Night Raw.
VIDEO: WWE Al Sharpton Guest Hosts RAW!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Glenn Beck fans are just like Wrestling fans" - Glenn Beck is an actor.

Glenn Beck's Cover story for Time Magazine was a topic of much debate from many on the left and right. Some argued that it was a puff piece "enabling Glenn Beck's lies". Whilst others conceded the piece was "remarkably balanced... that even Glenn's followers might find surprisingly informative".

Joel Achenbach on his blog for the Washington Post offers his take on the article and Glenn Beck using a frame I often use for this blog.
Glenn Beck, Time and Media Matters
Here's what I came away with: Glenn Beck is a demagogue. He's also something of an actor. Some would choose the more pointed word of "fraud." He's a Top-40 radio DJ who saw an opportunity for reinvention. Had there been more money in being a Left-wing shouter, he'd have become that person instead.

Another word for Beck that comes to mind is "charlatan."

That's how I read this piece. I don't know Beck, of course. But the article suggests that Beck isn't quite the crackpot, paranoid person he pretends to be, but, sensing the riches that can come from ranting, is brilliantly playing a role.
glenn beck, doink, stone cold, edge, wwe
Wrestlers: 'Doink' the Clown, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge
Rather than likening Beck to an actor, I obviously would use wrestler. The 'gimmick' or 'persona' is one of the most important components in getting a wrestler "over" with the fans. It is the constructed identity that people connect with whether it be the blue-collar everyman, a deranged psychopath or something as cartoony as a 'Rodeo Clown'. Wrestlers craft personalities that they hope will captivate audiences into loving or hating them. Constantly tweaking them for maximum effect or replacing them wholesale when they don't work. Often it is a construct of their authentic personality and life history which makes it an easier sell, not only to the audience but also the wrestler who must embody it. I spoke of this extensively in my post on the remaking of Mike Huckabee - The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (part 3 of 3)

To prove that the wrestling analogy is definitely floating in the ether, some commenters likened Glenn Beck fans to Wrestling fans.
Glenn Beck, Time and Media Matters (comments)
... Whether people "believe" Beck is just as irrelevant as whether people "believe" WWF wrestling is "real." "Truth" has nothing to do with it, and both Beck and WWF make millions of dollars in a way I would regard as basically false. WWF probably does no great harm to the culture, but Beck *does* do it harm.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 18, 2009 12:54 PM

The pro-wrestling metaphor is particularly apt. The true-believers are unbendable. No amount of scoffing over the conveniently clueless referees or the pre-staged props is going to convince a genuine fan that it's all staged. You have to go after the broad middle that can be still swayed by gentle ridicule and/or dispassionate analysis...
Posted by: yellojkt | September 18, 2009 1:14 PM

I know, yello. But here's the thing: deluded pro wrestling fans do no harm. They wander around and love their heroes and hate their villains and go home a drink a beer, and all's right with the world. Deluded Glenn Beck fans, and all their ilk, are *not* harmless: they vote, they hold marches...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 18, 2009 1:26 PM

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michelle Malkin interviewed for the 'Daily Beast'

Lloyd Grove interviews Michelle Malkin for the Daily Beast. In setting up his conversation, Lloyd acknowledges Michelle Malkin's often humorless "concede-nothing" aesthetic in contrast to the likes of Ann Coulter. I've always wondered the same.

Ann Coulter's style of needling opponents always left room for people to think she might have been putting on an act. Like a wrestler or a performance artist? That is not to say that Ann Coulter is no less sincere than Malkin. Simply that Coulter, like Rush Limbaugh delivers her politics valuing that good humor and playful opponent-baiting makes for more digestible and entertaining theatre.
Michelle Malkin Has Feelings, Too
The last thing you’d expect Michelle Malkin to be is charming, funny, or vulnerable.

As an agent provocateur of the hard right—blogger, newspaper columnist, Fox News contributor and, for the past six weeks, queen of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list—she can project a certain grim, off-putting intensity. In recent appearances on The View and the Today show to hype her latest anti-liberal screed—Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies—she was, by turns, shrill and smug, occasionally disciplining an unruly interrogator with a schoolmarmish "Read the book!" And unlike Ann Coulter, whose more outrageous remarks are usually mitigated by a sly grin, nobody ever wonders if Michelle Malkin is for real.

She is, unmistakably, dead serious.