Mark Levin does not suffer liberal foolishness gladly, as his radio listeners are keenly aware, and whether said fools are employed at Fox News Channel is irrelevant to him.
Levin, well-deserving and most recent recipient of the Media Research Center's annual William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence, went after Fox's Sheppard Smith for complaining about "hysterical" voices in media warning of the threat from Ebola, with Smith specifically citing talk radio in his complaint.
While Smith provided no specific examples in his pious denunciation, Levin decided he'd heard enough and responded on his radio show. What resulted is a good example of why no sane person wants to be on the receiving end of Levin's scorn (audio) --
I'm not comfortable doing this but I need to mention another thing. By the way, I never throw the first punch -- I respond. Shep Smith over there at the Fox News Channel starts lecturing the nation, you, and he attacks talk radio as trying to create hysteria and panic for ratings. Now every story I read about Fox, they're talking about their ratings. Shep is a liberal. This isn't about panic or hysteria. You want to see this reported non-stop, put on Fox. They report this non-stop. We don't even talk about it on this program, non-stop. And since this is the third biggest conservative talk show (after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), I assume he's including this program. This is a serious matter. It's even broader than Ebola as I was just discussing. Those of us here, you in the audience, we are serious people, not drones. This affects our country and the future of our country. It is neither hysterical nor panicky to be criticizing what the government is or is not doing, and you would think a journalist would know that. Or to critique what is or is not going on, or should be going on.
I mean, it's absolutely pathetic that talk radio, I'll speak for myself, that this program as an example does things for ratings. If I wanted to do things for ratings, I guess I would talk about lesbians or I would constantly do a Mark Levin News Alert or I'd figure out a way to put blondes behind this microphone all the time, I don't do any of those stunts, do I? We shoot right down the middle here. You want to see hysteria? You want to see panic? Look at Shep Smith's reporting during Katrina. He lost all serious journalistic perspective. You ever want to debate this, Shep, call up, my number's public, 877-381-3811, and we'll deal with it. Happy to do it. In the meantime, why don't you dig a little deeper on this issue and the issue generally of big government.
After a break, Levin was more impassioned and really took Smith to town (audio) --
You know what's amazing? Panic and hysteria, ladies and gentlemen, says Shep Smith in so many words. Do you see panic and hysteria in the streets? Are people protesting? Are they charging the White House? Are they encircling the Capitol building? The American people, you, you go to work every day, you have absolutely no control over this Ebola issue. You don't run the Border Patrol, you don't make decisions about incoming and outgoing flights, you're not in charge of banning anything. Where exactly is this hysteria and panic?
Honestly, I don't see hysteria and panic. I see people who are fed up with incompetence and ideologically-driven decision making by a massive federal government with a massive federal bureaucracy that spends us into the crapper! Pushes us around, bullies us, coerces us, spits out thousands of regulations a year, tells us we don't pay enough taxes, tells us we're not good enough citizens while illegal aliens are treated like the most virtuous people on the face of the earth!
Yes! We want to know why our little children have to go to school where other children are and we don't know if they have diseases or not. Wow! That's hysterical!
Yes! We want to know who's coming into our country through our borders. Wow! That's panic!
Yes! We want to know why the hell this bloated, insatiable, incompetent federal leviathan won't stop flights from countries that have people who are deathly ill coming into this country at least temporarily. Wow, how hysterical! How panicky we, ladies and gentlemen.
We take an incredible amount of crap from this government, an incredible amount of crap from these politicians, and now crap from phony hosts who sit there and lecture us, trash this format, trash talk radio! Trash my audience! Bull crap! Meanwhile, every damn time one of 'em writes a book, they want to come on my show. Or they want me to go on their show to help them up their ratings. Talk about ratings -- talk radio has a bigger audience than any cable show, news cable show. Did you know that? 'Cause you're smart, 'cause you're substantive, 'cause you're thoughtful, 'cause you're intelligent.
The issue here is will our federal government contain this disease properly or not, so it doesn't become an epidemic in this country. Now we the people, are we not allowed to observe this, comment on it, talk about it? We do have an interest, a personal interest. And I'm sorry we offend Shep Smith, not really. This isn't the Malaysia airliner that went down that kept CNN's ratings up for three weeks or Fox's ratings up for two weeks. In fact, Mr. producer, what, did I talk about that three times for a total of about 30 minutes?
It's amazing. The most intelligent discussions, at least on this program, with the most intelligent audience occurs right here. Oh, you do it for the ratings (alluding to Smith's criticism) while they're running around bragging about how their ratings, they beat CNN and MSNBC. Why, are the National Public Radio? Are they public TV over there? I guess they don't care about ratings. But I don't do anything for my ratings. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't even know what rates or doesn't rate. We don't have any way of tracking it on radio. Ask any host in radio, we don't know! But TV does! They can break down every single day quarter segments and in those quarter segments. They know who the hosts are, they know who the issues are, excuse me, what the issues are. And they produce their programs in many respects, not all shows, but many shows based on that. We don't! I get monthly numbers about demos. I don't know which quarter is what, which day is what, I have no idea!
And so when this jerk talks about us doing stuff for ratings, we have no idea. I don't know if I'm killing my ratings right now. So the issue here isn't hysteria and panic. The issue here is, we are a republic, what's left of it. We are a civilized people, an educated people for the most part. And you're damn right we want to know what's happening to our country. Not just pay the bills, not just empower politicians, but we want to know what's going on. And no, we're not hysterical and we're not panicking, not like you, Shep, at Katrina. And we don't need lectures from the media about how we're supposed to behave. Who the hell do they think they are?!
Limbaugh also took umbrage at Smith's criticism and said Smith was so emotional while covering Katrina that "his mascara was running."