Huckabee Hints At Romney-Clear Channel Conspiracy

February 4th, 2008 10:24 AM

Speaking at a news conference in Oklahoma, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee floated the idea that the reason the vast majority of America's conservative talk radio hosts aren't endorsing him or John McCain is because Mitt Romney's investment firm owns a significant share of Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest radio syndication company.

"Some suggest that the fact that Bain Capital owns a major stake in Clear Channel is on Sean's network, maybe there's a correlation. I don't know."

The Sean he was referring to had to be none other than Sean Hannity, America's number-two talk radio host behind Rush Limbaugh.

As Allahpundit points out, the charge is patently ludicrous. Let's count the ways.

First and most obviously, Sean Hannity is not an employee of Clear Channel. His show is syndicated by ABC Radio Networks. Oops.

Second, conservative talk radio is just that--talk radio that is conservative. Given the many years John McCain has spent denouncing conservatives in general and talk radio in particular, is it any surprise that righty talkers would be coming out against him? Of course not. And since Huckabee is, rightly or wrongly, widely seen as a proxy for McCain, it's no surprise that by default Mitt Romney would be garnering the lion's share of talk radio endorsements.

Huckabee's allegation is also ludicrous because it assumes that Clear Channel somehow owns the entire talk radio market. That is far from the case as you can see in this chart listing the top talk show hosts. Many of the talkers listed, such as Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz, Mike Gallagher, and Mark Levin have no connection to Clear Channel.

The charge is also false because it proceeds from the same mindset that believes that because most American media outlets are owned by large corporations, this magically makes them conservative since, of course, all businesses are conservative. Editorial independence? Forget about it.

Mike Huckabee should know better than to forward this nonsensical line of thought. Here's hoping he apologizes for his mistake.