Thom Hartmann is a rarity among liberal radio hosts. Not only does he frequently invite conservative guests on his show, and engage them in debate that is often contentious but rarely unpleasant, he did something this week that many liberals are ideologically incapable of doing.
Hartmann was speaking with fellow radio talker and author Michael Smerconish on Wednesday about changes in the radio industry over recent years when he credited Rush Limbaugh with a valid insight about the state of liberal radio. (Audio after the jump)
Michael, I know you’re trying to squeeze some lemonade out of your career prospects but bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners isn’t the best way to sell a book or get more audience to a cable news network.
You went on the CBS morning news show last week (documented by the Media Research Center) to hock your wares (a book and a satellite radio show and your new show on CNN) and accused those of us still working in terrestrial radio of LYING to listeners while declaring that you ALWAYS tell the truth.
CNN host Michael Smerconish did his best to diminish the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi during an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, May 11.
Appearing as a panelist, Smerconish claimed that "I think nothing from Benghazi has received traction apart from the GOP base. It’s really the abortion of the 2014 cycle." [See video below.]
Appearing on Friday's CBS This Morning, Sirius XM radio and CNN host Michael Smerconish hocked his new fictional novel about the talk radio business entitled Talk, and denounced the industry: "I think it's entertainment masked as news and I wanted to expose it because I think it's had a horrific impact on polarization and incivility in the country." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Smerconish was teed up by co-host Gayle King, who described the book as "the story of an influential conservative radio personality at a crossroad against the backdrop of a presidential race," before proclaiming: "...many times when I used to listen to talk radio, it's hard to do now, I used to listen to these guys, Michael, and say, 'They can't possibly believe what they're saying.' And after reading your book...the character says it's all for show. Half the time they don't mean what they're saying. It just is a way to just rile up the crowd."
It helps to be in the White House when a CNN host professes himself to be "card-carrying member" of the administration's health care law, or when the enrollment numbers are cast as a "major victory."
New CNN host Michael Smerconish touted the benefits of ObamaCare on Tuesday night, confessing he was a "card-carrying member of ObamaCare" and calling the enrollment numbers "quite an achievement." OutFront host Erin Burnett went even further, saying the enrollment was a "major victory."
CNN president Jeff Zucker praised MSNBC guest host Michael Smerconish on Tuesday as he announced that the the cable news network would be giving the radio talk show host a weekly program: "We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN...At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN."
Smerconish's record, especially at MSNBC, actually does not point to independence, but liberalism. Here are the worst examples of the talker's slant to the left from the Media Research Center's archives: [video included below the jump for select quotes]
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, December 27, Hardball on MSNBC, comedian and Daily Beast columnist Dean Obeidallah -- who has also been a CNN contributor -- cracked that "conservatives hate a lot of women" as he recounted that the woman whose face appeared on the ObamaCare Web site had been tagged "the most despised woman in America" by "some bloggers on the right," whom he failed to identify.
According to MSNBC's Michael Smerconish, it's Barack Obama who is owed the "real apology" for the disastrous rollout of the health care law. Filling in for Chris Matthews, the Hardball guest host huffed, "The facts are that many of the same people that feel betrayed now will be thanking the President later." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Lecturing the 52 million Americans who have lost their insurance, Smerconish added, "These are people in so-called junk plans that could bankrupt them and their families if they ever got sick." Displaying MSNBC logic, the host identified who should actually be asking for forgiveness on ObamaCare: "As Republicans revel in the President's comments, we should ask who should offer the real apology here?"
Talk about a lack of irony. Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Thursday lectured Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the GOP to avoid "retreating" to "echo chambers" such as Fox News. Smerconish did this on MSNBC, the home of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz.
Smerconish, with no sense of self awareness for his own network's echo chamber, scolded, "And this is how you [appeal to more people]? By shutting out news outlets and retreating to your own Fox News echo chamber. If [Priebus] gets his way, it isn't new voices that the party will be hearing and reaching, just their own." On this concept of partisans talking to partisans, Smerconish threw a question to the deeply liberal Joan Walsh. [UPDATED: See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This one is a lead candidate for top placement in this week's "Even a stopped clock is right twice day" file.
MSNBC's Michael Smerconish, whose NewsBusters archive exposes him as a Barack Obama-supporting, right-wing conspiracy-mongering faux conservative, had a perhaps surprising reaction to the District of Columbia City Council's 8-5 vote to force Walmart and other big box retailers in the city -- just the ones which aren't unionized -- a living wage of $12.50 per hour. In a Thursday evening column at the network's website, he advised DC Mayor Vincent Gray to veto it, and was actually quite logical about it (bold is mine):
While serving as guest host of Tuesday's Hardball, Michael Smerconish closed the program by pushing for a legalization of prostitution. He claimed not to see anything wrong with women selling their bodies for money, calling it “the private affairs of consenting adults.” It's no coincidence that Smerconish's defense of the sex trade came just two days after gushing over prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer and his "unwarranted" resignation as governor.
In his defense of prostitution, Smerconish made two arguments for its legalization. First, he argued that it would be financially profitable for the government to “bring the world’s oldest profession aboveboard” and allow it to be considered a taxable income. This legalization would also allow for the communities to “clean up the trade,” he argued.
Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Monday was so gentle with reformed prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer that even the former governor seemed uncomfortable. Talking about Spitzer's new run for New York City comptroller, Smerconish enthused, "Governor, does running now mean that resigning was unwarranted?"
He continued, "Would a Spitzer victory mark the of end of the sex scandal as we know it? And I'm asking, really, have we become too intrusive into our elected officials' and candidates' private lives?" This appeared to be too much for Spitzer. He allowed, "Look, I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask, because I have a perspective that is so tailored to what I've been through." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]