Live Blogging Hannity

Sean Hannity has joined Newt Gingrich for a portion of the Solutions Day event, and he’s prerecording the last hour of his show here in front of a live audience. It’s been interesting to watch Sean work the room, live, during his show. Radio tends to be a rather insular pursuit. One does not get a sense of audience while broadcasting, except at live “remotes” like this.
Hannity has been well received by this audience, which may indicate that Solutions Day hasn’t drawn the bipartisan attendees here for the kickoff that Newt Gingrich wanted. He has drawn a number of reporters, including a couple from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I met Jim Galloway and Ben Gray from the AJC, which Hannity referred to as the “Atlanta Urinal”, which got a laugh from the audience but not the media bench.
He seems to enjoy the audience. His reactions to callers seems broad and engaging, and the audience remains interested in what shouldn’t really be all that visually fascinating. He did ask the audience whether they wanted another liberal caller (after two in a row), or “a normal American”, which got the most applause. Hannity also paid homage to his partner Alan Colmes, saying “I know fear — I stare down Colmes every night!”
One of his best segments had to do with Iran. He wondered aloud if one day we’d wake up to millions dead and be asking ourselves why we didn’t take Ahmadinejad seriously when he proposed a genocide of the Jews and the triumph of Islam over the West. He wants America to remain strong enough to beat all comers and remain on offense.
Hannity provided the red meat to the Right on Solutions Day. That may allow Gingrich to reach across the aisle, as the event promised, later this evening at the kickoff speech at 7 pm ET.

Media Notes And Quick Links

I hope everyone had a chance to catch our weekly round-up with Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson on Heading Right Radio. We actually ran over our time by about twelve minutes, so be sure to download the podcast. Speaking of which, I know that the iTunes subscription has stopped working, due to a URL change on our podcast RSS feed. I will work on a new iTunes subscription feed, but in the meantime, the correct RSS feed can be found on my sidebar, just below the BlogTalkRadio buttons.
Tonight at 5 pm CT, I’ll be back in the studio with Hugh Hewitt, appearing on his syndicated talk show. Hugh will have a segment or two with Mitt Romney, I believe, and I’ll hang around and talk Pittsburgh Steelers football — or perhaps a more joyful topic for Hugh. Be sure to tune in.
Also, a few bloggers got a chance to interview the President today. Read all about it at INDC Journal and the Victory Caucus. While you’re at INDC Journal, be sure to throw a few bucks in the tip jar to keep Bill Ardolino afloat while he embeds with our troops.

Did Ed Schultz Assault A Woman In A Bar?

What is it with left-wing radio hosts? Al Franken squared off on Laura Ingraham’s producer at the 2004 Republican National Convention and tackled a protestor at a Democratic rally. Now Ed Schultz apparently bruised a woman after arguing politics with her and her husband in a Detroit Lakes, Minnesota bar (via Power Line):

The conversation went sour when Nagle said he respects Joe Lieberman, the Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut known for supporting the Iraq war.
Nagle said Schultz said he doesn’t like Lieberman, and then commented that if Nagle felt so strongly about the war, his family should go over and fight in it.
The daughter of Nagle’s fiancee serves in the Army and may soon go to Iraq. His fiancee’s son-in-law has served in Iraq.
“It was at that time that Mr. Schultz completely lost control, in my opinion,” Nagle said. “He became enraged, and then our interactions became far less civil.”
Schultz said the woman with Nagle addressed Schultz’s wife with profanity.
“If someone comes up to you in public and calls your wife (references to expletives), what are you going to do?”
Schultz said he engaged in harmless shoving with Nagle, whom he never named on his radio shows. Schultz said he knew if he hit the man, he could be arrested, which could sink his professional career.

Schultz claims that the couple would not stop harrassing him about politics, despite his requests to end the conversation. That’s not exactly how Nagle recalls the interaction. Rob at Say Anything interviewed Nagle about the incident, and he claims that Schultz threw a punch that hit his wife, who had tried to step between her husband and Schultz when the host threatened them:

* At one point Schultz asked Nagle why he and his family weren’t over fighting the war in Iraq, and Nagle responded by pointing out that some of his family was, in fact, in Iraq. Or had been in Iraq. Schultz responded to this by saying that he hates “f***ing right-wing Republicans” and threatening Nagle to the point where the restaurant security began to take notice
* Nagle responded to Schultz’s threat by saying he and his group were going to leave, at which point either someone from the hotel/bar or one of Schultz’s party (Nagle isn’t clear on this) grabbed his arms and pinned them behind him as Schultz approached with a fist cocked as though he was going to throw a punch.
* Before Schultz was able to throw a punch, Nagle’s fiancee stepped in and Ed’s fist grazed both her and Nagle.
* Nagle’s fiancee has bruises from this encounter.

Nagle claims that he has witnesses who can verify his account of the incident. He wanted to forget about his encounter with Schultz, but the talk-show host gave out his private nunber on the air in retaliation for the argument. At that point, Nagle decided to set the record straight.
It’s always amusing to see the violence inherent in the anti-war Left — or at least it’s amusing from a distance. When was the last time a conservative radio host got into a barfight? Do you suppose Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, or Michael Medved would take a swing at someone in a bar over a political disagreement? If they did, it would make national headlines. I wonder if we’ll see the same kind of coverage about Air America’s star.
If you want to send your thoughts to Schultz’s home station and its owner Jim Ingstad, you can e-mail him here.

Sneak Peek At The Thompson Interview

I’m at the Minnesota State Fair all day today, thanks to a couple of scheduling issues that came up over the weekend. The Fred Thompson campaign offered me a chance to get a quick interview with the Senator at midday, and as you will hear on today’s show, it was fairly quick — around five minutes, which is as long as we could go in this madhouse. However, I think you will find it fascinating, especially in regards to the tone of his campaign and his Indianapolis speech. Thompson has a few words about the importance of this election and why it’s important to talk straight to the American people. You won’t want to miss it.
I’m also including a recording of Thompson’s press conference at the GOP booth here at the fair, in which he answers a lot of the questions asked by the readers here at CQ. He also gave his reaction to Alberto Gonzales’ resignation today, which comes first in the press conference.
Later this evening and for the next two days, I’m doing drive-time radio at AM 1280 The Patriot from 5-8 PM CT. My NARN partner Mitch Berg joins me tonight and tomorrow, and Colonel Joe Repya joins me on Wednesday. CQ Radio will go at 1 pm CT the next two days in order to make sure I have enough time to get to the fair both days.

Maybe The Bill Had Something To Do With It

The Project for Excellence in Journalism conducted a study to determine why the immigration-reform bill died on the floor of the Senate — and readers can guess who gets the credit and the blame. Their exhaustive study, apparently completed and published in six weeks, claims that conservative talk radio set off a frenzied mob by using the word “amnesty”:

Opposition from key talk radio and cable TV hosts helped kill the immigration bill in Congress, a study out today concludes.
“What listeners of the conservative talk radio media were hearing, in large part, was that the legislation itself was little more than an ‘amnesty bill’ for illegal immigrants, a phrase loaded with political baggage,” it says.
The study by the nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism quantifies what White House and Capitol Hill phone lines and e-mail inboxes already indicated: Talk radio focused on the immigration debate more intensely than the mainstream media did from April to June.
Conservative hosts touched off a brushfire in the Republican base that President Bush and other party leaders were helpless to contain.

The study concluded that talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage devoted 16% of their second-quarter airtime to immigration. Liberal talk-show hosts only devoted 5% to the topic. Using this calculation, the study concludes that the talk-radio shows overpowered liberals who supported the bill, and therefore foiled passage of the bill.
Well, maybe. However, this sounds like the study’s authors confuse correlation with causation. They don’t study how all of this chatter actually affected the Senate vote. We assume it did — on that much we can agree — but that’s all this study does as well. No one studied the use of the word “amnesty”, either. Did that really affect listener comprehension of the bill, and was it fair or unfair to use it when describing the bill?
The authors also fail to consider that the bill was just a poorly-written piece of legislation. Its sponsors and Harry Reid did whatever they could to jam it down the Senate’s throat quickly enough to avoid scrutiny and to keep any amendments that could actually fix its myriad issues from succeeding. That backroom process angered many voters on its own, as well as a good percentage of the Senators who had to vote on it. Talk radio didn’t have much to do with any of that.
Liberals weren’t thrilled with this bill, either. People on both sides of the divide opposed it, although the most passionate were the conservatives. And some center-right talk-show hosts didn’t oppose the bill, at least not outright, Hugh Hewitt among them. Some of the talk-show hosts wanted to work in some amendments that would make the bill palatable.
Why didn’t they catch that? Their sample only included two conservative talk shows per day. They only tracked Rush Limbaugh every day, and then alternated between Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. For liberal talk radio, their sample was even smaller; they sampled one show per day, alternating between Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes. The rest of their radio study consisted of ABC’s headline service and NPR.
This study reminds me of CBS polling. It fails at the sample, and then draws a lot of unsupported conclusions.

Guess Who’s Coming Back To The Dial?

I wonder if ABC got Al Sharpton’s endorsement on this decision. Don Imus, whose racially-charged description of the Rutgers womens’ basketball team not only got him fired but started a backlash against rap music, has reached an accommodation with CBS that will bring him back to the airwaves on its rival station:

Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract and is negotiating with WABC radio to resume his broadcasting career there, according to CBS and a person familiar with the negotiations.
Imus and CBS Radio “have mutually agreed to settle claims that each had against the other regarding the Imus radio program on CBS,” the network said in a statement Tuesday. …
CBS confirmed only that the settlement had been reached. The person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press that Imus is taking steps to make a comeback with WABC. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not been announced, also said the deal with CBS calls for a “non-disparaging” agreement that forbids the parties from speaking negatively about each other.

So now ABC will have Imus, while CBS has … Boomer Esiason. WFAN, where Imus broadcasted his show, just announced that they have signed the former NFL star to Imus’ old slot. CBS wound up settling a $120 million lawsuit and only got a quarterback.
Imus shouldn’t have been fired in the first place. That kind of violaton traditionally gets a suspension, and a few weeks off without pay would have been just and fair. What he said was rude, crude, and indefensible, but it’s hardly on the same level as sending couples into St. Patrick’s Cathedral and live broadcasting their, er, coupling. It was thoughtless and stupid and showed that Imus has some issues, but it wasn’t the equivalent of donning a white sheet and going on a night ride, as Sharpton and others suggested.
ABC thinks that a market exists for Imus. Let’s let the market decide whether they’re correct.

Dream Or Nightmare? The Generalissimo Winds Up ….

How many of us, growing up as kids, dreamed of throwing out the first pitch at a major league baseball game? Granted, a lot of us dreamed of actually playing on the team, too, but being able to be on the field at all, taking part of a ritual shared by Presidents and prophets, rich and poor, all brought together by love of the national pastime, was a fantasy many of us played out in our heads as children.
As an adult, though, that fantasy could easily turn into a nightmare. What happens if the ball doesn’t make it to the plate? What if I trip and fall? What if I show up to school in my underwear just as the final exam finishes — oh, wait, that’s another nightmare.
Our friend Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson had to face his dreams and nightmares in one of the least friendly confines in Major League Baseball on Friday night: Philadelphia. This is where the fans booed Santa Claus, for crying out loud. Well, not quite, but they’re pretty tough to please nonetheless. Would Duane walk off the field to cheers, or would he slink off in ignominy?
Not only can you read Duane’s full account, you can also see the video of the pitch at the newly-relaunched Radioblogger. Be sure to read it all, and also make sure you’ve bookmarked the new site.