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Savage slams the Smarts

TV talker labels them 'crybaby' and 'moron'

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is campaigning to force MSNBC to drop right-wing radio host Michael Savage from its lineup. Perhaps members of Elizabeth Smart's family might like to join the effort.

Like Dr. Laura Schlessinger before him, Savage and his "Savage Nation" radio and now cable TV shows have drawn GLAAD's wrath because of his anti-gay rhetoric. He's an equal-opportunity hater, however — his rhetoric is anti-women (he hates "feminized America"), anti-foreigner (he hates "turd world immigration"), anti-Muslim (he's a self-proclaimed "Islamaphobe").

The man actually said, "The world Muslim population could absorb the loss of 200 million people — they'll just make more."

Still, I was unprepared for comments Savage (whose real name is Michael Alan Weiner) made on his radio show Thursday. He played audio clips of various members of the Smart family tearfully expressing their joy that Elizabeth had been found — and then he used words like "crybaby" and "moron" to describe them.

That's right. Savage called Elizabeth Smart's father and uncles crybabies and morons.

Savage went on to opine that real men would have called for the kidnapper to be castrated. That, should the kidnapper be sentenced to prison, real men would pay to have him murdered. That there's something wrong with an America where the family of a rescued kidnap victim can be tearfully joyful to be reunited with their daughter — that this would be a better place if family members took to the microphone screaming for bloody vengeance.

This would be the man to whom MSNBC, in its drive to improve its awful ratings and out-Fox the Fox News Channel, has allotted an hour a week of national cable time on Saturdays at 3 p.m. MST. This would be the man heard on hundreds of radio stations across the country, including Salt Lake's KNRS-AM 570, which (grotesquely, in this case) bills itself as "family values talk radio."

(MSNBC is owned by NBC. KNRS is owned by Clear Channel, whose local holdings include KTVX-Ch. 4.)

GLAAD and its allies, including the National Organization for Women and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, are succeeding in driving advertisers away from Savage's MSNBC show. Half a dozen national advertisers, including Procter & Gamble and Dell computers, already pulled out. At this point, however, MSNBC says it's sticking with Savage.

As was the case with Dr. Laura, I'm more than a bit uncomfortable with efforts to keep people off the air simply because I don't agree with them. My feelings remain — "let the marketplace rule."

But, at the same time, I find Savage reprehensible. MSNBC and the management of NBC should be ashamed that they've allowed their greed to outweigh any semblance of ethics and morals.

The marketplace is what killed Dr. Laura's TV show. Ratings were awful, and so were revenues.

Having heard more of Savage than I ever wanted to, I fervently hope the marketplace kills his show, too.