blind_html Fwd: Michael Savage Banned in the UK

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 23:21:21 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Michael Savage Banned in the UK
Date:   Wed, 13 May 2009 01:07:08 -0400
From:   Ray T. Mahorney <coffee-craver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>

May 10, 2009

Michael Savage Banned in the UK
Peter Barry Chowka

Well-known "
independent conservative
" radio talk show host Michael Savage has been catapulted to a new level of controversial
notoriety, this time on an international level. On May 5, 2009,
Drudge Report
broke the news in the U.S. that Savage had been put on an official list of people banned from
entering the United Kingdom.

The so-called "least wanted list" of foreign undesirables who are now prevented from traveling
to the UK is maintained by the British government's
Home Office
, roughly
the equivalent
of the U.S. government's
Department of Homeland Security
. "Since 2005,"
the BBC noted
in reporting on the list, "the UK has been able to ban people who promote hatred, terrorist
violence or serious criminal activity."

On May 5, the Home Office published the list, contained in the document "
Home Office name [sic] promoters of hate excluded from the United Kingdom
," on its official Web site. The sixteenth and last name on the list was "Michael Alan Weiner
(also known as Michael Savage)." The Home Office described
Savage as a:

block quote
"Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking
to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering
hatred which might lead to inter-community violence."

block quote end

According to the Home Office,

block quote
"Individuals banned from the United Kingdom for stirring-up hatred have been named and shamed
for the first time, the Home Secretary announced today. The
list covers people excluded from the United Kingdom for fostering extremism or hatred between
October 2008 and March 2009. It follows the Home Secretary's
introduction of new measures against such individuals last year, including creating a
presumption in favour of exclusion in respect of all those who have
engaged in spreading hate."

block quote end

For some of those named, including Savage, "presumption in favour of exclusion" appears to mean
that the British government is taking preemptive and protective
action against people with no known history of inciting or committing violence or criminal
acts -- in other words, against the possibility of offensive
speech or a "thought crime" occurring on British soil.

The list also includes the names of some convicted criminals.
noted that "Russian skinheads Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky are also on the list. The Home
Office says they are 'leaders of a violent gang that beat
migrants and posted films of their attacks on the Internet.' Samir al Quntar, a Lebanese man who
spent three decades in prison for killing four Israeli
soldiers and a 4-year-old girl in 1979, is also on the list."

Savage Responds

Never one to shrink from a challenge, especially one as potentially outrageous and damaging as
this one, Savage devoted his entire nationally syndicated
radio program on Tuesday, May 5 (it airs live M-F from 6 to 9 PM EDT) to defending himself from
the allegations and threatening legal action for libel
against the UK's Home Secretary,
Jacqui Smith
, if his name was not immediately removed from the list.

According to independent audience ratings,
is the third most popular radio talk show host in the United States with
eight million listeners
a week on close to 400 terrestrial radio stations coast to coast. He is also a widely read
author, with
four of his non-fiction books
having made it to the New York Times bestseller list in recent years.

Savage's career as a radio talker is noteworthy for its success and novelty. He began in talk
radio in 1994 at age 52, after getting a Ph.D. and spending
several decades writing books on nutritional and herbal medicine under his birth name, Michael
Weiner. Adopting the name "Michael Savage," he emerged as
a conservative political analyst -- and, in an extremely competitive, market-driven field, he
became one of the most successful talk show hosts in the
history of the medium. His take-no-prisoners style earned him ratings success locally
(ironically, in liberal San Francisco) and later on around the U.S.
when his daily talk show, "The Savage Nation," went into national syndication in 1999. Early on,
he targeted "borders, language, and culture" as core issues,
and was a harbinger of the emerging problem of illegal immigration.

While Savage (as
he himself has noted
) is generally considered persona non grata and is typically
ignored by the mainstream media
, there is also little love lost between Savage and many notable conservatives (former CBS News
correspondent and conservative author Bernard Goldberg
put Savage at #61 on his list
of "
100 People Who Are Screwing Up America
"). Despite Savage's being a kind of "non person" in conventional quarters, the potential
ramifications of the banned-in-the-UK story were inescapable and
ensured that it would eventually be widely covered. The larger context includes growing fears
about indications that the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled
Congress are setting the stage domestically to regulate and restrict political content on talk
radio (dominated by conservative hosts), and possibly the
Internet, as well (see "
Doctrine Air Democracy").

Savage has had a pack of influential adversaries nipping at his heels for years. The
George Soros-funded
Media Matters
singled out Savage
and attacks him on a regular basis. Critics have
mounted boycotts
of his show's advertisers. Savage also has his reliable defenders, including the Web sites
Free Republic
World Net Daily
, which
quickly jumped to his defense
in the UK banning case.

On September 12, 2008, Bill Moyers' weekly PBS program
Bill Moyers' Journal
helped to set the stage for the latest UK-based demonization of Savage by implying in an
inaccurate and one-sided report, "
Rage on the Radio
," that the work of conservative American talk show hosts -- Savage in particular -- may have
inspired the fatal shooting last year of two people at the
Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN. (Books by Savage and other
conservative writers were found in the shooter's apartment,
according to Moyers. But interestingly, when the shooter, Jim David Adkisson, pleaded guilty to
the crime in February 2009, he said that
he wanted to kill all 100 people on Bernard Goldberg's list
-- a list that, as noted above, includes Michael Savage.)

On September 15, 2008, I reported on Moyers' PBS hit piece on Savage in
an article at American Thinker
. Eight months later, the British government seemed to be basing its decision to ban Savage on a
similar, and similarly undocumented and flawed, theory,
it described Savage
as "Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious
criminal acts." The possibility exists that the British
government was at least partly inspired by the Moyers report.

During the second hour of his radio program on May 6, in between listener calls, Savage, who
insisted that he had no plans to travel to the UK and hadn't
set foot there in twenty-five years, said:

block quote
"I have never advocated violence. . . I've been on the air for fifteen years, three hours a day,
five days a week -- fifteen years. They [Savage's critics]
take a few sound bites that amount to one, two, or three minutes and they try to redefine me by
extracting sound bites out of context. I could do that
with anyone in the public eye. I could take anybody and edit what they say and turn them into
what they are not. You can do it with anyone on the planet.
And that's what has been done to me.

"And now, for the English people to permit their government of Lilliputians to take a talk show
host and put him in the same category as murderers who
are in prison in Russia, as Hamas operatives who have been released from prison after serving
ten years for having smashed in the head of a four year old
Jewish child after killing her parents, it says something terrible about Jacqui Smith, not about
Michael Savage. And I will straighten the record out.
That's all I'm telling you -- I'm standing up for myself. You should be proud of me and you
should support me. That's all there is to it. OK?"

block quote end

As he described the possibility of bringing a libel suit in the UK, Savage said,

block quote
"I have incurred some very severe damages already which are likely to become viral very soon.
For example, I lead a rather elusive and reclusive life. But
as of right now, I have 24 hour security. This is a direct result of this incident."

block quote end

Mainstream Media Slow to Report

In the first 24 hours after this story broke in the U.S., the three American cable news channels
were slow to report on it. The exception was a mention,
and brief discussion, of the banning on
Lou Dobbs Tonight
on CNN (7-8 PM EDT) on May 5. Meanwhile, the story was
a lead item in the British press
-- both print and electronic.

Here at home, at 10 AM EDT on May 6, more than twenty-four hours after the story first broke in
the UK, using their sites' own search features, I searched
the Web sites of all three American cable news channels. Using "Michael Savage" as the search
terms at each site, the
Fox News Channel
had only the same brief AP story datelined London about the UK ban (featuring Savage's name in
the article headline). had a story
, interestingly at, attributed to CNN about the ban in general.

Meanwhile, the same search at turned up links to past stories like "
Groups Call on Syndicator to Fire Michael Savage for Autism Remarks."

Ditto for, which among other links had one that went back to a
2007 article
that quoted Elizabeth Edwards saying "Michael Savage, host of the radio talk show 'Savage
Nation,' is another example of someone who uses awful inflammatory
language that degrades the political process."

Searching for a reference to "Savage" on the front pages of all three cable news channels' Web
sites on May 6 yielded nothing.

The next evening, Thursday May 7, however, Fox News' most popular program,
The O'Reilly Factor
(host Bill O'Reilly and Savage have an
ongoing animus toward each other
), did an about face and devoted two-thirds of its hour to reports on discussions of "hate
speech," the UK banning, Savage, and censorship.

O'Reilly's first guest, Sarah Baxter, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Sunday Times of
London, offered her opinion that, in coming up with the banned
list, Home Office Minister Smith:

"Got advice from civil servants, intelligence services, et cetera about who to include. But what
really happened was that she wanted a list of Muslim extremists
and so-called 'preachers of hate' banned from the UK for domestic reasons, 'cause we've got a
lot of preachers of hate preaching from the pulpit that we
can't get rid of in Britain. And so it was like, 'At least we can stop them from coming into the
country.' But then, of course, that was looking a bit
like borderline racist, so the instruction went out, 'Go and get me some angry white guys and
put them on the list, as well.'"

Savage, needless to say, is white and, in the
view of many observers
, fits the bill as an "angry white guy."

Left wing bloggers, too, are busy weighing in on the Savage-UK-ban brouhaha.
Glenn Greenwald
, a leftist constitutional lawyer and author of
several books
highly critical of President George W. Bush and the Republicans, for example, has written a
lengthy blog entry at
about the UK ban, titled "The faux defense of Western liberties from the anti-Muslim, Mark
Steyn Right." (Steyn's column that Greenwald cites is
.) Greenwald, and many others on the left, argue that governments that American conservatives
generally approve of, like the U.S. under George W. Bush and
Israel, have been guilty of doing the same kinds of things (if not worse) that the British are
now being criticized for. Readers can decide for themselves
if Greenwald's arguments hold water.

Since this is a story in progress, it remains to be seen how it will ultimately play out -- for
example, will Savage's early promises of a libel suit ever
make it to a British court? Also, as some surmise, is the targeting of Savage
attributable to President Obama
or his administration, and does it presage a wave of similar future media censorship actions
here in the United States?

Finally, most importantly, now that the left is in control, will the emerging, potentially epic,
battles over free speech, political correctness, and thought
control result in people like Michael Savage disappearing from the airwaves?

Peter Barry Chowka is a writer and investigative journalist who writes about politics, health
care, and the media.
Page Printed from: <> at
May 13, 2009 - 01:04:11 AM EDT
Ray T. Mahorney

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