Patterico's Pontifications

4/2/2009

Exclusive: John Ziegler Rips L.A. Times Article on Conservative Talk Radio

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:16 am

I spoke to John Ziegler recently about an article that the L.A. Times ran about local conservative talk radio. You probably know Ziegler as the man behind howobamagotelected.com and the related film “Media Malpractice.” Ziegler is a former talk radio host here in L.A. and had some interesting insights into talk radio, conservatism, and the relationship between the two. I think you’ll be interested in his thoughts.

The article said:

[C]onservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy’s downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

Casualties include Mark Larson in San Diego, Larry Elder and John Ziegler in Los Angeles, Melanie Morgan in San Francisco, and Phil Cowen and Mark Williams in Sacramento.

Ziegler emphasized that the issues involved are much more complicated than they are portrayed in the Times article. He said that the L.A. Times‘s approach to the whole issue was “farcical at best” — as revealed by the fact that the paper apparently didn’t bother to contact the radio hosts discussed (Ziegler included) to find why they had been replaced. In Ziegler’s view, the paper simply picked a narrative it found convenient and went with it. (Regular readers of this blog will be shocked to hear this.)

There are many reasons that the hosts named in the article were replaced, Ziegler told me, and many of them are individual to the specific situation.

For example, Ziegler said, it was ridiculous for him to be mentioned in the article as an example of a talk show host being asked to leave because he was conservative. His departure had to do with an internal situation at KFI, stemming from his criticism of John & Ken (about whom more below) rather than anything to do with his political leanings or with a lack of ad revenue.

Ziegler explained that talk radio is a business. Yes, some conservatives might be coming off the air — but that in itself is not an indictment of conservatism.

Larry Elder: An Economic Decision

For example, he said, while he likes and respects former KABC talk show host Larry Elder, Ziegler said that Elder was simply making too much money for what the company wanted to pay. The decision to get rid of Elder was “economic,” as Elder “was getting killed in the ratings.”

Ziegler explained that the ratings system recently changed from a “diary system” to the “People Meter.” Under the diary system, the company would send a diary to people, and people would write down what they thought they listened to. Then they got paid a dollar to send it back. The diary system was run by Arbitron and was known by people in the business as the “Arbitraries.”

Late last summer, radio ratings began to be measured by the “People Meter.” Companies use a device like an iPod, which records the station you’re actually listening to at any particular time. This provides more solid data, and Larry Elder, for reasons that are not readily apparent, was a big loser in that transition.

Moderation and Softness on Obama

In addition, Ziegler said, Elder was “considered the most anti-Obama host on the station,” and many local radio personalities have seemingly concluded that it will be beneficial to their careers to go softer on Obama. Ziegler said that he couldn’t think of a local talk radio host who is clearly anti-Obama.

Ziegler said that softness on Obama has become a distressing trend in L.A. talk radio. Ziegler said that it appears clear that local radio hosts have caught on to Obama’s popularity, and see a ratings benefit in being sweet to Obama.

Ziegler said that some conservatives have not done as well in the ratings as some moderate hosts. This has caused companies to seek to pressure their hosts to be more moderate, a view that Ziegler criticizes as short-sighted. After all, Rush Limbaugh is doing well in the ratings, Ziegler noted. In addition, Fox has done quite well in cable news, while MSNBC and CNN are down.

Why have some of the more conservative hosts not done as well as the moderates? Fox may have taken some of the talk radio audience, Ziegler said — but ultimately, it all comes down to the host. A good moderate host is better then a lousy conservative host, and a good conservative host is better than a lousy moderate host.

But there is also something more insidious at work: the business end of talk radio is not always conducive to those who take the politics seriously.

Business trumps principles

I asked Ziegler whether Elder’s poor ratings weren’t evidence of the L.A. Times thesis: that conservatives are failing in the ratings. Ziegler said:

You seem to have the same block that a lot of conservatives have when it comes to talk radio. Talk radio is a business. Most listeners think it is about a cause. It is not. And hosts that treat it like a cause (like me and Elder) are much more vulnerable, not because we are conservatives . . . but because we don’t go with the wind in order to pander to the audience to get ratings on that particular day. Hosts like John and Ken are masters at not letting their beliefs (they have none) get in the way of running a successful business.

Conservative radio hosts are not failing as “businesses” because of conservatism, but because of their principles which do not enable them to pander for ratings.

This is the biggest lesson I learned from Ziegler . . . and the most depressing.

John and Ken

As you can see, Ziegler cited local talk radio hosts John and Ken as examples of talk radio hosts who, he claims, treat radio as a business rather than a cause . . . even as they pretend to treat it as a cause.

Ziegler said that KFI was conservative three years ago. Then Bill Handel and John and Ken saw that George W. Bush was becoming unpopular, and decided to turn on Bush for ratings.

Handel, Ziegler said, “is a buffoon and acknowledges he is a buffoon.” But John and Ken purport to be serious. They are not, Ziegler said; instead they are “complete and total frauds.”

Ziegler has had an acrimonious relationship with John and Ken, whom he described as “apolitical” and out to “manipulate the audience for ratings.” He said: “They make up whatever they want to believe at that particular moment in time. Whichever way the wind’s blowing, that’s the way they go.” He said: “Hopefully they’ll end up in hell,” and added that John Kobylt “had better hope there is not a hell, because if there is, he’ll end up there.” Kobylt can be mean and tough when interviewing some little guy, Ziegler said, but “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s DNA is still in the KFI studio from the servicing Kobylt gave him the day before the 2006 election. Now, of course, he is all over the Governor because it is safe and good for ratings.”

As a perceptive interviewer, I detected a touch of bitterness there. But just a touch.

Ziegler almost hired at KABC

Ziegler said that much of the decisionmaking on programming (including the drive to go softer on Obama) appears to be made at a corporate level. To illustrate his point, Ziegler told me a rather startling story that is being broken here: he was almost hired by KABC in October.

Ziegler was to fill the single hour between O’Reilly and Hannity, with the understanding that the time slot would be expanded in the new year. He was all ready to sign on the dotted line, and was literally faxing employment information, when he received a phone call and was told he needed to put a hold on the paperwork. Upper management had stopped all transactions. Ziegler said that was likely the day that the general manager and program director realized that they were going to get fired; it was then clear that they did not control the programming decisions.

Media Malpractice

Ziegler said that he believes the political right as a cause is completely lost. We are demoralized.

As an example, Ziegler cited his film Media Malpractice, which he was kind enough to send me a copy of. It is a broadside against media manipulation of the election, with a bonus exclusive interview with Sarah Palin. Ziegler feels that it should be a cause that many conservatives rally around. But, while many have, many others who should have done so, have not.

I am looking forward to seeing it and reviewing it here.

I thank Ziegler for taking the time to talk to me. I came away from the conversation with a greater respect for him — but a greater disdain for talk radio in general. Since we talked, I find it harder to motivate myself to turn the radio on in the car, knowing that the voices I hear are mostly coming from people who treat it like a business and not a crusade. This is terrible, because with what Obama is doing to this country, we need crusaders now more than ever.

64 Responses to “Exclusive: John Ziegler Rips L.A. Times Article on Conservative Talk Radio”

  1. This post seems to confirm rather than refute the LA Times article.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  2. Seems like liberal radio treated the business like a crusade. Liberal radio–Air America–failed miserably, didn’t it?

    Nancy (247179)

  3. Bradley, your up early or late. I’m not sure which.

    Nancy (247179)

  4. Bradley, you’re up early or late. I’m not sure which.

    Nancy (247179)

  5. I like Larry, I like Ziegler, but having Mark Levin live after Hannity, makes up for both being gone in spades. Especially now that I don’t have to hear John and Ken.

    Also, Ziegler puts out his case for John and Ken at http://therealkfi.com which to me is one of the greatest burning of bridges ever

    But again, the Times article is misleading. KFI and KRLA are full time conservative, KABC plays Hannity and Levin during the day and Tammy Bruce on weekends. That’s basically 3 stations that are conservative in Los Angeles, which is a deep shade of blue.

    Hawkins (3d318d)

  6. I will be “crusading” in the local election this coming week and I definitely want high “ratings”. I want as many voters as possible to let me talk to them for a minute or so and maybe read my candidate’s pamphlets that I’ll be passing out.

    nk (c2b047)

  7. “Since then, it has been a favorite ad vehicle for Republican candidates and causes, such as Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage last November.”

    Framing a simple sentence like this one can be just as damaging to the narrative. Same-sex marriage wasn’t “banned”. And more than just Republicans confirmed that the moral sanctity of a marriage was between one man and one woman. The homo-sexual community desperately wants the word “marriage” to be included into their deviant lifestyle to become more acceptable to society while they have already achieved every civil right afforded by the state. The LA Times deceptively uses the word “banned” as though it was already accepted when it was not, confirmed by Prop 22 and again last November.

    “Many of the others on California’s conservative radio circuit are less belligerent.”It doesn’t need to be ranting and raving all the time,” Hedgecock said.”

    While Hedgecock may be partially right while observing his own existence may be in jeopardy if he doesn’t “tone it down”, a tax revolt is coming no matter who’s on the radio to report it. Schwarzenegger was the best choice at the time to slow down the pace of social engineering that has cost this state dearly. He was quickly swallowed up by liberal machine in Sacramento that has been in power since the sixties. Most politicians’ today look first to preserve their power while sacrificing their principals. Radio stations are no different in this case.

    Rovin (a5d8b7)

  8. Ziegler is a serious head case (something he has admitted in the past) and is probably too deranged to taken seriously. I guess you “have” talk to him because of his documentary that almost no one cares out, but he really should have been ostracized after his despicable “obituary” of David Foster Wallace.

    Re John Kobylt. He never claimed we was a “conservative” (which is really an asset after the destruction wrought against the term “conservative” by W and the neocons), but as an effective spokesman against the left-liberal criminal gang that is destroying CA (and soon the entire USSA) no one is better. Since I don’t believe in messiahs, gurus and Maximum Leaders I don’t care what’s lurking secretly in his heart.

    One especially good thing about Kobylt is that he refuses to proclaim his Superpatriotic loyalty for a country that long ago ceased to exist. Here(i think) we’re seeing some genuine integrity. The reigning NYC-DC-Hollywood elite is made up rodents who have contempt for pre-1965 America and celebrate the new Cultural Marxist regime they have created. This includes lowlifes like W and Rove.

    icr (ff91f1)

  9. It is distressing that Larry Elder is gone. The quality of talk radio content wise has taken a hit for local coverage. With all due respect, I have already heard the national focus with Limbaugh. Hannity is a rerun and Levin is another New Yorker with an East Coast flavor. Boring!
    KABC’s Al Rantel and Doug McIntyre voted for Obama and that right there is a major turnoff. Egad!
    KRLA 870AM is cure insomnia radio with a national focus. With all due respect to Hugh Hewitt, I can do without his regular canards against the University of Southern California and his brownnosing Kool-Aid interviews that leave me wondering why I am listening. Oh, that’s right the other station (KABC) has Dodger ball on and the other one (KFI) has some lame topic or guest host.
    KGIL 540 1260 is a joke when it comes to the reception. You need to have some kind of C Crane radio gizmo that Art Bell hocked in years past.

    I welcome the chance for Patterico and the like to discuss California politics on the radio. We need California issues discussed openly and regularly as this state is on an AC/DC “Highway to Hell”. Blogger technology must save talk radio from itself.

    And in regards to John Ziegler. He does not have the best record when it comes to employment. He readily admitted on his radio show on KFI that he has not kept a job for more than a year. It was a celebration of sorts for him when he marked his second year at KFI. His feud with John and Ken is passionate. Although, it comes across as sour grapes on his website. I agree with him that John and Ken are without merit to savage Sarah Palin mercilessly. That was a major turnoff for me last fall leaving me to boycott them at the time. However, and I say this with a degree of frustration, they are the only ones demonstrating a genuine focus on California’s current state of affairs. If I want to continue into the late evening on KFI, Kennedy and Suits will be there. Alas, they are a repeat with content and I am already home.
    I guess what I am saying in such a long way is that I demand talk radio with West Coast talent discussing matters local and state to complement the national hosts. With KOGO’s Hedgecock going national, it is harder to come by in southern California.

    Now I must tell you that one radio show that I find to be originally entertaining is John Batchelor’s show on KFI’s Sunday night. He is a true talent who happens to broadcast from the East Coast. A podcast of his show is worth listening to once in a while. And it is a refreshing change with an international flavor on occasion.

    LA Times is going the way of the dodo and perhaps talk radio in its current form will do so as well. If the blogs are the future of print journalism, perhaps they will be for radio, too. In short, I want Patterico or an acolyte of his on the radio.

    Brian (f7710b)

  10. Argh, folks. Radio IS a business; at least commercial radio is. The point is to make a profit, not social engineering. If you have a message that people wnat to hear, you will make money because advertisers will buy time to reach those people. If Larry Elder wasn’t drawing advertisers, then the station wasn’t just within its rights to fire him, but obligated to its shareholders to do so.

    Aron (916ebb)

  11. John and Ken, as Brian points out above, are focused on California and, while they are probably politically unreliable, they do scent trends and go with them. Hugh Hewitt has great interviews and that is why I listen. His anti-SC stuff and his nostalgia for Ohio turn me off but the interviews are the reason I listen. Larry Elder got whipsawed between Hewitt and John and Ken. I used to switch back and forth between Hewitt and Elder driving home but now do the same between him and John and Ken. In the morning, Limbaugh and Dennis Prager offer a good choice so there is plenty of conservative talk. Al Rantel is good but the station keeps moving him around and he was ill for a while last year.

    I have heard Ziegler’s stories about Bill Handel and his spoiled kids but everybody knows Handel is a jerk. His show on Saturday morning is the only one I listen to.

    It’s obvious that talk radio is a business and people have to deal with it. Newspapers are a business too and the Times isn’t doing much better than Larry Elder at the moment.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  12. I might point out that Larry Elder has been the target of a lot of anti-conservative activism over the years. There have been boycotts organized against his advertisers for years because he is a black conservative. The left is also busy with boycotts of O’Reilly and recently bragged about getting a letter from UPS promising to stop advertising on his show. Last year it was Lowes. I wrote to both and told them that I had informed veterans groups, especially in Tucson where Lowes had just opened a new store. A lot of this goes on under the radar.

    KABC has never impressed me as very intelligent about programming. They forced Dennis Prager out years ago because he wanted to go to a national syndicate. KRLA got started from that and a year later KABG was using national shows from O’Reilly and Hannity in his time slots. That looked pretty stupid and I don’t think they have gotten any smarter.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  13. One can take much of the above and substitute newspaper for conservative talk radio (or, per Nancy, liberal talk radio) and see the similarities. Advertising supported products suffer when advertisers pull back whether because of overall economic conditions that make advertising less productive or because the ideologically driven content isn’t drawing enough listeners/readers. Those outlets who change content to draw in readers will have a better chance of surviving than the purists who stick to their principles and find themselves out of work (or, per yesterday’s point, out of power).

    If a conservative talk show hosts refuses to modify his position, he has to be prepared to pay the economic costs, just as newspapers who refused to change their (liberal) editorial content to appeal to a larger readership are now paying the price. There is balance in the universe.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  14. As Glenn Reynolds might say, “The mismanagement of the news is in good hands.”

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  15. So we don’t have to worry about the Fairness Doctrine just yet, commercialism and cowardice has effectively neutered conservative talk radio in the region, if you pander to the mob, like John and Ken do on savaging Sarah Palin, and undermining the President in time of war, you get rewarded. If you believe in upholding principle, you are punished (ie; Elder in S. Central L.A.)

    narciso (fe3d8b)

  16. I am both interested and amused by this thread.

    I was a regular caller on Hewitt’s KFI show. My then 4 year old daughter read Handel the riot act on the air about Koreans eating dogs. (She is an adopted Korean) I worked for the Generalissimo (Hewitt’s Producer) when he was with Warren Duffy on KKLA. I’ve even done a promo for Bill Press, though at the behest of Bill Handel.

    I always knew Kobylt was a jerk, so much so I referred to him as Joke and his partner as Cliche. While I think the transplants from New Jersey sucked, they were better than Tom Leykis.

    Radio is a business. Some radio stations make money in spite of the morons that run them. Hosts get replaced because they don’t produce audience and revenue. Too bad the old folks home on Spring street doesn’t get the message.

    Back to Hewitt. I used to be his foil for crowing about the Browns and the Indians vs. my Packers and Brewers. Hewitt needs such a foil during those seasons. The one major disagreement I have with Hewitt is that I like “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon, and Hewitt has it banned from his show as a bump.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  17. Oh, and I remember KRLA as KIEV with George Putnam, God rest his soul.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  18. Nancy, I was up early.

    It did seem strange to me that Patterico didn’t already know and take into account the business aspect of talk radio. Even Limbaugh admits he’s a businessman first, although I don’t doubt he believes what he says.

    Patterico should also talk to others in the talk radio field and not rely on just one source.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  19. Prager and Hewitt basically got KRLA going from the old KIEV. I just think it is funny how clueless KABC was when Prager wanted to go national. He knew more about the market than they did. I think satellite radio will eventually be important as some of these AM talk stations have lousy coverage. KRLA, for example, is unlistenable after sunset in south Orange County, which should be a good market for them. We drive from OC to Tucson four times a month and I know exactly the range for the talk stations along the way. What satellite radio needs badly is the Fairness Doctrine. That would really give it a boost.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  20. Patterico should also talk to others in the talk radio field and not rely on just one source.

    I have now talked to one more source than The Times did.

    I knew talk radio was a business, of course, Bradley, but didn’t know the specific aspects that Ziegler told me about.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  21. Patterico, granted, you outdid the LA Times in interviewing one person in the industry. But your information — such as the impact of Obama’s popularity — actually confirmed the LAT article’s main claim that conservative talk radio is in trouble.

    Ziegler also seems excessively pessimistic. By your account, he thinks the right as a cause is lost. That’s what many thought after LBJ was elected, and it wasn’t true.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  22. Whenever someone has an edge of bitterness about former colleagues without being direct about it, everything becomes a bit suspect. They might be brash provocateurs, but they have their finger on the pulse of citizenry’s frustration. If all their bluster and noise is just seen as a business move by them, then so be it. They are effective motivators and the evidence is in the 15,000 attending the rally they spearheaded. Somebody has got to get conservatives moving and making noise. I see them as a means to an end.

    If Ziegler truly believes John & Ken are manipulating the listeners and pandering to them for ratings then he really underestimates the intelligence and discernment of people. I think the average listener is a bit more astute than that. People listen to become informed, they are not looking for messiahs.

    I would love to see Talk Radio woo Mark Steyn. Brilliant, unwavering in his conservative stand and bites with charm.

    Dana (137151)

  23. Mike K.
    I think satellite radio will eventually be important as some of these AM talk stations have lousy coverage.

    I just want to say one word to you. Just one word: Podcasts.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  24. I forgot to mention that I really appreciated the time you spent interviewing Ziegler, Patterico. It’s information & insight we would not get elsewhere. Also look forward to your review of Ziegler’ Media Malpractice. And in your copious free time, would you please interview John and Ken as it would provide a nice counterpoint to the Ziegler interview. :)

    Dana (137151)

  25. The San Francisco conservative talk station, KSFO, tried out John and Ken on tape delay from 7PM to 10PM several years ago, and it provoked such a negative uproar from its listenership that the station management eventually recorded and played a brief promo apologizing for its bad judgment in putting these two guys on the air. John and Ken lasted only two months on KSFO, if I recall correctly.

    Official Internet Data Office (e6afd5)

  26. Personally, I think that the entire conservative movement and the GOP would be better served if they (for at least the next year) emulated the po-and-pan-banging tactics of John and Ken, and not even worry about the need to “make a case” for/against something or other.

    It is worthless to try to bring up your own ideas when:

    a. You have no hope of implementing them or even trying a compromise.
    b. Large chunks of the American people PERSONALLY, CULTURALLY, AND SOCIALLY HATE YOUR GUTS.

    Let the freaks and geeks run wild and free, say I.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  27. Brad, those chunks seem to be getting smaller as the NY 20th election shows a 12% drop in the D vote even if the GOP doesn’t win the seat.

    I give J&K credit for seeing a trend and going with it. They have savaged Arnold for fooling them so at least they admit they were wrong about him.

    If you would read Washington Monthly, you would see they are obsessed with the Republicans, a sign that maybe they see trouble ahead. That is a real leftist group but they may see the building resistance to their agenda. Obama has about three more months to get anything done.

    There are signs that recovery may be stirring and that will be too early for his narrative.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  28. That’s “pot-and-pan banging.”

    oops

    Brad S (9f6740)

  29. And BTW, the thought that conservative talk radio may be on the downside in SoCal (with the apparent specter of Roger Hedgecock taking a pay cut to go national) should serve as a spur to try new things. Jim Tedisco and the NYS GOP has been trying out some new tricks in this special election; wouldn’t hurt for the talk radio biz to do the same thing.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  30. Satellite Radio and the business side of RW Talk…
    Rush is occasionally asked why he isn’t on Sat (usually by people who drive cross-country and are constantly searching for the signal for his show), and his response is that it would be disloyal to all of the advertisers on local stations that have supported him for the last 20+ years.

    AD - RtR/OS (e0c6d9)

  31. I haven’t tuned in talk radio for years, but my impression of J&K was that they were pretty good at reading the pulse of the middle political and economic segment. Particularly on the outrage and righteous indignation scales. I see their events are getting more attendance, and with the same sort that have recently been sweeping the shelves of Lipton and Tetley bags. Ziegler’s type with their sneering personality clashes with the political paganism of J&K is threatening a grand opportunity to steer the herd toward the Lazy R corral.

    allan (2fb38f)

  32. Thank you, I had wondered what had happened to Larry Elder. I used to listen to his show every day on the drive home. Now I listen to music because Mark Levin puts me to sleep. I tried J&K but they are not informative, just reactionary.

    Thomas (4d15b9)

  33. Thomas,
    Just download Limbaugh’s podcasts and listen to them on the way home, like I do.

    is both informative and entertaining. How many talk show hosts are intellectual enough to quote from Ayn Rand?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (36f69f)

  34. Brad, if conservative talk radio is in decline as you and the LA Times say, then where are all the non-conservative shows that replaced the conservative ones? Elder’s replacement, to pick just one, was Mark Levin. OH NO DECLINE!

    Mitch (890cbf)

  35. I would love to see Talk Radio woo Mark Steyn.

    As would I – but how do I put this the right way? I think he’s too articulate and well – spoken for the medium at large. Watching him evicerate the idiots on the Canadian Human Rights commission reminded me of Buckley in his prime.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  36. And yes, I know full well regarding his substituting for Limbaugh.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  37. Ziegler’s fundamentally unserious, as that post you linked to previously amply demonstrated; but his criticism of his fellow hosts makes his unseriousness all the more unserious, because he’s lobbing at J & K the same bombs Foster Wallace lobbed at him:

    It is true that no one on either side of the studio’s thick window expresses or even alludes to any of these objections. But this is not because Mr. Z.’s support staff is stupid, or hateful, or even necessarily on board with sweeping jingoistic claims. It is because they understand the particular codes and imperatives of large-market talk radio. The fact of the matter is that it is not John Ziegler’s job to be responsible, or nuanced, or to think about whether his on-air comments are productive or dangerous, or cogent, or even defensible. That is not to say that the host would not defend his “we’re better”—strenuously—or that he does not believe it’s true. It is to say that he has exactly one on-air job, and that is to be stimulating. An obvious point, but it’s one that’s often overlooked by people who complain about propaganda, misinformation, and irresponsibility in commercial talk radio. Whatever else they are, the above-type objections to “We’re better than the Arab world” are calls to accountability. They are the sort of criticisms one might make of, say, a journalist, someone whose job description includes being responsible about what he says in public. And KFI’s John Ziegler is not a journalist—he is an entertainer. Or maybe it’s better to say that he is part of a peculiar, modern, and very popular type of news industry, one that manages to enjoy the authority and influence of journalism without the stodgy constraints of fairness, objectivity, and responsibility that make trying to tell the truth such a drag for everyone involved. It is a frightening industry, though not for any of the simple reasons most critics give.

    So in addition to being a prick, he’s a hypocritical prick who can’t be bothered to look in a mirror.

    SEK (072055)

  38. Dmac, are you thinking of Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant?

    SPQR (72771e)

  39. Joel Stein (LAT) on Michael Medved’s radio show answered a question from MM as to whether or not the LAT will continue publishing:
    “Probably Not!”

    AD - RtR/OS (e0c6d9)

  40. Oh, good, SEK (Scott Eric Kaufman) doesn’t like Ziegler. Therefore: Ziegler is correct.

    The Seer (9faad4)

  41. Seer,
    Not so fast. Ziegler is in a funk, saying the political right has lost. As a sympathetic outsider to the movement, I don’t find such despair very helpful.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (36f69f)

  42. #1 nails it.

    Gotta say that, on the basis of the quotes excerpted here, Ziegler sounds like a nut-case. I could well imagine why a radio station might let him go.

    buddy (9f4421)

  43. I think both Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn did battle with the HRC, and took neither took any prisoners. Steyn however brings to the table a delicious wicked charm that talk radio conservatives lack. I think he would perk up the masses’ ears rather than talk over them.

    And I think he’d also pick up a solid demographic of women. I recall Mike K mentioning that on the NRO cruise, Steyn was continually surrounded by women. :)

    Dana (137151)

  44. So how is conservative radio doing compared to, say, the LA Times?

    Granted these are two different media, but if conservative radio wasn’t making any money, it would die a very quick and final death. Replacing one conservative radio show with another doesn’t indict conservative thought.

    MAS1916 (de1316)

  45. Dmac, are you thinking of Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant?

    I don’t know whether Levant has ever guest – hosted, but I do know that Steyn has, on more than a few occasions.

    Steyn was continually surrounded by women

    With all due respect to his charm and brilliance, I think his accent may have something to do with that scenario.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  46. I recall Mike K mentioning that on the NRO cruise, Steyn was continually surrounded by women. :)

    Hell, I’d surround him, he’s hot. I’d listen to him too. The only time I make time to be sure to listen to Rush’s 3 hours are when Steyn subs. I think he is EXACTLY what a lot of us smart, articulate conservatives want to hear. I can’t bear to listen to Hannity, he makes my ears bleed. Mark Levin cracks me up. But I long for Mark Steyn.

    Vivian Louise (c0f830)

  47. With all due respect to his charm and brilliance, I think his accent may have something to do with that scenario.

    I read him and thought he was hot long before I heard his accent. He is smart, hilarious and brilliant.

    Vivian Louise (c0f830)

  48. I think Steyn is too busy to sit in one place for 3 hours a day and he began his career as a disk jockey as his detractors are fond of saying (just like Limbaugh). Of course, that is what money was invented for; changing your mind about what you want to spend your time at.

    Mike K (8df289)

  49. Oh, good, SEK (Scott Eric Kaufman) doesn’t like Ziegler. Therefore: Ziegler is correct.

    Besides revealing my super-secret secret-identity, I’m not sure what purpose this comment served; after all, which Ziegler is correct? The one who claims talk radio personalities are in it for the cause and not the money, or the one who claims they’re in it for the money and not the cause? The fact that you saw my name and picked both doesn’t speak well of your oracular abilities.

    SEK (072055)

  50. Steyn’s accent is just frosting on the cake.

    Dana (279a8b)

  51. This post seems to confirm rather than refute the LA Times article. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes

    To be fair to a publication that has more than enough of its own problems (and decline) to worry about, your conclusion of this blog entry about the recent LA Times article pretty much sums it up.

    I definitely prefer John Ziegler’s politics, but I do recall having a tough time listening to his show because of the purely aural, or vocal, qualities of his voice. Ziegler has a kind of raspy or hoarse-nasely type of voice. So while I found myself appreciating his POV, I also found myself wanting to turn the dial.

    And I’m not sure about all the details related to his experience at KFI, but the comments he makes about his former colleagues and employer are obviously no-holds-barred. His criticism can easily strike most casual observers as the tone of someone bogged down by sour grapes. Still, I’d rather tune in to radio personalities with the outlook and mindset of a John Ziegler instead of, without question, a Mario Cuomo (whose radio show several years ago flopped in a nanosecond) or commentators even squishier than an Al Rantal or Doug McIntyre.

    Mark (411533)

  52. Mark, I agree that his voice is annoying, but then again, it’s no worse than (and scarcely distinguishable from) John Kobylt’s. Voices aside, I highly recommend Media Malpractice.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  53. Dmac, no but it is Ezra Levant on the video that was circulating last year of his interview with a HRC flunky.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  54. Media Malpractice does a very good job of backing up its claim of media bias with copious examples.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  55. I’ve never listened to Steyn, but his writing is dreamy. OTOH, so are the voices of a lot of other writers who have since gone on to do Internet podcasts and videos.

    They desperately need voice coaches. If that’s not the case with Steyn, then yes, I insist he do more talk radio. Where do I sign the petition?

    Nancy (247179)

  56. I’d give a lot for a Steyn radio show – brilliant, painfully, self-injuringly funny, great accent, all-around superb. He’s the only Rush substitute I look forward to. I’d have mobbed him on that cruise, too!

    Peg C. (48175e)

  57. He was definitely popular on the cruise. He’s tall and pretty friendly. I finally figured out the bar where they hung out toward the end of the week so didn’t get to spend much time with him. Cindy bought another copy of his book just to get him to sign it.

    Jonah Goldberg is also tall and somehow I hadn’t pictured him that big. Romney was at the cocktail parties, as was Thompson, but didn’t socialize much. It was an interesting group. We spent one evening with a young Lutheran pastor and his mother. I thought he was a Catholic priest at first. Toomey was there with his family and is very impressive.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  58. Dang, the only shoulders I’ve rubbed belong to Thom Collier. It’s a pretty much “I knew him when” type of thing, but I’ll definitely be voting for him in 2010.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  59. PS Thom Collier has definitely heard of PP, he told me himself.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  60. but it is Ezra Levant on the video that was circulating last year of his interview with a HRC flunky

    Thanks for that correction – I was confusing the video of Steyn after he appeared behind closed doors with the nimrods of that commission. But I remember Levant’s vid quite clearly as well.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  61. Speaking of Mark Steyn – well, we were, weren’t we – he will be sitting in for Rush on Monday.

    Dana (279a8b)

  62. Dana, you are not permitted to have your broadcast-media-receiver on during that time.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  63. Heh. Ooooh Canada!

    Dana (279a8b)

  64. John Ziegler is The Man for Our Times. Obama is an authentic Socialist, and Ziegler is an authentic Patriot.

    Government vs. Individual

    Enslavement vs. Freedom

    Obama vs. Ziegler

    May the Better Man win!

    Joy (f995f8)

  65. [...] In an exclusive interview with patterico.com, John Ziegler provided a critique of an L.A. Times article about talk radio. [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)


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