Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Media picks on conservative radio host who used same tactics as Hillary

John McCain was in Cincinnati today for a rally and was introduced by local conservative talk phenomenon Bill Cunningham. This is how First Read rendered Cunningham's introduction:

Bill Cunningham, who I am told is a radio host here, repeatedly referred to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama -- at least three times. (Hussein is, as most know, Obama's middle name.)

Cunningham's tone was derisive on Obama's positions, and he also spoke very critically of mainstream media accusing the collective media of trying to get Democrats elected.

From The Cincinnati Enquirer:

He repeatedly referred to Obama using his middle name -- Hussein -- and said that Obama was a product of the "Chicago-Daley mob.'' McCain was not on stage when these remarks were made but was told of them later.

I just finished listening to the so-called offending remarks, and Cunningham talked more about Tony Rezko and Barack Obama's ties to the Daley Machine than he mentioned his middle name. As Cunningham himself said on the air this afternoon, the press has a different standard for him than it would were he a liberal or a Democrat, because much of what Cunningham said are also things that Hillary Clinton has said about Obama-yet we don't see the national press trying to run Hillary through the mud for saying essentially the same thing that Cunningham did. John McCain denounced Cunningham's remarks without even being present in the room to hear them (other local Cincinnati Republicans who were at the rally appeared on Cunningham's show this afternoon and said they saw nothing wrong with the remarks and called in to support the popular chat host).

Having once lived in Cincinnati for two years, and during that time became a daily devotee of Willie's show (and a regular at his Western Hills bar and restaurant), one thing I can say with certainty is that if you don't want controversy and right-wing speech, don't invite Cunningham to speak at your rally. I've never agreed completely with the man, but he is what he is-and in addition to being a popular conservative talk show host, he is also a very good lawyer and tends to word things in such a way as to avoid any legal trouble.

McCain later claimed that he did not know Cunningham and had never met him-the latter of which is false (the two have met on three separate occasions), and I believe the former likely is as well. Cunningham's ratings are the highest talk radio ratings in the Cincinnati area-he dwarfs Rush Limbaugh there-and he is a very close second to Limbaugh in Ohio and Kentucky Statewide. There is no way that at least a few of the people around McCain did not know who Bill Cunningham is. At least one caller to Cunningham's program this afternoon theorized that McCain or his people were very much aware of the kind of shtick Cunningham would use and were deliberately trying to throw him under the bus.

I'm not sure how true that is, but I do know that at a time when John McCain needs desperately to unite the conservative movement in his favor, he doesn't need to be using popular local conservatives (who have endorsed him) in major metropolitan areas with high numbers of Republicans and then running them down in the national press.

NOTE: Cincinnati Mayor
Mark Mallory (D) an Obama supporter, has come out in support of Cunningham, saying "the national media do not know you, but we do, and we love you."

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At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 8:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Plausible deniability" in action. Radio spin monkey is invited to give warm up speech for GOP Pres Candidate. Radio Spin Monkey is told "red meat," lots of it, by GOP Pres Candidate's staff. Radio Spin Monkey provides lots of 'red meat." GOP Pres candidate later says it was wrong! Horrors!
Radio Spin Monkey is BAD.
GOP Pres Candidate is GOOD.
All the crap radio spin monkey spun? Still out there, effect achived.
Cunningham was on H&C the other night eplaining that McCain's staffers told him to dish the red meat. Now they throw him under the bus. Now radio spin monkey threatens to support Hillary.
People are wising up to this. McCain talks with forked tounge.


At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 10:14:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

And Bill Cunningham is an idiot who couldn't hope to be half as good as Rush Limbaugh on his best day.

Seriously, anyone who doesn't think that the use of "Hussein" when speaking Barack Obama's name is a racist, xenophobic attempt to play on Muslim fear in America is simply an idiot. Period. There is no other possible explanation.

Let's say for an instant that Obama's middle name was "Andrew" instead. Does anyone with any sort of common sense -- or really, even half a usable brain cell -- think that Cunningham would have come out talking about Barack Andrew Obama?

Of course not. What political purpose would that serve?

Now, this probably is all ultimately the doing of the McCain campaign, but Cunningham still uttered the words, so he has some responsibility too.

Also, David says that the press has a different standard here than they have had for Hillary. That is a complete and utter LIE. Hillary has been absolutely pounded over the last few months because of how race has been injected into the Democratic primary/caucus campaigns. Her staffers have been very roundly criticized in the media for the use of Obama's middle name.

I'm not sorry to say that this is all just ZERO CLASS.

Anyone who has the nerve to defend any of the participants in this little charade deserve ZERO respect. Cunningham has to bear responsibility for what he said, and McCain's camp has to bear responsibility for setting the whole thing up and then throwing Cunningham under the bus.

These people keep giving me reasons to not vote Republican. And I'm beginning to wonder if that shouldn't last beyond 2008.

I've never seen such worthless, juvenile, un-Christian, hateful, racist, xenophobic fearmongering in my entire life.

And if people think I'm going to just let sh*t like this go, they better think again.

At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 10:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hussain vs Andrew": Exactly! I couldn't have said any better. How did the conservative philosophy descend from William Buckley to what's going on today?
I disagreeed with alot of what he thought/said but he always had my respect. So many conservative newcomers seem to have junked that and taken up "Limbaugh-Roveism."
What happened?


At Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:29:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Note: Cunningham regularly uses middle names, he consistently referred to Reagan as "Ronald Wilson Reagan," to Bush I as "George Herbert Walker Bush," to Clinton as "William Jefferson Clinton" and to GW as "George Walker Bush." Using middle names is a part of his unique shtick (unlike some others).

That should be noted because use of the middle name is something he has always done-unlike some others-just a note on style to all who might be less familiar with Cunningham.


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