Hugh Hewitt’s Ascendency on the Right

Posted March 22, 2015 by rightfrequency
Categories: Uncategorized

Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt is set to be a moderator later this year in a GOP presidential primary debate. He was recently featured in the National Journal called him the “Republican establishment’s go-to pundit.”

This is decidedly not standard conservative radio fare; but Hewitt, a professor of constitutional law who often sounds the part, isn’t a conventional right-wing talk-radio host (and he prefers the term “center-right” anyway). His program, which he has long called “National Public Radio for conservatives,” is the brainier cousin of the shout-fests that blast out of many AM stations.

On this particular afternoon, Hewitt was feeling playful; two llamas were running loose in Arizona, so the versions of the questions I got—”Have you read The Looming Llama?” and “Was Alger Hiss a Soviet llama?”—were variations on his typical theme. (My answers: “I think that was streaming over the Internet live this afternoon” and “I think he was convicted of perjury; I’m not sure about his llama status.”) But, normally, Hewitt takes these two questions quite seriously. “It’s a great reveal to me. It tells me everything I need to know,” he says later, explaining why he asks the Alger Hiss question. “I find out if somebody is knowledgeable and honest. And if someone says I know who Hiss is and I don’t know whether or not he was a spy, they are either very lazy or they’re not telling me the truth. And the reason they don’t want to tell me the truth is the Left hasn’t let go. They can’t let go of that.”

To learn more about Hugh Hewitt and his prominent role in the talk radio industry, read The Right Frequency.


Operation Chaos Mastermind Stirring up Obama, Hillary Camps Again

Posted March 22, 2015 by rightfrequency
Categories: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Obama, Rush Limbaugh

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The Right Frequency details how in 2008, Rush Limbaugh called on his conservative listeners to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton – at a point when it appeared evident she would lose to eventual nominee Barack Obama. The reason, Limbaugh said, was to keep the primary battle going on for as long as possible.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Rush has recently sought to stir up more heat between the two camps. He suggested that it was the Obama White House that was responsible for leaks to the New York Times about the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

“Maybe he’s worried that Hillary would do a better job that he’s done and wouldn’t want to have the next Democrat president end up looking better than he does,” Limbaugh said. “I think that’s entirely possible.”

To learn more about how Limbaugh interjected himself into the 2008 Democratic primary, read The Right Frequency.

So What Became of Father Coughlin’s Church?

Posted March 22, 2015 by rightfrequency
Categories: Uncategorized

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The Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Mich. was elevated by Pope Francis to the status of “minor basilica,” the Kansas City Star reported:

Father Charles Coughlin (Credit:


It was built with the proceeds of the radio ministry of Father Charles Coughlin, who broadcast from the sandstone tower, first in favor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies and then against. Leading the way for future televangelists, the populist Coughlin had 30 million listeners and formed a workers’ movement called the National Union for Social Justice. Coughlin supported fellow demagogue Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana until he was assassinated.

Coughlin, who spoke at the 1932 Democratic National Convention was a diehard FDR fan until he determined the New Deal didn’t go far enough. The priest was accused of being both a left wing demagogue and a right wing demagogue. To learn more about his impact on politics, FDR and the New Deal read The Right Frequency.

50 Years Since Barry Goldwater’s Nomination II: LBJ’s War on Talk Radio

Posted July 16, 2014 by rightfrequency
Categories: Lonely Voices

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This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Republican nomination of Barry Goldwater for president. Goldwater lost a landslide to Lyndon Johnson, and it’s likely he would have lost either way. But The Right Frequency describes how Johnson’s campaign played dirty nevertheless, using Nixonian tactics well before Watergate, tactics that resemble the politically-motivated IRS Tea Party targeting scandal of 2012.

Barry Goldwater (

Barry Goldwater (

From The Right Frequency:

Fred J. Cook, a friend from his journalism days, into the fold to write a piece for The Nation magazine lashing out against conservative talk radio. Cook had just finished a book “Barry Goldwater: Extremist on the Right.” The talk radio piece in The Nation ran in the May 25, 1964 issue with the headline, “Hate Clubs of the Air.” It said, “The hate clubs of the air are spewing out a minimum of 6,600 broadcasts a week, carried by more than 1,300 radio and television stations—nearly one out of every five in the nation in a blitz that saturates everyone one of the fifty states with the exception of Maine.”

According to Friendly’s book, “Because of the close association of James Row with President Johnson and also because of John Bailey’s standing as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, there is little doubt that this contrived scheme had White House approval.”

Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Johnson administration recalled, “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”

The DNC mailed out thousands of copies of Cook’s Nation article to Democratic state and local parties and Democratic officials. The DNC also mailed the article to radio stations, with a letter from DNC counsel Dan Brightman warning that if Democrats are attacked, demands will be made for equal time. When McIntire criticized Brightman for sending the letter, the DNC demanded and got free airtime to respond on about 600 stations. Then, when Dan Smoot assailed LBJ during the Democratic National Convention, the DNC got free airtime to respond on 30 stations, though others declined.

Democrats believed their strategy was successful and decided to accelerate things, setting up another front group called the National Council for Civic Responsibility that took out full page newspaper ads that said, “$10 million is spent on weekly radio and television broadcasts in all 50 states by extremists groups.” Picked to head the group was Arthur Larson, a liberal Republican who had served in the Eisenhower administration. Larson insisted at the National Press Club, “The council’s formation had nothing to do with the presidential campaign or with the right-wing views of Republican candidate Senator Barry Goldwater.” Though, he later came clean that leading the organization was not his proudest moment. “The whole thing was not my idea, but let’s face it, we decided to use the Fairness Doctrine to harass the extreme right. In light of Watergate it was wrong. We felt the ends justified the means. They never do.” He also added, “As soon as I found out the Democrats were putting money into it, I wanted out.”

The Democrats produced their own show called “Spotlight,” prepared segments ready to run as response in free airtime. These spots ran on 60 stations and were hosted by an actor employed by
Rudder & Finn whose on-air name was William Dennis. Johnson scored a massive landslide, carrying all but six states. Dirty tricks by the Democrats had no more to do with his ability to beat Goldwater than Watergate had with Nixon’s ability to trounce George McGovern eight years later. Nevertheless, political operatives felt compelled to resort to nefarious deeds to ensure a wipeout on Election Day.

To learn more about the Johnson operation read The Right Frequency.


50 Years Since Barry Goldwater’s Nomination I: The Role of a Talk Radio Host in Making it Happen

Posted July 16, 2014 by rightfrequency
Categories: Early Voices

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This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Republican National Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater for president in San Francisco. Goldwater lost a crushing landslide in 1964, but his campaign of ideas helped shape the modern conservative movement.

Barry Goldwater (

Barry Goldwater (

The Right Frequency details how conservative talk radio host Clarence Manion helped make Goldwater a star years before he entered the presidential race.

From The Right Frequency:

In 1957, Senator Barry Goldwater got welcomed national exposure as a guest on the show. Clarnnce Manion talked Goldwater into writing a book that the he thought should be titled a “Conscience of a Conservative.” The book was ghost written by L. Brent Bozell II. But the publishing industry was not receptive, so Manion founded Victor Publishing Company, and the book launched Goldwater’s forward to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination and influenced the politics for generations.

“Clarence Manion was very important to the conservative movement. His weekly program was very well read and carried on many stations,” said Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation. “The transcripts of his broadcasts were then reproduced and distributed widely in the conservative movement. It was always regarded as a mark of your standing if you were a guest on the Manion Forum. He was a major player.”

To learn more about Manion and his influence on the conservative movement and Goldwater’s campaign, read The Right Frequency.


Why Alternative Media is Better than the Good Old Days

Posted June 28, 2014 by rightfrequency
Categories: 1950s, Early Voices, Rise of Rush, Rush Limbaugh

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The rise of new media has produced too much “advocacy journalism” according to Larry Atkins a journalist and attorney.

Walter Cronkite (

Walter Cronkite (

From Huffington Post

Over the past 15 years, as newspaper circulation has declined, more and more people are turning to advocacy journalism via websites, talk radio, cable TV, and blogs to get their news. …

Advocacy journalists do not set out to inform; they set out to advance an agenda, whether it be conservative or liberal. While FOX News and conservative talk radio show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the worst offenders, liberal television hosts like Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow also fall into this category. They are all giving their opinion and reporting news with a goal and a biased agenda.

In light of the explosion of media outlets ranging from cable news outlets, talk radio, blogs, and websites, we need to be more savvy news consumers. As I tell my journalism students, it’s important to consider the source of the information before we make our judgments.

Atkins is both right and wrong.

Neither Rush Limbaugh nor Rachel Maddow are journalists, and have been known to omit facts to push their point of view.

However, Atkins longs for the good old days that never really existed, of The New York Times setting the agenda and Walter Cronkite telling America, “That’s the way it is.” Today we know that establishment media had their own agenda and framed debates in one way.

So the public should be more savvy news consumers and always consider the source of information. That’s always been the case. What’s better about today than Atkins’ mythical yesteryear is that an alternative media has produced multiple sources to check both politicians and media.

To learn more about how talk radio established a successful commercial model for the exploding alternative media universe of today, read The Right Frequency.

What Bill O’Reilly Thinks of the ‘Talk Radio Guys’ Now

Posted June 28, 2014 by rightfrequency
Categories: Obama, Tea and Talk, Tea Party

Tags: , , , , ,

Bill O’Reilly, the nation’s top rated cable news host for more than a decade, definitely leans right. But he often tries to project himself as nevertheless above the partisan fray. He’s often critical of conservative talk radio.

Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Bill O’Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

That’s why it was a little surprising this week when O’Reilly said talk radio was right.

From the O’Reilly Factor Talking Points Memo:

But the professional criticisms are turning out to be somewhat valid. A new CBS News/”New York Times” poll usually very generous to the president shows his administration has collapsed in the court of public opinion. Independents have joined conservatives in believing the president is not doing a good job.

The basic problem is competency. And you may remember that the radio guys pointed out that Barack Obama had little experience running anything. That he was basically a community organizer and theoretician. Well, if you examine the facts, without emotion, that seems to be accurate.

Mr. Obama’s management skill and problem-solving ability are dubious. Let me back it up with a vivid example. President Obama was quite clear, quite clear, that if elected president, he would reform the Veterans Affairs Department.  … So, what happened to that pledge? Well, the V.A. is now a scandal. There are allegations that more than 1,000 American vets have actually died because they could not access proper care. The V.A. admits that more than 120,000 vets waited far too long for doctors so see them. In addition, the Feds have paid out $845 million to settle V.A. malpractice suits.

So, to be fair, it looks like the conservative radio talk show hosts were correct in their assessment of Barack Obama’s ability to run the country.

The “talk radio guys” were quite tough on Obama from the beginning of his administration. Rush Limbaugh notably said, “I hope he fails.”

To learn more about the battle between Obama and talk radio, read Chapter 12 “Obama, Tea and Talk” of The Right Frequency.