Michael Savage Brings Bigotry and Anti-Semitism to the Airwaves
By Camille Jackson
There's just one thing. Savage is himself "a New York Jew," a man who was born — and legally remains — Michael Alan Wiener. According to the liberal media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Savage is the son of Jewish parents in the Bronx. He adopted his pseudonym in 1994, with his first major radio show.
Despite that, Savage frequently talks about Christianity as "our" religion and bitterly criticizes those he characterizes as "Christophobes." Now, with his attacks on Cohen, FAIR's Steve Rendall says Savage has crossed a new line.
"Savage's anti-Semitism is nothing new," said Rendall, a long-time analyst of Savage's show. "But this takes him a step beyond, into the company of neo-Nazi conspiracists like [hate group leader] Matt Hale and [former Klansman] Don Black.
"What's most remarkable, though, is how Savage has put the blatant racism and anti-Semitism of the shortwave dial onto commercially sponsored am stations."
That doesn't seem to bother his backers.
"It's hard for us to comment on anything other than Michael is just wildly popular," KNEW-AM spokesman Ken Kohl told the Report. "You don't achieve this kind of success in markets like New York and San Francisco unless you are wildly entertaining to huge numbers of people."
For their part, officials at Clear Channel Communications, after reviewing Savage's remarks about Cohen, limited themselves to a simple statement. "Clear Channel's radio stations," it said, "are operated and programmed locally based on extensive audience research."
Talk Radio Network (TRN), a radio syndicator based in Central Point, Ore., and featuring an array of hard-right hosts, did not respond to requests for comment. But it has defended Savage from the start. Last May, it went to federal court to sue the operators of three small Web sites critical of their leading host in a bid to shut them down.
After the public interest group Public Citizen stepped in to help defend the case, however, TRN seemed to crumble. On the December day that they were to respond to a defense motion to dismiss the case, TRN's attorneys instead asked the judge for permission to drop their own case. It was granted.
None of this has turned off Savage's publisher at WND Books, a new publishing house that is a partnership between the far-right World Net Daily Web site and Thomas Nelson Inc., a Nashville-based publisher of Christian books. WND Books also published Savage's latest book, The Enemy Within, which debuted this January at No. 8 on The New York Times' bestseller list.
"I can only say that I am a bit mystified by your assertion that Dr. Savage is anti-Semitic," David Dunham, who identified himself as WND Books publisher and a senior vice president at Thomas Nelson, Inc., said after reading transcripts of Savage's rhetoric.
"I would suppose that you are extrapolating this from his repeated comments that, 'Mr. Cohen is a Jew from New York.' That's no more anti-Semitic than if he said, 'David Dunham (me) is a Christian from Nashville.'"
Except for one thing. Cohen was born and raised in Virginia.