January 21, 2018

Richard Bey on UbaTV.com – HANNITY’S APOLOGIES

I worked at WABC radio for almost four years. Hannity and I shared a studio most of that time both when he was a local and later a syndicated host. ‘The Buzz’, co-hosted with Steve Malzberg directly followed the Hannity Show. Off-air, Sean is an ingratiating friendly sort, the kind of guy who claps you on the back and calls out ‘Hey, Buddy!’ We walked together almost everday when my show was shortened by Yankee Games, up Broadway, he to FoxNews and I to my apartment on 57th.

Sean is as likeable as Harold Hill (the musical one, not the mafia guy). And about as reliably honest. This particular clip from ubaTV came about when I heard his first apology for misleading or misinforming his audience. On his FOXNEWS show he presented clips, amateurishly edited together from different demonstrations to create the impression that a Teabagger demonstration was larger than it actually was. He was caught red-handed and he did apologize…the only time I’ve ever seen him do so. But obviously, not the only time he should have done so!

Winston Churchill once remarked about his political adversary Stanley Baldwin:

“He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened….”

I think that fits Sean to a T! Or should I say Tea?!?

Don’t let the media meld with your mind…

In the eighties and nineties while I was hosting television talk we would book  guests from the left and the right.  What was important was that the personage was important and conveyed important thoughts.   In short, our objective was to create a good show, an entertaining and informative program.   Guests included President Jimmy Carter, candidate for mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Ed Koch, Alexander Haig, Frank Rizzo, Thomas Sowell,  Rev. Al Sharpton. Ross Perot, Jerry Brown, Vladamir Pozner, William Kunstler, Pat Buchanan among many others.

We would generally have a guest on for the forty minutes that make up a television hour minus commercials.  At the end of that time the guest not only had time to present and support his ideas but hopefully viewers learned something about the person.  I never received one complaint that I was either too conservative or liberal although I had my own political and social beliefs and was not shy about expressing them on air.  Surely, there was debate, but my paramount concern was to make the guest think on the air.  I tried to create unexpected questions in a comfortable environment so that a viewer could actually see the process of the guest THINKING and since the show was broadcast live  the viewer subliminally knew that the guest could say anything, that anything could happen.

My shows were broadcast live as they are (usually) on radio so from time to time I was asked to fill in for local radio hosts on vacation.  I sat in for Bob Grant manyl times.   Later my first extended gig on WABC was filling in for Sean Hannity.  No one asked for my personal political beliefs.  What was important was  competence  and my public visibility.  This would be unthinkable in today’s media environment.

Program Directors will not even place differing political narratives on the same station today!  THE BUZZ on WABC which I co-hosted with conservative Steve Malzberg was #4 out of all stations in the NY market in its time period when it was cancelled.   Curtis & Kuby was a hit morning show when it met its demise.

A  political bugaboo of the right is The Fairness Doctrine which they claim could censor conservative talk radio.   The doctrine requires media outlets  to air contrasting views  when presenting controversial matters of public interest.  The Fairness Doctrine was in effect from 1949 through 1987 and didn’t hinder the rise of Joe Pyne, Bob Grant, Paul Harvey and Barry Farber but it did help to foster an environment where listeners could hear a variety of opinions on the radio.

We live in bubbles where we no longer even want to listen to each other unless its in agreement or argument,  bubbles where facts are superfluous if they don’t fit the narrative.   It is  simple today to create our own ‘playlist’ when it comes to shaping perceptions of reality.

And as the following article cleverly espouses, Americans are more than ever susceptible to INCEPTION.  As I used to say everyday on my radio show:  Don’t let the media meld with your mind