Politics

Politico’s Vogel strikes again — takes talk radio fight to Olbermann’s Current TV debut

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Writing a piece highly critical of conservative talk radio hosts like Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, then taking that message to the debut of Keith Olbermann’s reincarnation on former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV doesn’t give yourself away as a lefty – but it certainly doesn’t help with one’s perception of objectivity.

Nonetheless, on Monday night’s broadcast of the brand-new Current TV version of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” Politico’s Kenneth Vogel appeared and responded to the backlash, particularly from Levin, he had received for a June 15 piece he co-authored that questioned the ethics of conservative talk shows’ endorsements from conservative nonprofits and think tanks.

“[Mark Levin] didn’t really question any of our reporting,” Vogel said. “In fact, he confirmed he has this relationship and other folks have told us that these types of situations are on the rise. What they say, however, is that this has long been going on in radio. And, of course, it has if you listen to talk radio or morning drive-time radio, you can hear people pitching pizza shops or urging their listeners to go to get their car repaired at a certain garage. But this seems to us to be quite a bit different in that what these guys are selling and what their sponsors are selling is political ideology. They are popular. They have millions of listeners and these which groups have benefited to the tunes of tens of thousands of new members and increased contributions which have made them more powerful in advocating the types of policies that they are pushing in Washington. So that’s quite a bit differently than buying pizza or getting your muffler changed at a particular garage.”

Olbermann asked Vogel if perhaps conservatives were concerned that these radio talkers were pushing one “flavor of Kool Aid” over another not based on editorial choice but over advertising dollars.

“Well, talking to conservatives — other folks in the conservative movement who have been made aware somewhat recently of this phenomenon, they do believe that there are some listeners misled by these types of arrangements because of the way these hosts seamlessly weave the advertising together with the content of their shows,” Vogel said. “In fact, there was a specific case that was mentioned to me involving Glenn Beck who actually started his own Tea Party group at one point and was aggressively advocating for them, had some members and leaders on his website and then as soon as he entered the sponsorship with FreedomWorks, which probably pays him on the order of $1 million a year, he ended up shutting out this other group and, instead, endorsing FreedomWorks. So it does raise the specter, which conservatives are acutely sensitive to as a result of the Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Native American gaming relationships of this pay to play.”

Despite these questions Vogel admitted this was legal but said it might difficult for the average listener to discern what is advertising and what isn’t on these talk shows.

(Fishbowl DC vs. Politico: Media site questions openly and proudly ‘Weinerless’ Mike Allen)

“Well it’s totally legal, and the only thing that would make it improper is if, in fact, they were advocating or saying something that they did not believe in the advertising, which would make it sort of false advertising,” Vogel continued. “What surprised some of the conservatives I talked to, though, is sort of the blatant nature in which some of distributors and ad sales people were hawking not just advertisements but whole blocks of programming where they say, ‘If you enter into an arrangement, we will guaranty that once every week, we will have a segment,’ some of them called it ‘magic moments,’ or embedded advertising where they will build an entire segment of content, sometimes around the news, that basically touts this organization – it’s initiatives, its membership and in a way that is not exactly clear that its advertising.”

  • spm44

    Wait a minute. This article leads off with a puzzler. Why is a reporter immediately suspect if he writes a piece critical of Limbaugh? Or if he then talks about it on Olbermann? Why isn’t his piece judged subjectively? If he wrote a piece critical of Olbermann and then went on Fox to talk about it, would you be suspicious of his motives or bias? I think this is an important story.

    Contrary to what most posters have said, mockingly, about being able to recognize a soap commercial when they hear it, the ads which are the actual subject of the piece are more insidious and I bet they weren’t noticed by most. The example I saw was, I believe, of Rush citing a study from The Heritage Foundation to make a point about an ideological or political dispute, i.e., citing a Heritage Foundation report or study as the basis for why something was or was not true, or was right or wrong, as a matter of empirical truth. But it turned out that The Heritage Foundation had paid for Rush to do that. The Heritage Foundation had paid Rush to weave that study into his narrative, seamlesly, so that it just sounded like Rush’s opinion, and he just happened to have seen this study which suported it. I think that’s scary. I don’t care if it is Rush or Hannity or Maddow, if you think you are getting straight fact-based argument and it turns out he or she is just saying what the highest bidder paid for, don’t you think that is reprehensible? Kind of a betrayal?

    And of coure it is happening on the right-wing shows. Not because the right-wingers are morally inferior, but because nobody on the left has a show popular enough to have someone want to buy them.

  • Pingback: The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Fake Talk Radio 'Scandal' Dies on Gore Network

  • jeffislouie

    Wait a minute – so a liberal goes on an uber-liberals show and says that conservative talk radio listeners are too stupid to tell the difference between actual content and a commercial.
    And we wonder why the left cannot be convinced of anything that their leaders don’t tell them to believe? This is emblematic of the bigger problem – liberals think they are smarter than everyone else. Only they can tell when they are being lied to (Obama didn’t know Jeremiah Wright was a racist black separatist, he only happened to have his kids baptized by him, he only officiated at his wedding, and in one of his books, he only said Wright was his inspiration. He didn’t really know Bill Ayers even though Ayers hosted his first campaign party and worked closely with him. He’s gonna close gitmo, stop predator drone bombing, save the economy, end global warming, and bring about an era of ethical, transparent, bipartisan government free from vitriol and hate).
    Here’s the deal – I listen to talk radio and CAN ALWAYS TELL when an ad comes on, even when the host is doing the read.
    Blow it out yer a$$, ya idiot. Not everyone is as dumb as you think they are.

    • qizarek

      Way to categorize half the country based on the actions of a single individual. Well done.

  • kolaboy

    Dear Jeff,

    Sorry you had to watch that.
    Get well soon.

    Regards,

    kolaboy

  • LeakingEverywhere

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    NEW WORLD ORDER PLAYBOOK EXPOSED

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    Between the aliases the use, and the way in which they speak about things, everything they do has double meaning. Their faces in Google image search is similar to the picture book of symbols mentioned in The Da Vinci Code movie. Here is a code of look a likes pitching all sorts of stuff who are interconnected;

    Selling a program on making millions online is Professor James Bradley who looks like the Pentagon bomber Bill Ayers.

    Jay Conrad Levinson is behind a number of “guerilla” marketing and advertising books. He looks like George Soros, who’s last name is a (palin)drome. Soros has been credited for collapsing a number of nation’s currencies. George Soros has been quoted several times regarding his views on a New World Order.

    The Super Affiliate Handbook is sold by someone who looks like Jill Biden, her name is Rosalind Gardner. Some appear to represent people, more in how they pose, rather then a direct look alike. Stephen Pierce appears to represent radical Van Jones, Brett McFall-Austan Goolsbee, John Childers-Andy Stern, and Jay Abraham as Ayman al-Zawahri, just to name a few.

    Problem with your Google Adwords PPC ads and can’t get a straight answer? You could try Yanik Silver who looks a lot like Sergei Brin, but he probably won’t know. He sells 33 Days to Online Profits (prophets.) Why not try Perry Marshall, who looks like Obama’s priest Reverend Pfleger? He sells The Definitive Guide To Google Adwords, infringing upon Google’s trademark.

    Many more can be found at Lorrie Morgan Ferrero’s Red-Hot-Copy blog such as; 72 Virgin Records Richard Branson, & White House Party Crashers the Salahi’s with Valerie Jarrett’s daughter.

    The Rich Jerk sent out emails promoting Stompernet in Atlanta Georgia. The staff included Brad Fallon, an airline pilot, and Eben Pagan selling a seminar “Get Altitude”. 3 days after reporting this code to the FBI, Delta in Atlanta canceled a large number of flights due to “safety reasons.” In the Youtube videos related to the Rich Jerk, it appears that Mark Cuban is the Rich Jerk. He’s the billionaire who owns the Dallas Maverick’s basketball team. Think O’bomber or Barrac-uda Palin would play for him? Another guy seen on Youtube claiming to be Robert Johnson Rich Jerk, is Tony Rezko.

    Obama announced his run for office on Oprah Winfrey’s show. Oprah’s friend Gayle King could be a look a like for Whitney Houston. Her name may be a code, Whit_ney White-Hous_ton House.

    It appears the internet marketing experts controlled the comments, the headlines, and the finance of the last election online with the highest ranking site in Google search, Youtube. It also appears that they control the comments and the videos regarding 911 conspiracies, the New World Order, and the Illuminati.

    In my strongest opinion this is the last piece of the puzzle, Osama Bin Laden is also a spokesperson, and a look-a-like. Osama represents Obama/Biden (Bi)n La(den.)

    The following reveals FBI wanted terrorists and their online aliases. Some are wanted for U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya & Indonesia. Do these two places ring any bells?
    http://illuminaticonspiracy.blogspot.com

  • erick1740

    Libs hate them because they lose money when they try talk radio. Because they are unhinged idiots that nobody wants to listen to, and they don’t know what they are talking about.

    • qizarek

      Your message of love is compelling.

  • Bart1205

    All I have to say is the master did this all the time Paul Harvey. Its a part of radio and its called LIVE READS! Also the segment ripping Rush was selective edited the same thing he went after FOX for in another segment.