Wabc Meltdown

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by -Cp, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. -Cp

    -Cp Senior Member

    Sep 23, 2004
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    After an ugly on-air meltdown between actor/ guest host Alec Baldwin and caller Sean Hannity Sunday evening, New York radio fans are wondering: was this a planned stunt?

    Whatever the intent, the end result was one Hollywood elitist taking his marbles and going home mid-show. In radio, that's not kosher.

    Phoning in during the show was Hannity and friend Mark Levin, the latter offering only personal insults for Baldwin.

    Hannity, on the other hand, began by grilling the actor on why he apparently refuses to appear on the former's nationally syndicated talk show.

    With nastiness on all sides, things quickly went south.

    With talk radio so boring these days, the Radio Equalizer is torn: was this cockfight a rare return to edgy, compelling programming? Or was it merely a two-bit street brawl that should have been taken to a nearby alley?

    Upon listening to the WABC broadcast, we're left with these nagging questions:

    --- Why was Baldwin, with no real talk radio experience, allowed to co-host a show? Hannity referenced a deal reached between the actor's agent and ABC Radio.

    --- Merely because he's famous, why would that make him qualified for his own program? Unless this was a publicity stunt, it appears ABC isn't any smarter than Air America.

    --- Was a visit to Hannity's show part of Baldwin's deal? Did he chicken out?

    --- As gutter-level as much of this long segment came across, Hannity has never sounded more passionate, even fiery. We liked that.

    --- Why did the station allow both Hannity and Levin to call in at the same time? In addition, minutes later, why were they able to return for a second round of shouting?

    --- Why Baldwin's short fuse? Several callers were on his side. Storming out of the station looked childish.

    --- Once everybody was finished fighting, weekend host Brian Whitman seemed disoriented and unsure how to continue his show.

    In today's editions, New York City newspapers were quick to jump on the story. From the New York Post's John Mainelli:

    The activist actor, who was road-testing his own potential talk show, called Hannity a "no-talent whore" and an "incredibly ignorant boob from Long Island.

    Hannity called Baldwin - a favorite punching-bag for conservatives - on the air just as he was beginning his show, and that's when the fur started to fly.

    "At first I thought this was a joke," Baldwin told his co-host, Brian Whitman.

    Hannity, furious that Baldwin allegedly broke a promise to appear on his show before Whitman's, wasted no time ripping into the liberal activist.

    "Welcome to WABC, considering you were supposed to come on my program last week and you didn't show. What happened?" Hannity demanded.

    "Why would I want to come on with a no-talent, former-construction-worker hack like you?" Baldwin answered.

    "Are you the reckless, third-rate Hollywood actor who said our vice-president, while we're at war, is a terrorist? Are you the guy?" Hannity asked.

    "No wonder you didn't come on my program and defend it, you gutless coward."

    "I challenge you [to] come on my program, to say on my program that our president is a mass murderer. You don't have the courage," Hannity said.

    The fiery exchange continued until WABC's yappy Mark Levin, who'd also called in, asked Baldwin why ex-wife Kim Basinger is "so p--ed off at you."

    At that point Baldwin bolted from the studio, cutting his planned two-hour audition in half.

    Later, Baldwin wrote about the experience for the Huffington Post:

    After some back and forth between myself and Hannity, most of it predictable, Levin made a comment connected to my divorce proceedings. I turned to Whitman, who knew that I was due to depart the show no later than 8:30 PM New York time anyway, and told him I had to go.

    I thought that Levin, whoever he may be and whatever code he does or does not operate by, had crossed a line and I was under no obligation to continue in that vein.

    Hannity, a McCarthy-esque figure in American media, but without McCarthy's influence or audience, spent most of his on-air day gloating that he had put me in my place and indicating that I had slurred construction workers with my call for him to return to that (his former) profession.

    While we agree Levin was out of line, Hannity's shots were similar to Baldwin's, meaning no apology should be necessary.

    Because ABC's reputation is for play-it-safe radio, we don't believe network suits intended for any of this to occur.

    As for the actor, because he stormed out mid-show, he can kiss any future talk hosting aspirations goodbye forever.

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  2. musicman

    musicman Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2004
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    "Later, Baldwin wrote about the experience for the Huffington Post..."

    That kind of sums it up, doesn't it? Pathetic, bankrupt ideologies cannot survive open discourse; they can only exist in an atmosphere of strict orthodoxy. It's why Air America is such a flop; it's why DU pisses its pants at the first sign of dissent; its why Muslims spread their loving gospel with threats, violence and murder. Truth doesn't fear the light of day - tyrants do.
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