Get ready to see conservative talk show host Michael Savage’s ratings REALLY go up now: a British newspaper reports that he is on a “least wanted list” list of some 16 people banned from the UK for his “hateful…extreme” views — a list that reportedly includes skinheads, preachers, Jewish and Muslim extremists and even a KKK member.
But talk radio loves controversy and its emotional drugs to talk show radio audiences so the news is likely to give the bombastic Savage a boost. The Independent reports that 16 people were “named and shamed” by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to send a message to others about what kind of behavior her country would not tolerate…or allow in:
The list includes hate preachers, anti-gay protesters and a far- right US talk show host.
“I think it’s important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it’s a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won’t be welcome in this country,” Ms Smith told GMTV.
“Coming to this country is a privilege. If you can’t live by the rules that we live by, the standards and the values that we live by, we should exclude you from this country and, what’s more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded.
“We are publishing the names of 16 of those that we have excluded since October. We are telling people who they are and why it is we don’t want them in this country.”
She said the number of people excluded from Britain had risen from an average of two a month to five a month since October.
And one name on the list was Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner (but, as his arch rival talk show host Mark Levin gleefully has pointed out, the show would not sound quite as compelling if it was titled “The Weiner Nation.”)
“This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country,” Ms Smith told BBC Breakfast.
Also named are American Baptist pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Snr and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, who have picketed the funerals of Aids victims and claimed the deaths of US soldiers are a punishment for US tolerance of homosexuality.
“If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place. Not to open the stable door then try to close it later,” Ms Smith said.
“It’s a privilege to come to this country. There are certain behaviours that mean you forfeit that privilege.”
Savage is constantly at the center of controversy, whether it’s throwing down the gauntlet to a politician he feels is too soft on illegal immigration or suing a Muslim group that went after him. He had a show on MSNBC that quickly died after he went over the line on the air. But Savage’s show is often one of the more unpredictable on the right: he might blast the GOP, blast Rush Limbaugh, or talk about how to make a good, real Italian meatball. The liberal watchdog media site Media Matters has kept busy reporting on Savage’s often off-the-wall comments.
Before he became a talk show host, Savage, writing under his real name, was a prolific writer of books dealing with various aspects of nutrition.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.