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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Attack. Demonize. Divide and Deride.

It's the right wing Lords of Loud bread and butter. Ripping the opposition is as comforting to talk show hosts as Jessica Simpson is to a New York Giants fan.

Oh, they'll yell all day how the evil Left throws around the Nazi card. Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg's newest tome, "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning" is being pimped across the dial by right-minded Lords of Loud.

But this past week the Right Wing whack attack took an even darker turn...inwards. And when I heard the light and lilting modulated tones of talk show host Mark Levin on his daily show throwing down the gauntlet at the feet of journalist Bill O'Reilly yesterday, I nearly fell off my No Spin Recliner.

Levin was royally annoyed that Bill had anointed himself chief oversight for talk radio standards of demeanor when he brought on six talk show hosts on the TV Factor to discuss what is the right or wrong behavior for radio hosts.

Though no names were bandied about on the Factor, Levin felt Bill was referring to Levin himself as an example of someone who had the temerity to mock politicians, physically and otherwise.

How upset was the normally calm and collected Levin? After saying that O'Reilly had no audience and would be off the air in a year, he said the worst thing you could say about the performance of a host, that O'Reilly "phones it in." Which in radio parlance means basically, he just shows up and wings it.

But the real shot hit the fan when Levin reminded his audience that Bill was involved in a "porn" (Levin's word, not mine) scandal where he was taped sexually harassing a younger subordinate, one in which Bill had to pay millions to make it go away. Levin said that if Bill didn't stop taking on the mantel of talk radio's ombudsman, he would "do an hour on the porn" during his own show.


While Levin's show is syndicated by ABC and O'Reilly by Westwood One so there's no love lost there, but there are outlets, like KABC in Los Angeles, where both shows broadcast over the same station. Having one host going to war with another one in the same lineup should make for a bunch of tight sphincters in a number of program directors' offices.

Will Bill acquiesce to Levin's demands or will the Nospinster tell Levin to stick it where the AM signal is difficult to receive?

Will Levin allow O'Reilly to tell him how he should behave on his own show or will he end up broadcasting a show that would guarantee to draw Levin's largest audience ever?

We should know soon, but I can already feel the WWE vibrations on the airwaves.

Levin vs O'Reilly.

Steel Cage Radio Match

No Loofas Barred

Special Guest Referee: Keith Olbermann

Vince McMahon, eat your heart out.

Meanwhile O'Reilly has really stepped into his dismissing of the plight of homeless veterans as only John Edwards campaign rhetoric. No matter how many shows O'Reilly does to spin what he said or what he meant there's no missing the fact that this guy who purports his unflagging support of the troops, is misleading his audience (Cable News' largest) about the very real difficulties our returning troops face.

In a gross distortion, rationalizing his earlier contention that "(homeless veterans) may be out there, but there's not many of them out there," Mr. O'Reilly diminishes a very real problem, economic and otherwise, facing the returning veteran. In his explanation of how the economy has nothing to do with veterans homelessness, he conveniently ignored that, even if 90 percent of the 200,000 homeless veterans (VA data) are on the street nightly because of addiction, those figures also reveal that 10 percent or 20,000 veterans are out there every night mostly due to economic reasons.

To condemn anyone (in this particular case, Edwards) as a charlatan for standing up for 200,000 (or 20,000) veterans, is not only ignorant of the facts, but is a criminal disregard for the many crises facing our returning vets today. As a member of the Jewish War Veterans (Sunday, my 82 year old mother was re-installed as President of JWV Post 697 Auxiliary...a post named, for my late father), I take this entire self-promoting episode (aren't they all?) as the ultimate dishonoring of those who placed their lives on the line for the freedoms people like O'Reilly enjoy.

So it is that I say something I know I've never said before and odds are against me ever saying them again: Go get 'im, Mark Levin!

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful...Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success" (

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Albion Monitor   January 15, 2008   (

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