MSNBC testing Hillary-hating shock jock as news anchorMay 3, 2004 9:47 PM EDT ››› KATIE BARGE
Bud Hedinger, whose radio talk show airs between The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program on 540 AM (WFLF) in Orlando, Florida, debuted May 3rd for a test run as an anchor for MSNBC Live, which airs between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. "If they like what I do, they'll hire me," Hedinger told his hometown paper, the Orlando Sentinel on May 2.
According to the Sentinel, Hedinger "demonstrates his passion for George W. Bush through songs like 'God Bless Our President,'" which he sings on the air during his radio show.
In contrast with his fervor for Bush, on the website for his radio show, Hedinger asserts disdain for Senator Hillary Clinton, whom he calls "Hanoi Hillary." "THE BUDMAN URGES YOU TO PROTEST! HILLARY BLASTS BUSH IN ARAB PRESS INTERVIEW," Hedinger blares on his website, providing readers with a link to an April 27 NewsMax.com article reporting that Senator Hillary Clinton had criticized Bush in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arab newspaper. However, as Media Matters for America documented on May 3 -- in response to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough making the same false statement on his program, Scarborough Country -- Clinton was never interviewed by the Arab paper.
Hedinger caused a flap in Florida last year when he played down racially charged remarks by a Republican state representative. According to an April 20, 2003, Orlando Sentinel article, Hedinger said on his radio broadcast that "he thought folks overreacted to State Rep. Fred Brummer's comments that the Democrats would obviously beat his Republican team in a legislative basketball game -- because all the black legislators [were] Democrats. [Hedinger] described the hubbub as political correctness run amok."
Hedinger "says he's not too worried about questions about his objectivity -- which he largely abandoned when he made the switch from TV anchor to radio commentator," according to the May 2 Orlando Sentinel. "Everyone in the news business has an opinion, he says. The trick, which he says he knows well, is to not let it affect your job." But on May 3 during his MSNBC debut, this exchange took place:
HEDINGER: The [Medicare prescription drug discount] cards will save seniors an average of 17% for name brand drugs and up to 30% for generics, according to the Bush administration. However, critics say seniors can get similar prices without discounts through online pharmacies.
CO-HOST: Let's just hope it works right?
HEDINGER: Well, a lot of folks do, although I'm not sure the Democrats are rooting for it.