Radio host Bud Hedinger, who tried out during the week of May 3 to be anchor of MSNBC's daytime news program MSNBC Live, told the Orlando Sentinel that he was "flabbergasted" by a May 3 Media Matters for America report detailing his right-wing radio background.
As Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell wrote in his May 6 "Taking Names" column, Hedinger responded to Maxwell's query about the Media Matters for America report as follows: "Do I often see things from the conservative side of the ledger? Yes. But I welcome, even beg, for the opposing viewpoint," Hedinger said. "I'm not a right-wing ideologue."
While Maxwell wrote that he thought Media Matters for America's labeling of Hedinger as a "shock jock" was "pretty far-fetched" given that "[Hedinger's] shticks include reading government transcripts as old-timey radio dramas and singing his own songs, karaoke-style," he also wrote, "Hedinger is definitely an outspoken conservative who may be as big a Bush booster as you'll find. He has railed against Democrats, liberals and Hillary Clinton with regularity. And that's what Media Matters is seizing upon, casting doubt about whether he could fairly cover something like the 2004 presidential election."
Hedinger first co-anchored MSNBC Live on Monday, May 3, from noon to 1 p.m. (ET). By Wednesday, May 5, Hedinger's airtime had increased to several hours. According to Maxwell, "A spokesman for MSNBC would not comment on Hedinger's trial run."