On his radio program, Lee Rodgers said of Hurricane Katrina refugees, "[T]he people who have been freeloading for two years are whining because the gravy train is slowing down," adding, "At what point after a disaster and personal hardship are people expected to start taking care of themselves again? Is one hurricane supposed to be a permanent lifelong ticket on a bleeping gravy train? Come on!"
On the August 29 broadcast of San Francisco radio station KSFO's The Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Program, co-host Lee Rodgers said: "Today, we are limiting ourselves greatly when it comes to taking part in this sentimental orgy about New Orleans on the second anniversary of [Hurricane] Katrina," adding: "They built a city in a swamp that's below sea level. Get over it." Rodgers also asserted: "I for one -- now, I'm all in favor of helping needy people, but at what point do you say, 'Hey, it's time that you people got off your asses went to work and earned your own way'? " He went on to say: "Two years later, the people who have been freeloading for two years are whining because the gravy train is slowing down," and added: "At what point after a disaster and personal hardship are people expected to start taking care of themselves again? Is one hurricane supposed to be a permanent lifelong ticket on a bleeping gravy train? Come on!"
Also on the show, after asserting, "I love New Orleans. ... I had some very happy times there," Rodgers asked: "Save New Orleans? For what?" adding, "Now they got the French Quarter up and running again. OK, fine. It's a theme park, but that's what it's been for years anyway. The rest of it's a sewer." Co-host Melanie Morgan responded by asserting: "[T]hey're trying to fix the unfixable in the rest of the city and in the mean time every politician in the country is pandering, spending billions of dollars and putting it in what? A rat hole." Rodgers also suggested: "Keep the parts of New Orleans that are above sea level, or at least closer to sea level, as a theme park, which is what it's been to many people anyway," adding, in reference to the French Quarter: "It's a theme park with booze."
Blogger "Spocko" noted the comments by Rodgers and Morgan in a September 15 post. Spocko further noted that, on the August 30 edition of the show, Rodgers similarly asserted, in reference to the New Orleans refugees: "But two years later, for God's sake, people, solve your own bleeping problems, we're sick of hearing about you," adding: "Maybe those people down there ought to stop their sniveling and whining and watch an example of self-reliance right there in their own community." Later on that show, Rodgers asserted: "I don't wanna hear anymore of this crap from people in Louisiana saying 'Gimme, gimme, gimme.' Shut the hell up. Solve your own problems. It's been two years, grow up."
As Media Matters for America has documented, Rodgers and Morgan have a history of inflammatory comments:
- In an April 20 column for the conservative website WorldNetDaily, Morgan compared Media Matters for America to the Virginia Tech gunman who killed 32 people before shooting himself to death. Morgan wrote: "Like that mentally unbalanced and angry gunman at Virginia Tech, they'll methodically march through the domiciles of the conservative movement, targeting the movement's leaders for career elimination -- until and unless we stand up and fight back against their campaign of mayhem against conservative leaders and causes." Morgan also attacked Media Matters as "left-wing free speech Nazis."
- On February 8, KSFO Morning Show hosts Morgan, Rodgers, and Tom Benner, known on the show as Officer Vic, repeated and expanded upon the false accusation that billionaire philanthropist and progressive financier George Soros collaborated with the Nazis as a 14-year-old boy in Hungary. Rodgers claimed that Soros "apparently very cheerfully and willingly went to work for the Nazis," and Officer Vic added that "he just kind of complied willingly," while Morgan alleged -- without explanation -- that Soros did so "[i]n order to further his own career."
- On the November 14, 2006, broadcast of The Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Program, Morgan said, "We've got a bull's-eye painted on her big, wide laughing eyes," referring to then-House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). On the November 20 broadcast of the show, Morgan again asserted that "it's time to put the bull's-eye" on Pelosi.
- According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Morgan asserted in June 2006 that if New York Times executive editor Bill Keller "were to be tried and convicted of treason" for the Times' publication of an article about a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity, she "would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber."
From the August 29 edition of KSFO's The Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Program:
RODGERS: I just started to say: Today, the news is and will be full of stories about the second anniversary of Katrina. I love New Orleans. In the days of my misspent youth, I left part of my liver in New Orleans. It's a very -- I had some very happy times there. Love the music, love the whole ambiance. I once turned down a job in New Orleans because at that time I knew it would destroy me. There was just too much fun to be had.
MORGAN: Oh, well, what a level of self-awareness.
RODGERS: Yeah. Yeah. There was just too much fun. It's a great place to visit. But it is time, I think, that we took an unsentimental view of the reality. Did you know that parts of New Orleans where some these silly people are trying to rebuild houses are 14 feet below sea level and sinking by another inch every year? And nothing has been done, really, that would prevent another Katrina. Nothing. Now, where in God's name is the logic about trying to rebuild a city in a location like that? Let's do the logical thing: blame the French, who built it there in the first place, just say it's another piece of French stupidity, and move on. You know, keep the parts of New Orleans that are above sea level, or at least closer to sea level, as a theme park, which is really what it's been to a lot of people for many years anyway. It's a theme park with booze -- the French Quarter --
RODGERS: -- and get past that. And I for one -- now, I'm all in favor of helping needy people, but at what point do you say, "Hey, it's time you people got up off your asses, went to work, and earned your own way"? Two years later, here -- Dallas Morning News, some of the refugees from New Orleans were settled in Dallas, and the community had an outpouring of generosity and they were giving them all kinds of freebies, housing, so on and so forth.
RODGERS: Two years later, the people who have been freeloading for two years are whining because the gravy train is slowing down.
MORGAN: Oh, no! That's terrible.
RODGERS: It says -- I'm looking here at The Dallas Morning News, says "Hurricane Katrina relief, once an outpouring of support for evacuees displaced in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has slowed down to a trickle on the second anniversary of the storm. While official figures are available, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 evacuee households," people from New Orleans and vicinity, "still call North Texas home, and countless evacuees still need help paying for basic necessities such as rent and utilities."
Ah, at what point after a disaster and personal hardship are people expected to start taking care of themselves again? Is one hurricane supposed to be a permanent lifelong ticket on a bleeping gravy train? Come on!
RODGERS: Today, we are limiting ourselves greatly when it comes to taking part in this sentimental orgy about New Orleans today on the second anniversary of Katrina.
RODGERS: They built a city in a swamp that's below sea level. Get over it.
MORGAN: Yes, and they are led by ridiculously liberal and incompetent and corrupt political power people.
RODGERS: Yeah, sure. And I mean -- and that's the kind of people they elect. There is something to the old saying that people deserve the kind of government they get. Well, that's the kind of people they elect in New Orleans and largely in the state of Louisiana. But it was two years ago today that Katrina came to visit New Orleans. Alex Stone, ABC News, covered the aftermath in the days following the storm, and he is back in New Orleans today as part of the media herd.
[begin audio clip]
STONE: The New Orleans police department is struggling to keep up. Headquarters is still in FEMA trailers. And there's not enough money to buy bulletproof vests or new patrol cars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not pleased with the progress, nor are we satisfied of where we actually are.
STONE: Sergeant Joe Narcee [ph] says he and his fellow officers are making do, but things are so bad that when the one bathroom inside the headquarters trailer is locked after hours, it means officers have to use the bathroom at a local gas station. Alex Stone, ABC News, New Orleans.
[end audio clip]
RODGERS: Two years later, and they can't even get something like that fixed. Save New Orleans? For what? Now they got the French Quarter --
MORGAN: For another hurricane.
RODGERS: -- now they got the French Quarter up and running again. OK, fine. It's a theme park, but that's what it's been for years anyway. The rest of it's a sewer.
MORGAN: Well, the French Quarter wasn't even that badly hit. I mean --
RODGERS: No, because it's on higher ground.
MORGAN: Exactly, so there wasn't much of a problem there to begin with. But they're trying to fix the unfixable in the rest of the city, and in the meantime, every politician in the country is pandering, spending billions of dollars, and putting it in what? A rat hole.
RODGERS: These transplanted New Orleanians -- "Oh, it's my home, I gotta go back." No, you don't. People have moved all over the world throughout human history. You can do it, too. Get off your butt and go to work.