Boston radio host Jay Severin confirmed on the June 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning that he would be a "permanent cast member" on MSNBC's new show The Situation with Tucker Carlson. Severin, a former longtime Republican political consultant who has worked for the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Pat Buchanan, has a history of controversial comments, including a suggestion on how to deal with Muslims in the United States: "I think we should kill them."
Prior to hosting talk radio, Severin worked as a political advertising consultant. Clients of his firm, Severin Aviles Associates, included George H.W. Bush's 1980 presidential campaign and his political action committee (Fund for America's Future); Pat Buchanan's 1996 presidential campaign; the Republican National Committee; and the Reagan White House. [The Washington Post, 3/19/98; National Journal, 12/10/88; Adweek, 8/4/86; Crain's New York Business, 11/30/87]
Among Severin's more controversial statements:
- "A caller had recommended that we befriend Muslims living in the United States. [Severin] said that, as far as he was concerned, 'the vast majority' of those Muslims are not loyal to the United States and are ready, when the time comes, to take over this country. [Severin] asked several times: 'Do you think we should befriend them?' The caller said yes. [Severin] then said that he had an alternative viewpoint: 'You think we should befriend them. I think we should kill them.' " [The Boston Globe, 5/5/04, quoting from Severin's April 22, 2004, radio show]
- He regretted calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) a "lying bitch" because "technically, it's a redundancy." [The Boston Globe, 3/21/01]
- "I believe Al Gore would murder his daughter in order to become President." [The Boston Globe, 3/21/01]
- Called Al Gore "Al Whore." [The Boston Globe, 6/5/01]
- "Hillary Clinton is the Antichrist to anyone who vaguely regards themselves as a Republican. People who despise her will happily give money to derail her." [The Boston Globe, 3/21/01]
- "I said [former Massachusetts Gov.] Michael Dukakis should be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed as an accessory to murder -- until I was educated by a caller. Willie Horton, when he was let out of jail by the governor, only assaulted, knifed, and raped people, but didn't kill them. So I said: 'OK, Dukakis should only be sentenced to prison for a long time.' " Asked if the statement was hyperbole, or if he meant it literally, he answered, "Literally." [The Boston Globe, 3/21/01]
- On the actions of President Clinton's defense lawyers during his Senate impeachment trial: "I said the -- the Simpson -- the O.J. Simpson trial analogy holds, as you said, at least in this regard. The Democrats, the president's men, have effectively made Ken Starr into Mark Fuhrman." [The Geraldo Rivera Show, syndicated, 3/4/98]
- On whether a woman in a sexual harassment test case video had said "no": "That's not the big 'no.' And our job as guys is to convert a succession of 'nos' into one 'yes.' And to try and be as persuasive as possible in making that happen. The fact is my job, my right, my duty as a guy is to persuade girls to say yes." [NBC's Dateline, 10/24/97]
- "Bill Clinton was as helpful to the defense in this trial as Mark Fuhrman was to the prosecution in the O.J. trial," talking about the Arkansas cases of former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and James and Susan McDougal on CNBC's Rivera Live, 5/29/96. [Hotline, 12/20/96]
- Severin, quoted in the political newsletter PulseLine: "Anyone who's for a woman's right to have caps or get a nose job ... or have an abortion, it's all the same thing. It's elective surgery." [Columnist Anna Quindlen, The New York Times, 4/9/94]
From the June 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:
DON IMUS (host): Somebody told me you've been hired by MSNBC as a permanent cast member on Tucker Carlson's fine new program entitled The Situation, which will begin -- which will debut on June 13. Is that right?
SEVERIN: I plead guilty. That's true. I'm rejoining MSNBC for The Situation with Tucker Carlson. And I can't wait.
IMUS: What will be your role there?
SEVERIN: I play the crazy brother-in-law.
IMUS: Oh, I see. Is this something you'll be able to do from Boston?
SEVERIN: I'll be doing it from -- no, I'll be live in the studio at [MSNBC] world headquarters there in Secaucus [New Jersey]. So I'll be having to do the radio show very frequently from Secaucus or New York.
IMUS: Oh, so this is a pretty good deal for you.
SEVERIN: Well, sure. I'm an old-time MSNBC guy.
IMUS: Right, so this could be a pretty good show, couldn't it?
SEVERIN: I think it's going to be great. Tucker is extraordinarily smart. He's entertaining. He's quick. He's fun.
- Media Ethics