News Radio 740 KVOR host Joseph Michelli, apparently responding to Colorado Media Matters, asked on his April 12 broadcast whether the people "policing" his show would go after "homosexual activity tak[ing] place on television ... because they want to do decency."
Referring to himself as "one of the six deadliest talk show hosts in Colorado," News Radio 740 KVOR's Joseph Michelli on his April 12 broadcast wondered if the same people "policing" his show will also "police issues of what kind of homosexual activity takes place on television?" Michelli added, "I mean, will they -- will they police homosexual kisses on TV because they want to do decency?" Michelli's comments apparently were prompted by Colorado Media Matters items (here and here) documenting the efforts of six Colorado conservative talk radio programs -- including his own -- to downplay radio personality Don Imus' racist, sexist remark about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Imus eventually was fired for calling the players "nappy-headed hos."
During his April 12 broadcast, Michelli joked, "[W]e're on a watch list, 'cause we're supporting people like Don Imus to become racist. I guess we're kind of racists in training. Got my training wheels on, my misogyny wheels on, we're ready to roll." As Colorado Media Matters noted, Michelli on April 9 defended Imus against charges of bigotry by suggesting that Imus did not use the term "nappy-headed" in a racially specific manner, but rather as "a description of the nature of your hair." On April 10 Michelli again expressed his support for Imus, responding to a caller's suggestion that the controversy over Imus' slur stems from "the blacks wanting equality so much that they want our approval" by stating, "I think there's something to what you're saying."
Michelli said on his April 12 show, "Right now, my name, along with five other people in talk radio in Colorado, is being listed as supporters of Don Imus. Why is that? Because they want to make sure that we have a track record so that the day they come to round us up they can say, 'See, he supported Imus, he was against -- you know, he's against minimum wage increases, he hates the poor.' " Michelli added, "You know, I mean, they make a case that's not even true."
As Colorado Media Matters noted, on his August 29, 2006, broadcast, Michelli referred to minimum wage earners as "dumb and incompetent." He later apologized for the remark, saying he meant it as a "sort of rhetorical question" that posited a viewpoint he did not necessarily hold.
From the April 12 broadcast of News Radio 740 KVOR's The Joseph Michelli Show:
MICHELLI: 5:35 on The Joseph Michelli Show, one of the dangerous six in Colorado. Yeah, we're on a watch list, 'cause we're supporting people like Don Imus to become racist. I guess we're kind of racists in training. Got my training wheels on, my misogyny wheels on, we're ready to roll.
MICHELLI: I gotta tell ya, though there are six of us listed in Colorado as supporting Imus, they did not mention Rosie O'Donnell --
MICHELLI: -- who supports Imus. You know, and why is she not included among the bad guys?
CALLER: Look at that foul mouth.
MICHELLI: Yeah, I know. But she says, you know, Imus did nothing wrong; he should be able to say anything he wants to say in America. Well, that's good for her.
CALLER: Well, it is.
MICHELLI: So, and I don't even go that far. And, you know, it's just interesting how you get grouped in as a conservative. So --
CALLER: I think it's all wrong, and that freedom of speech, if that's what it is, then we either have to let it all out or we just say, "Hey, this is not right."
MICHELLI: All right. No, I agree with you. And will there be the same people -- thank you, [caller] -- the same who are people policing this, will they police issues of what kind of homosexual activity takes place on television? I mean, will they -- will they police homosexual kisses on TV because they want to do decency? Will Al Sharpton come out against that? Or will he only come out against comments about -- from Imus? I mean, I think they made a mistake with Imus. Not that Imus didn't make a huge mistake, but tactically, I think it's unwise to take out an Imus, 'cause Imus was a supporter of African-American causes. So then you have the risk that you're going to have a real closet racist in there who never crosses the line but, but spews out white supremacist thought all over the place, never speaking ill of, of any other ethnicity per se, but, but recruiting people to a white supremacist agenda. You know, I remember when the white supremacist shot [talk radio host] Alan Berg because he was Jewish. He used to work with Alan. You know, I find it so ironic that they didn't have to shoot Imus now, they just take out Imus.
CALLER: I watch Hannity & Colmes all the time, and -- and on Hannity, they have the -- one of these comedians on there, and he was up there cursing up a storm, and yet nobody's trying to fire him or Hannity --
MICHELLI: Or fire -- or fire the producer for letting that on the air.
CALLER: Exactly. So where do you draw the line? This is ridiculous.
MICHELLI: The line is when -- the line is when a specific group of individuals claims that something is indecent, and then they leverage their victimization posture to take somebody else out. That's what I'm complaining about. Right now, my name, along with five other people in talk radio in Colorado, is being listed as supporters of Don Imus. Why is that? Because they want to make sure that we have a track record so that the day they come to round us up they can say, "See, he supported Imus, he was against -- you know, he's against minimum wage increases, he hates the poor." You know, I mean, they make a case that's not even true.
MICHELLI: Well, don't you think we all discriminate? I mean, I discriminate which drink I have every day, what, what food I choose, which restaurant I go to; we all have to make discriminations -- decisions about what we favor. And when it comes to race, I guess maybe we do that; people favor their own race, probably.
MICHELLI: I believe in a great America with great opportunities, and maybe that's 'cause I'm just a white boy who got so many great options -- you know? Maybe that's it. I gotta run. I think I'm becoming one of the six deadliest talk show hosts in Colorado. This is pretty cool. I'm -- I'm excited about this. I finally made a list. We'll be back.