I've never written about radio/TV shock jock Michael Savage. I don't know him, nor do I know much about him. But learning he'd just been given his own show on MSNBC a few months ago, I thought I should explore this new conservative spokesman, and what I learned was not good. The consensus, from those who knew of him, was that he wouldn't last. The betting was that he'd say something wholly inappropriate and get himself fired. Worse, the conservative movement would get tagged by his outrageousness.
Those predictions came true last weekend when Savage's very brief TV career ended with a one-hour talk show in the haunted halls of MSNBC on Saturday afternoons. The former vitamin salesman, who transferred his husky hucksterism into becoming a raving conservative cartoon figure, self-destructed.
Bored channel-flippers might have stopped on the "Savage Nation" shtick as he screamed about his mistreatment during airline travel. To illustrate his "airline horror stories," he sat ridiculously between two life-size mannequins as he complained on camera about his Hawaii vacation. His TV end began when he took phone calls on this seemingly non-controversial topic.
The caller began by complaining about smoking in an airplane bathroom. "Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your ... " the caller said, before he was cut off. I'd guess the caller made a reference to a homosexual act, since Savage began screaming. "So you're one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?" Savage asked. The caller replied: "Yes, I am."
So Savage wiped out his own show: "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage."
It's nice to find that there are still program directors in radio and television with the common sense and decency not to tolerate shock jocks when they wish death on members of their audience. It is refreshing to learn that on some level, it's still unacceptable to wish another human being -- especially an anonymous phone caller -- to catch a terminal disease and die. "His comments were extremely inappropriate, and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.
How … nice. And how hypocritical.
Wishing death on people hasn't always been a damaging career move. In fact, if you wish death on conservatives, there's no problem at all.