Michael Savage is a Hypocrite

Radio host Michael Savage's suit against Islamic group in court

Say what you will about controversial conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage, but very few have enjoyed freedom of press and freedom of speech more than he has.

Every so often I’ll listen into his show if I’m driving around in my car. The man’s extremely opinionated. And even though I find that I frequently disagree with what Savage has to say, I’ve always felt glad that I live in a country where even the most extreme can get on the radio and pretty much say whatever they want.

Which is why I’m especially disappointed to read in the San Francisco Chronicle today that Savage is suing an Islamic lobbying group for copyright violation after they posted a 4-minute clip of his show on their website.

The four minute clip in question contains a part where Savage reportedly called the Quran a “book of hate.” The clip was placed next to an area on the Council on American-Islamic Relation’s website where they were asking for donations and were encouraging people to boycott advertisers on Savage’s show. Reportedly, CAIR and its allied organizations were able to get “more than a dozen companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., GEICO insurance company and Sprint Nextel Corp., to withhold advertising from the show.”

I don’t mind Michael Savage being a bully. But I do mind him trying to use copyright law to squash the free speech rights of a group that is trying to legitimately express their distaste for what he has to say.

As someone who has enjoyed freedom of speech in this country more than most, it’s shameful to now see Savage try to use copyright law to deny others the same basic right.

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  1. JeffH says:

    Freedom of speech only goes so far. You are not allowed to use someones likeness or words to promote your cause without endorsement or authorization. You are not allowed to intentionally misrepresent someone’s words. You are not allowed to slander a person. My guess is that he is using copyright law because it is the easiest mechanism to deal with this issue.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As outrageous as Savage is, I don’t think Savage is being a hypocrite. CAIR is using the clip to defame him and his show. Savage has every right to defend himself and his show.

    CAIR’s actions of trying to get companies to stop advertising on his show could get his show canceled and silence *his* speech. That more of a violation in my opinion. Of course your mileage may vary.

    For the record, I am not a fan of Savage. I tune in from time to time, but have to “move on down the dial” because he is too over the top for me. 🙂

  3. Carl says:

    There’s also the right to fair use of someone’s words for purposes of criticism. CAIR is not using Savage’s word’s to advertise their laundry detergent. They’re criticizing his words and asking for donations. These two are clearly different, which is why his suit will likely be thrown out.

    Defamation requires CAIR to make a false statement or use Savage’s words in such a way that they are contrary to what he actually said. How did CAIR mischaracterize Savage’s words?

    The right to free speech says that the government has no right to censor your speech, except in narrowly defined circumstances. It does not guarantee you the right to a commercial radio show.

    Generally speaking, I think people overreact to the garbage that’s put out on the radio. Don’t like it? Don’t listen to it.

    But this is clearly not a case of defamation or advertising. It’s legitimate criticism of an extremist, hate-filled nutbag.

  4. Thomas Hawk says:

    CAIR’s actions of trying to get companies to stop advertising on his show could get his show canceled and silence *his* speech. That more of a violation in my opinion. Of course your mileage may vary

    Actually that is the risk that you run when you decide criticize others sometimes.

    If people decide to picket Savage’s studio they would be doing the same thing, potentially getting him kicked off the radio. But both have the right to free speech. Savage can call the Quran a book of hate and they can mobilize and boycott him. Both should be protected.

    The use by CAIR is fair use. They are using political speech (his) to mobilize their users and deliver their message. They are not competing with him or trying to replace his show. Savage’s attempts to silence them only goes to show that he likes freedom of speech and the press as long as it only applies to him and this is very much indeed hypocritical.

  5. TranceMist says:

    Talk Radio?

    Surely you don’t…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Michael the Weiner, easily radio’s most hate-filled, therefore hateful hypocrite, promised that this would be a “seminal case,” that would make legal history.

    He was close; this is hysterical.

    Those most narrow and hypocritically ignorant in his audience falsely claim that freedom of speech is the issue. They will soon discover how wrong they are. “ALL speech is protected speech” is a spurious misfact that the severe right likes to put out there.

    Fortunately, professional law will prevail instead of their amateur claptrap. I look forward to seeing the Weiner once again (god only knows how many unqualified and unsuccessful suits he’s attempted; I don’t know if he’s ever won even one;) fall on his warty ass.

  7. severoon says:

    Actually, I believe that as long as their use of his clip was editorial in nature, and it was clear from the context that they weren’t trying to use Savage to promote their own idea / product / whatever, that’s fair use.

    ‘Course, I’m not a lawyer…but that’s how it ought to be.