June 22, 2007

No Conflict of Interest Here: Liberal Talk Show Founder Seeks To Profit From Center for American Progress Attack on Conservative Talk Radio

Back before he was governor of Minnesota and was still prowling the squared-circle as the villainous heel "The Body," Jesse Ventura used to growl, "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!"

That maxim seems to have been taken to heart (and wallet) by the progressive Center For American Progress (CAP), which released a document called "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio," which advocates the return of the failed "Fairness Doctrine" in talk radio, in an attempt to censor and stifle the dominance of conservative talkers.

What the Center For American Progress won't tell you is that one of the authors of the liberally-biased "report," Paul Woodhull, is a founding partner of not one, but two liberal talk radio show companies, Big Eddie Radio Productions, LLC (BERP), which produces The Ed Shultz Show, and Bill Press Partners, LLC, producers of The Bill Press Show.

It was perhaps fitting that this self-serving conflict of interest was discovered by Mark Levin, a conservative talk radio show host in his blog at National Review Online.

If Congress reintroduces the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," as CAP suggests, broadcasters will be forced to balance their airtime between conservative talk radio shows and liberal talk radio shows. There are only a handful of successful, established liberal talk radio shows from which broadcasters who have to choose from, and Woodhull has a financial stock in two of those.

This liberal organization is not only attempting to regulate free speech for political gain, but also, in the case of at least Woodhull, they intend to profit from the loss of your First Amendment rights as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 22, 2007 12:23 PM

I'm not getting how this is a conflict of interest.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at June 22, 2007 01:06 PM

Perhaps I should start by defining a conflict of interst:

A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, or an executive or director of a corporation, has competing professional and/or personal interests. Such competing interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties fairly...

...More generally, conflict of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit.

This definition was pulled from Wikipedia, which defines this particular type of conflict of interest as "Self-dealing."

Woodhull is attempting to use the public policy platform of CAP in general and this document in specific to advocate for a change of laws from which he stands to potentially profit financially as a founding partner of both The Ed Shultz Show and The Bill Press Show.

Perhaps an anology would help: This is similar to an oil company executive authoring a report pressuring Congress to lower auto industry fuel mileage standards, or to drop fuel taxes, hoping that one or either action would result in the sale of more oil to consumers.

Or it inversion helps, imagine this unlikely alternative-reality scenario:

Liberals such as Ed Shultz, Allen Colmes, Rosie O'Donnell, and Al Franken dominate the American talk radio market, occupying something like 90% of talk radio airplay.

John Doe, who is the founding producer of We Love Rush, LLC, and Sean is Right, LLC (two of the largest fish in a small conservative talk radio pond), co-authors a report from a conservative special interst group calling for Congress to re-issue the "Fairness Doctrine," which would force stations to carry more conservative talk radio shows (like Rush and Sean) to balance out their airplay, or simply force stations away from running political radio for another format.

As talk radio draws in a substantial portion of their audience from political shows and these show's audiences drive their advertising, they are far more likely to keep their proven format as intact as possible, cutting some of their lower performing liberal radio shows and adding the more successful conservative shows if forced to adopt the Doctrine.

John, as a founding producer of both Rush and Sean, would potentially profit handsomely form this situation, as his two proven stars would more likely be picked by stations who don't want to risk completely dumping the poltical talk radio format.

In this case, John Doe is engaged in a clear case of self-dealing. Woodhull is a real-world example of this same kind of behavior.

The best way to remove conflicts of interests is to simply avoid them entirely; as Woodhull can easily be proven to have financial stakes in the success or growth of liberal talk radio, he never should have been invited to be an author on the report.

Further, Woodhull could and should have recused himself from taking part in authoring the report, as he should have recognized the conflict of interest, even if others didn't.

Does that clear things up?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at June 22, 2007 02:11 PM

My local talk radio station, WABC, perhaps made Rush and Sean the syndicated stars they are today, but they tried liberal hosts over and over again who just didn't get ratings. If you have something the public wants in a free economy, you don't need government assistance.

Posted by: Tom TB at June 22, 2007 03:37 PM


It seems to me that the flaw in your reasoning is that the Center For American Progress is not in a position of making public policy. If it were a government organization pushing for new rules that would financially benefit one of its officers, then yes; this, on the other hand, is a private organization (unless I misunderstood something) designed to promote the progressive agenda--essentially a lobbying group.

In your analogy, you describe "an oil company executive authoring a report pressuring Congress to lower auto industry fuel mileage standards, or to drop fuel taxes, hoping that one or either action would result in the sale of more oil to consumers." I would be stunned into a series of massive strokes if this does not happen practically every day of the year. Certainly you're not suggesting that oil companies don't try to influence legislation. Now, if a legislator sat on the board of the oil company, then that would be a conflict of interest. Otherwise, it's just business as usual in the world of capitalism.

Let me suggest a for-instance here. Imagine if you will the former CEO of a major corporation who received a 20 million dollar pension from the company when he left to become Vice President of the United States. Then imagine the Federal government, of which this hypothetical person is the #2 guy, distributes millions of dollars of no-bid contracts to the selfsame corporation of which Our Hero was once CEO.

Now, that would be a conflict of interest. If it ever happened.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at June 22, 2007 04:35 PM

Doesn't matter 1 frigging bit. I can listen to Rush, Hannity & Pat White on WOWO, then tune over to a music station while the libs waste what little money they've not received from government handouts polluting the air waves. What's the difference? Even their own supporters know they have no realistic solutions to offer, hell they listen to Rush & Hannity because they're so intellectually bankrupt those are 2 of the few remaining places they can find inspiration, because their own party is not capable of producing inspiration on its own due to a lack of talent ranging from the top of their political food chain down to the moron that criticizes me for pointing the flaw out.

Posted by: Dave at June 22, 2007 09:37 PM

So ... Who balances the 24/7 liberal pap from CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, etc. ad infinitum? I thought conservative shows WERE the balancing broadcasts.

If you do a study of the neverending liberal bias there is in nearly every media outlet the Fairness Doctrine would require a lot MORE conservative shows. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

For every liberal puff piece, you'd have to allow a conservative rebuttal. For every liberal slanted newscast, you'd have to allow a conservative viewpoint. For every liberal end-of-the-world scare tactic you'd have to allow a conservative rational discussion-of-fact.

Hell, if you broadened this to print outlets then the NY Times would have to exactly double in size to accomodate the conservative point of view.

Posted by: DoorHold at June 23, 2007 10:58 AM

Dave, the problem is that the libs can't acknowledge that they're slanted. By their lights when they publish Al Quaeda propaganda or run (shall we say) 'factually poetic' hit pieces on conservative causes, they're fully truthful- or at least "fake but accurate", "in the service of a higher truth", and any errors or outright falsehoods are excused in the interest of "speaking truth to power".
To them, Rathergate, CNN's Iraq coverage (where they admitted outright they were working for Hussein's Ministry of Propaganda in their reportage), and Tailwind were accurate and unbiased coverages of important issues, presented without fear or favor.... while, when Fox pointed a camera at Hillary Clinton during the September 11th Emergency Presidential Address and caught her cringing, grimacing, and making faces... THAT was bias.

Posted by: DaveP. at June 24, 2007 06:33 AM

Now, that would be a conflict of interest. If it ever happened.

Providing of course there were an ongoing interest in said company. Which of course there wasn't and isn't.

I used to work for IBM and have and ongoing interest as a stockholder of record to this day.

I also used to work for Rockwell's Space Division (now part of Boeing), but have no stock in Boeing or rolled over/converted Rockwell stock anymore.

Those two situations are completely different WRT conflict of interest. That you can't understand this distinction isn't surprising. Few of the BDS afflicted can.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 24, 2007 10:42 AM


Blab, blab, blab. Your BDS reference would have made more sense if I'd actually been discussing Bush, or even mentioned Bush in any way. I've learned, however, that "making sense" is not always on your to-do list.

A pension is an ongoing interest. Obviously.

I can't believe you even bothered writing that post.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at June 24, 2007 12:04 PM

True, the artist or director or whomever is responsible for posting the site needs some education in U.S. Military dress.(and believe me, it aint Pilosi herself, diggin up the stock photos.) And yes, SHE IS responsible for the content, but seriously, do you think your favorite Republican Congressman/woman/Senator sits over the shoulder of some minimum wage college kid and double checks EVERYTHING? I'd like to think our Reps have more important things to do. And believe me, that person will hear about it. But does this really qualify as "news"? Does it really matter? I mean shouldn't the focus be on the fact that some good is going to happen for the benefit of our veterans? Or is partisan finger pointing taken over the web to such an extent that even though a good thing is being done (albeit by those Godless heathens), we have to find SOMETHING to blame Democrats for? Get a life!. Try some civil discourse about REAL ISSUES!

Posted by: me at June 26, 2007 07:17 PM