NY Times profiles Michael Savage: Fair and Balanced!

Wonder of wonders, the New York Times on Monday December 17 published a lengthy -- and surprisingly positive -- feature article on controversial radio talk show host Michael Savage, complete with a not unflattering photograph of Savage broadcasting his show.

"Boycotted Radio Host Remains Unbowed," as the prominent Arts section feature is titled, begins by noting that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called on advertisers to boycott Savage's radio show, currently syndicated on over 400 stations nationwide. The article reports on Savage's response, a lawsuit against CAIR for alleged copyright infringement "on his broadcast by using his words, in effect, to raise money."

The 1,500 word story, by Jacques Steinberg, then takes a surprising turn by reporting in some detail on the afternoon last week that the author spent with Savage as he broadcast his show from one of his remote locations in the San Francisco Bay area.

Savage emerges as a sympathetic, even avuncular, subject:

"Mr. Savage can be surprisingly unintimidating in person, standing 5-foot-7 and looking, on this day, like he had sprung from an L. L. Bean catalog in a bright orange corduroy shirt, black fleece vest and tan chinos, with a miniature poodle at his feet. He can also project charm, insisting that a visitor just off a cross-country flight pause to have a turkey sandwich with potato salad."
Savage's history pre-broadcasting and since then is covered, with unusual accuracy and minus the usual prejudice that characterizes most mainstream media mentions of him (like last Friday's snarling put down of Savage on Bill Moyers Journal by featured guest Keith Olbermann).

And this, from the New York Times no less! It makes one recall with fondness the old days of the Times as the "newspaper of record."

Peter Barry Chowka is a widely published writer and investigative journalist who writes about politics, health care, and the media. His Web site is http://chowka.com.
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