February 7, 2005
Ms. Ruth Seymour
Ms. Carole Currey
Dr. Piedad F. Robertson
Dear Ms. Seymour, Ms. Currey, and Dr. Robertson:
It came to my attention recently that radio station KCRW, a community service of Santa Monica College, has just added Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley as a new co-host for the political show Left, Right & Center. Mr. Blankley laid out what he plans to accomplish on the program in a February 4 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, writing: "In the brief moments I can squeeze a word in between their [other hosts] soliloquies, I can steal the ears of their listeners and explain the sober, rational, conservative view of the passing political parade."
However, Blankley's "sober, rational, conservative view" has been marked by distortions, inaccuracies and baseless smears:
- He described billionaire philanthropist George Soros as "a left wing crank," "a robber baron," "a pirate capitalist" and "a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."
- He misrepresented a court case to support his argument that journalist Seymour Hersh may have violated the Espionage Act of 1917 for an article he wrote about U.S. military operations in Iran.
- He lauded the discredited book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (Regnery, 2004) by Jerome R. Corsi and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth) co-founder John E. O'Neill as "meticulously researched and reported. ... The book has the ring of sincerity to it, and the mark of careful research and writing."
- He furthered the false rumor that former Clinton national security adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger concealed classified national security documents in his socks in order to remove them from the National Archives.
- He ridiculed Inauguration Day protesters from the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), calling the organization "People Eating Tasty Animals."
While we believe the show Left, Right & Center would benefit from the addition of a "sober, rational, conservative view," Mr. Blankley has demonstrated through his actions that he is not an appropriate candidate to provide that respective viewpoint on KCRW. I urge you to reconsider Santa Monica College's decision to add Mr. Blankley to the roster of hosts on Left, Right & Center.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance or if you would like further information.
President and CEO
Media Matters for America