On January 14, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Philadelphia-based radio personality Michael Smerconish “is putting together a talk-show pilot for CNN.” The Inquirer noted that Smerconish “is a frequent guest on CNN, as well as NBC” and that "[a] CNN rep says the network asks for many pilots and generally does not comment on them." In addition to hosting his own radio talk show, Smerconish has been a guest host for MSNBC's Scarborough Country and Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, during which he has made several inflammatory comments about Muslims, immigrants, and women:
- On the June 20, 2006, edition of Scarborough Country, Smerconish trivialized reports of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as “naked pyramid pictures” and at the Pentagon detention facility at Guantánamo Bay as “play[ing] Christina Aguilera music a bit too loud.”
- On the April 10, 2006, edition of Scarborough Country, Smerconish suggested that “maybe law enforcement ought to step in” at pro-immigration demonstrations and consider “gathering ... up” illegal immigrants. Smerconish wondered why there was “zero discussion” of “gathering them up” at the demonstrations, when "[a]ll I keep hearing is how would we ever find them?" He then suggested that law enforcement officials are being hypocritical by refusing to “gather ... up” illegal immigrants because they would “step in and do something about” a rally of “pot smokers,” who “wanted decriminalization” of marijuana, or “scofflaws” with unpaid parking tickets.
- On the April 4, 2006, broadcast of the Factor, Smerconish claimed that political correctness has made the United States “a nation of sissies,” and that “sissification” and “limp-wristedness” are “compromising our ability to win the war on terror.” (He later blamed “the sissification of America” for the sentencing of Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison instead of death for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)
- On the November 23, 2005, broadcast of the Factor, Smerconish called public prayer by Muslim men at a sporting event “wrong,” adding that they were playing “a game” to remind the audience of terrorist attacks. He also asserted that educating women means “they're not going to be around to instill these lessons in their kids.”
Additionally, while hosting MSNBC News Live on August 10, 2006, Smerconish asked former 9-11 commissioner and former Rep. Timothy Roemer (D-IN) if the foiling of an alleged terrorist plot by “individuals of Pakistani descent” against airliners taking off from Britain would “cause the administration and the Department of Homeland Security to say, 'We're at war with radical Islam and that fact should be taken into account when we're trying to protect our borders and our airports.' ” He added: “I guess that I am referring ... to that dreaded 'p' word: 'profiling.' ” Smerconish also asked MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan: "[I]f it turns out that these [purported terrorists] are elements of radical Islam, do you think Americans will finally have the stomach for profiling terrorists?"