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tv   CNN Presents Michael Smerconish - Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started...  CNN  July 11, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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welcome. >> welcome. >> the michael smerconish program. >> thanks so much for being here. >> it was 30 years ago tonight that i marked the beginning of my career in talk radio. ♪ i don't know why i came here tonight ♪ ♪ i got the feeling that something ain't right ♪ ♪ i'm so scared in case i fall off my chair ♪ ♪ and i'm wondering how i'll get down the stairs ♪ >> i host a daily radio program that bears my name.
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i have a weekly telephones cable program and i authored seven books. i'm pleased with those achievements. but i am far more proud of what went into them ♪ clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right ♪ ♪ here i am stuck in the -- >> of course i talk for a living. it's always been my calling. and not because i'm a lawyer. not because i have a background in politics. in retrospect, i guess i just wanted the attention. ♪ >> rolling. >> it is going to be good. make that soft. >> i think you need to go back this the copy a little bit. in anticipation of this next move we are going to redo some stuff. >> you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? welcome to the show i was about to take out on the road before the pandemic hit. as you watch, ask yourself, which changed more in the last 30 years, the country or me?
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>> here we go. and action. >> i am so fortunate. my political, my media work, my interests, they have given me a very rich life. i met ronald reagan as a newly minted 18-year-old. i worked this the george herbert walker bush administration when i was just 29. i once had a seven-hour dinner with fidel castro at his house. i got to bring the former pakistani president to vote with me at my suburban philadelphia polling place. i confronted the members of the led zeppelin band with a demand they reunite. you can watch ittan you tube. i didn't go well. i worked for arlen specter. i drank champagne from the stanley cup and even had my portrait painted at a fund-raiser in front of a live audience by named artist nelson
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shanks. i twice better viewed president barack obama from the white house. if first was august 20, 2009. >> i'm live at the white house and i'm joined by the president of the united states. mr. president, what an honor for me. thank you, sir, for this privilege, and thank you for coming back to my radio program. >> michael, it is great to be on the show again. every time we have been on, it has been a great time. i appreciate the opportunity. >> so many great memories. many involve interviewing people of stature like john mccain or collin powell or some of the sports heroes of my youth. smoking joe frazier, or bernie perant, whose jersey i wore as a little kid. i have been proud to advocate for maureen faulkner whose police officer husband was murdered by a man named abu-jamal. i will never forget the night that w. called me live, election night, with just about an hour to go in the polls. >> hello, governor. >> michael, how are you?
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>> i'm terrific, how are you doing? >> good, i am in austin, texas. >> governor we wish you god speed. >> it is going to come down to the great state of pennsylvania that's why i am calling. >> i loved hosting rock & roll hall of famers yes, live in my studio and then believe it or not, live in my backyard for a barbecue. i can laugh now about that night in 2007 when bill may her mistook me for an evangelical crisp. >> you can't work on sunday and you can't care and you can't make statues the other gods. >> i think it is a good way to lead your life. you follow those you are going to be better. >> i am asking, those thing are important to you, not swearing and not working on sunday and not making statues to god. >> i don't want to get diverted by the ten commandments. >> if you had to make a list of the ten most important things in the world you would leave off rape and child abuse.
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>> you [ bleep ] need to calm down. >> i think i am one of the only who sort of got an apology from him. >> i was reading from this media matters for america. they talked about this michael smerconish who was on our show a couple weeks ago. very thoughtful guy. and they said michael smerconish repeatedly discussed the sissyfication of america complaining that -- you are a sissy, and michael smerconish was right. >> i am often asked, who was your favorite guest. it's an easy answer. it is a two fer. wild gilligan ear and babe heavy rinne. it happened on october 3rd, 2007. i was then hosting morning contain on 1210 w ph.d. in philadelphia. on that day, two quintessential
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philly guys, south philly guys turned with a heroes joined me in studio. wild bill good to see you. >> good to be here. >> i noticed recently your health has been an issue. are you feeling all right? >> i feel right. >> who is the guy you brought with you? >> babe heavy rinne. >> they were the embodiment of the greatest generation. they were both featured in steven ambrose' band of brothers. wild bill jumped on d day. landed in san marie igles. heavy rinne seized hitler's layer called eagles credits. the day of the interview, bill came in on crutches having discarded the prosthetic after losing his own in the battle of the bulge. they were my favorite interview. you isn't know each other in
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south philly. you meet in england when you are both serving your country. >> yeah. >> which one remembers that meeting better? >> i better very well. >> tell me, wild bill. >> the way he walked. i could tell he was from south philly. i could tell, amazing how you can tell, just by the walk. >> you fight side by side in holland and in bull gem, right? >> that's correct. >> bill -- wild bill lost hess leg at the battle of the bulge. >> i just lost my leg. didn't lose my life. that's all. lucky to be alive. >> favorite guests hands down. if you asked me about my favorite unguested segment, i have a different answer. time flies. my wife la vinnia and i raised four. they provided me better talk radio fodder than any front page news. when our daughter was 8 years old she went to camp in north carolina. it was supposed to be two weeks. there was no word from her for the first six days. then a bundle of letters
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arrived. they were funny. they were heard breaking. here's letter number one. camp is fun. at 1:00 we have lunch. we had today pizza with cheddar cheese, pepperoni mushrooms and anchovies, i think. by the next letter things were changing. come and get me now, all caps, the pool has snakes, jelly fish, and frogs. then came letter number three to her mother. every day i think of you and cry. like today was raining and you always take me to the movies on rainy days. finally, letter number four. i hate it. and i'm sick of the word y'all. here's your assignment. get me home or else. so far, i tried 28 times. get me out of here, h-e-a-r. well, you know me. i need material. so i gathered up those letters, and more, and i read them on air. and there was a gender divide in the audience. men called, and they said, you
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know, i went to camp, and there was always a kid like yours. and you better leave her there to tough it out or she will be scarred for life. and then women would call, and they would say two things. they would say, how dare you invade her privacy by reading these letters. and then they would say, you better go get her or she will be scarred for life. as i was on air, my wife was pulling a sael team 6 rescue mission and brought her back safely. our daughter came home. but it was good radio. and do you know who told me? conservatives, little bit rattle, republicans, democrats, independents, and there is a lesson in that. by the way, she went back to camp. different camp the next summer. today she's married living happily in brooklyn. this is her wedding day. saturday mornings, my brother and i would sit and watch pro
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wrestling. sometimes my parents would take us to matches. these were some of the fondest memories of my childhood. who knew i would go on to make my living in the media equivalent of pro wrestling? and the best routines in life did, do and always will make time... for enjoying yourself. you're on it. you may think you're doing all you can to manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease... but could your medication do more to lower your heart risk? jardiance can reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults who also have known heart disease. so, it could help save your life from a heart attack or stroke. and it lowers a1c. jardiance can cause serious side effects including dehydration, genital yeast or urinary tract infections, and sudden kidney problems. ketoacidosis is a serious side effect that may be fatal. a rare, but life-threatening bacterial infection in the skin of the perineum could occur. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away
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in retrospect, i guess i just wanted the attention. ever since childhood, which was spent at 24 mercer avenue in doylestown, pennsylvania, three bedrooms, one bath, 25 feet from the houses next door. and that's where my parents raised my brother and me. as we grew older, mom worked as a secretary, then launched this remarkable career as a realtor. my dad was a public school teacher turned guidance counsellor. and after hours, he ran the adult education program at the county prison, enabling inmates to get their g.e.d.s and a few of those inmates, the guys who were on work release, sometimes they did renovations on our house, which is how our basement was turned into what we called, a rec room. that's where my brother and i would sit on these hideously colored bean bag chairs and watch pro wrestling. saturday mornings. this was the age of the living
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legends, bruno san martino, and hay stacks calhoun. george "the animal" steel. and my favorite, chief j. strongbo. there were good guys, and there were bad guys. and there was no in between. sometimes my parents would take us to matches where i would try to get autographs of good guys and bad guys. these are some of the fondest memories of my childhood. and who knew that i would go on to make my living in the media equivalent of pro wrestling. because that's what talk radio and some parts of cable television have become. back then, adults knew that wrestling was fake. they treated it accordingly. but today, the media equivalent is conflating with news reporting. and the nation is suffering. more on that later. besides my fondness for pro wrestling, there were other
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signs that i would be brawn to a career that involved talking for a living. in that air audio doug henning was a magician. he had a hit on broadway called the magic show. henning inspired kids all over the country to take up magic. in my case it wasn't just a parlor game. i did shows, kids' birthday parties mainly. mr. guardy was a family friend and a local printer. he gave me the gift of business cards with my name on them. a local library was my biggest gig ever, about 100 kids attended in quakertown, pennsylvania. i wrote diary entries for each performance. may 30, 1975. tomorrow will be one of my last magic shows. i've lost interest with about three more shows to do. magic was fun, and profitable for some time. it's been a great hobby. i'm the last of all my friends
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in this art. i love that part. if my love for pro wrestling and magic summed up elementary school, it would be television that symbolized junior high school. holly comjunior high school, specifically, before we started calling them middle schools. it was a brand-new public school, nice and modern, with its own closed circuit television system, and a tv studio. and morning announcements were delivered from this tv studio. so i caught the tv bug. you know, i wanted to be a morning anchor, but i never made the cut. so one day, the school tv crew came the my gym class. they were filming a tv commercial for an upcoming gym show. to be a wise guy, i flicked a moon on camera. do they still call it that? so word spread. and soon everybody was stopping by the school tv studio to watch the tape, the playback, of my
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naked ass. and before too long, the school vice principal, mr. roberts, called my dad at his school and said wallt, walt, i have got soe bad news. i need to suspend michael because he's exposed himself. my poor old man. and worse, my poor mother, was asked to come to school to identify my naked butt on film. she did. but i think they were both kinds of relieved. and it would not be the last time that my ass would get me in trouble. meanwhile, in high school, the spring of 1980, i turned 18 and registered to vote. as a republican. you know, like my parents. that spring, my father decides to make a run for public office. and i became completely consumed in his campaign for the state
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legislature. i would spend saturday and sundays at the local acme supermarket handing out rulers with his name on them. my first time as a voter, i got to vote for my dad, and to cast my first presidential ballot, which was a dilemma. a dilemma for me because ronald reagan and george herbert walker bush, papa bush were still competing against one another at the time of the pennsylvania primary. and i met them both, within the same week as an 18-year-old first-time voter. i met bush because he made a campaign appearance to the shrine in my hometown. the following day, i skipped school to meet ronald reagan. he was making what was then an obligatory philadelphia campaign stop. walking through the ninth street italian market. so george herbert walker bush wins the pennsylvania primary. my dad lost his.
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but i was hooked on politics. and on the media. the dominant radio station in philadelphia at that time was kyw news radio. they also had an internship program every year. when i was in high school, i was a participant in that internship along with two buddies. and that -- that was when i realized that i loved being inside television and radio studios. at the ends of the internship, each student got to deliver a one-minute radio segment on a news item from their hometown. and it was then played on radio. mine was about the inmate education program run by my dad at the local jail. and this -- this was the first time that my voice was heard on philadelphia radio. may 2nd, 1980. >> correction officials at the bucks county prison in
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doylestown are proud of their tradition of educating inmates. all those behind bars have the option of attending adult education classes. class ready conducted by many volunteers. with 318 inmates already having received their diplomas the program is an obvious success. i'm mike smerconish of central bucks high school in doylestown, papa. we lived at 24 mercer street. down the street were the stockels. they opened up a business, mountain lake pool and patio right at the end of our street. i worked with mike jr. delivering pool supplies and patio furniture. one day mike says to us larry kane needs chlorine. he needs it delivered to his house in rydell, pennsylvania. this was big, because larry was
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the city's boast-known newscaster. he was in the midst of a remarkable career. he was the face of local television news as i grew up. and on that summer day, when we were delivering chlorine to his house, meeting him became our mission. and we were totally disappointed when a woman working in a domestic capacity answered the front door and said, just leave it in the pool house. oh, no, no, no, no. this will not do. so we told her that mr. kane needed to sign the bill of lading. hand to god, to this day, i have no idea what that even means. but it worked. larry kane soon emerges. no doubt having been russeled from the sack after anchoring the late news. he was shirtless. and his fly was down. and before he knows what hit him, the two punks are swapping an instamatic camera at having
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their pictures taken with him. i had no idea at the time in a larry kane would play such an important role in my professional life. in the summer of 1980, ronald reagan and george herbert walker bush join forces. they are now the republican ticket. i'm lated. remember i met them both it. now arrive on campus at lehigh university. i soon formed a club that i called lehigh university youth for reagan/bush. it was tough to get anybody interested. which is why when i got a call therefore from the actual reagan/bush campaign asking for the campus club president i thought i was getting pranked. it turned out that the future vice president was coming to tour the nearby bethlehem steel plant. if you can believe this n a pre9/11 world, they desperately needed motorcade drivers. i recruited my entire freshman dorm. we worked on that event.
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while still an undergraduate i was then asked to be an advance man for the sitting vice president of the united states. i interned in his office. i travelled several times across country planning the logistics of his personal appearances, twice around the globe. so of course my interest in politics continued. while in law school at the university of pennsylvania at age 23, i ran for an open seat in the pennsylvania state legislature. the same seat for which my father had run six years prior. i thought it would be a case of a hollywood ending. but i lost, too. by 419 votes. i have since located 2236 36 of those people. that fall while still a law student i managed a portion of senator arlen specter's re-election campaign. he won. then in the spring of my third year of law school, frank rizzo, the former philadelphia mayor,
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changed his party from democrat to republican to run for his old job. and i became his political director. but it was a combination of all of these unique political experiences at an early age that caused me to be invited as a guest on television and radio. one of the people to put me on air? larry kane. and that local television exposure would lead me to radio. 30 years ago. here's the funny thing. there were days when i guest hosted for both o'reilly and matthews. i would leave fox news and walk into 30 rock and guest host "hardball." i didn't know whether the risk was higher of me getting shot in the chest or shot in the back. guys! guys! safe drivers save 40%!!! safe drivers save 40%! safe drivers save 40%!!!
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for the same medications as the vet, but up to 30 percent less with fast free shipping. visit today. ♪ saturday, may 19, 1990. i was the guest of a guest host, brian tierney, on philadelphia's 96.5 fm wwdb, the tagline was, the talk station. i was immediately smitten. and by the following monday, i was already crafting my pitch to
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the station owner, chuck schwartz. quote, be advised that given my political and business affiliations, i am confident in my ability to assist in advertising sales in support of such appearances. and i was given a tryout as a political commentator. but not until someone had vouched for me. larry kane. and for the next year, i was a guest of other hosts, always talking politics. and then i was given a guest host gig. for two more years, my guest hosting continued. and that's when philadelphia magazine gave me a best of award for moonlighting. a few months later i was given my very own show. sunday nights from 8:p.m. until midnight. i was ecstatic. and terrible. tonight's a little different, that's because at this moment i am kicking off a new and what i'm hoping is going to be a long
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standing relationship with the wwdb listeners. this is michael smerconish, your sunday night host here at the talk station. for a few years, sunday night was my domain. i was now married. my wife and i were growing our family. i was now practicing law with james e beasley, and still hosting a sunday night radio program. chuck and susan schwartz had the chance to sell wwdb for a lot of money. a subsequent owner seeking to maximize revenue through ad sales began selling infomercials disguised as programming. other hosts had to play along. they had no choice. but me, with my legal practice and reputation to protect, i quit. immediately, i was asked to join an am signal that was owned by cbs, formerly known -- a real heritage station -- as wcau. and i began hosting saturday mornings over there from 6:00 to
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9:00 a.m. i was quickly moved from saturday mornings to one hour of afternoon drive. then they asked me to do two hours in afternoon drive. then they asked me to do three hours in afternoon drive. and finally, radio primetime, morning drive. i could no longer practice law and be a radio host, so i took the risk of giving up a lucrative legal practice to be a full-time radio host. morning drive brought note right, increasingly, invites to be a television guest came my way. first locally. you guessed it. larry kane put me on television. >> michael smerconish, a longtime political analyst. have you ever seen anything like this? >> yes, i have, as a matter of fact, in 1987. >> larry was a booster of mine until his own sign-off from cbs 3. >> i would like to thank the people i work with at the station. i would also like to acknowledge a group of people who have entrusted their careers with me but letting me help them young
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people like gallette cassidy and michael smerconish. teaching has been the most grass phiing part of my crop. >> then came national opportunity. cnn had a live afternoon program called talkback live, hosted by arthel neville. and suddenly, i was invited to guest host that show. this was a big deal for me. i was scared to death. and i almost passed out when on the first day, september 19, 2002, when the show went live, my microphone didn't work. and i just kept talking. [ inaudible ] >> still, it sounds like everything was going my way, right? but that would be misleading. there were many setbacks along the way. some of my own making. like when at the height of my morning radio success philadelphia magazine profiled
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me ask. t -- and the photographer came the my house and had a brainstorm that i should be naked in my own driveway. and impulsively, i agreed. philadelphia magazine, april issue, 2009. what the hell was i thinking? i'm sure that my job was saved only by the revenue that my program was then generating. i was hosting a morning radio program that did very well in what was then the nation's fourth largest media market. by now, like everybody else with a local show of their own, i wanted my own nationally syndicated radio program. and of course i really wanted a television program of my own. finally, msnbc offered to shoot a pilot. and i said i want to call it "politics nation." well, msnbc didn't like my pilot. but they liked the title of the show. so they created a show for al
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sharpton, and they let him use it. the president of msnbc, phil griffin used candor that i appreciated even though his words stung. he said that, where my fill-in work was respected at the network, i would never have a show of my own there. smek, he said, we are young, liberal, and nerdy. and you are none of the above. i continued to host my own radio program and do more telephones fill-in work. here's the funny thing. there were days when i guest hosted for both o'reilly and matthews. i would do my own radio program. then i would guest host bill o'reilly's show in new york city from noon to 2:00. i would leave fox news and walk two blocks north on avenue of the americas and walk into 30 rock and guest host "hardball." i remember telling my friends at the time that i didn't know whether the risk was higher of me getting shot in the chest or shot in the back.
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thankfully i was offered to come to sirius xm in a deal negotiated by a sirius xm executive damond dave gorab who had also cut his teeth at the old wwdb in philadelphia. small world. my new show launched on sirius xm april 15, 2013. >> on the michael smerconish program, angry is over. and now, here's michael speaker. >> hey, everybody, welcome to potus. yeah, the day has finally arrived. sorry that it's tax day as well. i'm michael smerconish. and thank you so much for listening to me on day one. >> the potus channel has given me the opportunity to prove that you need not be doctrine err in order to succeed on air. but having a tv show of my own, that still eludesed me. the winner of 2013 -- the winter of 2013 into 2014, matthews vacationed at christmas. i spent my holiday guest hosting
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his program. and the positive ratings warranted a small notice on a website that caters to the cable tv world. so i forwarded the mention to jeff zucker at cnn. he invited me to meet with him the following day. in a conversation that didn't last 15 minutes he offered me a show of my own on cnn. >> hey, good morning. i'm michael smerconish. i have worked in television as a comment ator and guest host for years. but i have always wanted a program of my own. and this is it. at long last, a national radio platform and a tv show of my own. and maybe, by this time, there was a reason that my luck had changed. she goes by the initials tc. she had joined me after i got my break to do morning drive. my initial morning show producer had been hired for me by cbs, looked great on paper. but we had no chemistry. and he didn't last.
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i knew tc from the montessori school where all four of our children have been educated. she was a harvard grad who was working as a teacher's assistant. but she had been bitten by a media bug. doing, of all things, selling flameless candles on qvc. >> this one that i am tolding in my hand is the santle impressions candle and this one is a flame-lit candle and you can't tell the difference. >> bright, cheerful, competent tenlt. i invited her to come to my radio studio one day to observe and she never left. it was a struggle to get her here's by cbs because on paper she made no sense for the job i would like a montessori school teacher who sells flameless candles. tough sell. i guess there is a lesson in that. for all of us to look for competence more so than credentials. and more than any other issue, this is what would eventually
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♪ you. >> there have been a lot of milestones in my journey. but one of them stands out. it was a trip that i took in 2006 n the midst of the iraq war. it was a pentagon-sponsored trip. they called it the joint civilian orientation conference, or jcoc. we had this amazing itinerary. you know, a briefing by defense
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secretary donald rumsfeld at the pentagon. the boarding of the "uss iwo jima" by helicopter in the persian gulf. we fired the best of the army's weaponry in the kuwait desert ten miles from iraq. we boarded the most secret surveillance aircraft in qatar. and we targeted a military outpost in the horn of africa, in gentleman budy. i returned home from this program impressed with the men and women who wore the uniform of our country overseas. but i was increasingly disenchanted with the administration because i thought they had taken their eye off the ball with regard to the hunt for bin laden. more than any other issue this is what would event lyle lead me to support obama bom for president. when senator obama first came on my radio program, 2008, he
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repeated that he would take the hunt for bin laden to pakistan, if necessary. and that was long before anybody knew that bin laden was hiding there. for saying so, he was ridiculed, by hillary clinton. joe biden, john mccain, and others. well we know how that ended. it looks likes for six and a half years we have been outsourcing the hunt for bin laden to a guy with no intention of getting him. do you agree? >> absolutely. i made a speech in august. i got criticized. >> not by me senator, i appla applauded you. >> i know. >> another way i chart my change at looking at who requested to blurb my books. the first was in 2004, it was called flying blind and it dealt with airport security most 9/11. whose blurb appears on the front
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jacket? that would be sean hannity who said michael smerconish is saying what many americans are thinking. we need to have this debate. my second book, 2007, muzzled. front jacket, bill o'reilly. muzzled will lead you into a world that would terrify rodder is ling, an entertaining and provocative book. i didn't solicit political figures for book number three, which i wrote on behalf of maureen faulkner, the widow of a philadelphia police officer named daniel faulkner. pretty much the same with my next book, number four, in 2009, which is instinct. instinct tells the story of the hero who prevented the 20th hijacker from entering the united states. but things are now changing by book number five. in 2009, i published a memoir. a memoir of sorts called "morning drive" and who wrote the blushes? i am looking at the back jacket
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and i am saying "hardball's" chris matthews. senator arlen specter, and governor ed rendel. the latter of whom said this, michael smerconish doesn't part on ideologist or a partisan political agenda. he sure as heck isn't predictable. it is that same independence and unpredictability that makes "morning drive" a great read. 2014, book number six was my novel, talk. this was much more a commercial play. for most of my books i donated the proceeds to charity. in this instance i went with the hottest political authors of the a. the authors of game change and double down. mark halpern and john heilemann. finally my most recent book tub published in 2018, clowns to the left of me, jockers to the right. transformation complete. the foreword was written by president obama's senior adviser
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david axelrod and the blurb on the back jacket comes from the governator arnold schwarzenegger. sure, i have changed. and the republican party has changed. but i argue that the media business has changed much more. entertainment masked as news. constant conflict. good guys versus bad guys and preordained outcomes. just like what? pro wrestling. good for ratings, good for revenue. bad for the country. -and always will be. never letting anything get in my way. not the doubts, distractions, or voice in my head. and certainly not arthritis. new voltaren provides powerful arthritis pain relief to help me keep moving. and it can help you too. feel the joy of movement with voltaren.
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if enjoyment isn't part of the process... don't trust the process. (♪) ♪ ♪ ♪
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well the names have all changed since you hung around but those dreams have remained and they've turned around who'd have thought they'd lead ya back here where we need ya welcome back, america. it sure is good to see you. fund taxes matter too. every time a fund manager sells a stock it triggers a tax liability for you. and the higher the turnover the more you have to pay in taxes every year. and here's the worst part, because of high turnover, you actually might have to pay taxes even if the fund itself loses money. that's why you want to own low turnover funds whenever possible. the less you pay in fund fees, the less you pay in taxes, the more wealth you can accumulate...
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. when i got started 30 years ago at wwdb personality mattered not ideology. the headliners were all local, and quite a carpool. irv homer, frank ford, his moniker, what today we would call his brand was that he was the gentleman of broadcasting. i often guest hosted for him. let me tell you something.
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today you can get hired with that reputation. these hosts didn't share ideology. there were no mutual talking points. what they had in common was the ability to make the telephones ring. but a.m. radio was in trouble when i i was getting started. f.m. was growing. a.m. needed a savior, and it got one. his name, rush limbaugh. and the first gulf war was the backdrop against which things changed. rush was hired on sacramento's kfbk, this after the firing of morton downy, jr. you remember downy, cursing at guests, chain smoking on set. downy was canned on radio after he told an ethnic joke on-air and to rush limbaugh. he quickly became the top talk show host in sacramento, then he was placed in national syndication in 1988, and
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limbaugh's impact on talk radio was transformative. news junkies had nbc, abc, cbs, "the new york times," "the washington post," which all leaned left. limbaugh filled that void be establishing a clubhouse for conservatives, and soon every major market would have limbaugh and a stable of his imitators. and when fox news launched on television in 1996 it adopt:96 the a.m. talk radio play book. later msnbc took note of that success, briefly gained viewers by giving keith a downy like platform against george w. bush. anybody remember his quote bush was urinating on the constitution? and now it was toned down as a version of that which morton dpo downy had established. entertainment masked as news,
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constant conflict, good guys versus bad guys and preordained outcomes just like what? prowrestling. good for ratings, good for revenue, bad for the country. here's another barometer of change in the last 30 years. according to the congressional quarterly as late as the 1970s the typical member of one party voted with his or her party colleagues just over 60% of the time. in fact, my favorite example is a texas congressman by the name of george herbert walker bush. papa bush was in congress, and he overlapped the administrations of presidents linden johnson and richard nixon. well, guess what? congressman bush voted with the democratic johnson administration about as often as he voted with the republican nixon administration. and that was typical then. but by 2010 the typical member
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of congress voting with party members 90% of the time. look, i'm not blaming polarization on just the media. other factors have driven the divide. they include a lack of campaign finance reform. that causes nonstop fund-raising. they don't have any time to socialize with one another. hyper-partisan districts are an issue, the spread of politically homogenius communities are a problem. we're self-sorting. post-primaries are an issue. i'll tell you what else is an issue. social media. the beer muscles that come from an anonymity online, that has fueled incivility and polarization. but mostly -- mostly i see a causal connection between the media influence and polarization. gridlock is what you get when washington takes its cues from
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those with microphones and not the vast majority of the people. when politicians take their cues from the prowrestling of the modern era the nation suffers. our climate can't, won't improve until we do something about that. and in order for that to happen more people need to change the channel. in fact, more than anything else is what i wish i knew before i started talking. ♪ if you're 55 and up, t- mobile has a plan built just for you. we want you to get the value and service you need to stay connected. saving 50% vs. other carriers
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find out more at will be about keeping a routine... and the best routines in life did, do and always will make time... for enjoying yourself.
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welcome. i'm anderson cooper in new york. >> i'm dr. sanjay gupta. this is our 16th cnn global town hall, coronavirus, facts and fears. >> it comes as the virus makes it painfully clear not only has it never left us it's now growing faster than ever before. which reminded us that it, not us, is in control. and until and unless we get our act together as a nation.


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