Also: New evidence emerges that callers to Hannity's supposedly 'live' show are sometimes 'fake' pre-recorded / staged, "pre-scripted" plants
CITE: This page's URL on the Yahoo/GeoCities server: http://GordonWayneWatts.com/HealthCareQuestionTooHard.html and on the GoDaddy server: http://GordonWatts.com/HealthCareQuestionTooHard.html
Other conservatives, including U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), unwilling to rebut Socialized healthcare.
* * OpEdNews.com did a story, "Limbaugh/Hannity Parent Company Admits Hiring Actors to Call Radio Shows," March 5, 2011, By Gustav Wynn in which they cited and linked to this news story on page 2 (linked here), regarding how "Hannity's screeners practice bias and intimidation."
* * Other news reports emerging regarding fake, pre-scripted callers include the following: TabletMag.com, Radio Daze, Feb 11, 2011, By Liel Leibovitz reported that radio actors are hired to read scripts and pretend to be real people.
* * Milwaukee Magazine ("Secrets of Talk Radio," Monday 11/24/2008) reported that conservative talk show hosts would receive daily talking points e-mails from the Bush White House, the Republican National Committee and, during election years, GOP campaign operations, and the stations routinely turned away callers with opposing views, according to the former radio station's program director.
* * RawStory.com reported on March 7th, 2011 here that Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications and the company responsible for syndicating big conservative radio names like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity has been using paid actors to call in to their radio shows. (RawStory.com, "Exclusive: Limbaugh’s parent company still using actors to fake radio call-ins, exec tells Raw," March 7th, 2011, By David Edwards)
* * On March 9, 2011, Gawker reported here that "While Premiere's "On Call" service is relatively new, there are several long-standing services that supply scenarios, story lines, and actors to desperate local morning shows...[including to radio company] United Stations Radio Networks" to 'pretend' to be someone they are not, e.g., a 'fake' caller. (Gawker.com, "Hello Imaginary Caller: Your Favorite Wacky Morning Radio Show Is a Festival of Lies," Mar 9, 2011, By John Cook)
* * Even Democrats are getting involved, as Big Journalism reports here that the DNC (Democratic National Commission) had set up "a special website" that coaches and "encourages people to write letters to the editors of newspapers nationwide [in order to] publish DNC talking points without realizing it." (BigJournalism.com, "DNC, Obama Now Astroturfing Talk Radio," June 5th 2010, By John Sexton)
* * Besides mere coaching, there are even creidible news reports that Democrats, too, are outright using 'fake' callers to radio programs, as the RadioEqualizer reported on 09 March 2011 here, where they quoted liberal radio talk show host, Ed Schultz, as saying that "Democratic Party staffers on Capitol Hill were behind the fakery, phoning in from congressional offices!" (RadioEqualizer, "CAPITOL HILL PHONE-Y BANK," 09 March 2011, By Brian Maloney) RadioEqualizer posted this short clip of Shultz admitting as much. (Titled: "MSNBC Libtalker: I Used Fake Callers, Congressional Dems Helped Me!")
* * CAVEAT: The few times this writer has called in to either Glenn Beck's or Rush Limbaugh's radio programs, he was not offered a chance to be a "pre-scripted" caller, and only on some of the occasions to calls to the Sean Hannity radio program was this offer made -and then only by the call-screener, not by the "Premiere On Call" service. --Editor, Gordon Wayne Watts
* * For further resources, see a Google or Yahoo! search.
LAKELAND, FL (GordonWayneWatts.com) Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - In what is one of the strangest news items of recent, Sean Hannity (1-800-941-SEAN) call-screener, Lynda McLaughlin (file photo: here or here), verbally insulted pro-life icon, Gordon Watts (editor of GordonWayneWatts.com), of Lakeland, Florida, regarding his recent legal defense of Terri Schiavo (link here or here), and then deemed his healthcare question as too hard for her show host, Sean Hannity. Below is documentation of this (including audio of the call in question) -and Mr. Watts’ side of the story.
On Thursday, July 23, 2009, one day after he posted this YouTube video (“Obama's Health Care plan not good enough for Congress?”) and emailed links to the news media, Mr. Watts, who has been a regular caller to the Sean Hannity radio program, was contacted by Hannity programs associate producer, Lynda McLaughlin, who previously had asked him if their program could put his number on their fast list and call him if they needed callers. (Click here or here for an image of the caller ID of that incoming call.)
Mr. Watts thought her call was in response to his email the day before, but McLaughlin told him that she was “looking for liberal callers” on the healthcare issue. Watts responded that he was conservative and would not “pretend” to be liberal just to get on the show, citing moral issues, and wished her the best -and offered to be there if her show needed conservative or pro-life callers.
Several days later, however, Watts discovered that Japan’s socialized healthcare system was more effective in measures such as life-span, cancer rates, and lower in cost than America’s current system. Watts called the Hannity show back on Tue Aug 18, 2009 to report that he had honestly and genuinely ‘flip-flopped’ and would like to challenge Hannity -once again -on his views and compare notes to try and solve America’s looming healthcare crisis. (Hannity, in the past, has said that the 'average' life-spans are not the meaningful figures, but rather, the survival after cancer surgery. It is true that America excels other countries in certain areas, but the 'meaningful' figures are the *average* figures -since *they* encompass *all* the people and lifestyle factors.) McLaughlin was the call-screener that afternoon but reported that the show was booked on calls, and asked if she could call him the next day. On Wednesday, August 19, 2009, at around 1:19 PM, McLaughlin called back (click here or here for caller ID image) and said she wanted to know if Watts would be by the phone in forty (40) minutes for a call-back to be a “liberal” caller to “argue” with Sean Hannity (presumably for ratings purposes -and, according to Hannity, himself, to educate liberals).
After he confirmed that he was available to pre-record the call that hour for the 3pm-6pm show later that afternoon, Watts asked McLaughlin if, on a future program, he could bring up the Terri Schiavo matter. McLaughlin asked him what his position would be. Watts responded that he had come very close to winning a court case that had aimed to save Terri Schiavo’s life, and wanted to know if he could “argue” with Sean Hannity for giving other, less successful, pro-life suits (link here or here), more news coverage while neglecting his suit. McLaughlin responded that she ‘hated people like that’ and hung up and did not honor her call-back appointment for that afternoon. Mr. Watts reports that he tried calling in several times later that afternoon when she missed her appointment inquiring about her complaint and odd behavior but got hung up on and told, without explanation, by call-screener Lynda McLaughlin that he could “forget” ever having his call-in questions put through to the show host, Sean Hannity. (Watts was quick to point out in this interview that he was not told he was unwelcome to call back, and thus his subsequent calls to the program were not illegal harassment -and that, in light of her assistant status, probably not legally authorized to tell a caller to not call back -and that he furthermore doubts that McLaughlin herself would even be willing to attempt something like that -especially in light of the bad publicity it might elicit)
On Sunday, August 16, 2009, Watts then turned to his fellow-Republicans and elected officials to seek help understanding the conservative defense against Socialized healthcare, contacting U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) on his Facebook page (click here or here) -seeking constituent services. Putnam was unable to offer any conservative defenses against Socialized Healthcare or Socialism, referring Watts to his office, where a staff aid suggested diet may be a factor in the problems with America’s healthcare situation. Watts then reports that he researched Federal Law and procured a tape-recorder to document any further aberrant behavior from McLaughlin over what he said was a trivial matter -a “call-in question” on a health care issue and then tried to call in again on Monday Sept 21 and Tue, Sept 22, 2009 -and reports that Lynda McLaughlin insulted the way he sounded and then said that she did not want to take that healthcare question. (Click here to listen to annotated audio of those calls at YouTube. To hear past occasions where Mr. Watts called in to the show, click here. ** Click here or here for the file folders of all related documentation.)
It is unknown at this time why McLaughlin had such a violent reaction as is depicted in the file audio. Although there was initial concern that McLaughlin might have thought that Watts was going to go ‘off-script’ in his call in, this possibility seems unlikely in light of the fact that Watts is a known conservative and supporter of Mr. Hannity’s program -and had been called back by McLaughlin herself, suggesting this was not a concern with her.
While it in unknown why McLaughlin deemed Watts' question as too hard to pass through, she did so -either by words or deed; however, Mr. Watts offered these three theories or possibilities to explain her behavior:
"(1) She thought my healthcare question was too hard for Sean; (2) She hates Terri Schiavo; or (3) Lynda is just plain weird. I honestly don't know why she did what she did."
The editors and publishers of this blog respectfully ask its readers to pray for all those involved -not only to resolve any misunderstanding -but also to academically look at Mr. Watts’ Healthcare question and try to find out what Japan and China are doing -and copy the positive elements while leaving alone the negative. It is also believed that McLaughlin's treatment of Watts is not an isolated incident, raising the spectre: 'How many other people will she mistreat?' -thus muddying the waters to the freedom of the free press and damaging reputations of her show hosts.
LEGAL DISCLAIMERS HERE:
It's not illegal to publicly post Re. Adam Putnam's response to a constituent, as this is open under Federal Freedom of Information laws in his reply was in official capacity as a government official.
PS: It's not illegal to tape record a phone call to Hannity's program: Florida courts have consistently held that the constitutional protections of a reasonable expectation of privacy do not extend to an individuals place of business. Morningstar v. State, 428 So. 2d 220 (Fla. 1982); Cohen Bros., LLC v. ME Corp., S.A., 872 So. 2d 321 (Fla. 3d DCA 2004); Jatar v. Lamaletto, 758 So. 2d 1167 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000); Adams v. State, 436 So. 2d 1132 (Fla. 5th DCA 1983). An expectation of privacy in a business is not one which society is willing to protect. Morningstar, 428 So. 2d at 221 (citing Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967); Hill v. State, 422 So. 2d 816 (Fla. 1982)).
Taping and broadcast of small segments of the Sean Hannity show clips here are not a copyright infringement, since they are a small excerpt used in a larger story -also known as "Fair Use." US CODE TITLE 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 allows use of copyrighted material for fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
For further legal disclaimers and the official legal policy of The Register, the mother blog, please click here or here.
Editor's Note: Since publication of this story, Mr. Watts has sent this blog a statement that he is not trying to 'smear' Mr. Hannity or his program but simply get help understanding this healthcare issue -and to verify his claims, he has submitted his healthcare question, below, for further clarification and consideration:
LET ME RE-STATE my "Healthcare Question" -to help you understand my "point of confusion."
GORDON in Lakeland's question: How can you oppose Socialized Health care or socialism when Japan pays *less* and has longer average life-spans and lower (breast) cancer rates? (Communist China has even *lower* breast cancer rates, FYI. Figures for both China and Japan: here *or* here)
HANNITY's likely response: (based on prior comments) "the 'average' life-span superiority of other nations is not the "meaningful" figure, but rather survival after surgery"
GORDON's reply: yes, America beats other nations in *some* areas, but *any* college student knows that "averages" *do indeed* reflect the "most meaningful" figure across the board. THEREFORE, Mr. Hannity, I am still unclear on why I should oppose Socialized Healthcare.
Furthermore, Mr. Hannity, regarding your suggestion (in my prior call to your program) that I not ask for a free handout for tuition in a prior call-in: *You* said that you had paid into Social Security, and therefore deserved to get monies back. (I agree.) You also rightly suggested that gov't should not support Higher-Ed -let it stand or fall on its own. (I agree.) However, you're being hypocritical: You want back what you paid in but you would deny me: since Big Gov't *does* support Higher-Ed, I want out of it what I paid into it -I should not pay any more for college (here *or* here) than students in the 1956-57 school year -in fact, I owe them less: Our education has gone downhill.*** -Links back home- ***