As the old adage goes, politics makes for strange bedfellows. This is certainly the case in Alexandria.
And there’s another adage that also comes to mind: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I understand that a few folks may have thought that my most recent post about talk radio host Tony Brown was “harsh.” Maybe it was. But I make no apologies. In my opinion, Mr. Brown’s outlandish, public accusations against the City of Alexandria administration deserve a full-throated, thorough, and rigorous response. If you’re going to accuse people of conspiring to suppress African-American voter registration, which is a serious charge, then you should be prepared with the facts, and if you’re going to do so on publicly-owned airwaves, then you should, at the very least, provide those you are accusing with the opportunity to respond.
The simple truth is: Mr. Brown is wrong. He may be entitled to his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. As I mentioned previously, the facts are straight forward: It doesn’t matter who you are or how noble your intentions may be; if you seek to use a public facility, then you need an agreement in place. There’s absolutely nothing wrong or pernicious about such a policy; it’s sensible, and it’s fair.
Only hours after I published my post about this, Tony Brown responded. But he didn’t respond on his own show. He responded with an “interview” with the blogger Greg Aymond.
Before I delve into the specifics of this interview, I think readers should be aware of a few things. During the Jena Six protests, Tony Brown, like me, was an outspoken advocate for fair justice. Meanwhile, Greg Aymond was the attorney for Richard Barrett, the leader and founder of the White Nationalist Movement, a recognized hate group that sued the Town of Jena for the right to get a permit to conduct a counter-protest. Indeed, the late Mr. Barrett actually spent the night at Mr. Aymond’s home in Alexandria. Mr. Aymond, a former member of the KKK, may claim he was also interested in fair justice– not necessarily for the Jena Six, though, but for the leader of a white supremacist organization.
Incidentally, Mr. Barrett was later murdered by a young African-American man after Barrett allegedly attempted to have sex with him against his will. Seriously, the whole story is nothing short of bizarre.
During his interview, Tony Brown repeatedly praised Greg Aymond, and Greg Aymond returned the favor, claiming that Tony Brown “has over two million listeners a day.”
Let’s start with that: TWO MILLION LISTENERS A DAY. Here is a list of the most popular radio shows in the country, ranked by WEEKLY listeners:
|American Top 40||20+ worldwide|
|The Alex Jones Show||15+|
|The Rush Limbaugh Show||15+|
|The Sean Hannity Show||14+|
|All Things Considered||13+|
|Glenn Beck Program||9+|
|The Savage Nation||9+|
|The Mark Levin Show||8.5+|
|The Dave Ramsey Show||8.5+|
|The Neal Boortz Show||6+|
|The Laura Ingraham Show||6+|
|Coast to Coast AM||3+ (Most listened to late-night radio show)|
Extrapolating from these weekly numbers, Tony Brown, with allegedly two million listeners per day (times five days a week), would be seventh most popular radio show in the United States of America, more popular than Glenn Beck, Delilah, Laura Ingraham, and Fresh Air, among others. It’s an astoundingly ridiculous and embarrassingly laughable claim. It’s difficult to know where that number actually came from. Do two million people even live in the areas that carry his show? Probably not, and probably not by a long-shot.
But, I suppose, using this logic, my blog has an audience of 2.095 BILLION, which is the total number of people connected to the Internet. Impressive, huh? To Mr. Aymond, you asked for my blog stats. Well, there you have it: 2.095 BILLION.
I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, but this was, literally, the first thing Mr. Aymond claimed about Tony Brown during his interview. And it speaks directly to the integrity, the credibility, and the honesty of both men. Two million listeners per day: That’s nearly half of the entire population of Louisiana; that’s more than 40 times the entire population of the City of Alexandria.
Mr. Brown didn’t dispute this claim; instead, he said that his show was broadcast in the “entire State of Louisiana,” which it isn’t.
I think my pal AlexCenla was much more on target, when he estimated that Tony Brown’s listening audience was closer to around 400 people a day, which, to be fair, is only a difference of 1.999996 million and which that, yes, means my audience is much larger.
Of course, a fair question would be: If Tony Brown receives two million listeners every day, much more than Michael Baisden, then why on earth would he waste nearly thirty minutes of his time interviewing with Greg Aymond about something I published on my completely and totally irrelevant blog? I don’t get it either.
Mr. Brown, interestingly, never really disputed any of the facts I published. He played the “blame the messenger” card by way of blaming the messenger, and he doubled-down on his lies in an attempt to save face, I suppose. He never once got my name right, referring to me alternately as Lamarcus, Lance, Leroy, and Fredricka, and suggesting that we’d never met, that he wouldn’t be able to pick me “out from Adam.” Here’s the thing, though: I’ve met Tony Brown on at least a half of a dozen occasions. I’m not sure what affects his memory or his retention. He said I “lost” my job with the City; no, I resigned to attend law school. He said I was hired as a “computer guy” and that I was nothing more than a “crony.” For someone who claimed he doesn’t know me, he sure seemed to believe he knew a lot about me– none of which is true, by the way.
But ultimately, this has nothing to do with whether Tony Brown “knows” me. He doesn’t really know Jacques Roy either, for what it’s worth. That doesn’t necessarily qualify or disqualify “journalism.” (And believe me, contrary to what Mr. Brown told Mr. Aymond, I don’t dream about being a journalist. If Tony Brown considers himself to be a journalist, then those wouldn’t be dreams; they’d be nightmares). In all seriousness, this is ultimately about the objective, realizable, foreseeable, and currently-appreciable knowable record; it’s about the facts.
Voter disenfranchisement is a serious, criminal accusation. As Mr. Brown’s interview forcefully and almost comically demonstrates, he seeks to have it both ways: Labeling himself as a journalist, but when the facts don’t quite fit with the story he seeks to advance, suggesting that he is only offering his opinions and is, himself, the victim of a conspiracy.
For what it’s worth, Mr. Brown, I’ll interview you on my blog any time you want.