Jan 11, 2006

Cheap Shot


(Toledo, OH) I was listening to WSPD this morning and heard Fred LeFebvre discuss the Mitch Balonek case. Mitch is a teacher and 2005 city council candidate in Toledo who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year old girl.

Mitch's actions, if true, are reprehensible, and especially disturbing given the nature of the teacher-student relationship. To abuse one's position as a teacher for the purposes of initiating sexual activity with a minor is utterly contemptible.

But I digress.

The reason for this post is not to condemn an alleged pedophile, but to question a radio host's method of bringing his listeners the story.

You see, Fred did not just recount the story of Balonek. He did so by referencing on air an August 2005 post by Frank Szollosi praising Balonek as someone who "campaigned energetically and has some mainstream, displaced Democratic support." And he referenced the post with a mocking rejoinder to Frank along the lines of: "Hey Frank - I'll bet you don't find him 'one to watch' this morning."

Bringing Frank's name not one, but twice, into the story served no purpose than to smear Szollosi along with Balonek. LeFebvre's gleeful, derisive tone toward Szollosi suggests some hidden agenda toward the councilman. He also took rhetorical liberties with the Green Party in the segment.

It seems to me that I recall Fred being upset last year that local GOP candidates were dragged down by the smallest of ties to Tom Noe, and yet his first instinct today was to attempt to link Szollosi with Balonek.

Hey Fred - I have written complimentary words about Mitch Balonek in the past, too. Do I get to be dragged into the muck? How about Lisa Renee at Liberal Common Sense, who asked voters last year to "consider Mitch Balonek"?

Implying guilt by association - especially rhetorical association - is a mean-spirited and loathsome tactic, and LeFebvre should apologize for this reproachful act against Frank Szollosi.


Anonymous said...

"Fascist Fred" is a farce.

Lisa Renee said...

Fred can talk about me, however somebody else would have to tell me about it since I don't listen...


That said, at the time any of us supported Mitch there was no indication of this case. So to try to blame Frank or any of us is rather silly. It's not like as a part of Mitch's campaign it stated "Hey at some point in the future I might be accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old" and Frank, and I and many of us promoted him as a someone to watch or in my case someone to vote for.

Frank bashing seems to be something that not just Fred does at WSPD. Obviously Frank is the only one who is expected to have some sort of magic 8 ball to tell the future. Too bad that same expected standard isn't fairly applied...One of the many reasons I don't bother to tune in at all during the day anymore and very rarely for some of Bob's shows. Ironically there was a point in time when I enjoyed listening when Fred took over Denny's slot.

McCaskey said...

WSPD, which once upon a time was a terrific source of features, news, music and sports, is now nothing more than a hate-spewing, propaganda outlet for right-wingers and their ilk. I understand, it's all about the ratings, and heavens knows there's plenty of small-minded listeners around these parts that will keep their ratings up. But, it is was it is. I only listen for UT football and basketball.

McCaskey said...

It is WHAT it is...I need a proof-reader...

Subcomandante Bob said...

Speaking of Balonek, Toledo Tales recently sat in on his class.

liberal_dem said...

Apparently you didn't know, Mike, that WSPD Radio is an arm of the RNC.

Frank said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

Yeah, Frank seems to incur the wrath of more than a few local pundits, Lisa.

I am not sure to what this "Frank-anger" should be attributed. He's a friendly guy, seems to be ethical, and has not sponsored any particularly outrageous legislation that would make him such a target.

It may be his relative youthfulness, but Frank now looks as decrepit as me in comparison with the 22-year old they nominated for the vacant seat.

I don't listen to WSPD as much as I used to, McCaskey and liberal dem. I find Brian Wilson a bit dull, and I listen to Fred LeFebvre from 5:30 until I get my lazy arse out of bed (usually 6:30).

As far as an "arm of the RNC," I think it boils down to dollars. For whatever reason, radio seems to be the stronghold of the right at the moment.

The pedulum continues to push to the right in talk radio, and now it seems to be a contest to see who can be the most conservative. Rush Limbaugh looks positively tame next to Hannity and Savage.

Frank said...

(sorry, typo)

Thanks for alerting me to this, HM - I received a gift of XM satellite radio for Christmas. Looking forward to baseball season & The Bob Dylan Show this spring.

Clearly, my analysis of The Blade poll and council race was off at the time - Mitch fell out of the top 12, and several candidates who I did support didnt finish as strongly as I had hoped - including yours truly. Life goes on..

McCaskey said...

I'll never forget the day I realized extreme right-wing talk radio was going to redefine the landscape on political discourse.

It was January of 1993 and it was Bill Clinton's inaugeration after his first election win. The esteemed, all-knowing Rush Limbaugh, his show then in its relative infancy, proclaimed on WSPD that afternoon that this was the first day of "America Held Hostage." A duly elected president, one who had yet to complete one day in office and had at that point no track record as president to agree or disagree with, was holding the American citizenry "hostage." Thirteen years later, it's only gotten more strident and combative. Now, of course, these same types proclaim any critisism of the current president as "un-American, aiding the enemy, hating our country", and other such nonsense.

historymike said...

I heard Limbaugh say this recently:

"The moderates are the enemy."

Not the leftists, the liberals, or his usual bogeymen.


His theory was that they collude too often with those further left, and thus threaten the "real" America.

Gee, Rush - I always believed that achieving some sort of consensus was a good thing, and helped us coexist without killing each other. Little did I know - at least Uncle Rush told me - that getting along with others is bad.

Very bad.

liberal_dem said...

I heard Limbaugh say this recently: "The moderates are the enemy."

Is he still doing drugs?

historymike said...


I think he is off them, although I believe he is still battling to keep his medical records private.

Strangely, he was defending the wiretapping the other day, while acknowledging his own difficulties with privacy.

It was an awkward rhetorical dance for Rush, and he did not sound graceful whilst performing said ballet.

liberal_dem said...

Speaking of right-wing radio jocks...

For the past two days on C-Span's Washington Journal, callers have been commenting on the Alito hearings. Yesterday and again this morning the 'Republican' line callers are bashing Sen. Kennedy saying, 'With the life Kennedy has led, he has no business questioning a decent man like Alito.'

It was as if each caller had a script in front of them, reading word-for-word.

I didn't realize that the listeners to this type of radio were wired directly from the radio speaker to their brain.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Of course Fred was off base in dragging Frank into the Balonek story.

I suspect that the "new gun" in town (Brian) has been coaching him, besides messing with the show's format as recently as Monday.

WSPD is cruising for a bruising, IMO, with the changes Brian has implemented.

And what difference should party affiliation make, regardless of the alleged crime?

OTOH, I thinked I'm getting hooked on the Dave Ramsey Show... :-)