« Walt Gets A Dance | Main | It's Not About Me »


Coward of the Keyboard

Much of the teapartying is being headed up by the host who follows Zeb, Steve Mitton.

You can check out the sites at these links:


I find it quite funny that Mitton's petition boldly states that all men are created equal, noting the oft said regardless of race, religion, etc. line. Hmm...but please no Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, or any other non-Christian. They state one thing and mean another.

Coward of the Keyboard

And did you notice the gun icon at the opening?


Go over and read Orcinus today - Dave Neiwert's following.

There was something else, but I forgot. I'm at work. Oh! The constitution party - I checked the national under Idaho (other way around) the chairman for Idaho is a black guy, Paul Venable!? Over in Parma or somewhere.

Gotta go.

Good job - MG.


Thanks for the info and links on Steve Mitton's role in promoting the tea party. I haven't looked at Mitton's website in a while and missed it in all my searching for Idaho's tea party connections last night. Shoulda connected it though...

And yes, couldn't miss the gun... Really, what's all this nonsense about progressives wanting to take away everybody's guns? I happen to be one that enjoys firing a weapon every now and then (and quite well I might add) but I think it's ridiculous that anyone would want or need something like a 50 cal. handy. I mean, you could use the same arguments to insist that everyone should be entitled to own their own tank.

As we've seen with recent events, in the wrong hands (even of normally law-abiding citizens), guns can be very dangerous and there ought to be measures for minimizing the chances of that happening, especially to the most vulnerable among us.

That doesn't mean living in constant fear that someone is coming to take away your guns and anyone who would suggest such a thing is just trying to frighten you (or make money off you). Let's be rational and reasonable about it, not act like paranoid weirdos being chased by black helicopters and stockpiling ammo. Okay, off my gun soapbox.

Thanks for the heads up on the sites, Wordsmith. There's also another Neiwert piece (same theme but shorter) mentioned at The Political Game today in her rundown of Monday craziness.

Your fine militia post ties in nicely to this post too:


Ridenbaugh Press has an interesting bit on the tea party from a Northwest view, including info and links that point out that this "grassroots movement" is, gasp, nothing of the sort.



I think guns are absolutely worthless and I don't understand why anyone would just want one to fire on occasion, but I've read the Constitution, something I don't think many of the black helicopter crowd have or they wouldn't be so damn scared about somebody taking away their guns.


I'm confused by the James Wright quote. Why did he single out "the left" when he said "If somebody on the left wants to call that hate speech or whatever, they can." And what kind of language does he think "the left calls" hate speech?

Aw, heck. I'm disappointed in Mr. Wright. I've been impressed with some of the reporting and editorials published by the Times-News. Perhaps he knows exactly what Zeb's rep is, and was just doing a little pandering.


yeah, that "left" bit was especially irritating because it isn't like hate speech is a partisan issue. he also said in the interview that it wasn't the paper that called zeb a racist, it was the democrats; that the paper was simply reporting what the democrats were saying, which i found extremely frustrating.

there were times in the interview where he did stand his ground with zeb but usually when he was defending the editorial board, his reporters and the paper in general. he also told zeb he was wrong about the media being liberally biased. i've got a clip of some of the audio that i may post at some point.

and yeah, tpg, i knew you'd disagree with me on guns, but at least we agree on the idiocy of the black helicopter crowd and their paranoia. ;-)

James G. Wright, Editor, the Times-News

Callisto: You're confused by the quote because it is presented here without context. It was a response to a question from Bell, who asked why "the liberal left" dismisses everything he says as hate speech. I told him he was making himself out to be the victim (playing to the crowd for sympathy) and that I take heat from the left AND the right because the Times-News is an independent newspaper that takes strong stands on issues.

The reference to Democrats calling Bell a racist was simply an effort to set Bell straight. He asked what prompted the Times-News to call him a racist. I pointed out that the paper had not done so - we simply covered it when others did last June. Bell sometimes fails to differentiate between the editorial voice of the newspaper and comments made by others reported in news articles.

James G. Wright, Editor, the Times-News

Here is the article in question.

Alleged radio remark irks Democrats
Bell says accusations are baseless, harmful
By Cassidy Friedman
Staff writer
A local family-owned radio network has lost advertising since Monday when a morning show personality on its AM station was charged by state Democrats with racially slurring Barack Obama.

Zeb Bell, 60, a conservative talk show host who has leased air time on Rupert-based KBAR AM for eight years, denies he made any racial remarks targeted at the presumptive Democratic nominee. But he admits his guest and friend Frosty Wooldridge did.

Thomas Garcia, an Obama supporter, circulated an e-mail alleging that Bell called Obama the "black Negroid Barack Hussein Obama" on his Monday morning show. More than a dozen irate Magic Valley residents, who had read the e-mail but had not heard the show, complained to Bell, he said. Three long-time advertisers have threatened to cancel their spots unless the station removes Bell from the air, station owner Kim Lee, of Lee Family Broadcasting, said.

Lee Family Broadcasting is not affiliated with Lee Enterprises, the parent company of the Times-News and South Idaho Press.

Bell said the accusations against him are baseless and harmful.

"This is killing me," Bell said. "I am getting hate mail from people who don't even know me or listen to me."

In the first hour of Bell's Wednesday morning show he vowed to maintain his political attack on Obama, however, he told the station's owner he would apologize on air for statements made by his guest, most likely at 10 a.m., Tuesday when Bob Powers, an active member of the Democratic Central Committee in Twin Falls County, will appear on Bell's show.

After hearing parts of the Monday show, Powers said Wooldridge called Obama's mother "trailer trash" with a fixation on black men. Wooldridge also said Obama was raised a Muslim for 10 years and was indoctrinated in Islam - a statement "which has been proven false," Powers said.

"Zeb agreed with him," said Powers, who calls himself a longtime friend of Bell's. "He went along with what Frosty was saying."

Even if Bell did make the statement attributed to him, there are few options for the Democratic Party to challenge him, said Chuck Oxley, the party's state director of communications. With Bell leasing from the radio station and the words falling short of violating Federal Communications Commission rules, Oxley encouraged advertisers to pull sponsorships of the family's radio network.

"It sounds like if it's not something he said exactly, it's something close to what he said," Oxley said. "We certainly get the gist of what he's trying to say."

Both Bell and Lee say there is no audio recording of the show, which Bell admits included unchecked racist statements by his guest. Lee said there usually is a broadcast recording, but a technical difficulty forced them to halt recordings.

"I am a great believer that people ought to be able to express even outrageous opinions," Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark said Tuesday. "But those slurs have no place in public discourse."

Roark and Oxley both said they had not directly heard the statement.

Bell said he is accustomed to facing accusations that he advocates racist views, in particular because of his tough rhetoric on illegal immigration. But this is the first time he's been openly accused of using a racial slur, he said.

The negative publicity revealed to Bell the existence of an online campaign against him that pre-dates this incident.

A Web site, with a domain name registered to Rudy Castro of Heyburn, appears as a vehicle for counter-attacks against Bell. The Web page contains statements attributed to Bell, personal and aggressive comments about him and a photo of a person wearing Ku Klux Klan garb at a 1994 rally in Jerome, which the Web site says, "we believe" is Bell.

Bell said it is not.

After consulting with Bell this week, Minidoka County Sheriff Kevin Halverson called the Web site "inflammatory" and a "smear campaign," but he has not opened an investigation.

Castro has previously been outspoken against the Republican Party in letters to editor of the Times-News. Halverson said he does not know what history the men share.

Castro did not return phone calls to his home and work Wednesday.

Since throngs of e-mails and phone calls attacking Bell started this week, the station owner told him he has been losing sponsors, Bell said. Bell said he believes the Web site is the second prong of an attempt to sabotage him by the same liberals.

Bell said he has used the word "Negro" - he borrows the term from the United Negro College Fund - but never "Negroid." He said he referred to Obama's color only when mentioning that he is "the first black nominee for president in this country." And he said including "Hussein" - Barack Obama's middle name - is equal to inserting anyone's middle name in a reference.

"It's not a race issue," Bell said. "The liberals feel they got their toes stepped on. It has nothing to do with his color. I don't like the man."

Oxley said whether Bell is preaching racism or hatred, it's the wrong message.

"We think those advertisers should know that he has made this clearly racist statement and should think about pulling their advertisement," Oxley said. "It sounds to me like the best way to deal with these folks is to ignore them. I don't think that people like this who spew this sort of hatred get much audience aside from people who are also filled with hate."

Cassidy Friedman can be reached at 208-735-3241 or cfriedman@magicvalley.com.

Coward of the Keyboard

By the way, there are many of us who heard that broadcast in question, and there IS NO DOUBT about the content. I was shocked and disgusted, as I still am.

Coward of the Keyboard

As for teabagging, check this video out from Lee Camp:

Coward of the Keyboard

Here's the URL:


The Times-News is an independent paper...Ha! Since when? The last time I remember the paper being even remotely middle-of-the-road was the late 80s, early 90s when I actually started reading it. Independent. Funny.


James, even with the added context (the audio of which I'll be happy to post at some point) your comment to Bell reinforced his world view that he's under attack from people who don't like his moral stands on issues which is simply not the case. Context adds a little color but doesn't diminish that fact.

When asked why the paper called him a racist, you did set Bell straight about it being Democrats that called him racist. Absolutely... the paper *never* said he was a racist, which has been a frustrating point since the issue first surfaced last June. In the article you cite (and for future reference, a link to the article is sufficient) Bell himself admits that what Frosty (his guest) said was racist. Bell admits to using "Negro" which *is* an offensive term... that's not "alleged" that's a fact. The fact that you highlighted that the "allegations" were being made by Democrats turned it into a partisan issue. One of the most outspoken voices against Bell's hatred and racism has been Gary Eller (who writes the "In the Middle" blog for your paper) a Republican. Racism is not a Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal issue but the paper sure fed into Bell's deluded view that it is.


{"It's not a race issue," Bell said. "The liberals feel they got their toes stepped on. It has nothing to do with his color. I don't like the man."}

Ohhhh - trust me.....it has EVERYTHING to do "with his color."

James Wright

Please do post the audio. I beg to differ with your interpretation - which goes way beyond anything I actually said.

In any event, my intent was to respond to Bell's question by pointing out that he cries crocodile tears in trying to claim moral high ground as a victim when in fact he's a combatant who should expect to take as well as give. I checked with some co-workers who listened to the show and they heard it the way I intended.

Saying the T-N made the uproar over Bell's remarks a partisan issue is revisionist history. Chuck Oxley, the state Democratic Party spokesman, was out front in calling on advertisers to pull their ads from Bell's show - in press releases on state party letterhead. It's disingenuous to ignore this.

If you want to write a guest commentary taking the T-N to task for failing to call Bell a racist in an editorial, we'd run it. Or if you would like to meet with our editorial board to make your case that we should do so in an editorial, I'd be happy to arrange it. My number is 208-735-3255.

Michael Blankenship

Paul Krugman's essay - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/opinion/13krugman.html - also points out the fallacies of this non-movement.


TPG, you used the terms “independent” and “middle-of-the-road” to describe the Times News. I’m not sure what you mean by independent, and I know I’m wading into dangerous waters because you’re locally grown whereas I’m a relative newcomer, but the publisher and editor of the Times-News from 1990 to 2004 was Stephen Hartgen, the District 23 representative who recently ignited the Idaho blogosphere with his proposal to eliminate anonymous online commentary and bloggers.

According to a December 2008 interview published in the Boise Weekly (http://tinyurl.com/cs7dn2) “Hartgen said in his days at the Times-News, the paper was more conservative on education, oriented to accountability and merit pay.” And based on comments made by numerous bloggers who admitted having worked as reporters at the Times-News when Mr. Hartgen was its editor (including Kevin Richert of the Statesman), it’s hard to imagine that the editorial stance of the paper was anything other than socially and fiscally conservative.

I stand by my original comment regarding the reporting and editorial commentary of the Times-News. It’s been one of the few papers in the state to challenge the march toward privatization of public education in Idaho by investigating and reporting on the financial and social costs of the charter school movement. Its reporting on water resources and agricultural issues unique to the Magic Valley is excellent, and its editorial criticism of state politics is refreshingly straight-forward (read today’s editorial on frivolous legislation at http://tinyurl.com/da8b83).

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Wright joined the conversation here. I trust that MG found something to be concerned about in the conversation between Zeb and Mr. Wright, but I also understand Mr. Wright’s concerns that his comments were taken out of context.


James, I appreciate your coming here and trying to clarify what you meant, and we can argue over whether or not more context would have provided clarification, but I can think of *no* context in which it would have been okay to say that "hate speech is *just* speech." Minimizing the consequences of hate speech just reinforced Zeb's view.

It is completely protected speech--I wouldn't have it any other way--but hate speech is dangerous. It's the first step on the scale (Alport's) measuring the level of prejudice in a community. It infects that community with an acceptance and tolerance of bigotry and other, even physical, acts of hatred. Zeb Bell doesn't understand how damaging it is, his supporters don't understand how damaging it is and if the guy running the only newspaper in the valley doesn't understand how damaging it is, your community (the community I grew up in) is in more trouble than I ever realized.

No one has suggested that Democrats weren't the ones "out in front" on the issue of Bell's remarks in June. In fact good on *someone* for doing so. My point was simply that your paper could have done more than just report that Democrats were making "allegations." For instance, do you know that Bell's guest that day, Frosty Wooldridge, has written articles for the website of David Duke? And that there is other evidence of the bigoted views held by Frosty who is a weekly guest on the show and who Zeb calls "his dear, dear friend?" Bell even complained in the segment with you that no one had contacted him to get his views on race. The paper could have put more focus on the issue of racism and bigotry that permeates that entire community.


Also Callisto, in TPG's defense (not that she isn't quite capable of doing so herself) during my time in the area, my folks took both the SIP and the Times-News and while I can't think of any specific examples from the time to cite, I remember the Times-News as being pretty middle-of-the-road, much more than the SIP. In fact my mother often considered canceling the T-N because she considered it "too liberal," except that it covered national news in more depth at the time.


MG, my comment to TPG was not meant as an attack, so please don't think there's a need for either of you to mount a defense.

I'm just sharing what I've read about the Times-News and its editor during the time period mentioned, and it seems unlikely to me that the paper could have been less conservative in its editorial views than it is now, which was all I intended to convey. The perception that the T-N was liberal-leaning when Mr. Hartgen was its editor is valid, it's just surprising to me based on what I've read elsewhere.

James G. Wright

MG: You said "I can think of *no* context in which it would have been okay to say that "hate speech is *just* speech." Minimizing the consequences of hate speech just reinforced Zeb's view."

Perhaps I wasn't making myself clear that day, or you are chosing to warp my words to fit your needs. I NEVER said "hate speech" is just speech. I was talking about Bell's wanting to portray himself as the victim of you big bad liberals who say mean things about him. My point remains this: As long as you're not shooting at him, your criticisms of him are just talk and he is no victim.

Please: post the audio, if you have it. And I'm still waiting for your call.


I've built a pretty solid reputation around here as a blogger who is credible and fair, even among journalists in this area. For you to suggest that I would *intentionally* misconstrue your words that day is insulting. For you to also, knowing that I'm blogging anonymously, "offer" to meet with your editorial board or to discuss by phone the paper's failure to adequately cover issues of racism in the Magic Valley is also insulting. Does it really take an independent weekly (Boise Weekly) to do the reporting that your paper should have been doing for years?

You know what I find hilarious, though? That what you're accusing me of doing is exactly what I've heard others who find themselves in the spotlight accuse journalists of doing--taking quotes out of context, misconstruing intent. I've even heard some say that about your paper. The fact remains that you said what you said:

"If somebody on the left wants to call that hate speech or whatever, they can. I mean, it's just speech."

And you've been able to state your case for what you intended by that.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Quotes For 2010

  • "The main thing is to keep everybody going down that road as we try to find the answers and solutions to all these problems. It'll be fun! We'll get it done." — Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R-Star) when asked in an Idaho Reports broadcast how the State House will handle making tough budget decisions this year, 1.29.10.

Quotes For 2009

  • "[Some politicians] wouldn't recognize the Constitution if it fell in their laps and called them Daddy." — Rep. Lenore Hardy Barrett (R-Challis) at a tea party tax protest.
  • "Just, you know, putting beans on the table." — former Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) when asked by Nate Shelman (670 KBOI) what he's doing these days.
  • "I said yesterday we hope and pray things will get better before they get worse. It's obvious to me some of you need to do a better job of praying." — Sen. Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee co-chair on the grim economic forecast facing the committee.
  • “We’ve been called a lot of things but we’ve never been called sneaks before.” — Rep. Maxine Bell (R-Jerome) in a budget dispute with the governor's staff over legislators' computer funding.
  • "I’m not wearing rose-tinted glasses. But I am a glass-half-full kind of guy." — Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter attempting to remain optimistic while delivering tough economic news in his State of the State/Budget message.

Quotes For 2008

  • "I am not ashamed that we use a lot of energy in this country. It has made us the most prosperous Nation on the face of the planet. ... Using energy makes us prosperous." — Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) during debate on an energy bill that, among other things, invested in alternative and renewable energy sources and repealed tax subsidies for large oil companies. (H.R.6899)
  • "If [Oversight Committee Chairman] Henry Waxman was interested in doing more than just showboat, we'd be there in a heartbeat. It's political grandstanding." — spokesman Wayne Hoffman explaining why Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) was absent from congressional oversight hearings into the financial crisis where, among other things, it was learned that AIG executives indulged in a lavish retreat a week after the bailout.
  • "You know what, campaigns are fast and furious, I accept responsibility that we don't have the right citation there, but the facts I stand by - we are correct about that." — Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) reacting to a campaign commercial fact-checking report.
  • "There are people out there without health care, and we need to address that, but it's not as big of a problem as some people would make it out to be" — Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) in a Lewiston, ID debate
  • "People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power." — President Bill Clinton in a speech at the 2008 DNC
  • "To my supporters, to my champions, to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits, from the bottom of my heart, thank you." — Senator Hillary Clinton in a speech at the 2008 DNC
  • "The America that we know, that the founding fathers envisioned, will cease to exist." — Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID-01) speaking at the state GOP convention about the possibility of a Democratically controlled White House and Congress.
  • "Sometimes the problems have to get larger before you can solve them. We can still drive around the potholes, so they must not be big enough." — House Speaker Lawerence Denney (R-Midvale), explaining that lawmakers still need to be convinced about the extent of road maintenance problems before they'll agree to tax or fee increases.
  • "Those people that believe in shooting animals through the fences . . . ought to turn the rifle the other way." — Former Governor Cecil Andrus, at sportsmen's rally, decked out in full camouflage, urging opposition to "shooter bull" operations on domestic elk farms.
  • "GARVEE is like swallowing a raw egg - it seems to be one of those things that's really hard to stop in the middle of." — Rep. Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian), in comments on a package of transportation bills introduced by House GOP leaders at an emergency committee meeting.
  • "I'm a professional dairyman. I have milked and milked everything I can possibly milk." — State Police Maj. Ralph Powell, arguing that the state crime lab's bare-bones operation has reached its limit and now costs the state money as testing is sent to private labs.
  • "Idaho is ranked last in the nation in protecting the safety of children in day care centers." — Sen. Kate Kelly (D-Boise), in support of an unsuccessful move by Senate Democrats to force a daycare standards bill out of committee.
  • "This [anti-discrimination bill] is something we will propose every year until it passes." — Rep. Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise), responding to the latest BSU Public Policy survey in which 63 percent of Idahoans think it ought to be illegal to fire someone for being gay or seeming to be gay.
  • "I assumed it would be a bunch of radical college students, so to fit the part, I grew a goatee, got a revolutionary T-shirt and put on some ratty jeans." — Rep. Curtis Bowers (R-Caldwell) in an Idaho Press-Tribune opinion explaining how he disguised himself to uncover alleged communist plots.

Quotes For 2007

  • "Divorce is just terrible. It's one of Satan's best tools to kill America." — Rep. Dick Harwood (R-St. Maries) describing the work of the Idaho Legislature's Family Task Force.
  • "I am not gay; I never have been gay." Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) in a statement responding to news of his arrest and subsequent guilty plea to disorderly conduct after an incident in an airport men's room.
  • “Most of the hospitals in this country have Christian names. If you think Hindu prayer is great, where are the Hindu hospitals in this country? Go down the list. Where are the atheist hospitals in this country? They’re not equal.” — Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID-01) to the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board in response to criticism of his views regarding Hindu prayer in the Senate.
  • "We are all Nintendo warriors today. Remember that game, that electronic game, a few years ago, push buttons zim, zam, boom and it was all over with? That is not the way you fight war, although we as a society have grown to believe that." — Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) during debate on an amendment to a bill providing for defense authorization.
  • "While we are Democrats and Republicans, in our hearts we are all Idahoans." — Sen. Clint Stennett (D-Ketchum), reaching out to Republicans while outlining the Democratic agenda for the 2007 legislative session.
  • "One of the hardest things we've had to do here is taking off our party hats." — Rep. Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian) on a proposal to restrict Idaho's primary elections.
  • "This is outrageous. The people of Idaho are entitled to have their representatives base their votes on the merits of a bill, not on who backed the loser in a speaker's contest." — Former GOP Gov. Phil Batt responding to accusations of political retribution taken by House Speaker Denney (R-Midvale) on other members.
  • “There was one of those six projects that was removed altogether. Why? Because the senator and the representatives from that district were from the wrong political party. We need to take a step back" — Sen. Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) to the Senate when debating the GARVEE bill.
  • "I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself." — Gov. Butch Otter, speaking to a hunters' rally at the Statehouse.
  • "To get a kick out of smoking industrial hemp, it would take a cigar the size of a telephone pole." — Rep. Tom Trail (R-Moscow), downplaying the relation between hemp and its cousin marijuana
  • "I guess I would just make a plea saying we need the money. You know we need the money on roads." — Rep. JoAn Wood (R-Rigby), on proposed bill to collect gas tax from sales on Indian reservations.
  • "No one wants to carry the canoe bill." — Rep. Eric Anderson (R-Priest River), agreeing with Gov. Otter that non-motorized boats should also pay registration fees, but noting any such proposal will be a tough sell.
  • "I don't think we should let the threat of a lawsuit force us to implement something that's not well thought out." — Abbie Mace, Fremont County Clerk, testifying against a "modified-closed primary" bill being pushed by GOP leaders.
  • "There's a lot of things that I pointed out in my State of the State (address) that haven't passed. Unfortunately, I can't think of one that has." — Gov. Butch Otter, addressing reporters on the legislative session so far.
  • "I say let's have a hearing and take our clothes off and go after it." — Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, trying to get lawmakers to print his bill.
Blog powered by Typepad