Yesterday the right-wing site The New Ledger published a report about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) “problem” with “patriotic music”. For years, when you would call a congressional office and get put on hold, you’d either hear no music or some patriotic tunes. According to The New Ledger, “the Democratic House leadership” made “a sweeping decision” to replace the patriotic music with smooth jazz.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) even sent a letter to House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Daniel Beard — who, The New Leader points out, “reports to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi” — objecting to the change. But as ThinkProgress reported yesterday, this story is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. We spoke to Beard’s spokesman Jeff Ventura:
The music was changed during recess as a pilot program in an attempt to offer offices a choice of hold music. [...]
This had nothing to do with the leadership — not in the beginning or the final outcome.
Basically, congressional offices have traditionally been able to have a choice of music or no music. The CD that had been in the congressional muzak system for “a long time” was a “patriotic tunes CD.” The CAO’s office wanted to test a program giving people a choice of multiple CDs and decided to try out a jazz CD because it’s “what a lot of companies have when you’re on hold.” However, based on the feedback they received, they simply decided to go back to the old system.
Nevertheless, Fox News decided to pick up the false report and run with it. From Sean Hannity’s show last night:
HANNITY: Now up until now you probably have been enjoying lovely patriotic tunes. Well, that is until Nancy Pelosi had anything to say about it. Under the current Democratic leadership, patriotic music was replaced with smooth jazz elevator music. … Well, let this serve as a lesson to the Democrats — don’t meddle with our patriotic music.
This morning, Fox and Friends discussed the important issue with former boxer George Foreman, who broke out and started singing “America the Beautiful” at the end of the segment. Foreman said that patriotic music was “a necessity” because it’s a “privilege” to call your federal lawmakers and something you can do “only in America.” “You better not have that jazz playing.” Host Steve Doocy noted that the “Democratic leadership” had decided to go back to the original music. “America wins!” he declared. Watch it:
Since when is jazz not American?
HANNITY: And have you ever tried to call your representative? Well, if so, you’ve probably been put on hold. Well, it’s the leadership in Congress who decides what music you will be listening to while you wait.
Now up until now you probably have been enjoying lovely patriotic tunes. Well, that is until Nancy Pelosi had anything to say about it. Under the current Democratic leadership, patriotic music was replaced with smooth jazz elevator music.
Well, Michigan congressman, Fred Upton, well, he was not about to stand for this. He wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer, who reports that Speaker Pelosi, reporting that, quote, “Callers routinely express their delight in listening to a few notes of Americana. We should proudly embrace our nation’s patriotic songs, not callously shun them for elevator music.”
And guess what? In response to several calls from FOX News, a spokesman for the chief administrative officer said today, quote, “The music has been changed during recess, in an amendment to offer offices a choice of hold music, but based on the negative response that we received, it was changed back today.”
Well, let this serve as a lesson to the Democrats — don’t meddle with our patriotic music.
CARLSON: Okay, now let me ask you this, George. When you’re getting ready for a big fight, do you like to listen to smooth jazz? Does that get you going? Or do you like to listen to some good old-fashioned patriotic music?
FOREMAN: Patriotic. It’s a necessity because it’s a privilege to be able to call your congressmen or senators. It’s a privilege, and you better remember, only in America that you can do something like that. You better not have that jazz playing.
MORRIS: Well here’s what happened in Congress. The past three weeks they switched the phone call music — the hold music — so if George Foreman calls me and I’m a congressman — that’s never going to happen! — but if that were to happen, you used to hear this music. (MUSIC) That would get you pumped up. Now, for the past three weeks, you were hearing this, George, if you were to call, this is the music you’d here — this is a little smooth jazz. This is what you’d hear. (MUSIC) George, you’re on hold right now.
DOOCY: Maybe the idea was to put people to sleep.
FOREMAN: I couldn’t dance anyway. Give me some old patriotism music. I don’t need that jazz. (CROSSTALK) I want to hear that the country’s working. There’s nothing like patriotic music. I got in big trouble in 1960, because I picked up a small American flag and waved it. But the point is, we weren’t there to earn money, we were there to represent our country, and that’s what they need to know now. When you call there and you get an answer, get your mind on patriotism.
DOOCY: The key is the House leaders, in their wisdom, decided, “This was a bad idea, so we’re going to start playing the patriotic music again.”
DOOCY: America wins!