On Wednesday, radio industry magazine Radio & Records Inc. withdrew its 2008 Lifetime Industry Achievement Award to controversial right-wing radio host Bob Grant. In a statement, R&R; said that it did not want the award “to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community.”
Grant is one of the godfathers of incendiary right-wing talk radio and has been an inspiration for figures such as Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Glenn Beck often uses one of Grant’s catchphrases — “Get off my phone!” — as a tribute.
In 1996, Grant was fired for his on-air comments wishing the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. But that remark was only the tip of his offensive, racist speech during his 60 years in broadcasting. A sampling:
Stating that he had been praying for the death of basketball star Magic Johnson, Grant implored, “Why is it taking so long for the HIV to go into full-blown AIDS?” [10/1/92]
“Minorities are the Big Apple’s majority, you don’t need the papers to tell you that, walk around and you know it. To me, that’s a bad thing. I’m a white person.” [Newsday, 6/2/92]
Referring to black churchgoers, Grant said, “I can’t take these screaming savages, whether they’re in that A.M.E. Church, the African Methodist church, or in the street, burning, robbing, looting.” [4/30/93]
Grant onced claimed that the United States has “millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya — people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized.” [1/6/92]
“I’d like to get every environmentalist, put them up against a wall and shoot them.” [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Grant said that he hoped that President Clinton would “exchange bodily fluids” with an HIV-positive immigrant. [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Grant referred to former New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, an African-American man, as a “washroom attendant.” [New York Times, 4/18/96]
Ironically, Grant praised the firing of Don Imus, calling his comments “idiotic and hate filled things.” He still claimed, however, that Imus’s remarks weren’t as bad as what some “hip-hop guys” say, and worried about how “racial hucksters like Jackson and Sharpton” would be emboldened after the incident. Sharpton will be speaking at the R&R; conference, which the right wing has blasted as hypocritical.
Radio Equalizer is indignant over the silence of many non-radio right-wing bloggers. “Conservative bloggers sit out controversy,” notes the site. “Why?” Perhaps even they find it difficult to justify Grant’s history of racist, homophobic rhetoric.