Let me make one thing clear: I don’t like Michael Savage. I’ve heard his show a few times, and he’s a huge turnoff to me. He’s egotistical, vain, self-centered, and a huge asshole. He regularly slams other conservatives as “phony conservatives,” then whines when they don’t rally to his defense. He’s a bomb-thrower, and not even an attractive and entertaining one like Ann Coulter. I find his show unlistenable.
That being said, I find myself falling back on one of my old standards: “he pisses off the right people.”
Savage is the current target of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in at least a couple of terrorist trials. CAIR is the go-to group when you need someone to piss and moan about “anti-Islamic” hate crimes in the US or to justify acts of terrorism or sue people who point out that a very high (and statistically impossible to call random) percentage of terrorist actions are committed by people shouting out “Allahu Ackbar!” or to, in general, blame America and non-Muslim Americans for all the troubles in the world.
Well, they thought it would be a good idea to post clips of Savage’s show on their site to show everyone how just awful he is, and try to raise money to shut him up.
Savage has a host of legal remedies available to him. He could sue them for organizing the boycotts of his sponsors. he could try to get them for suppressing his free speech. But those are all fraught with legal risk — he’d be putting his First Amendment rights against theirs.
Instead, he’s going for straight financial damages — over copyright.
Savage’s suit says that CAIR has taken significant material from his show — all copyrighted — and used more than is permissible under “fair use” for financial benefit.
What a lot of people suspect (and I concur) is that Savage isn’t after the money here. Nor is he trying to get CAIR to leave him alone. Instead, he’s going after the one thing CAIR has fought and evaded and resisted at every step: legal discovery, and a good look at their books.
CAIR’s been involved in several lawsuits, and a couple of times they’ve dropped their suits when the defendants started nosing around their books. (Naturally, they’ve claimed “moral victory” and “exoneration” each time they’ve backed down.) But this time they’re the defendants — they don’t have the choice of dropping the suit, that’s Savage’s privilege.
I don’t intend to start listening to Savage, nor will I contribute to his legal fund (I have enough money troubles of my own, thank-you-very-much), but I will be watching this case with glee.
There’s never been any really solid, conclusive proof that CAIR has supported terrorism, but there’s been a ton of smoke. Savage just be the guy to find the fire.