GLAAD launches protest as MSNBC signs Savage

NEW YORK: GLAAD has begun a campaign in protest of MSNBC's decision to hire Michael Savage, the San Francisco radio broadcaster famous for making discriminatory remarks against minority groups, to host a weekly TV talk show.

NEW YORK: GLAAD has begun a campaign in protest of MSNBC's decision to hire Michael Savage, the San Francisco radio broadcaster famous for making discriminatory remarks against minority groups, to host a weekly TV talk show.

The effort, also backed by the National Organization for Women and the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting group, urged people to pen letters asking the network to reconsider its decision to put Savage on the air.

By clicking on a "Take Action" link set up on GLAAD's website, letters were automatically sent to the presidents of MSNBC and NBC News, Erik Sorenson and Neil Shapiro, respectively. By the middle of last week, over 2,000 letters had gone through.

GLAAD drew people to the issue and its site through a "multipronged approach to media outreach," said Cathy Renna, news media director for the organization.

She noted media critics as targets, in addition to gay and lesbian and other minority-group outlets.

Trade titles were also contacted "because we want people to understand that this is part of a larger story about the direction cable news is going," explained Renna. In the same week of the Savage hire, MSNBC cancelled another talk show hosted by Phil Donahue, who is widely known for his liberal views. There has been speculation among media critics that MSNBC is becoming increasingly conservative in its programming.

As PRWeek went to press, Joan Garry, executive director of GLAAD, and Renna were set to enter a face-to-face meeting with MSNBC and NBC News executives to make a final case for why Savage's show should be pulled.

Renna asserted, "If the network wants to win back its integrity and credibility, the only choice it has is to call the show off. Anything else would just be a bad PR decision."

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