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Local AM station bans BEAST after severe panty-bunching incident

Of BANANAs & Bonobos
BEAST scores watery blow against acronym proliferation

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Issue 103:

Paper of Wreckage
NYT reporters caught red-handed reporting.
Allan Uthman

Gay Marriage Threatens Gay Happiness
A Fabulous BEAST Editorial
Ian Murphy

Flag Football
How illegal should it be?
Rich Herschlag

Eternal Sunshine of the Heartless Brain
Fox News launches Santorum's Weapon of Mass Delusion.
Christopher Famighetti

Sinking the Ship
Let's impeach him already.
Stan Goff

Ask Ann Coulter
Completely original advice from the world's foremost dumbass.

Starving for Attention
Exclusive celebrity fasting diary excerpts.

Authorities reveal failed plot to kill everyone
in New York City with motherfucking behemoth
laser-guided remote controlled killer bees

What Would Tom Bosley Do?
You may regret asking.
N. Sorrenti

Man Makes Clever Joke about France Surrendering World Cup
Josh Righter

Page 3 Falsified Death

Kino Korner: Movies
Supterman, Pirates of the Carribean, Click, Devil Wears Prada.

Music review: Knife Crazy
Jacob Drun

Your cosmic fortune in insult form.

[sic] - Letters
Coulter-bashing, progeny tallies, the Bauerle conspiracy, & vacationing down under.

Feeding the ultimate troll.
Al Uthman

Belafonte can't shake tally-man past.
Christopher Famighetti

A Small Rabbit out of a Big Hat
Pentagon media moguls cancel Zarqawi.
Stan Goff

Al Qaeda Idol
Vote for the next #2!

The BEAST Conservative Q&A
Answering questions that plague Republicans.

Five Questions...
for WGRZ anchor Ron Plants!

Coping with Road Rage
What can you do?
Scott Borchert

Hammer Hits Hollywood
The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress
Movie Review by Matt Cale

Stormtrooping for Dollars
Blog by boys in blue bodes badly for Buffalo

Power Tool
Brian Higgins, the enemy within


Local AM station bans BEAST after severe panty-bunching incident
by Allan Uthman

Chalk up WHLD, the homegrown liberal talk station and Air America Radio affiliate at 1270 AM, as yet another left wing Buffalo media outlet which has determined The BEAST to be unfit for public consumption.

The story goes like this: we were at the “Peace has no Borders” event at Kleinhan’s Music Hall, whose only saving grace was a bar in the lobby. I was on my second Cuba Libre already and the thing hadn’t even started yet. I was standing in the back of the auditorium watching people file in when my BEAST cohorts Ian Murphy and Nick Sorrenti ran up, visibly excited. They had an idea. They were going to accost channel 2 anchor Ron Plants and ask him a rapid burst of five comically arbitrary questions, bolting a quickly as they came. Nick ran the questions he had written down by me while Murphy ran to the front row and nabbed BEAST photographer Lukia Costello.

The questions were suitably ridiculous: “Are you Ron Plants? What do you like best about being Ron Plants? If you weren’t Ron Plants, who would you be? Have you ever killed a man?”

“I need one more,” Sorrenti said. “What do you think?”

I smiled. “Sounds funny. Who’s Ron Plants?”

But they were already off. I watched as they buzzed Plants, snapping pictures and generally abusing the unprepared local newsman’s innocence. It looked funny to me.

As Ian later told me, Plants had asked, pre-interview, what media outlet he was with. On the spot, knowing better than to answer truthfully, he had fibbed that he worked for WHLD, even producing a WHLD bumper sticker he had been handed in the lobby as his credentials (never mind that Nick was writing Plants’ responses down in a notepad, or that Lukia was taking pictures; the sticker, identical to scores of others being doled out for free not a hundred feet away, was enough for Plants to believe they were radio correspondents). Upon gathering himself after the bizarre interview, Plants found Murphy and demanded to be told “what context” the interview would be placed in, and Ian told him the truth: he had been the victim of a BEAST hit-and-run.

Plants was not amused. He scolded Murphy about journalistic ethics and misrepresentation. He kept shouting “You can quote me on that!” Murphy wasn’t exactly apologetic. Incensed, Plants sought out a valid WHLD employee and exposed our subterfuge to him. His name was Jerome.

We met Jerome later that evening, smoking cigarettes outside after fleeing an objectionably trite folk singer’s performance. Jerome told us he had been informed of the Plants incident, and gravely intoned that he would have to tell his boss about it: “So, just so you know, Brian Brown Cashdollar’s going to hear about this.”

We just looked at each other and shrugged. “Okay,” I said, unsure what reaction he expected. My comrades just laughed. At some point in the conversation, Jerome said something we’ve heard a few times before—that while he thought we were funny, we couldn’t engage in such silliness if we wanted to project “journalistic credibility.” Murphy spoke for us all: “Why would we want that?”

After that, Jerome was nice enough, and even shared a news tip with us that his organization found too sordid to pursue. The rest of the interminable event, a full-on nostalgia fest for the Vietnam era, transpired without incident, save for the menacing glances and alarming proximity of Artvoice columnist and WHLD associate Michael Niman, whose private e-mail we had printed and sarcastically "debunked" only a couple of days before.

We printed the Plants piece in our next issue, everyone had a good chuckle, and that was that. I didn’t give it another thought. I had met Cashdollar once or twice before, and he seemed like an all right guy; there was nothing in his demeanor that indicated he would be so uptight as to get really upset about so trivial a transgression.

Or so I thought. The night before the event at Kleinhan’s, I had received an invitation to be on a local WHLD show called “The Real Deal.” Despite dreading the challenge of being awake and conversational at 9am on a Saturday, I accepted the request, and eventually confirmed the date of July 22nd. But on July 10th, I received a sheepish cancellation from “Real Deal” producer Katie Burd:

Due to some allegations that The Beast was partaking in some unfair practices at the Peace Has No Borders event in passing themselves off as WHLD staff??  I was asked by the station that you not appear on the station unless some explanation was offered and some peace making efforts were made on the part of the Beast.

Explanation? What explanation? Jerome had the whole story—Murphy briefly lied to Plants to get him on the record, and then fully exposed himself as a liar. How this in any way damaged WHLD’s credibility is beyond my ability too ascertain. Peacemaking? What did that mean? Should I offer the station some wampum?

Just like Plants, WHLD head Brian Brown Cashdollar was not amused, and he said as much in a soon-to-follow e-mail, including the text of his message to the “Real Deal” crew:

Here's the thing with the Beast. They were passing themselves off as NewsTalk 1270 staffers at the Peace has no borders event on the 16. That's the problem. Unless they're willing to explain that to me, I would have a problem with their being on station.

He added that he personally “liked” The BEAST, but if he was familiar with our work I couldn’t see how our sneaky ruse required any explanation. Cashdollar invited me to call him and “explain.” I sent him an e-mail. I referred him to the Plants piece, and told him of how the WHLD cover story was a spontaneous utterance in the heat of the moment. I didn’t apologize, because I wasn’t sorry—the Plants bit was funny, and that’s all that mattered.

Cashdollar was combative: “You may want to call it prank [sic] and it may have been harmless in the end, but no phone call or email letting me know, I get to hear it from other people.”

Was this guy for real? “No phone call or e-mail letting me know?” I tried to imagine the hypothetical call Cashdollar yearned for retroactively: “Hi, Brian, this is Al Uthman. I just wanted to tell you that we made fun of this guy, and during the course of making fun of him, one of us said we were from your radio station. Then he told him we weren’t. Just thought you should know. Ta-ta!”

Cashdollar was particularly miffed that I had chosen to e-mail him, rather than call as he had suggested. Whatever. There was nothing I could have added via phone to my “explanation,” which boiled down to something like: “It was a joke. Get over yourself.”

So that’s it: we’re banned from WHLD. Shit like this makes me wish I was a Republican.

No matter. It seems “Newstalk 1270” is not long for this world. Niagara Independent Media, the local investors group that operates WHLD (Cashdollar is president and Michael Niman is VP) is taking in less than half as much money as it’s spending, and the latest Arbitron survey lists WHLD’s market share as an asterisk, because it is too miniscule to be counted. Part of WHLD’s cash flow problem can be attributed to their building a new studio for the station. Another big money-drain is the Teamsters-approved contract, including a “tremendous” benefits package, which NIM happily submitted to. Putting their limited money where their socialist mouths are was ideologically admirable, but business suicide.

I have to admit, I hardly ever listened to WHLD. I endorsed the idea of a left wing response to all of the blowhard retards out there looking for a piece of the dittohead market, but in practice I couldn’t stand listening to Air America. Although I agree with Al Franken and Randi Rhodes more often than Limbaugh or O’Reilly, I’d really rather hear a reasonably neutral delivery of facts than have my own opinions shouted at me. I’d like to think that this is why liberal talk radio suffers such a meager market share: we just don’t need the constant repetition and reassurance that conservatives thrive on. We’d rather learn something new than live in an echo chamber. Maybe, maybe not. All I know is I’d rather listen to cricket scores on BBC’s world service than hear, yet again, about what a jerk Bush is.

At any rate, after five months of the new format, WHLD is running on empty. It’s too bad, really-we offered to help them with the funny from the start, but instead their morning crew resorts to excruciatingly awful readings of items from the Onion. We just don’t take things seriously enough for the likes of Cashdollar.

There’s a dangerous tendency for politically committed people to lose their sense of humor. This is a crappy way to live your life, but taking yourself too seriously has negative political repercussions as well. Nobody likes a killjoy, and people are likely to associate whatever ideology you’re pimping with your own pomposity. In fact, this largely explains the left wing’s current image problem. Bragging about how little gas your car burns or how infrequently you watch television does not endear you to anyone. Instead of focusing on the big picture, lefties are constantly engaged in a game of self-righteous backbiting, always castigating those one perceived moral increment behind them.

But if liberal politics are ever going to gain the upper hand anywhere, they have to work for the majority of people, who rarely read anything longer than a record review in People magazine and are never going to stop laughing at gay jokes, no matter how sternly you stare at them. If all that those people hear from liberals is humorless scoldings, they’re not likely to join the gang, let alone be entertained.

And if Brian Brown Cashdollar is too uptight to laugh at a joke that wasn’t even at his expense, what the hell is he doing in talk radio?


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