This column was originally published March 31, 2010
This week I had the distinct displeasure of speaking with Glenn Miller, the race-baiting, anti-Semitic bigot running a write-in campaign to replace U.S. Sen. Kit Bond.And while we agreed on almost nothing, Miller was correct about one thing: Radio stations are doing him a favor by running disclaimers before and after his hate-filled commercials.
"Everybody’s ears perk up, " a gloating Miller said over the phone from his home near Springfield.
"They know something controversial is about to come on the air, and by the time my voice comes on, everyone is at full attention."
Sad but true, said two radio execs I spoke with Tuesday.
But then you can’t blame stations for disassociating themselves from the vile garbage they’re required to air. Federal laws forbid them from denying any "legally qualified candidate" access to the public airwaves.
For the stations, it’s self-preservation. Would you as a listener stick with any station you thought willingly sold ad time to hatemongers like Miller, who, by the way, founded the Ku Klux Klan-affiliated White Patriot Party back in the 1980s and later spent three years in federal prison for using the mail to advocate war on blacks, Jews and the federal government?
So expect to hear more radio disclaimers in the days ahead as Miller’s media buy continues on 10 to 12 Missouri stations.
Where’s he getting the money to do that? Well, that’s another aspect of election law working to Miller’s advantage.
Stations must give political candidates the deepest discounts on ad rates. Miller wouldn’t tell me how much he’s spending.
But the total cost of his weeklong ad buy at two stations based in Monett, Mo., is a measly $195, says Dewayne Gandy, president of Eagle and Falcon broadcasting companies.
"We’re reaching an awful lot of people with our campaign, " Miller said.
But to what end?
Although his philosophy is stupid, Miller isn’t. He’s smart enough to know he has no chance at the polls in November.
His previous run, a 2006 congressional campaign for the seat now held by Rep. Roy Blunt, garnered just 23 votes out of 241,000 cast.
Neither would you think he’d win over many new converts to the white power movement, of which he’s been a part for 40 years.
Then again, the fact that there’s a black man in the White House, as well as a woman serving as speaker of the House, is troublesome to some on the fringes of society.
Let’s say Miller’s ads win over a few newcomers to the cause and re-energize others. And let’s say some of them send him checks.
Money -- could that be it?
"I’ve been accused of that before, " Miller said.
I’ll bet he has.