Washington Times article: Patriotism, on the march
by Susan Duclos
Full transcript at Wake up America: Exclusive Interview with Melanie Morgan, Chairman of Move America Forward
Radio talk show host, best selling author has life threatened because she is pro-troop, pro-mission supporter.
Chairman of Move America Forward.
Melanie Morgan has established herself as one of the leading conservative voices in the nation. Every morning Morgan shows off her intellect and wit as the co-host of one of San Francisco's top-rated drive time radio shows, "The Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan Show" on KSFO 560 AM.Key excerpts from this interview have been published in the Washington Times, (Because of a freelance agreement with the Washington Times, I am able to show the excerpts at Wake up America from my interview with Melanie Morgan.)
She's emerged as a leader in the national pro-troop movement, rallying millions of Americans to support the War on Terrorism, the U.S. Military and the fighting men and women of the armed forces.
In July 2005 Morgan led a delegation of talk radio hosts to Iraq to interview U.S. troops and allow them to tell their stories live to the American people. These interviews were broadcast live to the nation - unedited and unfiltered. Melanie Morgan won the Associated Press award for "Best Special Program – Voices of Soldiers" during her two-week trip to Iraq in 2005.
In October 2006, Morgan co-authored the Amazon.com bestselling book, American Mourning, which told the story of two American heroes who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terrorism.
Question: What would you like to tell people about Move America Forward and the Victory Tour?
Answer: Move America Forward is the largest pro-troop organization in the country with over a million members, and we are very excited to be joining together with a number of other pro-troop organizations, leading up to General [David H.] Petraeus' report on the surge, which is due somewhere around September 15. We are hoping to have between 30,000 and 50,000 people in Washington, D.C., to support General Petraeus and ask Congress to give his report a fair hearing.
Move America Forward is going to begin this process by starting in Carson City, Nevada, in front of the offices of Senator Harry Reid, and we are going to travel 4,384 miles across the nation with 27 stops, with rallies calling for continued support of the U.S. troops based in Iraq.
We call it the Fight for Victory Tour, and we feel that this is taking place at a very critical time. The surge is beginning to show success in Iraq, and the additional 20,000 troops that have been stationed there have made a dramatic difference, and even the so-called mainstream media is beginning to take note of that. We have been getting reports back from the Brookings Institution, their two scholars have been there, and they have reported that there is definitely a change in military tactics and strategy, and it's working.
We want to call the public's attention to this fact, and we are going to do that by working around the national media, which is refusing to report the truth about what is happening there, with our 27 stops across America and the local media, so the word can get out.
Q: There is a concentrated effort — by the left, blogs, YouTube and DailyKos — to attack you. Can you tell us the nature of the attacks? Are they personally life-threatening attacks or just on the Move America Forward movement itself?
A: I have received dozens and dozens of death threats and some of the most vile and reprehensible e-mails that anybody could possibly imagine, or maybe not. I mean I never thought that people were capable of such hatred because a proud, patriotic American woman like myself has joined with others to deliver a message to America that we support our troops.
I had no idea it was so controversial, but apparently it is in this politicized day and age. I have been getting hit personally, and YouTube attacks, e-mails that go to my personal Web site; it's just been astonishing to me the level of vitriol that has been leveled at me.
Q: Speaking of attacks, last year there was another attempt by the left to lead an ad boycott against your station, KSFO, over comments characterized by the New York Times as "violent, racially offensive and religiously insensitive."
Q: Did you lose any advertisers from that attack?
A: We lost a few advertisers in the very beginning of the attack, but then they came back again and other advertisers came on board, so the efforts by some of these people, who are what I call "crackpots with keyboards," were largely unsuccessful. They tried to get me blackballed from MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews." That was a miserable flop.
They definitely did make life difficult for a while, for all of us in the talk-radio world, particularly my co-host Lee Rodgers, [KSFO colleague] Brian Sussman. We were all targeted by these individuals, and all of these people have now disappeared. They have gone away on the Internet, and our voices are still louder and stronger than before, so I consider it a failed effort by some people filled with some really dangerous ideas.
The remainder of the interview:
SD: We post everything that you do on the site to get it seen by as many as possible and to get more word out about Move America Forward and get more people to join the victory tour.
Melanie: Its very important for people to come out because we want people around the rest of the country to see that the people that have been supporting our troops silently are now having the opportunity to join in and reach out to the rest of the country so the MoveOn.org crowd and the DailyKos, and all of the other liberal activists organizations with their liberal Hollywood media's actions, aren't the only ones to dominate the discussion about what is going to happen in Iraq. We feel that we are at a critical moment in time that is going to really dictate how we deal with terrorism and the war on terror for generations to come.
People have to understand that we have to be in this for the long haul, we believe firmly that the Generals is Iraq are the ones that need to be telling us how to win the war and not to be micromanaged by armchair generals like Nancy Pelosi.
SD: A couple questions on politics, with the recent military progress you just spoke of, not to mention the latest political progress in Iraq that has been announced in the news, reluctantly, but the news has announced it, what do you think the chances are that the Democratically controlled Congress and Senate are going to be able to force any time line for retreat?
Melanie: I think we are making it much more difficult for them to do so, although I have to say it's very upsetting to see that Brian Baird, the Congressman from Washington state, has now been targeted by every anti-war group, liberal Democrat activist in the country because he went to Iraq and saw for himself that there is political progress being made and there is military progress being made and that his novel idea that we finish the mission so that we can come home in Victory, so that has not set well with his crowd and I would like to tip my hat to him and other Democrats who have a common sense and sensible look at what is an incredible danger that faces all of us as Americans. I do believe because of the efforts of Vets For Freedom and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Gathering of Eagles , any number of the organizations that have been working with us at Move America Forward, they have been turning out lots of people at townhalls and hundreds and hundreds of people at congressional offices that are meeting with their representatives and emails of course and thousands of phone calls, all of this, I think is beginning to put the Democrats on alert that they have heavily invested in defeat and it is the wrong message at the wrong time to the wrong people.
They better be very cognizant of the fact that Americans do not want to fail and they (Democrats) have invested in failure and that is a dangerous and stupid, delusional political strategy.
SD: I always say, it is never a good idea to bet against America.
Melanie: It is absolutely the wrong idea. People in this country want to win, they want our troops to be successful and they want to stop terrorism and that is because primarily we have a very clear idea of how we want to live our lives in freedom.
SD: Why do you think people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have backed themselves into the corner where any progress and success hurts them politically? Do you think they are listening to just the unhinged portion of their base that screams the loudest instead of the moderates that speak a little softer?
Melanie: I think that they are looking at the money that is flowing from some of these leftist organizations because they have been very successful at bundling contributions and they use the internet extraordinarily well to become a financial fort in the Democratic party politics and I think that is why Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid and the others are so invested in them, because they are giving money and I think that is a very crass and cynical way of approaching government.
SD: Your book, America Mourning, can you tell us a bit about that? What got you started with that Book?
Melanie: The book is called America Mourning and it is the intimate story of two families joined by war, torn by belief, co authored by myself and Catherine Moy, it's about two young men who went off to war at the same time and who were roughly the same age, Justin Johnson and Casey Sheehan, who, of course, Casey Sheehan has become famous because his mother's, Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activism.
Justin Johnson and Casey became best friends during their tour of the military duty and during their training at Fort Hood, Texas, and ironically after they were shipped out to Iraq and tragically lost their lives within six days of each other, in the name of freedom, the have become inextricably intertwined in history, because Justin Johnson's family went exactly the opposite route from Cindy Sheehan.
Justin's father, Joe Johnson, enlisted in the military at the age of 46 and went to Iraq to avenge the death of his son as well as his best friend Casey Sheehan and served a tour of duty in Iraq and had an opportunity to do some extraordinary things while he was there.
So it contrasts the very different reactions of families who are confronted with overwhelming grief (inaudible) and a human beings faith with the loss of a child.
SD: Out of curiosity, how did you become Chairman of Move America Forward?
Melanie: I got promoted primarily because I was the only one left. (Laughter) It was an organization started by Myself and Howard Kaloogian, who was a former assemblyman in the California legislature and then Howard decided to run for Duke Cunningham's seat in Southern California and to avoid any conflict of interest he resigned so I went from Vice Chair up to Chairman and now I am really thrilled that we have been able to bring aboard Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson as the new Vice Chairman and Buzz Patterson is the author of the new book "War Crimes", he is also the New York Times best selling author, twice, with the book "Reckless Disregard" and another book also.
SD: I saw Buzz Patterson's interview when he faced off with Jon Soltz…
Melanie: Yes, Jon Soltz and I have tangled as well.
Mr. Soltz's unfortunately claiming to represent the views of the (inaudible) military members who are now serving in Iraq, he keeps claiming over and over again, he's the troops, he's the troops as if anybody else in America is not entitled to an opinion unless they have been to Iraq and fought for America and our interests which is a ridiculous analogy to make because the fact of the matter is I have been to Iraq, I have seen for myself the extraordinary things that are taking place there and I think that 32 years in the journalism business that I have a right to speak out as do all people and in particular, I won the Associated Press Award for Best Live Coverage on our trip to Iraq.
SD: Oh Really?
Melanie: Yes, the Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Best Live Programming, live from Iraq.
SD: Well you have seen for yourself what is going on. Now about your radio station, you see Air America and Jane Fonda's new radio station, the far left and I am talking the far left, not just the liberal left, they have these radio stations and they seem to go down, yet the conservative radio stations like yourself, Rush Limbaugh and quite a few others keep going up, what do you see as the reason for this?
Melanie: I think that the liberal radio stations, first of all, don't understand some of the basics of broadcasting, many of the people that are hosts are not professional broadcasters, they don't understand that you just can't cram a lot of liberal dogma down somebody's throat and expect people to respond, there is an element of entertainment in talk radio that is very important, you also have to be able to back up your assertions with facts, we do that on a daily basis on our radio program KFSO in San Francisco, of course Rush and Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Laura Ingram and all the rest understand that you have to be funny, you have to be entertaining, and you have to be bright, it has to be a combination that is fueling our ratings and we watched with amusement as the Jane Fonda network crashed in flames and Air America has gone bankrupt, so I think that a combination of being ground in the basics of broadcasting plus being positive about our country and our freedom and our way of life is a message that most of America responds to.
SD: I wanted to ask you, I notice MSNBC, you have it on your site, Powerline had a piece on it, that they will not show the Freedoms Watch videos, I have them on my site, all four of them, and I put them on any Iraq posting, but they (MSNBC) won't show them, I mean these are wounded veterans, these are gold star mothers, widows that have lost their husband in Ira and yet MSNBC will not let their words be heard.
What do you have to say about that?
Melanie: I have nothing but contempt for the person who is in charge of the legal department, John Kelly, at MSNBC, because there is a definite bias when it comes to taking advocacy positions and advertisement on MSNBC. They made a decision after our spot, shameless politicians aired but they weren't going to take anything further from us nor from Freedoms Watch or anybody else who wants to present a different point of view. I guess you can't buy free speech in this country and that's dangerous and frightening to me because one of the ways that we work around the mainstream media's biased reporting of what is going on in Iraq is that we have the ability to buy commercial time and put together our point of view in a 30 or 60 second television commercial and if we aren't allowed that avenue I think that we are losing some very valuable free speech rights in this country and that's something that the FCC should be aware of.
SD: These are actual wounded, disabled Iraq veterans that are speaking, Gold star mothers…..
Melanie: Yet, in contrast to that MSNBC is willing to put on advocacy commercials on their network that represent a point of view that is directly contradictory to America's best interests and I find that appalling.
SD: It left me speechless, I couldn't even write on it for a couple of days.
Melanie: Yeah, it is just wrong, what they are doing is wrong and they know better than that and I hope that the million emails that we have sent out about this issue from Move America Forward will start generating a response from MSNBC and hopefully they will rethink that ridiculous policy.
SD: Speaking of biased media, we have seen the polls showing the American public overwhelmingly says the media is biased, it is not a surprise, it is not something that is hidden, it is something that is well known, but I wanted to ask about something I saw on your personal site, www.melaniemorgan.com, about the New York Times and Bill Keller and some controversy there?
Melanie: I mentioned earlier that I had been attacked an Iraqi war veteran or a man that claims to have been one, with a YouTube commercial about Bill Keller and the New York Times, this has been a controversy that began back in 2006, I was asked on HardBall with Chris Matthews about the controversy over the publication of top secret classified information about the very successful terrorist program called FISA, which looks at money coming from overseas for terrorist financing in this country and I was asked whether I thought that was treasonous and I said yes and that I believe that anybody leaks or publishes classified information, in a time of war, should be held accountable. Matthews response, we were both unaware of the fact that the penalty for treason is the death penalty, but I was asked later to expand on that by Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle, when he informed me that the punishment for treason is death, I said yes, I would have no problem whatsoever if Mr. Keller were to be charged and tried for treason, then he should obviously face what is the punishment, the ultimate punishment for treason, which is death.
Of course that was taken out of context, the media blared it as "talk show host calls for execution of Bill Keller", which is just ridiculous, it's a lie, it is something that fits the template of the left and they happily proclaimed that quote.
The fact of the matter is when you pose that question, to the American public, in a Gallup poll shortly after this erupted into national headlines, at the New York Times and other major media publications and on television, 62% of the American public agreed with my position that if you betray classified information, if you leak it or if you publish it in a time of war, when young men and women's lives are at stake in Iraq, then you need to face the consequences of your actions.
SD: That's why I asked you about it, I had seen you had been attacked at a massive level over your comments about that and yet if you are going to give away secrets that are going to cost our people their lives, you should face treason charges, so I wanted to give you a chance to tell what exactly happened there.
Melanie: That's exactly what happened. It was a manufactured story but I stand by my comments and I redouble them. I am as convinced today as I was when I said them over a year and a half ago, that I have the right position.
SD: That's what they do, they distract and they distort, when it is something they don't want to hear about.
Melanie: That is the truth and it is aggravating as hell but what can you do? You just have to say what you think and be able to back it up.
SD: I have learned in a short amount of time that no matter what is said, if it something they don't want to hear, it is going to be twisted and there is nothing you can do about it except to speak your mind.
Melanie: That's it and that is what our country is founded upon, freedom of speech but the left doesn't want the right to have the same free speech rights as they do, they want to silence us and shut us up and shout us down.
SD: Being a former Democrats and a Republican now, I have to say, in all honesty, we have tried to take the high road for so long, a lot of it is our own fault, we have not tried to match their voices until we understood what they were doing, now what I call the silent majority is finally standing up, our veterans, people like you, Move America Forward, Vets For Freedom, multiple organizations are now finally standing up and saying "No More" we're speaking out...what are your thoughts on that?
Melanie: That's right and it is thrilling to se it happening because we have been working in the trenches for nearly four years now at Move America Forward, this will be our fourth national caravan. Our first was "You don't speak for me, Cindy" tour and we went to Crawford Texas in the hottest time of the year and I am telling you I don't know how President Bush lives there cause it is really hot in Crawford Texas in July, so we went there with 4,000 patriots, they came in their rag tag automobiles, flying flags, their RV's, their motorcycles and 4,000 of us came to make sure that Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war activists side wasn't the only one who was able to have a discussion about this war that is so important to all of us.
We have been doing that ever since. We have produced dozens of commercials, we have mailed out millions and millions of emails on the subject, we have spent night and day, literally for the last three and a half years thinking of everything we can possibly do at the grass roots level to make sure that our pro-troop, pro-American point of view is represented and it frustrates me that we have to do this, I would rather be home with my family instead of lying awake at night staring at the ceiling thinking "did I do everything I could do today to support our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and across the world.
SD: Its not like we're being asked to sacrifice like they were in world war II, all our troops are asking for is time, patience and moral support right?
Melanie: Yes and time and patience is what the American public has been short on. I am afraid that cause of the noise from the left and the natural tendency of Americans to go to sleep, especially after the world trade towers were struck by al-Qaeda on September 11th, that people don't want to face the fear that this is going to happen again, so they prefer not to think about it. That, then leads to some self delusion about what we were doing in Iraq in the first place and the whole mantra of illegal and unjust war, those people are fooling themselves and it is dangerously suicidal for our society to allow them to do that.
SD: Is there anything we haven't covered, question wise, that you want out there?
Melanie: I want out there that we are winning the war. We are on the cutting edge of the exit strategy for the U.S. military. The interests in winning in Iraq are American interests not just Iraqi interests. There are problems in Iraq, the government is struggling to stand up but we need to be a little bit more patient to allow them to develop, not what we would call a Jeffersonian democracy, but some rough equivalent. Democracy cannot take place without security first and that is where our troops have been doing a splendid job and I hope that we are going to be hearing more about it in the future.
I also think that there is an exhaustion that the insurgency is experiencing and I think that there's plenty of evidence out there, principally from Carter Andress, who is published today in the Wall Street Journal and other great writers like Ralph Peters at the NEW York Post, military experts everywhere are coming to the same conclusions that we are killing more of the bad guys than they are killing of us and that's the thing that American people don't seem to understand because we don't see the pictures on TV and we don't see the pictures because the American media won't show the pictures of us killing the enemy. The people who are killing us, but in smaller numbers.
SD: I thank you very much for taking your time to speak with me.
Melanie: You are entirely welcome Susan and I thank you.
End of conversation.
(Note: Melanie Morgan was pleasant, nice, 100% behind the troops and blunt in her assessment of the variety of subjects we spoke about. In my opinion, she is the definition of a true Patriotic American.)