In the most inexplicable programming decision by a radio station in Philadelphia since someone at WIP dreamed up “Eskin and Reese,” WPHT announced last Thursday that its new afternoon drive time host is Dick Morris, the Clinton White House advisor-turned-conservative pundit/activist. Morris replaces MIchael Smerconish, who recently said he’s leaving for satellite radio.
The only man in American politics who’s been involved in a toe-sucking hooker scandal and had it only amount to the second-most embarrassing episode of his career, Morris was recently let go from his “Fox News Contributor” gig, after a particularly laughable election season performance in which he predicted a huge Mitt Romney landslide all the way until the end.
Morris has a well-earned reputation as at best an exceptional political hack and at worst, an actual con man. Staking out a role on the right as half-pundit, half-Tea Party activist, Morris has spent the Obama presidency raising money, cranking out books with 40-word titles and sharing egregiously wrong predictions.
It’s hard just to overstate how wrong Morris is, just about all the time, and I’m not only talking about his 2005 book, “Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race.” His performance in 2012 was so embarrassing to all involved that it was decided this level of shameless, dishonest hackery on behalf of the Republican Party was too much even for Fox News. Whether he will be able to continue his side business, which sounds an awful lot like a scam, remains undetermined.
But even if Morris didn’t have that record, and even if he didn’t have a nails-on-the-blackboard speaking voice, or give off an aesthetic in which sleaze appears to visibly waft off of him as he speaks, there are two very strong reasons why it makes no sense for WPHT to hire him: He’s never hosted a radio show in his life, and he has no ties at all to Philadelphia.
Morris’ Wikipedia entry describes him as “an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant.” That’s a lot of different professions, but none of them are “radio host.” And the history of the radio industry is filled with big names who’d never done radio before, flaming out relatively quickly.
I may not agree often with WPHT’s morning host, my Philly Post colleague Chris Stigall, but “radio host” is his profession, he’s been doing it for years and he knows what he’s doing.
I also can’t figure out what his audience is supposed to be. Liberals aren’t going to listen to him, and whatever credibility he had over conservatives is likely gone after 2012. When he spoke last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the audience looked like the stands at a Miami Marlins game.
Morris has often appeared as a talk show guest, most notably with Sean Hannity, but guess what- Hannity’s own show will air opposite Morris’, on 106.1. I imagine Hannity’s audience will stick with the genuine article.
Morris was most recently seen appearing with Piers Morgan on CNN, as Morgan continued his recent tactic of scanning the very brief list of people in the world more loathsome than Piers Morgan and inviting them as guests on his show; so far only Morris and Alex Jones have made the cut. And after calling for far-right purity since at least the early Bush Administration, Morris has been urging Republicans to moderate ever since, a stance that always goes over great on conservative talk radio.
I just don’t see how this idea can possibly work. If Morris is still employed on WHPT a year from now, I’ll be shocked.