Mike spiked

You’re fired: Bad things happen to good people, especially media types who dare to publicly criticize Israel’s violent behavior toward its Arab neighbors in the Middle East. The latest victim on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s hit list appears to be popular progressive talk-radio host Mike Malloy, who was fired by Air America last week for alleged financial reasons. Air America did not return SN&R’s phone call or e-mail.

“We are as shocked as you are,” writes Kathy Bay, Malloy’s wife and producer, on the radio show’s Web site at www.mikemalloy.com. “As recently as last Tuesday we were told we had the go-ahead to announce our return to NY airwaves and that our contract was ‘on the way.’”

Known and loved for his quick wit and fiery temper, Malloy refers to the Bush administration as the Bush Crime Family, despises all Republicans and most Democrats and believes we haven’t been told the official story about 9/11. But what probably got him into trouble, most listeners agree, was his frequent and unfettered criticism of Israel, particularly during its month-long pummeling of Lebanon earlier this summer.

Nutty professors: Of course, Bites doesn’t know for sure if Malloy was sacked for speaking his mind about Israel. But such sanctions are not unheard of, as professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt note in “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a study released last March. Respectively from the University of Chicago’s department of political science and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Mearsheimer and Walt claim that AIPAC, known as the “Israel Lobby,” has unduly shaped U.S. policy in the Middle East by manipulating our government and media.

“Other special interest groups have managed to skew U.S. foreign policy in directions they favored,” they write. “But no lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical.”

The professors found that a major part of the lobby’s activities include instigating massive write-in campaigns against any American pundit, journalist or academic who criticizes Israel. This particular finding was ironically verified when the University of Chicago and Harvard unusually distanced themselves from the study after being pressured by financial donors.

But don’t take Bites’ word for it. Read the study yourself at libertarian Web site Antiwar.com, where’ you’ll also encounter editorial director Justin Raimondo’s column, “Behind the Headlines.” Raimondo is, in Bites’ opinion, one of the most astute critics of U.S. imperialism writing today and absolutely fearless when it comes to questioning the policies of Israel.

Radio, radio: It’s entirely possible that Malloy’s acerbic style, not his political opinions, caused him to run afoul with Air America’s bean counters. Nevertheless, if blogs and message boards are any indication, Air America’s listeners are feeling rather burned by the ordeal, whatever the cause. Many are swearing to boycott Air America.

Fortunately, Sacramento’s progressive radio listeners have a choice. There’s KCTC 1320 AM, the local Air America affiliate, and KSAC 1240 AM, which also features center-to-left political voices 24-seven (except when it broadcasts A’s games). Bites begins each morning with a stiff jolt of The Stephanie Miller Show, which airs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KSAC and is so hilarious you’ll blow Cheerios out your nose.

Steph’s immediately followed on KSAC by Thom Hartmann, possibly the smartest man on talk radio; at noon Bites flips over to KCTC (1320 AM) to catch Randi Rhodes, the last truly progressive voice remaining on Air America. At 3 p.m., it’s back to KSAC and the rapier wit of local gab-gal Christine Craft, never one to shy away from controversy.

Which brings us to the 7-10 p.m. time slot and the giant black hole formerly filled by one of our lifetime’s loudest-mouthed liberals. Rumor has it that Laura Flanders, host of Air America’s weekend program, Radio Nation, will fill the space. Laura’s cool, but she’s no Mike Malloy. So, go ahead, get down on your knees and pray Mike returns to the radio, soon. But keep in mind he’s an atheist who does not suffer such foolishness gladly.