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Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan aired "side-by-side comparison" of speeches by Hitler and Obama
Media Matters
February 13, 2008

Summary: Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated that when listening to Barack Obama speak, "it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell." Sullivan then played a "side-by-side comparison" of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, "Yay! Yay!" When a later caller complained that Sullivan was "denigrating" Obama with the comparison, Sullivan said he wouldn't play it again, then begged: "Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won't do it again. ... Until the next time."

On the February 11 broadcast of Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show, host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated: "Listening to [Sen. Barack] Obama ... it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with [Nazi dictator Adolf] Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell." Sullivan replied: "Oh, yeah, yeah ... I presume you're not saying he's Hitler, but I understand your point." Following the commercial break, Sullivan stated the caller "wasn't calling Barack Obama Hitler. He was just talking about how Hitler got the crowd all excited, and Barack Obama got the crowd all excited." Sullivan then stated that he would do a "side-by-side comparison" of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan then introduced the "comparison" by stating: "So, ladies and gentlemen, from the past, a little archive, a little walk down Der Fuehrer's memory lane. Here he is, the one, the only, Adolf Hitler!" Sullivan proceeded to play a clip of a Hitler speech, followed by Obama's February 9 speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond, Virginia. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, "Yay! Yay!"

Following Sullivan's "comparison," a listener called in to say: "I resent the fact that you would compare -- I am a black man -- you would compare Barack Obama to Hitler, because we need leaders that can inspire us, to hope for the future. We need people like him." Sullivan replied: "I love his speech." The caller then asked: "Then why would you bring Hitler in on it?" Sullivan responded: "I didn't. The caller brought Hitler in on it. The caller said he sounds like Hitler." The upset caller responded: "Well, why would you even pick it up? It's denigrating his character." Sullivan replied: "No, it's not." Sullivan later stated: "Well, I understand that Hitler is hated by, and should be, by most everybody in civilized society. ... But the point being, you must remember something. Adolf Hitler was able to gather a country of people and get them excited about whatever it was that he was talking to them about. He was a very fiery, enigmatic -- I'm not sure -- I mean, he was -- I mean, he really got the people all thrilled, and I'm sitting there going,' I hadn't thought about him being associated in any way with Clint' -- and I asked the guy, I said, 'Are you saying that Obama is like Hitler?' And he said, 'No, it's the speaking style, that's all.' And the speaking style is actually kind of similar." Before Sullivan ended the segment, he stated: "All right, we won't play Hitler any more, then." But Sullivan then pleaded: "One time -- oh, come on, one more time? Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won't do it again." He then added: "Until the next time."

According to his bio on FoxNews.com, Sullivan has "been a regular fill-in for the most listened to talk show in the world, The Rush Limbaugh Program, for a number of years" and "now anchors the 10AM-Noon (Eastern Time) show on the FOX Business Network."

Media Matters for America has previously documented numerous other examples of conservative media figures comparing progressives to Nazis. For example, on December 13, 2007, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly responded to guest Jane Hall's assertion that actor Tim Robbins, who was campaigning for John Edwards, made "valid" criticisms of the media by stating: "But [Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim] Von Ribbentrop in the Nazi hierarchy made valid points, Jane." O'Reilly has also claimed there is "no difference between" the Nazis and progressive blog Daily Kos. On January 11, nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage declared that Media Matters is "run by a bunch of fascist homosexuals. They're the brownshirts of our time." In April 2007, Savage also called a speech by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "Hitler dialogue."

From the second hour of the February 11 broadcast of Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show:

CALLER: Listening to Obama, and what I've seen on TV. I'm 65 years old, and it harkens back when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell.

SULLIVAN: Oh yeah, yeah.

CALLER: And I don't think -- I can't think of any other politician that has excited them as much as he has.

SULLIVAN: He -- I presume you're not saying he's a Hitler, but I understand your point.

CALLER: Right. He's exciting the people, he's igniting them, and are they even thinking about what he's saying?

SULLIVAN: No. Because I'll tell you, if you listen to him, he sounds -- how can you argue with a guy who says he's for hope, he's for a great America, he's for a great country, we're great people. We can do anything we want, you can be anything you want.

CALLER: Yep, and he ain't telling them to get off their seats and go do it themselves.

SULLIVAN: I know -- well, we -- don't now -- don't ruin a good story with trying to get the details. No, I understand your point, [caller]. You're absolutely right. The details will have to come out. We'll be right back.

[...]

SULLIVAN: For those of you who heard the call from the guy in Texas who said that Barack Obama reminds him of Hitler, well, I take up the challenge. You decide for yourself. Here is -- oh-oh, one minute, OK, we got -- we need -- I thought you were signaling that you were ready. We're putting -- we're finding -- we have had to go to our global resources now, to find out of our German file a speech or two from Der Fuehrer and find out -- I have no idea what he was saying in this speech, but we'll see. I wonder what -- if it sounds at all like -- I mean, he wasn't calling Barack Obama Hitler. He was just talking about how Hitler got the crowd all excited, and Barack Obama got the crowd all excited. Let's take a phone call and we'll come back and we'll see if we can do a little side-by-side comparison.

[...]

SULLIVAN: But they certainly knew the Republicans were spending more than they possibly should have. Let's take a short break and come back. No, no, can we get this in now? OK. Before the break, a caller just before the bottom of the hour said that Barack Obama's speech reminds him of hearing the speeches of Adolf Hitler. So, ladies and gentlemen, from the past, a little archive, a little walk down Der Fuehrer's memory lane. Here he is, the one, the only, Adolf Hitler.

[audio clip of Hitler speech]

SULLIVAN: Yay! Yay! All right, great. I don't know what he said. Here's Barack Obama.

[audio clip of Obama speech]

SULLIVAN: Yay!

[audio clip of Hitler speech]

SULLIVAN: Yay!

[...]

SULLIVAN: Now we're getting -- now we're getting requests -- we're kind of like the Top 40 music station. We're getting requests for different speeches that were being played. Yes, just name your speech, and we will see if we can play it for you, the Top 40 speech.

[...]

SULLIVAN: Back to the phones we go. [Caller] in Columbus, Ohio. Hi, [caller]. How have you been?

CALLER: I am here. Thank you for the opportunity to be on the show.

SULLIVAN: You bet.

CALLER: I resent the fact that you would compare -- I am a black man --

SULLIVAN: Yes, sir.

CALLER: -- you would compare Barack Obama to Hitler, because we need leaders that can inspire us, to hope for the future. We need people like him.

SULLIVAN: I love the -- I love his speech. I told you I sat there and I went -- I'm going -- I'm listening to his speech --

CALLER: Why would you bring Hitler in on it?

SULLIVAN: I didn't. The caller brought Hitler in on it. The caller said he sounds like Hitler.

CALLER: Well, why would you even pick it up? It's denigrating his character.

SULLIVAN: No, it's not.

CALLER: Well, Hitler has nothing to do with what is right and honorable and what the country should be looking forward to. And I believe this, I believe that the intellect of Barack Obama is strong enough to bring in a cabinet and to surround himself with men who can -- can run -- help him run this country. No president has everything, all the knowledge needed, but his intellect to be able to bring men into his cabinet who can steer this country, is what it's all about, and I think he's got the intelligence to do it.

SULLIVAN: Who are you for?

CALLER: I -- actually, I happen to be a Republican because of my morals. But I believe that Barack Obama -- I don't like McCain, I really don't.

SULLIVAN: Yeah, you don't -- yeah.

CALLER: I don't like McCain, I really don't. But Barack Obama, I would vote for him because I believe that he has some level facts about his thinking, but I'm thinking that he would be a good president to inspire us for the future and equality for everybody.

SULLIVAN: Are you sure you're not a seminar caller? We had one a few minutes ago.

CALLER: No, I have not ever been on your show before.

SULLIVAN: We had -- no, we had a different caller, but I'm just going, are you guys all coming from the Barack Obama seminar on how to call talk shows and talk good about him?

CALLER: I am a truck driver running the road right now through Harrisburg, and I got a Sirius Radio that I was listening to. But I just said that I had to call because I resent the fact that you're picking up on that thing with Hitler.

SULLIVAN: Well, I understand that Hitler is hated by, and should be, by most everybody in civilized society.

CALLER: Yes, even you. Even you.

SULLIVAN: But the point being, you must remember something. Adolf Hitler was able to gather a country of people and get them excited about whatever it was that he was talking to them about. He was a very fiery, enigmatic -- I'm not sure -- I mean, he was -- I mean, he really got the people all thrilled, and I'm sitting there going, "I hadn't thought about him being associated in any way with Clint" -- and I asked the guy, I said, "Are you saying that Obama is like Hitler?" And he said, "No, it's the speaking style, that's all." And the speaking style is actually kind of similar.

CALLER: But part of being a good leader and a motivating leader is to be able to inspire people. That's part of being a good leader.

SULLIVAN: Yeah, Oh, yeah.

CALLER: -- denigrating because you have --

SULLIVAN: I think -- don't you think I've made a very good point of the difference between his leadership speaking style and Ms. Clinton's speaking style?

CALLER: Yeah, I think you do. If you had left Hitler out of it, you'd have had a perfect show.

SULLIVAN: All right, we won't play Hitler any more, then.

CALLER: Oh, I --

SULLIVAN: One time -- oh, come on, one more time? Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won't do it again.

CALLER: Well, sure, but I think --

SULLIVAN: Until the next time.

CALLER: -- some in the audience that don't appreciate that --

SULLIVAN: All right, all right. I'll take your cautionary words in stride. I appreciate it, thanks, [caller]. Short break. We'll be right back.

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