Friday, November 03, 2006

The Young Turks hire ambush reporter Mike Stark

Blogger, Marine Corps veteran, University of Virginia law student, renegade reporter and media prankster Mike Stark has been making quite a name for himself this year.

For awhile, via his weblog Calling All Wingnuts and his posts on the Daily Kos, he has entertained many with recordings of his stealth ambush calls to a variety of conservative radio hosts.

He slipped in a Viagra reference on Rush Limbaugh's show, not too long after the noted prescription drug enthusiast got busted for smuggling the sexual enhancement pills into the Dominican Republic.

He angered Bill O'Reilly so much just by mentioning Keith Olbermann's name that the Big Giant Head threatened to sic FOX Security on him, obviously not realizing at that moment that his radio show is syndicated by Westwood One.

Stark has also been a thorn in the side of various politicians and TV personalities. He suggested to FOX News talking head Brian Kilmeade that he forgo the expensive suits and haircuts and go fight in Iraq.

And just this past summer, he punked Hannity on his FOX show showing us all what we already knew.

In short, he's likely the guy that many at FOX News most love to hate. For that matter, the rest of the conservative media doesn't take kindly to him either.

Things got a bit more serious earlier this week when Stark was roughed-up by Virginia Senator George (Macaca) Allen's hired thugs. Stark initially approached Allen following a campaign appearance at a hotel in downtown Charlottesville and was subdued. Then, when he asked Allen a question about abuse allegations involving his first marriage, Stark was shoved to the ground, roughed-up, and forceably removed from the hotel grounds.

Allen, whose struggling re-election effort has resorted to accusing his rival, James Webb, a Vietnam War veteran and former Navy Secretary under Ronald Reagan, of including pornographic writing in a novel based on his time in Vietnam, merely said about the Stark incident, "Things like that happen".

Stark later recounted the incident on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" (YouTube link). He has also filed assault charges against several Allen supporters who wrestled him to the ground.

All in all, Stark has become an expert at ambushing conservatives and holding their feet to the fire. And now, he's officially a part of the 'old media'.

On Wednesday, Cenk Uygur of Air America Radio's "The Young Turks" announced that they have hired Stark as an on-air show reporter.

"Mike is smart, tough, well educated, dedicated and obviously courageous. This country needs more reporters like Mike Stark. I am proud to be part of an organization that is going to give people like Mike an opportunity to ask more tough questions of our elected officials. The people have a right to know."

Young Turks spokeswoman Arianne Schrodel said the 38-year-old Stark would be the show's first "street reporter."

TYT bills itself as "the first nationwide liberal talk show and first live, daily Internet TV show." It airs live Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Air America radio and via Webcast. The show, based in Los Angeles, began broadcasting in 2002 and moved to Air America in September.

Stark would not say how much he was being paid as a reporter for the show. He also said he was uncertain if he would cover the Virginia Senate campaign because of study demands at U.Va.

"This job is totally secondary to law school," said Stark. "But the main reason they're hiring me is because of the void in the media of asking difficult questions of powerful people."


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