Last October, a public debate involving KOA's Mike Rosen and AM 760's David Sirota went national after Rosen called for hijackers to crash a plane into the so-called Ground Zero mosque; he insisted that he was being satirical. But Sirota says Rosen didn't let loose with any similar bon mots at last night's Battle of the Talk Show Hosts at the Landmark Comedy Works.
"He was more mindful of his behavior and his language" in the wake of being named the worst person in the world by Keith Olbermann for the mosque line, Sirota feels. "And by being more mindful of his language, I think he was more effective, more interesting, less sort of talking-points predictable."
After last year's session, and its fallout, Rosen told us, "I have no interest in doing anything with David Sirota again." Obviously, he backed off this declaration, perhaps because so many other yakkers were involved. Additional folks onstage at various times, in addition to hosts Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh (plus a cameo by Dave Logan), were Dan Caplis and Thom Hartmann, who full-on yelled at each other at one point, plus Rick Barber, Peter Boyles, Jon Caldara, Craig Silverman, Michael Brown and Tom Martino. The embattled Troubleshooter made one self-deprecating joke about his financial woes, Sirota recalls, but mostly steered clear of bankruptcy talk.
The large number of participants and a tight format -- one that frustrated BigMedia.org's Jason Salzman -- kept things from getting as "personal" as last year's version, Sirota believes. "I think it was more collegial, if I can use that word."
Indeed, he admits to actually agreeing with a handful of things Rosen said. "At one point,he mentioned that he thought health insurance should be portable from job to job, which was a surprisingly rational point of view," Sirota recalls. "And there was something on racial profiling where he seemed to suggest he didn't think it was effective on a mass basis, but you should be able to put out an individual APB on people -- and I said I agreed. And he insinuated that he understood why people have legitimate concerns about the length of the war in Afghanistan.
"Maybe there's a new, more rational, gentler Mike Rosen," he adds. "But I'm not holding my breath."
Look below to see highlights from the "battle."
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