Radio station fires talk-show host over CBS document flap

By PEGGY ANDERSEN ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER (SPI)

SEATTLE -- A radio talk-show host said Saturday he has been fired for criticizing CBS newsman Dan Rather's handling of challenges to the credibility of memos about President Bush's National Guard service.

"On the talk show that I host, or hosted, I said I felt Rather should either retire or be forced out over this," said Brian Maloney, whose weekly "The Brian Maloney Show" aired for three years on KIRO-AM Radio, a CBS affiliate here.

Maloney says he made that statement on his Sept. 12 program. He was fired five days later on Friday, he said.

"What they have expressed is essentially that my show went in a direction they're not comfortable with," Maloney said.

KIRO Radio's general manager, Ken Berry, declined to return a call from The Associated Press about Maloney's status. A staff member at the station said Berry would not comment because it is a personnel matter.

From Maloney's perspective, the issue is memos cited by Rather in a Sept. 8 "60 Minutes II" segment, purportedly written by Bush's late squadron commander. The memos indicated the commander was pressured to "sugar coat" Bush's performance and that Bush ignored an order to take a physical.

Several document experts have said the memos look suspiciously like they were written on a computer, not a 1970s-era typewriter. Rather said Sept. 10 that there was no definitive evidence of forgery.

On Wednesday, the network said it would work harder to address concerns about the memos.

Maloney said he felt free to comment on the controversy and on Rather.

"I really felt he was taking the network's credibility down with him," Maloney said in a telephone interview.

"Talk-show hosts have generally had a lot of independence in these kinds of issues," he said. "Nobody's ever said, 'You can't criticize CBS News.'"

KIRO Radio is affiliated with CBS but owned by Entercom, a national radio broadcasting company based in Bala Cynwyd, Penn.