In a special interview, Friday morning on the Need to Know with Jeff Angelo Show – broadcast on Des Moines, Iowa’s Talk Radio WHO 1040 AM weekdays from 9:00 am to 11:00 am – host Jeff Angelo sat down with Michael Patrick Leahy, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Star News Digital Media and discussed the recent fake news New York Times article about the Tennessee Star and also Leahy’s reasons for being in Iowa for the Democratic events.
During the interview, Leahy expanded upon why Iowa was a great place to start the presidential election process because of it’s battleground state position and explained how it allowed people to get up close and personal with candidates.
He states: “And Iowa is a battleground state. It has been of sorts Democrat and it’s gone Republican in the past 40 years. It’s a good place to start. It’s small enough where every candidate can go out and talk to people. If you want to talk to a candidate for president and they are looking for your support here in Iowa you can talk to them.”
Angelo: Michael Patrick Leahy. He’s the CEO and editor and chief of Star News Digital Media which owns a family of state-focused news sites. That means liberals in the media don’t like him. (Laughs)
Leahy: Good morning Jeff. Not only do they not like us, but they smear us with false information as The New York Times did yesterday.
Angelo: Yeah, tell me a little bit about that. It’s so interesting for a person like you associated by the way with one of my heroes Andrew Breitbart.
Leahy: Yep. I write for Breitbart and continue to write for Breitbart and reporting for Breitbart about tonight’s event here in Des Moines. That’s one of the reasons I’m here.
Angelo: And you’re very upfront that your websites like the Tennessee Star.com are conservative websites. And man do you take some heat. Like what was the Times is saying about you.
Leahy: Well, they made a false claim that we’re not saying who we are. Now it was written by a professor of government and Ivy League. And of course I’m an Ivy Leaguer I must say but a reformed Ivy Leaguer. They claim that we don’t say who we are.
Well, it’s right there on our website. By the way, the guy didn’t call me. He didn’t ask for any comment. Didn’t contact me. So I sent him a nice little polite note, ‘Please correct the error you’ve made.’ And I doubt that I’ll hear back from him.
Angelo: So Michael, in talking to me just before we came on the air about this article, you pointed me to TennesseStar.com. There is an icon that says, ‘About Us.’ I clicked on it. And it says it is a state-focused conservative news site.
Leahy: Yeah, they don’t like that. (Angelo laughs) The New York Times doesn’t like it.
Angelo: Why are you here for a big Democratic event tonight?
Leahy: People who read Breitbart want to know about that and I cover that. And it turns out I have a good friend here in Iowa. A Democrat. Long-time Democrat. Well known by your listeners probably. Jim Larew. He was the chief of staff for former Governor Chet Culver. He’s been a Democrat for years and years.
He and I were roommates together in Washington, D.C. back in 1975. We went to the same Ivy League college, Harvard. He’s remained a Democrat. I’ve become a very conservative, limited government, Tea Party organizer. And we’ve gone different directions but we’re still friends. One of the things Jim and I are doing is putting a little podcast together.
He was on my show I broadcasted this morning, WHO, by morning Nashville show from your studios here to Nashville where we are talk radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC. Jim was with me in the studio for two hours and we talked about the Iowa Democratic caucuses, the event tonight. And also, the thing that troubles both of us which is how the country is increasingly divided.
And what can we do to have a dialogue so that we’re not divided? I think frankly the witch hunt impeachment resolution and the denial of the president’s due process rights that the Democrats that voted for it yesterday is driving a deeper wedge into the country.
Angelo: Well, we were told, it was quoted in the media yesterday. The media went back and dug up some quotes, “hey if we do a vote like this it’s going to be bi-partisan.”
Leahy: It wasn’t.
Angelo: Now we’re all supposed to forget about that.
Leahy: We’ll see how that plays out. It further divides the country. And Nashville Democrats really ought to be thinking about that. I was surprised that one of the presidential candidates, kind of lower-tier but a nice person from what I can tell, didn’t step up and vote against that.
That was Tulsi Gabbard. She didn’t do that. You’ve been able to get her on your program. But we’ve been trying to get her and she’s a little skeptical of being with someone who’s not a liberal and not in Iowa.
Angelo: We have the same issue in regard to, quite honestly. If Joe Biden wants to revive his campaign in Iowa he should come on WHO radio.
Leahy: I doubt he will.
Angelo: I know. As you said, I have of course great friends in the Democratic party here that are close to the Biden campaign. I talk to them all the time about getting him on. ‘Jeff, they say. We’re your best advocate. We’re talking to our people but those national folks they don’t like it.’ Now Tulsi’s been on here.
And she came on right after she changed her mind in regard to voting for the impeachment inquiry and answered my questions. And I’ll tell you, Michael, even if people are not going to vote for her because people in this audience are ideological conservatives they respected that. And they would respect Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Mayor Pete or anybody who wants to come on this station and chat with us.
Leahy: I’m surprised Mayor Pete hasn’t come on. I’m not surprised that Elizabeth Warren hasn’t come on. Because if you ask her the one question, ‘Why in 1984 did you claim to be a Native American when there’s zero evidence, zero zero, nada to support that. She’ll never answer that question.
Angelo: Right. So what are you looking for? As you said you’re going to go cover tonight. And I’m interested in your perspective because obviously it’s got to be exciting for a guy to come into Iowa, into the heart of the storm and see all that’s happening. I mean just initial impressions.
Leahy: I love Iowa. And I’ve driven through it a couple of times. I was here in 2016 covering the Iowa State Fair. Covered Ted Cruz when he was sort of on a boomlet at that time. I actually because of travel arrangements had to fly into Omaha, and then drive into Iowa.
So I’m driving back as the sun is setting from Omaha to Iowa and you just get chilled of how beautiful it is. Like an Andrew Wyeth portrait. And you just think man, I love America. I love Iowa. Iowa is such a great place and the people are so nice. And it’s an important state. I think it will be a battleground state in 2020.
You’ve got the four congressional races here. You got the senate race. I mean I think a lot of the 2020 outcome is going to be determined about what voters in Iowa do. I want to hear what Iowa voters think. Republicans. Democrats, and Independents. It’s important for me to be able to write about that. And our listeners in Tennesseee care about what Iowans think.
Angelo: Why? and I say that to you because of course, we get heat day after day. Why does Iowa have to go first all the time? But your saying look, the people you talk to in Tennessee, they do respect that Iowans go first.
Leahy: Absolutely. Earlier in my program, I was talking to Jim Larew from Iowa here about that very question. and it’s really first, why Iowa to have the first primary caucuses. At first, there has to be at least one state to start with. Of the 50 states, you want to start with a battleground state.
And Iowa is a battleground state. It has been of sorts Democrat and it’s gone Republican in the past 40 years. It’s a good place to start. It’s small enough where every candidate can go out and talk to people. If you want to talk to a candidate for president and they are looking for your support here in Iowa you can talk to them.
You can have a conversation with them. You can’t do that in California. You can’t do that in Texas. You can do that in New York! So I mean the number of states that would make sense to start this process out maybe five or six. Iowa is right in the middle of the country. Plus it has this long tradition and the infrastructure to create this 2000 or so caucuses. That’s a lot. you can’t do that from scratch. So I salute Iowa and I’m delighted to be here.
Angelo: Micheal Patrick Leahy from the TennesseeStar.com.
Listen to the full interview here:
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Photo “Jeff Angelo” by Need To Know With Jeff Angelo.