Voices of Experience

Don Imus’ recent tussle with a toy-gun-toting nanny came as a timely reminder that many of the radio hosts and television pundits preachifying on the airwaves have enough personal baggage to fill a jetliner. To help with the healing process, we lined up a few on-air pontificators with entries from their real-world dossiers.

VOICE: “Everybody should have a shotgun. I do."--Don Imus, host of “Imus in the Morning,” a syndicated radio show simulcast on MSNBC

EXPERIENCE: A former nanny sued the radio and television personality in December, claiming he chased her off his New Mexico ranch in the middle of the night and trashed her on his radio show after becoming upset about a small knife that she carried on her belt and a cap pistol she had brought to the ranch for his 6-year-old son.

VOICE: “Every clear-thinking American knows [President Clinton] lied to avoid losing a sexual-harassment lawsuit. It cost him millions of dollars. But there are millions of Americans who simply don’t care and who will attack me and others like me for telling the truth about the president."--Bill O’Reilly, host of “The Radio Factor With Bill O’Reilly” and host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel


EXPERIENCE: O’Reilly reached an out-of-court settlement in October with Andrea Mackris, a decades-younger producer who claimed that O’Reilly tormented her with unwanted phone sex.

VOICE: “There is no way the people of this country who are earning and producing the wealth should have that wealth transferred and have it go up somebody’s nose or in somebody’s wrist. Drug testing works."--Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk radio host of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” and former television host, in 1996

EXPERIENCE: In October 2003, Limbaugh announced on his radio program that he was addicted to pain medication and was checking into a treatment center.

VOICE: “I don’t care about Hillary Clinton and her book. I think it’s kind of funny that it’s one-two with ‘Harry Potter’ [on the bestseller list], because I view both of them as fiction."--Mike Barnicle, MSNBC contributor, occasional guest host for Chris Matthews on “Hardball” and Boston Herald columnist


EXPERIENCE: Barnicle resigned from the Boston Globe in August 1998 when editors could find no evidence that two young cancer victims he described in a 1995 column existed, and after the Boston Herald disclosed similarities between another Barnicle column and jokes in a 1997 book by comedian George Carlin.

VOICE: “If you and I are working together and something goes wrong, you and I ought not to have to worry about each other. That is the distinction between a rat, which is what I would be if I were telling on you, and a witness."--G. Gordon Liddy, radio host of “The G. Gordon Liddy Show” and actor, on “Larry King Live” in 1992

EXPERIENCE: The onetime counsel to the Nixon reelection campaign served more than four years in prison for helping arrange the Watergate break-ins and refusing to testify about the events that ignited the Watergate scandal and led to President Nixon’s 1974 resignation.