Where Were You When
Cloak And Dagger Was Killed?

By Michael Posner
The conspiracy spouting radio show is off the air. The producers say Bush told Martin to pull the plug and Mulroney finished it off...
The plug has been pulled on Cloak and Dagger, Toronto's top-rated, late-night conspiracy radio talk show. Not surprisingly, its producers are claiming it's all a conspiracy.
Independent producer Nelson Thall says he was notified by MOJO 640 program director Scott Armstrong last week that the station (CFMJ) had decided to replace Cloak and Dagger -- the highest-rated show in its Thursday, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., time slot, according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement -- with a comedy show.
But Thall isn't buying the official rationale. He thinks the show, which explores alleged conspiracies that include the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the deaths of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Princess Diana, and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, was "upsetting people in high places."
"I'm a modern-day Howard Beale," he said, alluding to the star of the 1976 movie Network. "They killed my show because our ratings are too high. We did our job too well, revealing state secrets the shadow government doesn't want you to know."
Indeed, he goes further. Thall says he spoke last week with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, who told him that George W. Bush -- one of Cloak and Dagger's frequent targets -- had told Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to take the show off the air.
According to Thall: "When Martin met Bush at Monterrey in Mexico last month, Bush told him he would not sign any agreement about oil concessions to Canada unless he got rid of Cloak and Dagger."
Tom Hennigan, a regular guest on the show, and a friend of Gore's, confirmed that he was told by "someone very close to Gore" that Bush made this demand at Monterrey. Hennigan appeared Monday night on Thall's new Internet edition of Cloak and Dagger, on which he alleged that former prime minister Brian Mulroney also had a hand in bumping the program.
Melanie Gruer, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa, says flatly that "the subject of Cloak and Dagger never once came up in their discussions" in Monterrey.
Meanwhile, MOJO program director Armstrong maintains the decision to cancel Cloak and Dagger was his alone. The rationale, he says, was poor ratings, combined with "other research we do, information we gather."
Armstrong declined to cite specific numbers from the December BBM survey that indicated the show's poor performance. "As you know, ratings can be interpreted any number of ways."
But in the demographic that Armstrong identifies as MOJO's prime audience -- males aged 25-54 -- the last BBM survey, taken last fall, makes Cloak and Dagger the city's highest-rated show in the late-night time slot, with a share of 1.9. It did more than respectably in a broader 18-49 category as well.
Armstrong says Cloak and Dagger is being replaced not with comedy, but with the Thursday night edition of Coast-to-Coast, a U.S.-produced seven-nights-a-week show that occasionally mines the same conspiratorial vein. This is the same show that Cloak and Dagger replaced when it went on the air more than a year ago.
Armstrong says the decision to displace Coast to Coast with Cloak and Dagger was made before his arrival at the station. Now Coast to Coast is being bumped to an earlier time slot: He is buying an American comedy for the 2-5 a.m. period. The station is keeping two other, late-night conspiracy-related shows, Richard Syrett on Friday nights and Spaceman Saturday.
Even if the U.S. President played no role in the cancellation of Cloak and Dagger, it's not hard to understand why he might be annoyed with the show.
The show routinely alludes to the President and his father, George Bush, as "the Bush crime family;" charges that the White House not only knew in advance about the attack on the World Trade Center, but actively organized it; maintains that cruise missiles, not airplanes, actually hit the WTC in Manhattan (the planes seen on television and by eyewitnesses were high-tech holograms); and that George W. Bush is a practising homosexual and the long-time partner of Victor Ash, mayor of Knoxville, Tenn.
Thall says he has received dozens of e-mails from loyal listeners outraged at the show's cancellation. Several also voiced their displeasure in writing to Armstrong.
Thall notes that MOJO is replacing Cloak and Dagger, a show that "cost it nothing" -- neither co-host, the pseudonymous Lenny Bloom and Sleeper, is paid -- with a show that will have to be paid for.
And he said his Cloak and Dagger website is averaging a million hits a day -- evidence of the concept's popularity.
Its cancellation, he says, has "nothing to do with ratings, and everything to do with whom it offended."
The turning point, he believes, was putting former German cabinet minister Andreas von Bulow on the air. The author of The CIA and the 11th of September, International Terror and the Role of the Secret Services, von Bulow alleges that 9/11 was a self-inflicted wound organized by the Bush administration in order to provide a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the Arabs were merely the unwitting patsies.
On the air, von Bulow said that to hijack four airplanes virtually simultaneously within a few minutes, and fly them into targets within an hour, was unthinkable, without years of support from state intelligence services.
© 2004 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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