Who's Behind "Forward Rebels"?




Someone emailed me this column by Rick Cleveland of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Cleveland has some harsh things to say about the group, Forward Rebels, which has placed a number of full-page ads in his newspaper as well as the Commercial Appeal and other local papers.

As you probably know, the ads placed by Forward Rebels were highly critical of the Ole Miss administration, and in particular athletic director Pete Boone. As Cleveland points out, only one person has deigned to come forward and claim a personal affiliation with Forward Rebels, Oxford resident Lee Habeeb, so it's unclear whether the group has 100 members or just Lee Habeeb.

So who the heck is Lee Habeeb? Obviously, a disgruntled Ole Miss alum, right? Nope. Lee Habeeb is a magnate of right-wing talk radio, the man responsible for foisting Laura Ingraham on the world. He is now director of strategic content for the Salem Radio Network, whose clients include Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager.

According to his wikipedia page, Habeeb is quite the conservative firebrand. He is a columnist for Townhall.com, and:

Habeeb has also commissioned the creation of several hit YouTube videos, including a William F. Buckley video tribute just after the great conservative's death in February of 2008. During the 2008 presidential primary season, one of Habeeb's videos on Barack Obama's relationship with Pastor Jeremiah Wright titled "Is Obama Wright?"[6]

As Vice President of Content Development at Salem Radio Network, Habeeb was instrumental in drafting and developing the FreeOurHealthCareNow.com[7] petition, which was delivered to Congress on September 9, 2009 and covered on CBS Evening News, Fox News, CNBC and CSPAN.[8] He and Salem's team worked closely with one of America's leading think tanks, The National Center for Policy Analysis, and free market intellectual and economists Dr. John Goodman, on the petition.

Habeeb produced the video "Is Nationalized Health Care a Death Snare?" about the effects a government takeover of health care would have on both beginning of life and end of life issues.

So why this guy, who would seem to have better things to worry about, has it in for the Ole Miss athletic director is something of a mystery. Rick Cleveland seems to think it may have something to do with Boone's decision to eliminate Colonel Reb as a mascot. Or maybe Habeeb just hates black bears.

At any rate, I think if Habeeb and his Forward Rebels — an oxymoron if I've ever seen one — really want to get some advertising bang for his (their?) buck, I think they should buy a few full-page ads in the Memphis Flyer. We're the forward rebels around here, after all.

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