Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How many Richard Poplawski's Are Lee Rodgers and Brian Sussman trying to Create?

My friend David Neiwert has a new book out, "The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right." I'll be getting my copies from Amazon and then more from my local book seller when they arrive in stores.

I was reading his site today where he talks about Richard Poplawski. He's the guy who killed the three cops in Pennsylvania. Based on some stories I've read about Poplawski, I could tell he would be a big fan of Lee Rodgers and Brian Sussman--the hosts of radio programs on KSFO (Which is owned by ABC Radio, which is owned by Citadel Broadcasting whose majority shareholder is Disney).

Richard Andrew Poplawski was a young man convinced the nation was secretly controlled by a cabal that would eradicate freedom of speech, take away his guns and use the military to enslave the citizenry.
- Post-Gazette Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I could put some quotes from Sussman and Rodgers here saying exactly those kinds of things (and I might later), but they don't see that they have any role to play in this case, or in any of the shootings. It's as if they both own and deny their power at the same time. When they are selling products it's all, "Hey, listeners do what we say! They buy your products!" (Of course if they are telling people your product sucks like they did for DishTV, Marriott, all American airlines except Southwest and cable tv, well that's another story)

But when it comes to their suggestions for violent actions, why WOULDN'T people listen to them then?

And what we know from experience about volatile, unstable actors like them is that they can be readily induced into violent action by hateful rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes other people. And thanks to human nature and those same freedoms, we will certainly always have fearmongering demagogues among us. But the purveyors of such profoundly irresponsible rhetoric need to be called on it -- especially when they hold the nation's media megaphones.
David Neiwert - Orcinus
Since I've become number 4 on the Richard Poplawski search I thought I would provide some actual quotes from Rodgers and Sussman in case they think I'm making this up.

1) Lee Rodgers and Jed Babbin talking right after the election in 2008, "I have no idea how you are fixed in the fire arms department. I have two guns myself, and I come from the Charlton Heston school, "From my cold dead hand" They then proceed to compare sizes of guns. It was important that Babbin let Rodgers know how big his gun was and how he had trained with Blackwater. Gee guys why don't you just whip 'em out and get it over with. Who has the biggest? Lee or Jed? (Biggest gun, that is.) This conversation was on election day 2008 (audio link)

2) Brian Sussman talking to caller Randy. Taking about the possibily that Sussman raises earlier in the program of Obama coming to take away guns.

Caller Randy: "If they come to take my guns, I'll give it to them, but I'll give it to 'em after I give them all my ammo."


Sussman: "I don't use my gun for hunting, if you know what I mean."

Randy: "I know exactly what you mean"-KSFO Listener Randy, 11/27/08
(audio link)

Listen to caller Randy. The next Richard Poplawski? Listen to Sussman's reaction and encouragement.

(Sussman is SO subtle, he wants his listeners to understand the connection between Obama being elected and how he uses his gun. Wink. Wink.)

ATTN: KSFO advertisers from Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota. The Citadel Broadcasting Corporation encourages these men, you pay their salaries. Read what Jim Adkisson said in his manifesto then compare that to what Lee Rodgers or Brian Sussman have said on the air for years. If caller Randy becomes the next Richard Poplawski we will be sure to remind you that you have been funding the "fearmongering demagogues" at KSFO. Remember, a dead customer can't buy your cars.

So after Poplawski kills the armed policemen, people looked through his posting history on the web and looked at what he reads. Do they know what he listened to? Heck for all we know caller "Randy" could have been Richard. KSFO loves to brag about how they are listened to all over the country.

I often wonder what it would take for Citadel Broadcasting to take any meaningful action on Rodgers or Sussman. It's a pretty sweet gig for them. They can:
  • Call for the death of specific individuals, groups, religions, races and entire countries
  • Call people commies, Stalinists, socialists and terrorists with no basis in reality
  • Insult the advertisers
  • Attack their advertiser's potential customers
  • Mock their advertisers
  • Tell factually incorrect information and never have to correct themselves
All this and they still keep getting that juicy paycheck.

And you know who they have to thank for all this? Liberals. The people that they hate and want to kill have ignored them for years. In some cases they helped support them, maybe they never thought it would get this bad.

I just had a brilliant email conversation with someone recently and she says that she never listens to these people and was of course appalled by what I told them they say. I told her what I was did and she was pleased at my approach. As David Neiwert said, "the purveyors of such profoundly irresponsible rhetoric need to be called on it."

Inside Baseball On Talk Radio Business for People who Care, everyone else can stop at the paragraph above.

If I was looking at this from the male conservative point of view I would say to Lee Rodgers and Brian Sussman's boss , "They made you their bitch!" Think about it. They are embarrassing the owners on the national and international stage. And you just KNOW there is male posturing going on behind the scenes.

The hosts have openly defied multiple company policies, pissed off advertisers and lost revenue. Remember those employees from KGO that got laid off? Do you think that maybe they might have kept their jobs if KGO didn't have to carry KSFO when they lost all that money? You know that the management will never break out that data, they might have a riot on their hands.

"Are you telling me that because those jerks lost all that money for the stupid things they said, *I* have to lose my job! WTF!? Explain to me again why we have to subside them? They sure as hell wouldn't have subsided us. They would say that, "the marketplace has decided!" and cut us loose the second we didn't make our numbers."
Conservatives are quick to expect profitability unless it's their money losing operation. And management can't let anyone go when they are under heat because it would make them look weak. And for KSFO/KGO management it is all about not looking weak. The hosts really appreciate you standing by them as they lose more and more advertisers.

I'm sure the KGO laid off employees appreciated the big picture, that KGO has to subsidize KSFO so that the Republicans, instead of paying for ads like any other vendor, can have their own free private radio station. Is it any wonder that the state republican party operatives are on all the time? It's free for them! They even get free plugs for their PACs.

Yeah, yeah "the invisible hand of the marketplace" the conservatives will cry, but conservatives really want either a straight subsidy or a monopoly that they paid for via lobbying. "We bought our monopoly fair and square! It's much easier to bury the funding of RW talk radio when you have hundreds of other stations carrying you. It's also easier to hide the lobbying money when you can siphon $20,000 per station to send directly to K street lobbyists.

I don't know the internal politics. Maybe Farid Suleman was fine with KSFO losing money. Maybe this is part of his master plan to take the network private. Maybe he wants to file bankruptcy so that he can break union contracts. I wonder if the hosts will scream when that happens. "I HAVE A CONTRACT!" Hmm, you weren't so noisy when it was happening to the auto workers union. I guess it depends on whose ox is getting gored. (Gored! Like Al Gore! Get it? It's a joke!)

Did you know that many of the people in broadcast radio are in unions? Brian Sussman hates being in a union even though they have provided him with numerous protections. Did you know that if Sussman got fined for an obscenity HE personally doesn't have to pay the fine? The station does. Did you know who made sure the company and not the DJ had to pay the fine? The union. The earlier draft of the rules would have applied the fine directly to the radio host. And then those $350,000 fines that the Christian Right created to get to Howard Stern would have applied directly to him. But thanks to the Union, KSFO would have to pay the fine.

But of course if Citadel filed for bankruptcy and then asked for concessions from their union members I'm sure he would totally be cool with it. In fact, this might be a wish come true for him. Citadel could break those pesky union contracts with the broadcasters so they can keep the station operating! Maybe he could go freelance like Rush or Sean! Woot!

I'm sure the Conservative talk radio host won't complain if a Citadel bankruptcy happens. But I wonder if they will offer to give some of their salary to keep some of those union engineers employed? Let me think about it.

As Enid, said to Melora in Ghost world. Yeah... That'll definitely happen.

UPDATED 4-8-2009 to add audio clips.


Blogger DareDiego1967 said...

I sometimes leave email's on Rodgers' box where I give him a reality check , but then my computer gets attacked , I read of several other people critical of KSFO in the net whose computers are infected with malware. He is a bitter , angry , howard stern wannabe shoy jock , and I commend you for having the balls to stand up to him.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

I wonder how the demographics of KSFO shape up?

'a crueler demographic point. The dirty little secret of conservative talk radio is that the average age of listeners is 67 and rising, according to Sinton—the Fox News audience, likewise, is in its mid-60s: “What sort of continuing power do you have as your audience strokes out?”'


10:51 AM  
Blogger dave™© said...

Great post! More "inside baseball," please! One thing I'd like to know is, what's the ramifications of KSFO's slipping position due to Arbitron's "revised" method of calculating ratings? They're not even in the Top Ten now - have their ad rates dropped?

7:04 AM  

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