Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lee Rodgers Fired from KSFO

Lee Rodgers was fired from KSFO on February 18th 2010. He didn't retire.

*UPDATE* Greetings Radio Wave readers! Below is some inside baseball info about the Rodger's firing. One thing that you should note is that there are no incentives (in fact there are probably restrictions and punishments) for Jack Swanson to tell you the whole story.
Whereas I can provide documentation from advertisers who pulled their ads.

I also read the financial documents that Citadel puts out. I knew that they lost money in SF after my advertiser alert program back in 2007. One insider told me they lost millions in reoccurring revenue. The accountants at Citadel said they lost money in SF (p. 37), that's a documented fact. Citadel only has two properties in SF. KGO and KSFO. Which one do you think lost so much money that they decided to get rid of Melanie Morgan? Could it have been a general ad slump? Sure, but losing 28 advertisers is losing 28 advertisers. Them might have gotten others back, but at the same rates? They lost four more in 2009 because of my efforts. You can believe the documented evidence and SEC documents that Citadel is required to put out or the comments of the people not retained/fired and their former managers.

Previously I postulated some possible reasons why Rodgers was fired. You should also know that Rodgers has now gone to his union, AFTRA, to pursue his case. But unless Rodger's case comes before a judge and it goes into the public record we will never know all the contributing reasons for Rodgers getting fired 4 and 1/2 months before his contract expired.

I would LOVE for this to go to court. I want to see the evidence so that the mainstream press can authoritatively report on the impact my campaign to alert advertisers had on KSFO. My concept was that when advertisers hear the kind of violent rhetoric and bigotry that come out of the mouths of these hosts they will chose not to associate their brands with them.

As it stands right now everyone involved can say what ever they want, we have no way of confirming anything. I can confirm the 32 advertisers who left KSFO in 2006, 2007 and 2009 (I was occupied elsewhere in 2008) but I can't measure the ad buyers who decided not to advertise so as not to subject their client to potential vicious comments of the hosts. Yes, some came back, and they got some new ones, but following what I discovered from the advertisers who pulled their ads in 2009, sometimes they don't even know they are advertising on KSFO.

What does that tell you about the reputation of a radio station when the advertisers have to be tricked to be on the station? Based on that information I'll bet that right now there are ad buyers making media buys with ad reps of KGO who will then turn around and slip onto the Brian Sussman show on KSFO. I'm sure some buyers will be surprised their product is cozied up to the anti-gay rights, pro-torture Sussman.

Spinning in the Media and following HR Rules
KSFO management can tell Joe Garofoli one thing and Lee Rodgers another. Joe can call Citadel management and they can decline to comment. Rodgers can spin the story with weasel words like "to my knowledge.." Citadel probably has contract rules that forbid them from giving the real reasons to outsiders. As many of us know, blaming lower revenues is an easy out to avoid HR wrongful dismissal problems. ( The ol' "It's not you, it's ME!" trick of breaking up with someone when you don't want to say "It's YOU, not me. You are a sick demented human and I want out of this relationship.")

When Imus was fired he turned around and sued for wrongful dismissal and won. Citadel ended up hiring Imus, so they might be trying to avoid that mistake and just blame it on overall lower revenue. Lying in the face of evidence to the contrary is something that the hosts have no problem with. I'm reminded of when Melanie Morgan claimed that exactly one advertiser left KSFO after my advertiser alert program. The Chronicle documented four of them at the time and other media outlets, like Media Post, documented others (such as Fed Ex). Morgan was contradicted with facts right in Joe's articles.

And of course KSFO/KGO/Citadel aren't going to open up their books to the Chronicle to verify any of this, why would they?

I can give myself credit for Rodgers getting fired based on the hard evidence I have, but I'm very aware that there is more to it and we may never know the whole story. What do the lawyers say? "Don't assume facts not in evidence." I'm smart enough to know the whole story is more complex. Maybe he flipped out after his bosses told him to tone it down regarding calling for the genocide of Iraqis. Maybe he just couldn't handle a memo from ABC News saying that they don't appreciate being called liars, leftist propagandists and Presidential butt kissers following their news casts on his show.

Follow The Revenue Stream

Citadel generates almost all their revenue from advertisers. Having great ratings with few advertisers is not a winning combination unless your management is willing to subsidize you.

Now some companies ARE willing to subsidize ultra right-wing views if they can point to a greater ROI in the future or if they consider it an investment in their long term goals. For example, Glenn Beck has lost 81 advertisers thanks to my friends at Color of Change who used the same methods with him as I did with KSFO hosts. Right now Fox is subsidizing Beck. I had hoped that some of the NewsCorp investors would have asked Mr. Murdock when Beck will stop losing money and start making money. Rupert and Roger Ailes might decide that they can afford to subsidize Beck for years because his rants are in line with their political goals. They can afford little or no revenue from his show because it doesn't cost a lot to produce and they like the PR.

Citadel Broadcasting isn't in the same situation. They took on tremendous debt to acquire ABC Radio from Disney and the broadcast licenses they held. They needed all the stations to keep cranking out the revenue like they did under the Disney/ABC brand so they could service the debt. (BTW, most people don't know that when the deal was done Disney became the majority shareholder in Citadel. )

Citadel couldn't afford to lose dozens of advertisers as well as scare away new potential advertisers. In 2007 KSFO lost 28 advertisers because of the advertiser alert program I organized. They lost four more in 2009. Those loses had to be absorbed by someone and since they couldn't take it out of my hide (when they threatened to sue me for "everything I've got") that needed to be dealt with somehow.

If you know who is responsible for losing business you might want to do something about that person. The management at ABC/KSFO decided that instead of telling Rodgers, Morgan, Sussman and "Officer Vic" to cool it when talking about hanging, torturing and electrocuting journalists, liberals, Democrats and Muslims they would shut me up.

I know that I'm not the only one who made the case to his advertisers and management that he is more of a liability than an asset. Right now some of the right wing blogs are suggesting that "the Islamists" are responsible for this. I'd love to see their evidence. If they want to see what impact groups of like-minded religious people can have on a right-wing radio host they don't have to make stuff up, but can look to my friends at who cost Michael Savage 18 advertisers. Of course Savage turned around and sued one member of the group, CAIR, for the same bogus copyright violation that ABC/Disney attempted to use to shut down my blog. Of course because they followed my methods correctly and the guidelines for fair use, Savage lost his case.

The market had spoken, advertisers didn't want to taint their brand with Savage's vicious rants.

I've read people defending Rodgers. They say they support his comments. I asked them:

Really? You support him suggesting that we “massacre every last damn one” of the people in Iraq? You support that?

Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ? Can you quote me some New Testament from the synoptic gospels, or authentic sayings of our lord where he believes that we should committee genocide? I’m not talking about Old Testament or words put into Jesus’ mouth by Paul or other members of the early Church. I’m talking about the Jesus who told us parables of loving your neighbor and to not return evil to evil. (If you want to quote scripture Luke 6:27-36 )

If not a Christian, what moral system do you subscribe to? If you brought this comment to your pastor, rabbi, guru or your minister and said, “I think we should massacre every last damn person in Iraq would he say, ‘Good for you! That’s exactly what Jesus, Abraham or Buddha would want! Please tell me when you are going to drop the nukes on them so I can come along and supervise the killing of millions of innocents.'”

Rodgers might show up in syndication if he finds a sugar daddy like Melanie Morgan did with The Rev. Moon via the money losing Washington Times. He might even get one of those right wing think tanks to fund him. After all, he gave them years of exposure. It is more likely that his usefulness is over until he can deliver an audience again.

Since I started my campaign in 2006 two of the three hosts that I focused on at KSFO are gone. What I'm most proud of is that there was a financial impact because, as we all know, in the corporate world losing money is the biggest sin and when the money people are disappointed things happen.

Melanie Morgan's contract with KSFO wasn't renewed. Lee Rodgers was fired. Brian Sussman is still there and has stepped into the morning show spot. As my friend Dave (tm) said "we welcome the increased scrutiny he will get."

I want people to know that my strategy, methods and tactics have been successful. It is possible to fight the right-wing media on the only battlefield most corporations care about.

I'm reminded of a quote by Gandhi that gave me a lot of comfort during this long process.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."

Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why did Lee Rodgers get Canned from KSFO?

Yesterday was Lee Rodgers last day at KSFO, but he didn’t know it. The management at KSFO learned their lesson when they canned Michael Krasny and let him go on the air one last time. Mickey Luckoff and Jack Swanson weren’t going to let that happen again, so, just like Swanson did with his wife, Melanie Morgan, he dismissed Rodgers after he went off the air. If it was a gracious retirement they would have done a phase out over a longer period.

A bland statement is issued, Brian Sussman is moved to the morning show in a “natural transition” But what is the REAL reason? The media can ask management the reasons but they have no obligation to give real answers and have a history of not answering real questions anyway.

If this is about money, why didn't they say that?

Rodgers might have been canned for multiple reasons and by hiding these reasons they get to keep the myth alive that right-wing radio featuring violent rhetoric is a good business. They don't want to give anyone real data because it would reveal the mess that is consolidated media in America or the battle of male egos within KSFO/KGO management.

Is this about the massive debt that Citadel took on? If that is the reason then why get rid of a money maker? Maybe he wasn't making as much money as they wanted. Is this about advertisers that won't advertise on Rodger's show?

Could it be Sussman is that much cheaper to put on than Rodgers? I don't think Citadel realizes what a financial liability Sussman actually is to the station. They see his salary and don't see the advertisers who walked away from him? Should I remind them again to the ones who left in 2009 because of Sussman? I haven't been focusing on KSFO for a while but it won't take much to start alerting advertisers again.

I wonder if some other personal thing happening? Did Rodgers finally flip out like he did in October 16 2009? On that show he threatened to "quit this stupid job" and then said "We've got some of the dumbest damn people on the planet working here." when he had some technical problems. Maybe Swanson called him on his bluff. Listen to the audio clip. (MP3 version)

Could Swanson be making way for his wife to return? Seeing as her thyroid problems aren't cancerous, she might be available again.

I think it is important to learn the real reasons that Rodgers was canned. If anyone wants to fight right-wing media we need to know what has an impact on them.

I've been working with the folks at Color of Change recently and it is interesting how the mainstream media don't want to talk about how Glenn Beck lost 81 advertisers. Someone at Fox is now subsidizing his show. He is a MONEY LOSER and they won't talk about it because net revenues are covering for the loss of advertising on his shows.

Now maybe Citadel expected KSFO to generate money and didn't get the memo that even if the station loses money they are still supposed to keep funding it (like Murdock does) in order to get the ideology out. You may recall that one reason that KSFO was set up by Luckoff was to protect KGOs right flank.

Melanie Morgan figured this out and went to the Moon people-- who lose millions on the Washington Times every single year-- to keep her in bedazzler sweat pants.

Will Rodgers show up again? I wonder who will take him on? Maybe the same people who took on Savage. Whoever hires him would be wise to actually listen to what he says and not just the euphemisms like "Cranky" or "vituperative" that the media use to describe him.

Here's Rodgers for the genocide of everyone in Iraq.

"You people do what ever you want to each other and [Iraq] just don't give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you." (audio link) longer link MP3

And here he is calling for the death of millions of Muslims in Indonesia

"Indonesia is really just another enemy Muslim nation. ... You keep screwing around with stuff like this we are going to kill a bunch of you. Millions of you."

(audio link)
If you need a comparison of who Rodgers is like, think about other people who talked about wanting to massacre and kill millions of people because of their nationality or religion.
I have a few names in mind.

Hey advertisers, are these the people you want selling your products? Do you really want to associate your brand with these people? Right-wing radio hosts are not a safe haven for your dollars in your attempt to reach an audience. They will bring you down into the gutter with them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Village: The Sally Quinn Story

Here's part of my screenplay, The Village, soon to be a minor motion picture.

Sally Quinn left her party for the kitchen. She was checking on the catering staff.

"What the HELL are you thinking!" she hissed.

"The bacon wrapped figs are FALLING APART! Tight. Tight. TIGHT! You have to roll them tight. If the bacon is too crisp throw it away and get another piece. If I spot one more hors d'oeuvre falling apart you are fired. Don't forget I brought down D.C. Delights Catering and I can bring you down too. "

The staff practically fell to their knees to grovel. "Yes, Mrs. Bradley. Of course Mrs. Bradley. We will do better Mrs. Bradley. We are so sorry. It won't happen again."

"See that it doesn't." she said then turned to leave the kitchen. Right before she opened the door into the great room she paused, took a breath and smiled.

One of the staff had looked down and didn't realize Quinn had paused to put on her Hostess face. She whispered to a friend. "Puta"

Quinn whipped her head around. "Bitch?! You call me a bitch in MY home?" Her voice got tight as she snapped out each word. "Come. Here." as she made a motion with her hand.

The caterer, Margarita, stepped in front of the staff member to apologize for her.

"No. Not you. Her." as she pointed to the woman who called her a bitch.

Maria stepped forward to face Quinn.

"I brought down a President who disrespected me. I stopped Hillary from becoming President. How dare you call me names in my own home?"

Maria figured she was already as good as deported. She looked at the tiny woman, with her perfect hair, wild eyes and lipstick leaking into the fine lines around her mouth.

"Because it is true." she said. "You are a bad woman with a dark heart. Nobody loves you. They fear you, but no one will care if you die. You husband was here in the kitchen before you squeezing my ass and rubbing against me. So even the one who gives you power hates you, but is afraid of you."

Quinn snapped out her hand and slapped her.

"I will destroy you, you bitch! I'll kill you!"

The kitchen door swung open and Ben Bradley's head popped in, "Sally, what's the hold up? Dr. Gupta wants to talk with you."

"Coming sweetie" she crooned. Then she turned to the caterer, Margarita. "She's fired. See me after the party." she stopped at the door, paused, put on her hostess face, then pushed through the swinging door.

Annette, a late addition to the catering staff, reached into her pocket to check her iPod. Good, the light was still on, it was all recorded. "Sally Quinn isn't the only person who has power in this city" she thought. The exchange will be at the heart of her new book. 'The D.C. Caterer Chronicles' for Putnum. She wondered who would play her in the movie. If Selma Hayek is too old for the part, maybe she could get Penelope Cruz.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

On Sick Talk Radio Hosts

It has been reported that Melanie Morgan has left her syndicated radio program due to health issues.

Rush Limbaugh recently had chest pains while in Hawaii.

Following the events people made comments. Then the hosts commented on the comments.

The comments are used by the hosts to judge the character of the people commenting. It is very easy to find nasty comments to support your view that the left is heartless and mean. But you won't find me rejoicing over someone's illness, that's not who I am.

We have been judging the character of the hosts based on what they have been saying for years. I'm often astonished how many people on the left still give the right wing hosts the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their violent and hateful comments. I can point to many mean-spirited comments these hosts have made over the years. Comments where they wish physical harm to befall others. Like the time Morgan said, "Hang 'em!" about the news media who wrote stories on the Treasury department program to track terrorist financial data. [ audio link]

The editors Ms. Morgan wanted dead included Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson who wrote the June 23, 2006 story on the topic. Of course Morgan now has been advised by her lawyer to pretend she never said that. They have her repeat a comment about Bill Keller and include the phrase, "If tried and convicted." Calling for journalists to be lynched without a trial is not cool.

When I play them those clips they often say, "It's all an act. They don't really believe what they are saying. They are just doing it for money." Why do they say that? I think it is because they don't want to believe that someone could be that nasty without an incentive. It also has to do with a point of view where people are basically good and if they are doing bad things there is a reason (not always a good reason, but a reason none-the-less).

One characteristic of the left is empathy. It is a trait that many right-wing authoritarians lack. They have turned empathy into a weakness. Especially empathy for those outside of your immediate tribe.

People who suffer from certain health related issues often say, 'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." That is human empathy in action. What is interesting (in an almost pathological way) is how expressions of empathy are dismissed in the race to find comments that support the X v. Y narrative.

Empathy for others on the left has been used as a club by the right to marginalize us. What they don't get is that empathy is a great strength. What is especially sick and bizarre is when people on the Right who call themselves Christians reject attempts to see others as our neighbors. Anne Lamott said it best, "You know you have created God in your image when He hates all the same people you do."

All this talk about empathy doesn't mean that I don't still push back against the violent rhetoric, bigotry and mendacity on the right. But having someone drop out of the picture because of unrelated heath reasons is a bit like an un-earned run. Then there is self-caused health reasons.

Rush lost his hearing in 2001. We don't know the real reason since the stated reason, "hearing loss resulting from autoimmune inner ear disease," or AIED is very similar to hearing loss from drug use. There were allegations that Limbaugh had abused one of the drugs previously identified as causing hearing loss. Do you think that Limbaugh would use the system to purposely hide the true cause of his hearing loss? Of course he would. And if anyone in the media actually asked him some real questions and he gave some real answers we would know the truth. But Hollywood celebrity rules apply to right-wing talk radio hosts.

What the future holds will be interesting. We know that because of privacy laws people don't have to tell the truth about health issues. I'm fine with that. However, if we find out that someone is using "health challenges" to cover other significant reasons I think we can learn even more about the character of all the people involved.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Zombie Reagan to head Republican Party

In a related story, what do zombie vegetarians eat?


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Time to Commeditize WingNuts on Welfare

We need a new bubble.

I'm going to do my part and suggest a new class of assets to build on, commoditize and then leverage it 30-1 to sell off to investors in the giant pool of money. (Of course commeditizing is funnier, but I digress)

WingNuts on Welfare Celebrities Index Fund or WOWCIF.

First, you should know that the math behind this is VERY VERY complicated and can't be understood by humans. Vulcans created these and they are like 390 years ahead of humans in math. This will ensure that no one questions them, just like the CDSs.

The underlying assets in the WOWCIF are KNOWN producers. But the best part of this is that the producers can never fail. Even if they work hard to fail, like getting arrested for "doctor shopping" or taking so many drugs they lose their hearing, they are constantly propped up! As my friends in the UK might say, "They are safe as houses" (or at least the payments for the houses).

We would assemble all the WingNut welfare celebrities and package them to sell to Wall Street and the people running the Giant Pool of Money. We put some A list WingNut celebrities in the package with a bunch of B and C listers. Since even the lamest celebrities from the AEI and the Heritage Foundation are on TV and writing best selling books, there is a pretty big supply of these folks.

The very best part of this scheme is that like housing prices, these people's careers always go up. They are the definition of failing up. Like home prices under the cheap money polices of the FED, their success only ever goes in one direction. The market is fixed for them. When they are wrong they still get to be on TV. When they write unreadable books they still sell millions. The beauty of this deal is that the people keeping these WingNuts On Welfare Celebrities afloat are the same ones who are shopping around for something else to invest in. They are happy to sucker their fellow GPOM members.

Unlike sports celebrities or Democratic celebrities they will be propped up and protected, no matter how hideous their behavior or how vile their speech. The least the people who run the Giant Pools of Money can do is take advantage of how they defy the laws of the "free market".

Of course I won't get credit for this brilliant idea. I'm used to it. I have lots of great ideas, but it is implementation that is key. The GPOM members could thank me for the ideas with some highly paid speaking engagements. I'll beam down for the right fee, not all of us can be on WingNut Welfare.

(Photo from Crafty Sam, who is simply a Detroit Redwing fan and may or may not be a Wingnut Welfare Celebrity. Since my friend Libby is in Detroit I don't want to sully the good name of the Redwings.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lou Dobbs out at CNN!

This was great news!

I was listening to Lee Rodgers last week screaming about how we should kick all Muslims out of the country. This is as bad or worse than the kind of comments that Dobbs would make. When Rodgers says stuff like that or says that we should massacre every one in Iraq he likes to make a comment right afterward. He usually makes an attack on CAIR. Something about them taking notes and how they will probably have some kind of email campaign to try and get him fired and how it never works. He of course doesn't bother to mention just how much his bigotry and violent rhetoric has cost the station. Does he ever wonder why he isn't allowed to read certain commercials anymore?

A year after Melanie Morgan was let go and she was back filling in for Officer Vic on a vacation. Rodgers made some comment about how long they had been on the air and how the liberals hadn't stopped the program. He was just oblivious to the fact that Morgan got canned because of the money that KSFO had lost. And he was partly responsible for the lost revenue along with Morgan, Sussman and Officer Vic. He probably believed the line that the new parent company was not singling her out but cutting all over because of a revenue drop company. I can read a financial statement even if he can't. I saw that Citadel mentioned the money they lost in San Francisco. There are only two stations in San Francisco owned by Citadel. KGO and KSFO. You don't call out a city for losing money if you are MAKING money in that city.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he was mentioning all the reasons that Rodgers will never be fired. It's not because he's good or gets high ratings (like KGO hosts) it's because he is not important enough or high profile enough to be fired. He is being ignored.

He is kept in place by KGO management because they don't want an "outsider" to compete with KGO. Also, since he won't go on TV like Morgan his profile is low. He won't be quoted in newspapers either, so his outrageous comments are marginalized into the radio ether. I was doing him a favor by exposing him but I didn't mind because I knew it was costing the station advertisers. There really is such a thing as bad PR.

It is fun to make Rodgers jump through hoops though. I have been able to make sure that he has stopped attacking the journalists at ABC radio. The big bad Lee Rodgers won't admit it, but you will note how after I wrote the people at ABC radio and noted to them how he is calling all their journalists liars and buttkissers he has stopped calling them out by name. So much for his comments that nobody can tell him what to say and what not to say on his radio program. He just as to admit that the liberals and the journalists that he hates so much actual DO have power over him. It must really eat at him that a "crackpot with a keyboard" has any influence over him.

I supposed if we wanted to we could get him fired, but he's really not worth it. I'd rather show more and more advertisers just how bad he is for there brand. Loss of revenue is really what matters to corporations. Or I might just ignore him. He will hide out in Arizona screaming about the quality of his phone lines and the incompetent engineers at KSFO.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Max Keiser Sees Goldman Sachs As The Real Crooks

Looking for Villains? Max Keiser has got a big one for you.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's News Corp's ROI When Someone is Shot at a Tea Party?

I know you have your own questions for News Corp's earnings call today, but could you do me a favor and ask a few of the following question during the Q&A session?

What steps has Fox News taken to recoup the revenue lost from 80 advertisers leaving the Glenn Beck show? (link to list of lost advertisers)
If the Beck show has high ratings but low revenue how long does the network plan to keep losing money on the show? Is there a path to profitability?

If the "high ratings" of the show is supposed to result in greater revenue for other parts of the company, is there any documented figures to make this connection? Third party audited figures? (The myth of Fox News ratings bump)

Which departmental budgets are subsidizing the Glenn Beck salaries and production costs?

If internal Fox budgets are not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show, is the funding coming from Chairman Murdock?

If Fox News is not subsidizing the Glenn Beck show and Chairman Murdock is not personally funding it, then funding is coming out of a News Corp budget. What form does the company expect the return on investment to take? Better relationships with the current government? A better Federal regulatory environment?

The Wall Street Journal is still an advertiser on the Glenn Beck show, does this mean that the marketing budgets for News Corp in-house properties have been told to subsidize the Beck show by News Corp management?

What steps has Fox parent News Corporation taken to protect their assets in the event of a shooting at a Fox sponsored tea party event?

Last week a jury ruled that Entercom Communications Corp (ETM:NYSE) subsidiary has to pay 16.6 million to the family of a Sacramento woman who died in a radio station water-drinking contest.. (Link) Although she signed a waiver and the station claimed they were not responsible for her actions, the jury still ruled that the subsidiary was negligent in the wrongful death case.

News Corp subsidiary Fox News has been actively organizing and promoting "Tea parties". Angry Fox viewers have brought weapons to these events to intimidated the President and other politicians. If someone is shot Fox will of course claim that they are not responsible for the actions of individual just like Entercom did. But as we have now seen in the Entercom case that defense does not hold up in court. especially when the station is the driving force for getting people to participate.

It appears that Fox is not only ignoring the danger signs, it is actively calling for action that they have no way of controlling in an effort to boost ratings.

What steps have you taken to protect your assets in the event of a shooting at a Fox sponsored tea party event? Have Fox News competitors taken steps to protect themselves from shooting deaths at tea parties that they organize and support?
Has Fox taken out more insurance? Has News Corp? Can you name the insurers? Have the insurers taken into account the Entercom ruling yet for your premiums?


P.S. See Spocko v. talk radio hosts in the New York Times for a bit about me

Friday, October 16, 2009

Brian Sussman: So Desperate So Sad

Tonight on the Brian Sussman show a woman called Molly called in and tried to have a reasonable conversation with him.

I want to point out to Molly the tricks that the Suss-man used on you. Today's trick was the strawman set up, where he asks questions and if you don't have all the facts and know the context you might believe it. Sussman tried to set up Robert Reich as un-Patriotic because of something he said in 2007. (I believe Molly was objecting to being called un-patriotic if she didn't agree with the views of the right.)

But of course the supposedly un-Patriotic thing that Reich said was part of a political science class at Berkeley where he played a "politically incorrect and tone-deaf" presidential candidate. So, it was NOT something that Reich believes. HE WAS ACTING. IT WAS FICTION.

Molly might have been like me years ago, thinking you could have an honest conversation with these hosts, but as shown yet again, that's not possible. I hope Molly finds this blog because I'd love to hear her side of that conversation. How did you feel Molly when you were cut off and mocked? Does it make you even angrier to find out that Sussman's strawman was based on a false quote?.

Molly, below is Robert Reich's blog post on this topic so you can see how dishonest Sussman's strawman really was. it turns out that he's not even original with his attack. Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Rush have already used this line, although probably not as rudely as he used on you. LINK

More Desperation from the Right

Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Rush, and the right-wing blogosphere seem interested in a talk I gave in September, 2007 to students in a political science class here at Berkeley, in which I played the role of a presidential candidate so politically incorrect and tone-deaf as to pummel every sacred cow in sight -- including the notion that our society could afford and would continue forever to pay whatever amount of money was required to keep everyone alive forever. The whole point of the mock exercise was to show that presidential candidates can't state what everyone knows to be the truth because they'll be taken apart by the Right or the Left. I slew many other sacred cows in that mock exercise, some of which are held dearly by the Left. Nonetheless, two years later the Right has exhumed the lecture and taken my words completely out of context purportedly to show that Obama and the Democrats plan death panels.

If their desperation weren't so pathetic it would be funny. After all, they have proven the whole point of my lecture. UC Berkeley maintains an archive of webcasts and my speech is available there verbatim, should you wish to listen to it in its entirety.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bush Presidential Speech Writer Speaks

Remember watching the West Wing? The people were all scary smart. And you think, "I could never be a Presidential aide or speech writer, you need to be REALLY smart." Aaron Sorkin wouldn't have to work so hard write smart sounding dialog in a fictional Bush White House.

I was catching up on Fresh Air listening to Matt Latimer, former Bush speech writer.
It is really a horrifying interview, although he might not have realized it at the time of the interview.

You all know my deep fondness for the folks at Fresh Air, Terry's non-gotcha questions revealed so much in that interview, especially when she restated some of Latimer's comments back to him. Here's one where he is talking about writing a speech during the financial crisis:

Mr. LATIMER: Well, what we ended up doing was writing a speech that was sort of worded in such a careful, complicated way that I don't think people well understood what we were doing. But we did eventually craft a speech with the input from Treasury that everybody was satisfied with.

GROSS: What I hear you saying is since you didn't understand, you had to use fudge words so no one else would understand, either, but it wouldn't be wrong on the other hand.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LATIMER: Well, I don't think we communicated that issue very well to people, because it was a very difficult issue to communicate. And what I always asked myself was, how did we ever get into this situation in the first place.

GROSS: Well, sure. You said that you kept being told, you know, write speeches about how the economy is resilient, and American prosperity is great; and meanwhile, people, friends of yours in the Office of Management and Budget were saying things really aren't that good.

When he talks about how they dealt with the financial crisis speech I almost wanted to vomit. Is there such a thing as political malpractice? He was also the speechwriter for Rummy when the Abu Ghraib torture story broke. He laments his bad luck. (Imagine the bad luck of the people who got tortured and died from it!)

The segment is on Sept. 22, 2009. Here is the link to the conversation. (link) I'd also like to thank WHYY or whomever is underwriting the transcriptions of the conversation.

When I saw the brilliant movie In The Loop they make a joke about how the White House is run by kids they aren't kidding. It's re

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lee Rodgers Calls for Genocide of Iraqis, Radio Industry Honors Him

Sent to Radio Hall of Fame Inductees 9-28-2009 and other radio insiders.

Sometime during Lee Rodgers' acceptance speech at the Bay Area Radio Broadcast Hall of Fame, I'd like to interrupt him. The sound system would be hacked and instead of Rodgers' acceptance speech you will hear... Lee Rodgers. Only this time it will be what he broadcasts on the KSFO airwaves and to the world via the Internet. You would hear:

Rodgers calling for genocide of the Iraq people
"You people do what ever you want to each other and [Iraq] just don't give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you." (audio link) longer link MP3
Would you honor someone who called for the massacre of everyone in the nation of Israel?

Rodgers calling for the death of millions of Muslims in Indonesia
"Indonesia is really just another enemy Muslim nation. ... You keep screwing around with stuff like this we are going to kill a bunch of you. Millions of you."
(audio link)
Would you toast someone suggesting millions of Christians be killed?

Rodgers talking about killing a person who disagrees with his political views.
"We'll trace you back, run you down and kill you like a mad dog." (audio link)

Rodgers calling for the torture and death of Kevin Holder.
"Now you start with the Sear's Diehard the battery cables connected to his testi cles and you entertain him with that for awhile and then you blow his bleeping head off."

Rodgers calling for liberals to be hanged (link)
Rodgers calling for politicians and bureaucrats to be hanged (link)

Rodgers, sponsored by BMW and Mercedes, thinks that torture and execution of convicted criminals is not only acceptable, but entertaining. (Oh, and he didn't apologize for calling for the torture and execution of Kevin Holder when he had a chance, he said he would say the same thing again. link)

This is who is being honored on Tuesday.

When Speaker Pelosi talks about violent rhetoric you don't need to watch Glenn Beck for examples, just listen to Lee Rodgers. Pelosi's talking about what's coming from inside her district, as much as what's being said nationally.

When you read stories about anger at tea parties or Census bureau workers hanged with FED written on their chest, instead of looking "out there" for a source for a violent rhetoric directed toward government workers, just check out the morning show on KSFO (or his fill in host Brian Sussman in the evenings).

If you want to capture antipathy toward all Muslims, his is as fresh today as it was years ago. Don't believe some "crack pot with a keyboard?" Download and listen to the first 37 minutes from Friday's Sept. 25th five o'clock hour from KSFO own podcast page (link) You will note that when he says something nasty about Muslims his retort is to hope CAIR is taking notes -- as if only Muslims care when their religion is being misrepresented and demonized.

Fomenting violence toward multiple individuals and groups is what KSFO and Rodgers' program has been about for years (that and name calling, talks about men's genitals, and "comedy" skits about the President having an al sex with his wife (link)

That is the modern KSFO brand.

Why do I care about what is broadcast over our public airwaves? Because I think that we have responsibilities as citizens to say something when we hear calls to kill an entire group of innocent people based on their religion, race or country. If ignoring this kind of violent rhetoric gives it tacit approval, what does active approval of it say?

Does hateful rhetoric really lead to violence? History gives us the clear answer: yes

You all know the power of radio to enlighten, engage or enrage. It can move people to action. To ignore that is to ignore it's power. As industry insiders you chose to induct Lee Rodgers into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame because apparently there is no Hall of Shame. As the violence of one group of Americans against another grows in the next 3 years, you might want to consider what role you are playing in encouraging this violence.

Enjoy your lunch.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Conseratives: Skip Flu Shots. Gateway to ObamaCare

This just in!

Dear Fellow Conservatives:

Please don't get flu shots this year. Why? It's socialized medicine! Worse, it is the gateway to ObamaCare.

1) You can't trust the anti-virus. Remember, this is the federal government we are talking about, they can't do anything right. The FDA picks the strains of flu that might hit. Since the bloated government program known as the Federal Drug Administration doesn't let the private anti-virals makers decide they often get it wrong. Unless you incubated the virus yourself you can't trust it. You wouldn't want the DMV to create your flu vaccine, yet the Government basically does just that with flu shots!

2) You are healthy now. Getting a government flu shot is just like getting government health care insurance. Keep the Government out of your Body! The government has NO business mixing up a bunch of viruses in an egg, letting it ferment and then injecting the goo in you!

3) Like all things the Obama administration does, they aren't telling you the whole story.
The odds are that the swine flu won't reach you. You don't live in filthy close quarter conditions like some people. As long as you state away from those people you will be fine.

4) Unlike past administrations, the Obama administration will be giving out two flu shots. One filled with the FDA guesses and one with swine flu. Or so they say. Do you really think that a man who won't reveal his birth certificate (vs. certificate of live birth) would tell you the whole story? We don't think so Barry.

What they aren't telling you is that the flu shots will be used to start tracking people's health so that when ObamaCare comes around they will know who you are and where to find you for "end of life counseling"

In sum, flu shots are a waste of time for anyone who is a good conservative who wants smaller government. Protect yourself from being infected with "anti-virus" shots. Tell all your conservative friends. Let's ensure that Obama's first attempt at socialized medicine fails!

Remember, nowhere in the Constitution does it say the federal government can give you a flu shot.

God Bless America.

Be sure to ask your conservative friends if they are going to reject their socialized medicine flu shot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Preparing for When Someone Shoots at Obama

Secret Service Secrets: Obama Threats Up 400 Percent
A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.

Photos from Tea Parties in Modesto .

I'm quoting NewsMax, a rightwing news source so I can say, "Even the very conservative publication NewsMax admits the increase in threats to President Obama have increased 400 percent over previous Presidents."

I've been thinking about how to organize our media response for the next violent attack directed at one of our political leaders. Sadly nobody is doing this, and someone should, because the right wing has a strategy after every shooting. What is it?

After ever shooting the right wing media people get on the air and say, "Let's not politicize this!" (as they politicize it).

Then they scream, "The Gun Grabbers are going to try and take our guns!"

They will be quick to point out that all their violent rhetoric directed toward liberals and Democrats means nothing and liberals said the exact same thing about Bush! They will pretend that showing up with a weapon at a Presidential appearance is exactly the same as wearing a t-shirt against the war. They will say, "I don't know what Nancy Pelosi is talking about! Swastikas? At the tea parties?" They will just deny the reality of what they said and work to avoid any responsibility.

And mostly the media will buy it. As my friend David Neiwert from Crooks and Liars and Orcinus said in his excellent essay:

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.

Then last Friday Brian Sussman and "Officer Vic" on KSFO were mocking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she got choked up about violent rhetoric. She said:

"We are a free country, and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," Pelosi began. Then out of nowhere, startling the reporters gathered at her weekly press conference, she almost instantly teared up as she recalled the unnamed events long ago in San Francisco.
"I saw this, myself, in the late '70s in San Francisco," she said. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."

I told Greg Sargent at the Washington Post for me it's not a question of if, but when someone gets off a shot at the President or a high ranking political figure. And at that point the right wing media in all its forms will do what they always do, pretend that they have nothing to do with it. But they will always bear the moral and ethical culpability involved in their irresponsible speech.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This show is on Wednesday Night. On Fox

Cheerios try out for the Glee Club. The song is "Say a Little Pray For Me"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's Wrong with Brian Sussman?

I once asked my friend PTCruiser why he personally found Brian Sussman so offensive. He said he heard him making a horrific comment about Senator Paul Wellstone after he died in a plane crash. He thought to himself, "What's wrong with this guy?"

I don't have the exact quote that Sussman gave on the day Wellstone died in October 2002. But I do have his recent comment about Senator Teddy Kennedy right after he died. While talking about Kennedy's body as it was being prepared to be interred in Arlington as show in the photo above, Sussman said:

"So Ted was shovel ready and he, I mean it's over right?"

- Brian Sussman, KSFO/ABC Radio/Citadel on Senator Ted Kennedy following his memorial service. August 31, 2009 at 5:11AM
(audio link)
Sussman, show above holding the Holy Bible, in a discussion with "Officer Vic".

There is old brand persistence with Sussman because most people saw him doing the weather on TV in the Bay Area. When I repeat some of his actual comments to people who remember him from TV they are shocked and can't believe it.

Liberals don't want to believe the guy who did "Brian's Kids" could be capable of such cruel and sick comments. I show them evidence of multiple cruel and sick comments and they say, "It's just an act. He's just doing it for the money." They can't imagine someone talking like this for free.

The desire to believe the best in people is a positive trait many of us liberals share. If I convince them that he actual says the comments and he actually means the comments the next suggestion is, "Well he's probably good to his kids."

All these attempts to find the good heart hiding under the vicious comments says more about them than about Sussman. I don't know about his personal life, I focus on what he says over and over again on commercially supported broadcast radio. This is the Sussman that broadcast radio listeners hear. This is the Sussman that advertisers associate with, not what he says at home to his kids.

Last week KNEW dropped Michael Savage. One of the groups I advised, Hate Hurts America helped make that possible. When hosts become a liability and not an asset it causes corporate America to re-examine their programming. Sadly, not because of what they say, but because of the revenue they generate.

A host with good ratings but no revenue is like a red shirt on an away mission. They serve a purpose but unlike the stars, they aren't going to make it to the end of the show.

But what about management that keeps supporting money losing "talent"? What is their excuse? How do they justify the support? Might it be because they agree with the host? If they can't hide behind the money, they need to look at their own culpability in supporting the sick comments from these people.
  • This is who you stand with.
  • This is who you associate with.
  • Is this who you really are?
  • Is this what you really believe in?

The question is no longer what is wrong with Brian Sussman, the question is, "What is wrong with you?"

Oh, if you want to get a mortgage from AccessBanc? Call 1 (800) 661-2765 or (408) 377-9909 or the Brian Sussman special number (on his ad) 866-666-6280. Ask for Greg Lucia. But don't expect to get one if you are a Democrat!

Glee! My new Favorite TV show

Funny. Fun. Happy.

Jane Lynch is great. "Your resentment is delicious."

If you want to check out some of my favorite musical scenes? 21:36, 30:00 and 42:10.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

There Are No Crazy People at My Tea Party

Photo by Zach Alexander

Euphronius' Top 5 list of the Numbers 1-5.

1. 3
2. 2
3. 1
4. 5
5. 4

Top three things about having ADD:
Top three things about having ADD
2. Oooh. Shiny!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Angry Mob confronts Senator Al Franken on Health Care

This is a WONDERFUL clip. I knew Al would be great at this kind of discussion. I listened to him talk with his self-proclaimed Dittohead friend for years. When watching the video, note how he addressed the right-wing talking points.

BTW, you will note the phrase "angry mob" I used that on purpose.
1) That is how the videographer described them, especially in the moments before he started filming.
2) As several people at boingboing pointed out this IS "Minnesota Nice" angry.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Abuse of Power In Radio

Radio is a powerful medium. TV has the glamor and the big bucks, print gets the intellectual respect. But radio is the hottest, most emotional medium. Ira Glass says, "Radio is our most visual medium." He's right. It can also be our most personal and powerful. I think that is why I find the use and abuse of a broadcast radio license so infuriating. I think that Ira would agree with me. (By the way Ira, call me.) People who abuse their broadcast license hurt the rest of the medium.

With power should come responsibility. I think a lot of people would agree with this. The right loves to talk about the rule of law. Submit to authority. When you break the law you should suffer the consequences. I've heard them say that on right-wing radio. They must believe it. Correct?

Nah. If you have money and smart lawyers you don't have to suffer the consequences. Especially if you can latch onto some "higher ideal" to defend your law breaking.

Image by Fish2000.

If I describe an action to someone on the right wing and ask them if this is breaking the law they might say, 'Yes. That is breaking the law." And if I then ask what the punishment should be they might say, "The person should be fined and fired for breaking the law." (They are very big on the right of corporation to fire people.)

But when this law breaking is about them? Suddenly the rules change. They will run to the lawyers and look for an out. Punishment is different for them vs. the generic (read liberal) law breaker. (This is so common we even have a phrase for it, "It's okay if you are a Republican" IOKIYAR)

And predicting what will happen in the future isn't really gratifying to me, it' s almost too easy. But I'll predict it anyway. I'm going to demonstrate right wing radio people breaking laws. In two areas. They will run to their lawyers who will defend them mightily. Previous one case in the same vein went all the way to the Supreme Court. Where they lost. Where their favorite Justice ruled against them and their view.

They see no irony in this. They are like Nixon that way. When the President Republican does it, that means it is not illegal.

They won't admit they have broken the law. But they have.

Alizee Smilling and Singing about Juliette

Here is a high quality video of her singing her new song Mademoiselle Juliette

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Four Years Ago

(Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy by Shona Laing

I think this is a very sad beautiful song.
(Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy
by Shona Laing 1988 - genre? Chart Info & Lyrics
Lyrics by: Shona Laing *
# Debut Chart
14 Sep '88 Modern Rock

Living on through politics
Body-guarded, heart in bits
A blue-eyed honesty
Indigo injury
The family tree is felled
Bereavement worn so well
Giving up on certainty
Wilderness society

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Imagine being a Kennedy
Rule without remedy
To watch your family die
The world loves a sacrifice
Prophets longing for the three

Lyrics courtesy Top40db.

Honouring the tragedy
They hunger for the crime
The privilege to take a life

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
Ooh, I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

(JFK Speech)
...and is not peace basically
A matter of human rights?
The right to live out our lives
Without fear of devastation?
The right to breathe air
As nature provided it?
The right of future generations
To a healthy existence?
Let us if we can step back from
The shadows of war and seek out
The way of peace...

I love the look in your eyes
I can see your soul sometimes and we laugh
When we try too hard we stop and start
Oh imagine being a Kennedy
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Wearing the fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

Imagine being a Kennedy
Ooh I'm glad I'm not a Kennedy

(JFK Speech)
...the cost of freedom is always high,
Yet one path we shall never choose
- that is the path of surrender or submission.
When a man's way please the lord,
The scriptures tell us,
‘He maketh even his enemies
To be at peace with him'.
We will not prematurely or unnecessarily
Risk the course of worldwide nuclear war
In which even the fruits of victory
Would be ashes in our mouths
Ashes in our mouths...
Ashes in our mouths...
Ashes in our mouths...

Lyrics from Top 40Db

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Torture Patriotic and "The Right Thing to Do"

I went to a dinner party with some old friends the other day. I had fallen out of touch and they invited me to their beautiful house for dinner. As we sat around in the tastefully decorated dining room eating grilled corn on the cob, BBQ tri-tip from Trader Joes and drinking Two Buck Chuck, we talked about home remodeling, the economy and torture. I was the one who brought up torture.

During the process another old friend say, "Wow Spocko, you've gotten dark! You used to be so funny. Where's that funny guy I knew?"

A bit more about the group:

International: People from the UK, US and Africa,
Racial: middle eastern, black and white
Religion: Atheist (Brights), Catholic, Christian, evangelical Christian and Greek Orthodox
Professional: Law enforcement, tech, marketing, sales and design

Photo by John Curley published under Creative Commons license

I asked six questions to everyone in the group.
  1. Is torture wrong?
  2. If yes, how do you know that, what informed you?
  3. If it is your religion that told you this, what are your religion's current official views on torture?
  4. Would you torture?
  5. The ticking time bomb scenario is described: now would you torture?
  6. If yes, and if this is different from your earlier answer, what has changed?

I really appreciated the diversity of the group and the honesty of their answers.
They helped me to understand how the right goes about making torture patriotic and "the right thing to do".

This conversation, and my conversation later with one of my brilliant dinner companion and with my friend Interrobang helped me with a few rhetorical responses.

How You Become a Torturer: The Right Wing Way.

1) The Right makes torture the right thing to do by making you, in your imagination, the personal protector of life.
"What if it was YOUR child, your wife who was in the building that was going to be blown up with this time bomb. Would you torture this terrorist to get the information?" Now if you say no, you, become the bad person. In this scenario (which they love to use) torturing is the right thing to do. Photo by NTodd. Adorable child by Thers and NYMary

In the ticking time bomb scenario you are forced to chose between protecting adorable children and hurting a terrorist. "What would you do? What would you do? THERE IS NO TIME!" screams Jack Bauer.

    2) By evoking your deepest protector or parental feeling, they often overwhelm a stated religious conviction or an insufficiently developed intellectual argument. They use the power of your imagination and the immediate emotion of your desire to protect women and children, your family and, by extension, your country.

    3) In the scenario they propose, you -- the torturer -- are the hero. If you do NOT torture, in the scenario, you are the villain.

    Marcy Wheeler at FireDogLake and Glenn Greenwald at Salon can go on in detail with the legal arguments and the inside baseball methods that John Yoo, David Addington, Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez used to make torture part of the standard operating procedure for the CIA, the military and the groups that they are in charge of. Marcy's and Glenn's work is vitally important for the country so that we can get back to real principles of the constitution.

    But someone also needs to work on the emotional logic that the right used and still uses to make torture okay for their listeners/viewers.

    There are a couple of ways to counter this. I'll write about some more later.

    One I learned from the brilliant radio broadcaster Sam Seder.

    Stop them at the first premise. I'll call it the Seder Premise Stopper. Here is how Sam might deal with a caller. (He didn't actually do this exact call, I'm just using his style as a model. )

    Caller: Let's say you have captured a terrorist who has...

    Sam Seder Clone: Wait wait wait. So are you in the military?

    Caller: No, but that's not important

    SSC: Actually it is. You say you've never served. So you are basing this on something other than direct experience in working with terrorists. What are you basing your views on? The TV show "24"? Because who has "captured" this terrorist makes a difference. Did you know that hundreds of the people at Gitmo were turned over to the military by warlords who wanted to get rid of rivals and get $5,000 bucks in cash?

    Caller: Yes, I know that but I'm talking about the worst of the worst who

    SSC: Did you know that hundreds of those so called "worst of the worst" in Gitmo were released without charges?

    Caller: Yeah, (sensing a coup) but they are all right back there in the field now being terrorists!

    SSC: Really? How many of them are we talking about here? Give me some numbers and then explain how the army screwed up and released them. Do you think it might be possible they weren't a terrorist before and are now, or maybe they were always a terrorist and the army just didn't notice? Are you are in favor of indefinite detention?

    Caller: Yes.

    SSC: Really? Do you think that should apply to US citizens? Would you like it if President Obama decides that the guns you stockpiled after the election and the fertilizer in your shed, combined with calls from the neighbor who sent your email about health care misinformation into the White House are cause for indefinite detention?

    Caller: Now wait a minute! I'm no terrorist!

    SSC: Do you or do you not own multiple guns?

    Caller: I believe in the Second Amendment and the right of all citizens to bear arms

    SSC: Do you or do you not own multiple guns? Yes or no?

    Caller: Yes, but

    SSC: Do you think President Obama is a natural born citizen?

    Caller: What? What does this have to do with terrorists and torture?

    SSC: Nothing. Just like your scenario has nothing to do with actual torture as it is practiced in the field. Torture as practiced by the US is not about ticking time bombs it is about protecting political views and getting false confessions (since that was the model it was created on). It is a fiction designed to help cover for a horrific immoral act that has been used, not to protect women in children from a time bomb, but to protect an image of ourselves as good Americans. It is designed to protect the Bush/Cheney administration from the consequences of their lies. Your premise is flawed, your facts are non-existent but you got one thing right.

    Caller: What's that?

    SSC: You aren't a terrorist, just an sad, uninformed person who needs to grow up and understand how torture and the imaginary need for torture is used in the real world by the military and CIA and by politicians and talk radio hosts who want you to reject your own religious views and intellect as well as the violate the Constitution.
    Good day sir.


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    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    He's not "Hyperbolically" dead. He's really most Sincerely Dead.

    Pamela Troy of has long been a favorite of mine. Her writing is fresh and doesn't simply rehash the same views as other people. I especially like her take on this LA Times editorial below.

    Dr. Tiller is Merely "Hyperbolically" Dead

    Why should the 1st Amendment protect someone who publicly says that a politician or judge or doctor should be killed?

    Two reasons: Such statements are often hyperbole, and even statements that include an endorsement of violence can serve the purpose of communicating outrage about public policies. LA Times Editorial

    In an unsigned editorial posted yesterday in the LA Times, the writer expresses dismay about the recent prosecution of Hal Turner. Turner, some may remember, is the racist, right-wing blogger who was recently arrested for posting threats to three Chicago judges because the judges in question upheld handgun bans.

    Naturally, the un-named author makes gagging noises and pinches his or her nose in disgust, describing Turner’s views as “vile” and “odious.” This bit of theater is to show what an upstanding and moral person the writer is, and just how brilliantly the editorial’s clear-minded fairness glows against the nastiness of the person whose “rights” it is defending.

    And of course, there is the mystic invocation of the word “hyperbole” -- a word we’ve been seeing a lot lately. For the past twenty years, it’s most frequently appeared in opinion pieces about prominent, white, right-wing pundits posting borderline and not-so-borderline threats of violence towards liberals, Muslims, Democrats, etc. (You rarely see the word invoked when the threatener is non-white or leftist. Funny that.)

    When the word “hyperbole” appears in such editorials, the actual quotes that got the presumed victim of unfair censorship or criticism are almost always fudged slightly so they seem less inflammatory and the reaction to them less reasonable. In this case, the author allows as how “Turner, who last year publicly relished the idea of violence against editors of this newspaper, posted the photos and office addresses of the judges.”

    In fact, Turner did more even than that:
    Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.
    You can read the rest here

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Talk Radio Hosts are Not Journalists

    Dear SF Peninsula Press Club:

    Below is the letter I sent to the head of ABC News. I also sent something like this earlier to the Iraq Ambassador and the Iraq Foreign Minister who was trying to drum up business in Northern California.

    When it was announced that Lee Rodgers was going to be in the Bay Area Broadcasting Hall of Fame I thought that either people don't listen to his show on KSFO or they agree with him. I'm hoping the former.

    When I point out these horrific comments below to people I often find the response is to justify and rationalize them. The response from people in the media is especially strong. I believe this is because they instantly put themselves in the position of the person being criticized and think about how to defend them as if they were journalists and the government was attacking their First amendment rights.

    1) Rodgers is not a journalist. He doesn't provide factual corrections, he doesn't even bother to do the "he said, she said" "balanced" views of the weakest of modern journalists, yet he is given all the protections of journalists such as legal protections from slander and defamation as if he was a reporter from the New York Times. All of the protections, none of the responsibilities.

    2) When advertisers pull their ads they are not the government limiting the host's "free speech" they are exercising their rights to place their ad dollars where they feel appropriate. They can follow their own internal policies that say, "We don't advertise on stations where the hosts are racists or call for the massacre of entire groups of people."

    3) Calling for the violent death of others because of their nationality or race is qualitatively different than stating your dislike of the policies of the President or your Conservative political opinion. I also don't use the phrase 'hate speech' because as you know the right likes to conflate the generic definition of hate with the legal definition of hate speech. This is a conscious decision to confuse the issue and dilute the legal term.

    I understand the media's desire to protect journalists who have strong opinions from economic pressure from special interest groups, after all, the right has been doing this to journalists for decades. The pressure has been going on for so long that I think there is an internal moderation that has happened which has lead to some journalists becoming pseudo-stenographers where every story has two sides even when one side is a lie. But as I said earlier, radio hosts are NOT JOURNALISTS. They may be part of "the media" and they often do some of the tasks of journalists, like interviewing public officials, but their goal is not to get to the truth or even to present both sides.

    The letter below outlines some of the reasons why the media have a hard time covering the violent rhetoric, racism and bigotry of talk radio, including the issue of media consolidation.

    The people at ABC News (TV) and ABC Radio (Citadel Media) have read this letter and listened to the audio clips. However because of their continued interlocking relationships they will not act. Partly this is because Rodgers is still seen as an asset and not a liability. The ABC Network continues to have its own brand tainted by a man who calls them liars and accuses them of journalistic malpractice. I suppose they can handle the slander and name calling, but to stand by while he calls for the genocide of the people of Iraq is really unconscionable.

    In 2007 I gave local, national and international journalists an excuse to cover the violent rhetoric coming out of KSFO. It was wrapped around two news hooks (fair use/copyright and advertisers leaving). I have attempted to give journalists and media another excuse to cover this story, but it lacks news hooks. I understand this, but is frustrating to have the modern day equivalent of Hutu Power radio broadcasting out of San Francisco. In 2007 I said that this kind of talk reinforces the views of people who will act violently against others. In 2009 we have seen violence from right wing extremists against the left. And while the hosts didn't pull the trigger, to deny their moral culpability in this violence is to deny the power of radio to call people to action.

    Just how many people need to die until this becomes clear again?

    I know that when the blood is on the podium or on the church floor the right wing radio hosts and cable tv hosts will deny responsibility. The management will deny any role. Of course they won't accept their role, that would involve them potentially losing revenue via a civil lawsuit. It is up to others in the public or responsible media to call them out. I want to remind people that even though the talk radio host will claim you are trying to silence them, dissent does not equal censorship. There are differences between first amendment rights and speech that incites violence on publicly licensed, commercially-supported broadcast radio. Just how many people need to die until this becomes clear again?

    Will ABC Radio do anything?
    Will ABC Network do anything?
    Will Citadel Broadcasting do anything?


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    Friday, August 21, 2009

    David Westin: ABC Radio host calls for massacre of all Iraqis. Is this News?

    David Westin, President
    ABC News

    Dear David:

    Lee Rodgers, local host at ABC Radio station KSFO in San Francisco, called for the genocide of the Iraq people following a report from ABC News reporter David Kerley that "US forces are moving back to bases."

    I thought the comment was so significant I contacted the Iraq Ambassador and the US State Department to let them know. I want as many people as possible in the US and Iraq to know what the top host for an ABC News affiliate is saying to the fourth largest market in America about how Iraqis need to act.

    "You people do whatever you want to each other and to [Iraq], just don't give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you.

    - Lee Rodgers, ABC Radio station host KSFO, 6-30-2009 (short audio clip) (long audio clip) (transcript)

    I believe it's newsworthy when the host of the top talk radio station in San Francisco is suggesting, in 2009, that Americans should be massacring the Iraq people.

    Rodgers is not a "shock jock". His views are considered serious enough that former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, and multiple Washington foreign policy experts regularly appear on his show. What do you need to make this important enough to cover?
    • Do you need someone official from Iraq to complain? I'm still waiting for a response from the Iraq Ambassador, but the diplomatic clock runs at a different rate. I'll contact Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari if it will help. According to Andrew S. Ross of the Chronicle, Zebari was trying to drum up business in Northern California last month and might wonder why the top SF talk radio host wants everyone in his country dead.

    • Do you need him to say it on TV? Rodgers believes he is smarter than the President and more articulate than ABC TV "wienies". Give him a chance to prove it on TV. Based on his record he never apologizes and is likely to repeat his genocide comments on broadcast TV like he repeated his call to torture and execute Kevin Holder in 2007. (audio link)

    • Do you need the news hook of a minimum number of advertisers to leave because of these comments? I can probably arrange that, I've got a pretty good track record in that area. (NY Times Link) 28 advertisers left KSFO in 2007, four in 2009 because of the violent rhetoric and anti-gay rights bigotry from KSFO hosts. (SF Weekly Link). Do I need to have my blog shut down by your network again?
    • Do you need a Republican politician to express outrage? I'd like to think I could find one who disagreed with genocide, but they are hesitant to criticize talk radio hosts on anything because they have to take it back the next day. A Republican upset by calls of genocide might be hard to find, would an outraged Democrat do? I can probably get one.
    • Are you hesitant to cover someone in your "media family?" I know you are head of the TV news division but since ABC Radio has been spun out and renamed Citadel Media, ABC TV should be free to cover the story.

    • Are you afraid for his personal safety? I've noted that when the media covers extreme comments of talk radio hosts they paraphrase and soften them. Is this necessary? The words are already out there. I think recent events show that it is people on the left who have the most to fear from violence incited from the right; hence my own pseudonyms.

    • Are you afraid a group of the Muslims or Iraqis will attack him? If that is the case, you should at least acknowledge your real reasons. Are you being paternalistic by assuming you are protecting him from non-existent threats? Or is there "chatter" about groups of Iraqis and Muslims looking to attack right-wing talk radio hosts? That might be a real news story.

    • Are you afraid that repeating their exact words will show you have a liberal bias? They already believe that (see below). By NOT covering these comments you are giving your tacit approval. Refusing to call out racism and genocidal comments doesn't make them stop.
    • Are the host's insults to your current and former staff's newscasts and journalist credentials keeping you from even mentioning this? KSFO hosts accuse ABC journalists of being liars and propagandists regularly. They insult them by name and accuse them of deliberately committing journalistic fraud. Isn't it time someone stood up for them? Are you waiting for your competitors to defend them? Please listen to or read a few recent insults.

    Lee Rodgers has:

    Accused John Dempsey, and the entire staff of ABC radio journalists, of lying on a news story about Governor Blagojevich.
    (Audio link)

    Called journalism hall of fame winner Ann Compton a Presidential butt kisser.

    "ABC White House Correspondent and Presidential butt kisser Ann Compton reports."
    -- Lee Rodgers, KSFO/ABC Radio host on Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:43 am (Audio link)

    Disavowed any connection to ABC's "horse c r a p" newscast he says is a "propaganda mill for the Democratic party."

    Lee Rodgers: I would like to take just a moment to completely disavow any connection with that horse c r a p newscast that you just heard from the ABC Network. People, I hear from people regularly asking 'why do you carry those things?' Well we HAVE to. This station is owned by ABC Radio so we HAVE to carry their crappy newscast. And you heard another example of they're nothing more than a propaganda mill for the Democratic party and they got that wienie on there suggesting that 'well anyone who disagrees with President Obama may be a threat'. That was the implication, it was clear.

    Officer Vic. Oh there was the implication of assassination there!

    LR: Yeah.

    OV: Come on, that's a little bit over the top

    LR: So please, don't blame us for this pile of horse pucky that was just foisted upon the radio audience by the ABC NETWORK News department. Believe me, if we had our way we wouldn't carry a damn thing by that bunch of leftist propagandists. And I didn't need this frigging job anyway, so there.
    -Lee Rodgers, Officer Vic KSFO, ABC Radio August 14, 2009 5:04 am (audio link)

    KSFO morning host Lee Rodgers and his sidekick "Officer Vic" have been making denigrating comments about the intelligence and integrity of the ABC reporters for years.
    "God almighty what an awful newscast. What a piece of c r a p that was!"
    "Officer Vic" on a newscast of ABC News Correspondent Daria Albinger ).

    I understand the desire to just ignore talk radio as if they didn't exist under the theory that they aren't serious and giving them attention just encourages them. But failing to condemn his comments sends the message it's okay.

    Although ABC Radio News is no longer under your control, the radio network people still draw from the ABC News TV network resources. Are you getting compensated for this? Their reports certainly aren't appreciated at KSFO. I contacted Steve Jones, VP and Jim Kane, Deputy D.C. Bureau Chief of ABC News Radio about these attacks in April, but nothing changed.

    Maybe you can do a story about the most powerful man in radio. Lee Rodgers answers to no one and can call for the death of everyone in Iraqi on the publicly-licensed broadcast network. If he called for the genocide of the Jews would it be ignored? Why is this ignored? Is this blatant genocidal racism not addressed because it is sanctioned or because it is still profitable?


    SF, CA


    ABC News
    Kerry Smith,
    Senior Vice President, Editorial Quality
    Paul Mason, Senior Vice President, Politics

    ABC News Radio
    Steve Jones, VP ABC News Radio
    Jim Kane, Deputy D.C. Bureau Chief

    David Kerley, ABC News, Baghdad
    Laura Marquez, ABC Correspondent, San Francisco

    Brooke Gladstone, Co-Host and Managing Editor, On the Media
    Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow, Media Matters
    Jay Rosen, Press Think

    Tim Karr, Campaign Director Free Press

    Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute
    Richard Gizbert, host of The Listening Post, Al-Jazeera English

    Bill Moyers, Moyer's Journal

    Glenn Greenwald, Salon
    Joe Conason, Salon

    Digby, Hullabaloo
    Mike Stark
    , FireDogLake

    Greg Sargent, Washington Post

    Andrew S. Ross, San Francisco Chronicle
    Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
    Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle

    David Neiwert, author, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, editor Crooks and Liars
    Sara Robinson,
    Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

    Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates, author, Toxic to Democracy
    Tarso Luis Ramos, Executive Director, Political Research Associates

    Eric Klinenberg, Fighting for Air The Battle to Control America's Media