Friday, June 22, 2007

Defending Those who Can't Defend Themselves

One of the coolest kids I know, Allison Hantschel, has a column in the DailySouthtown about the regular attacks on journalists by folks like Rush Limbaugh.

I agree with Allison (Athenae at First-Draft) in her response to USA Today founder Allen Neuharth, who said he thought the idiotic things Rush says were amusing. As I was discussing with the brilliant and media savvy volvodrivingliberal the other day, the power of right-wing talk radio over the public airwaves is not something to dismiss as only fodder for the weak minded. Rush's heuristic techniques and language seeps into the popular culture on both sides. Some of Rush's phrases become anchor phrases that can frame an issue so that we see the phrase but not the underlying deeply disturbing premise.

What do I mean? Here's one example, Rush constantly calls the media "The Drive By Media"

Now what image does that bring up?

Criminals. People with guns who drive by and shoot people. Criminals who should be in jail, not allowed to roam the streets.

And what race of people are the current drive by shooters?

They aren't white mobsters are they? He is comparing them to the current violent murderers who do drive by shootings. This is his casual "joke". In one phrase he compares the media with cowardly, murdering thugs. And he is never called out on it.

When over 108 journalists and 39 media support people have been killed to cover Bush's war, calling them killers is disgusting and disrespectful of their sacrifice.

Here's part of Allison's column.

Limbaugh and his lesser lights, imitators like Mark Belling in Wisconsin and Melanie Morgan in California, have made their bones on mocking, attacking and denigrating.

Ignoring such slights -- laughing them off -- has led us to what New York Times columnist E.J. Dionne called "the rightward press," in which constant pushing from the right-wing end of the political spectrum so intimidates the so-called objective press that it attempts to pre-empt criticism by feigning docility.

Treating hatemongers and advocates of violence (Morgan memorably called for New York Times editor Bill Keller to hang) as performance artists who shouldn't be taken seriously -- respectfully interviewing them as fellow travelers -- is what has led to this state of affairs in which there is literally nothing a conservative can say that will get him or her in trouble.

Ignoring these people -- acting like they don't matter -- allows their influence to grow in the dark like mildew, unchallenged, uncontested.

Read the rest here (link)

OH, and before she explodes into a flurry of, "I never said that!" Here is the audio proof of Morgan saying "Hang 'em". You will of course note there is no, "If tried and convicted and then found guilty" (which is what she and her colleagues have now be trained to say as there legal talisman after I busted them on their violent rhetoric. Listen here. (link)

Melanie Morgan's history of attacking the press is well documented. Criticizing the media for not doing their job is one thing, saying "Hang 'em" is another.

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Friday Fanboy Fun--More Pipettes!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Digby Speaks, Sinfonian Grabs the Transcript

My buddy Sinfonian over at Blast Off has the text from Digby's acceptance speech.

Here is one of my favorite parts:
But all of us who blog in the progressive blogosphere have a common goal. It’s the same goal of virtually everyone in this room tonight. We want to begin a new era of progressive politics and take back America. We may argue about tactics and strategy, or the extent to which we are partisans versus ideologues (and believe me, we do), but there is no disagreement among us that the modern conservative movement of Newt and Grover and Karl and Rush has proven to be a dangerous cultural and political cancer on the body politic. You will not find anyone amongst us who believes that the Bush Administration’s executive power grab and flagrant partisan use of the federal government is anything less than an assault on the Constitution. We stand together against the dissolution of habeas corpus and the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and we all agree that Islamic terrorism is a threat, but one which we cannot meet with military power alone. And yes, a vast majority of us were against this mindless invasion of Iraq from the beginning, or at least saw the writing on the wall long before Peggy Noonan discovered that George W. Bush wasn’t the second coming of Winston Churchill.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why Digby's Insightful Blog is Required Reading at the Academy

From a very interesting piece on immigration titled "They are Different from us."

This is essentially a made up crisis by people like Lou Dobbs and talk radio show gasbags to exploit the insecurities of certain Americans by creating the illusion that the fact they are losing ground economically is caused as much by illegal immigrants doing day labor as the total abandonment of the manufacturing base by big business.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Calling Scientists and Mathamticians! Use your Skills! Help Save Lives!

Gina at Pet Connection did a great translation and analysis of the peer review results of the risk assessment document created by the FDA so that the USDA could give approval to Big Chicken and Big Pig to release the chickens and pigs into the human food supply.

DMS in comments makes the stunningly clear comment that I was going to make:

I think we need to keep in mind that the FDA/USDA released all of the chickens, eggs and Pigs for processing and sale before they even had their assessment peer-reviewed. Where else, but in the American government, would that happen?

Comment by DMS — June 13, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

This is at the heart of the issue. Big Chicken and Big Pig wanted a reason they could use to get the USDA to release their chicken and hogs into the human food supply. They got it. And it's not even really a test. It's a RISK ASSESSMENT. They are creating probabilities based on assumptions in lieu of hard data. And guess what? There were no mathematicians on the peer review list. Surprised? I'm not.

Calling Superstar Mathamtician, John Allen Paulos. Also known as:"Mathamtician to the Media" For my money, Paulos is the best explainer of math and stats in the business.

John Allen Paulos to the Blue Spocko Courtesy phone. John Allen Paulos to the Blue Spocko Courtesy phone.

3.5 million chickens went out because someone took recalled pet food known to kill animals and fed it to chickens. Maybe that food could be excused, it was the first batch that went to humans.

(BTW, somewhere out there a odd lots person(s) who said, "Hey, I can pick up this food for pennies and sell it for dimes. Why is it so cheap? Who cares!" Hey buddy that "food" killed thousands of pets and tens of thousands more, and now you are going to feed it to the animals I eat? Thanks a lot, jerk.)

I want some OTHER scientists to look at this and speak plainly about this (and about your peer's peer review if you don't mind.) I know that some of you have less at stake than getting the call from the FDA to do more paid (?) peer reviews, so maybe you can be a bit more... blunt. After all, it's your life this time, not just some pets.

And speaking of mathematicians like John Allen Paulos, (who is one of my favorite writers on math, the media and humor) Listen to explodinghed, another commenter at Pet Connection.

risk assessment is simply a way of appearing to make responsible decisions without actually doing that. it’s been going on in business for a very long time. this peer review was less of a whitewash than i expected it to be, but i’m not surprised that they reached the conclusion that fda’s actions were “reasonable”. i’m sure that everyone involved knew what their assignment was.

note that there are no PhD level mathematicians on this panel. not for nothing, but in more than a decade of working on biological research projects and water analysis projects, i was rather shocked to realize that in general, the scientists with whom i worked were almost uniformly terrible mathemeticians, and in many cases not even good scientists.
Comment by explodinghed — June 14, 2007 @ 5:13 am

(btw, I'm not going to fault him or her for their spelling and capitalization, this is not a peer reviewed blog...)

So if you want to check out the risk assessment on the contaminants that that went into 23.5 million chickens and 56,000 hogs read it here. (Link)

If you then want to comment go here:
Docket: 2007N-0208 - Draft Melamine and Analogues Safety/Risk Assessment; Availabiity [sic] (link to comment form)

Finally, here is the big thing to remember. If this food is NOT safe to eat, you Can NOT avoid it even if you want to. Why? Because the FDA/USDA will NOT tell you who put these 23.5 million chickens into your food supply.

What would have happened if the peer review panel said: "This is a TERRIBLE risk assessment. This should NOT be used to justify sending 20 million chickens and 56,000 hogs into our food supply."?

Nothing. Why? Because the chicken has flown the coup. The hogs are now your bacon.

So now that the risk assessment peer review has declared it "reasonable" (by some hand picked scientists ) can they tell us the names of the chicken farms that sold the chicken to us? Why not?
What is their fear? Don't they trust their scientists? Don't they think that they are reasonable?

If they don't tell us the names of the farms and tell us WHERE the food went then we know that they don't believe their own data. But they are willing to make us the guinea pigs because their first and foremost purpose is not as stated:

FDA's Former Mission Statement

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.

The New FDA Mission Statement?

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health profits of corporations by assuring the safety of their food. The FDA provides the public information that the corporations deem useful for consumers to consume the foods that are being sold to them.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Pipettes in SF Hang out with Spocko!

I'd just like to thank Dr. Zaius for introducing me to The Pipettes. I went to see them live at Amoeba records today.

I told them they look fabulous, asked about the animation of the video ABC (They weren't involved with choosing it so they didn't know much about it.)
They had great energy. I wish I had better photos of them, maybe that nice woman in the front row who took some good shots of them will send them to me.

I told them I would blog about seeing them. They seemed very excited to meet me since I'm famous on the internet. If they stop by on the internets to visit they are most welcome here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lee Rodgers Likes that the Chinese Poisoned Your Cat or Dog

This is an actual quote. Listen: audio link

Are some people so black hearted and cruel that they come out in favor of the poisoning of your pets? Yes. Are these people paid by the pet food industry to promote their products? Yes.
Who are these people? One is Lee Rodgers at KSFO, and today, June 12, his new boss, Citadel Broadcasting closes the 2.7 billion dollar deal with Disney.

When confronted what do people like Rodgers say? That they were joking? I've heard sick jokes and I recognize the cadence. Doesn't sound like it to me. But if it is, is calling it a joke really enough cover for this sickness? And is the excuse, "Well I have a pet myself! So clearly I didn't mean it!" Going to fly? So I guess he really doesn't want all cats and dogs dead, just yours and not his.

Purina is a major sponsor of KSFO's Morning program. And if you think that Rodgers will apologize think again. He does NOT apologize for talking about blowing the brains out of humans. (link) audio of Rodgers not apologizing for suggesting the torture and execution of a Lincoln Nebraska man. Link

He never bothered to apologize for saying someone suspected of a crime be burned alive (Melanie Morgan added the hogtied to the burned alive bit). So this isn't just a one time deal.
I'm sure the excuse that the humans did bad things works for some people, but what did a bunch of innocent pets ever do to him?

I do hope that Karen Crawford, the Director-advertising and relationship marketing at Nestle USA or Kathie Day, the Director, Marketing, Purina One, Nestle Purina Petcare understand that associating with these kind of people isn't' really good for their brand.
People with dead pets don't need to buy Purina.

A friend put the email contacts in encrypted form to make it harder for screen scrappers to get the email. You must have javascript enabled to get the info.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Keith Schopp Public Relations Checkerboard Square St. Louis MO 63164 314-982-1000
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Jim Radt Marketing Director Checkerboard Square St. Louis MO 63164 314-982-1000
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Karen Crawford Director-advertising and relationship marketing, Nestle USA Checkerboard Square St. Louis MO 63164 314-982-1000
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Kathie Day Director, Marketing, Purina One Nestle Purina Petcare Checkerboard Square St. Louis MO 63164 314-982-1000

Thanks to Special Place in Hell for the javascript encryption!
update 6-12-07: correctly pointed out the NON-apologies and added audio clip

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paying Attention to New Orleans Pumps. Corp mistakes that Might cost Lives

Scout at First Draft has a great post up titled, Army Corps of Engineers Report: New Orleans Pumps still have mechanical flaws; also found contract improprieties check it out and also check out Matt McBride's, excellent blog "Fix the Pumps" for his engineering rigor (or any of my buddies in the New Orleans blogger community in my blog roll at the right. I dig them all, with special props to Gentilly Girl, Dangerblond and Humid City v. 2.3.

There is a view formulated by right-wing think tanks that if only government would get off their damn backs with demands for safety that everything would be better. That the "free market" will fix it all. That there are too many damn rules that are just a burden already.

But here's the thing. Rules and regulation are GREAT for businesses. Businesses NEED a working government. They NEED a working legal system. Competent government oversight is GOOD for the health of business. Just like a working media are good for government and business. The corporations will never admit this because, well then they would have to acknowledge all the good things they get out of rules, regulations, laws and a working government infrastructure.

I've heard some corporate executives say, "All I need is an unfair advantage."

Of COURSE they won't talk about the tremendous benefit they get from worker safety rules or government oversight, or contract regulations. Instead they find the excesses to make a point.

"Look how ridiculous this rule is! See how inefficient government is? What stupid requirements they demand!" Yes, there are ridiculous excesses, but there often is a reason for each and every one of the rules and regulations. Some company (or multiple companies) got busted badly and people got sick, died or will die because of a serious transgression. Or the corporation did life -changing economic harm to millions of people.

And the people cry out for justice.

"Where was the government at? How could the businesses get away with this? What kind of greedy monsters want to hide and cover-up information about poison in food?"

So then people become reluctant activists. I explain to them that they are working against a mind set and structure that has been developed and nurtured for decades. This mind set has been fabulously successful and its practitioners are highly-skilled and well paid.

These companies won't admit a failure even when their noses are rubbed in it, or if they do, it will have to be pro-forma admission of guilt which is Latin for "I don't really want to say this, but I will because I have to and secretly I'm glad I have to." (High school Latin scholars feel free to jump in here and comment.)

Corporations That act Like Children

People who study childhood development tell us that children need structure. Children have to learn what things will hurt them ("Hot! Don't touch! Don't play with matches! Careful! You'll poke your sister's eye out with that stick!")

Children will resist the warnings until they achieve awareness that the rules and warnings are for THEM and not some other children out there who are really bad. The rules they break are often designed to protect themselves and others. ("Don't eat that! It's poison! Don't feed that to your sister, it will kill her!")

I don't expect to hear children say (until years later) "Thank you Mother for not letting me eat that poison. Thank you Father for insisting I always wear protective goggles when woodworking." They don't have that kind of insight. But they should be grateful that someone insisted they do the right thing.

I clearly remember walking with a friend with toddlers in tow through the Air and Space museum in Washington D.C.. It was like the kids had no idea that gravity worked! They were ready to fling themselves off of high places or slip through gaps in the bars of railings overlooking the airplanes and space capsules. It was exhausting keeping an eye on them because they were constantly trying to evade our watchful eyes. Their quest to have fun looked to me like a constant attempt to kill themselves.

I mention all this because whenever there are calls for any regulation the cries of "Nanny state!" start. Any attempt at sensible guidelines or regulation are loudly shouted down under the guise of "there is too much regulation already!" They are then quietly shouted down with donations in the halls of congress. When we looked at something like the pet food industry we see that regulation to them doesn't have the same meaning as it does to us. But they know that throwing around the words "highly regulated" will stem the tide of criticism and bring out the defenders of all things "free" market and anti-oversight with real regulation.

Like a child they would never come forward and say, "PLEASE regulate me. I need the discipline!" Instead they will say, "I don't want any stupid rules. I'm going to pick up my toys and go to somewhere were their aren't rules." And because there are plenty of people and countries to choose from with cheap labor they will pick the ones that lets them follow the least amount of rules.

And then when some of them grow up (usually after something bad happens) they realize that those pesky rules were there for a purpose. They can see that a working infrastructure legal system, food safety, human safety or financial guidelines were actually good for them. But now they are addicted to the rhetoric, stuck in the groove of decades. Fighting the previous battle and imaginary excesses and some rare real exceptions.

I use the"business as child" metaphor because if I didn't, it would be too hard to contemplate.

Imagine people in business or supporting businesses who actively work to make it possible for MORE horrible acts to happen? I can't imagine people sit around and decide to cover up or support poison in food. People who, instead of addressing the problem, argue that the problem doesn't exist or question the credibility of the critic. What kind of people would do that?

Can you imagine someone calculating that X number of people or pets might die because of this, then asking "What do we had to do so that we can get away with it?" I just don't think that most humans would say, "Who do we have to hire to cover this it up, to make it go away and shut up the critics?" Normal people don't think that way.

If these people exist, surely they must not be lionized. Surely people whose job it is to draw focus from the problem, aren't aware of what they are really doing. I think that those people, if they are involved, will make weak arguments in a desperate hope that that they will be seen as a sham. I would think that these people would quietly do the right thing to maintain their personal moral high ground. But I do understand the power and pressure of the child and their self-centered world view. The Child will scream "I hate you!" to the parent who tells them, "No! You can't feed your sister that. It will make her sick!"

If there are people at the highest levels making this all possible, how would you react to them? Should they be praised? Excused? Rewarded? Vilified? How should they be treated by other humans? And what about the people who assist them knowingly? What role do that play? What culpability do people with full awareness have? People who know something is wrong and do it anyway? But I'm just a brain in a box. I live in the internet. I don't get out much, so I don't know the ways of the world.

When time in measured in nano-seconds, I wonder how much time should be given to people to act in a manner that is befitting of the label, human being?

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Lee Rodgers' Legacy at KSFO, a Disney ABC Radio affiliate

Farid Suleman
Citadel Broadcasting

Dear Farid:

I know you are super busy this week closing the $2.7 billion dollar deal with Disney for ABC Radio, but after your third glass of Tranya you might want to play a quick game of: Meet Your New Radio Talent!

Today's Talent? Lee Rodgers of KSFO in San Francisco.

I think the most relevant fact to you personally is that Lee Rodgers thinks that "[For Egyptians and other Arab cultures], lying is as natural as breathing" (audio link)

Since you were born in Egypt, I'm guessing that you have heard this kind of statement before. What do you call a person who makes that kind of statement about Arab cultures and Egyptians?

By the way, if you ask Lee about that comment, don't expect an apology. Lee thinks apologies are for other people, not him. Maybe he'll get the program manager to say he regrets Lee said that.

It's not just Rodgers pronouncements about lying Egyptians you should look out for Farid, it's his unrepentant violent rhetoric toward journalists, liberals, and democrats and his anti-Muslim comments that are the most troubling. He now represents YOU to the world.

When confronted with a truly repugnant comment, Rodgers has said he'd say the same thing again. Remember Imus? At least he didn't suggest the losing basketball team be tortured and executed. Yet Rodgers wanted a common thief tortured and executed. What kind of person talks about this kind of violence on publicly broadcast commercially-supported radio? Lee Rodgers does. And with the approval of management, since he never apologized.

Listen to Rodgers as he talks about torturing and blowing the brains out of Kevin Holder, 41 of Lincoln Nebraska. (Audio link)

When I first heard him say those things I looked up the story at the ABC affiliate in the area, KETV channel 7 in Omaha Nebraska. Here is the story link and a screen grab from the story.

Kevin Holder looks like a black man to me Farid. So that is why I wrote that Rodgers talked about torturing a black man. Rodgers said later that he didn't know he was black then, "and I don't know now." It is possible that he didn't know the first time, but after all the advertisers leaving, I find it hard to believe that no one alerted him to the fact that the man was black.

Do Citadel's guidelines cover how to respond to hosts who talk about torturing a specific person and blowing his brains out? Maybe that kind of talk is fine on satellite radio but on commercially supported broadcast radio?

Here is the audio clip from January 12, 2007 where they attempt to explain away their own words. Audio clip.

Rodgers says he'd say the same thing over again. You will note that he characterizes his comment as "hyperbolic" and thinks he is making a "valid point". Which is what? If you were a teacher listening to a student making these kind of comments might you suggest he undergo counseling? Are these the warning signs of someone who will act on his violent rhetoric? Is there a history of violence with this employee?

Two other notes on the audio clip Farid. Rodgers' non-sequitur about the left-loving Castro came out of nowhere, but Morgan's comment was her feeble attempt to ameliorate her own violent rhetoric directed toward Bill Keller and other editors from the New York Times, The Washington Post, LA Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Morgan's specific wording about "if tried and convicted" had nothing to do with Rodgers comment. I recognize the legalese weasel words which demonstrates that she has been warned repeatedly about her violent rhetoric yet continues to act as if only her words on TV or in the newspaper count.

Later, when advertisers heard Rodgers' comments and started leaving, instead of addressing the problem of the hosts, your ABC Radio legal team decided to shut down my blog using a bogus copyright claim.
(BTW, now that you have access to the KSFO's books, you should have your operations people check to see how many advertisers their outrageous comments cost KSFO and ABC Radio. By my count it's 28 major advertisers. I don't know how to calculate the damage to Disney's Brand, but I'm sure you do. Won't it be fun to calculate how much brand equity these people will cost you? )

Rodgers also threatened advertisers with retaliation if they pulled their ads because they didn't want to be associated with his comments. I suppose that is one way to hold onto advertisers, but in my experience advertisers don't like to be threatened.

Finally Farid you may have been told (as I'm sure advertisers were) that KSFO management has dealt with the problem of those nasty bloggers (which is not the real problem, it's the hosts). Yes, KSFO did have a one-time special show, but as I've just demonstrated, rather than use the event to moderate his future rhetoric, he boasts of his violent comments, refuses to retract them and --since there are no consequences -- he will continue to put your advertisers in jeopardy of being associated with future verbal transgressions.

And since some people want new examples, here is a current example of Lee Rodgers wanting the death of others. This time innocent cats and dogs. Listen as he supports the Chinese in their acts of poisoning our pets.

(Audio link)

I can't imagine that advertisers want to be associated with a man who LIKES that China is poisoning our kittens and puppies.

What do you call a person who makes these kinds of statement about innocent animals?

I call him Citadel Broadcasting's newest radio representative to the world! I'm sure you are proud to have him as part of the Citadel family.

Have a great week,
Mr. Spocko

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

The "Talent" that Citadel Broadcasting is Getting from ABC/Disney

In November of last year I wrote the following letter to the CFO of Disney. It followed a letter to management at ABC Radio and Disney in October. I know that several high-level people in management read it.

This is significant since Disney management supported KSFO as part of the Disney family. Disney knew a long time ago of the violent rhetoric spewing from the KSFO hosts. They made a choice to continue to support them.

The Disney/ABC lawyers response was to silence me for bringing this to their attention. They had my blog, Spocko's Brain, shut down so they could keep supporting violent rhetoric on commercially supported broadcast radio. This was the response at the highest corporate levels.

  • Disney allowed Lee Rodgers to proudly not apologize, Melanie Morgan, to deny she said what she said, (twice) and then try and spin her way out of it.
  • Sussman apologized for some things he said that I busted him on, but I have other repugnant clips from him that would now be dismissed as "old or out of context" (of course they still use the Dean scream which really IS old and out of context). It seems pointless to demonstrate again and again his transgressions to management since they clearly support him even in the face of multiple advertisers agreeing that his rhetoric has gone too far. Disneyland thought he went too far and pulled their ads! How much more direct a message did they need?
  • Tom Benner, who used the pseudonym "Officer Vic" although he is neither an police officer nor named Vic, dodged accountability by using the "'it's a joke" card about his graphic description of Bill Keller being electrocuted and avoided the $350, 000 obscenity fine by convincing people his word was something other than it was.

Disney chose to tie their fortunes to the KSFO "talent" and have their brand tainted by them internationally to keep the money rolling in from KSFO and to not lose this "talent"-- which would mess up the 2.7 billion dollar Citadel deal that closes June 6, 2007. They continued to ignore my very polite suggestions. So I took the evidence to the advertisers. It was pretty effective. At least 28 advertisers left. Months later a few have returned and others, who were unaware of the pattern of behavior and history of abuses, replaced them. How much did it cost them? $500,000? More? What about the brand hit Disney took? I don't know how to calculate that.

At the "talent" level they attacked me, viciously. Do you think that if I wrote under my real name they would hold back? No. They would dig deeper to do to me what they did to Cindy Sheehan and all of people they disagree with. This is their method. And they will continue to use it because they make everyone who challenges them a public figure. Then they bully and destroy them over the publics airwaves with the support of corporate management.

This is one reason WHY good people don't engage these people or challenge corporations for their ethical lapses. They will be financially threatened, as I was, and their character impugned and reputations will be trashed, as mine was, and even if you strive to be accurate and polite they don't respond in kind. They bear no accountability. When I hear people talk about the low level of "discourse" and lack of civility in our world today I point to the source of much of this. "Conservative" talk radio hosts.

This is the "talent" that Disney used their brand reputation to support. This is who Farid Suleman, Citadel’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, and directors Theodore J. Forstmann, and J. Anthony Forstmann have brought into their Citadel family. And Disney? They are STILL profiting from these people. They will be the majority shareholder of Citadel Broadcasting.

Nov. 29, 2006
Thomas O. Staggs, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
The Walt Disney

Dear Tom:

I know how CFOs really like to stay in the loop regarding financials, and I hate to alert you about losing potential revenue under 40 million, especially since the people who work for you should really be tracking this, however it looks like there might be a short fall from one of your properties.

Right now the VPs of marketing of four national advertisers (Visa, Kaiser, FedEx and AT&T) are concerned about what is going out over the air waves at one of your ABC Radio stations, KSFO in San Francisco. They haven’t decided to pull their ads yet, but they have consulted with their agencies of record (BBDO and GSD&M) and media planners and it looks like they don’t want to be associated with hosts who talk about torturing and murdering people. When one of the hosts, Melanie Morgan, says "We've got a bull's-eye painted on [Pelosi's] big, wide laughing eyes" it makes them uncomfortable. Morgan’s comments reached the national stage last week with coverage on MSNBC and on the media watchdog site, Media Matters.

Luckily it’s not your job to protect the ABC Radio Disney brand; just the money, so this might not be a problem for you. Sadly it appears that the people whose job it is to protect the ABC Radio Disney brand clearly are quite fine with what Melanie Morgan, Lee Rogers, Tom Brenner and Brian Sussman say on the air at KSFO.

I notified several ABC and Disney executives between October 26-29, 2006 about the continuing violent rhetoric on the show and it appears they chose to ignore it. John Hare of ABC, Zenia Mucha, Heather Rim and Alan Braverman were all alerted, but chose to continue to support this talk and these hosts. Since the time of those emails co-host Rogers has talked about hanging liberals from a post (audio link), and “joked” about cutting off the test*icles of a liberal radio host from KGO (audio) (another ABC Radio property and the number one station in the SF Bay area.) On two different days,11/14 and 11/20, Morgan talked about “putting a bulls-eye on House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi.” She recently gave a non-apology and pretended she never used the terminology of an assassin when referring to Speaker-elect Pelosi. (link)

I suppose from a financial point of view all that is irrelevant just as long as they make their numbers and projections, and I suppose from their point of view the Disney brand is so far removed from KSFO that they can say anything on the air with no consequences. They are rolling the dice that there will be no financial consequences and they are probably right. But if advertisers start leaving, you will at least be aware of WHY it happened. If the FCC fines Morgan, Rogers or Sussman for inciting violence it will be your fine to pay.

When I told people I was going to write you they said, “Don’t bother. Tom will only care if KSFO loses enough money to be noticed by Wall Street. And they were right.

When Brian Sussman, the substitute morning host and evening drive time host, first lost multiple national advertisers like MasterCard, Bank of America, Borders Books, Aetna Insurance, Toyota and even Disneyland, I thought that management would do something. Even after Sussman demanded a caller, “Say Allah is a Wh*re” nothing happened. (You can check with KSFO to confirm this, I’m sure they would be eager to show you the canceled or curtailed ad runs.)

So now it looks like the hosts at KSFO are embarrassing you nationally. I still was told that it didn’t matter since it wasn’t big enough. They hadn’t lost enough money. I guess it is part of the Disney principles to stand up for these hosts as they call for people to be murdered, tortured and set on fire. They want millions of "Muslims scum" to be KILLED. On Monday, Nov. 27, Lee Rogers proclaimed that in Arab and Egyptian cultures “lying is as natural as breathing.” Those are some fine Disney ABC corporate values he is spreading to Bay Area listeners.

How do I know that the Disney values are being invoked to promote and protect KSFO radio hosts? When corresponding with Riviana Foods, parent company of advertiser Mahatma Rice, I was told that KSFO is using the Disney name as cover for their hate speech, “we do consider whether if (sic) offers a family-friendly environment. In this case, KSFO, a Disney affiliate, was deemed innocuous.” It appears that when it comes time to associate KSFO and its HOSTS with advertisers, KSFO is a Disney station which ensures a “family-friendly” environment. Doesn’t that also mean that when it comes time to associate a KSFO host with “painting a bull’s-eye between the laughing eyes” of Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, that KSFO is still a Disney station?

With the sale of ABC Radio to Citadel it may appear you are one step further removed from KSFO, however if I understand the deal memo correctly, you will maintain controlling interest of 52% in Citadel. It also appears that you have the opportunity to cut loose 11 of the 122 ABC Radio stations. Maybe you could look into making KSFO one of those stations. After all, they hate ABC Radio, they would probably be happier with another parent company. It might be better for all concerned, since some managers seem determined to support these hosts no matter what violent, repugnant things they say to taint the ABC Radio Disney brand.


Todd Milbourn, Sacramento Bee
David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle
Oliver Willis, Eric Boehlart Media Matters
Joe Conason, Salon
Frank Rich, New York Times
David Neiwert
Allison Hantschel
Greg Sargent, Talking Points Memo
Izzy Povich, Executive Producer,Countdown MSNBC

Note -----I've retained the spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in the letter. It will give Melanie Morgan's PR firm something to focus on and point out that I have no paid editors unlike say, Newsbusters who get funding from the Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation through the Media Research Center.

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