Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Success! LifetimeTV and Beach Blanket Babylon Stop Ads on KSFO

I thought folks on our side would appreciate hearing some success stories when it comes to pushing back on the right-wing media.

Last week Beach Blanket Babylon and LifetimeTV agreed to stop advertising on KSFO.

The removal of their ads was prompted by letters that I sent at the end of July. (Link to Beach Blanket Babylon letter here) I documented the host's verbal attacks on gay rights activists. I also documented how the host Brian Sussman actively works to deny gays equal rights. In addition, in my LifetimeTV letter, I pointed out the history of violent rhetoric from the various hosts that were directed toward liberal women.

The advertisers sent a message back to the station. We will not financially support this kind of talk.

Here is an authorized quote from the producer:

"Beach Blanket Babylon will never advertise on any station, like KSFO, that attacks the LGBT community (or any community for that matter) and actively works to deny anyone equal rights."

Jo Schuman Silver, Producer

When I alerted Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for Lifetime Networks about the running of Project Runway ads on a station that traffics in violent rhetoric and anti-gay shouting she explained they weren't aware of this station's content. Now that they are aware, I asked about future ads; she said, "It's not happening again."

She said that going forward ad buyers will provide a more detailed list of where the Project Runway ads are going. If Beach Blanket Babylon's ad buying experience is any example they will still have to look closely, it turns out that because of media consolidation the KSFO parent company sales reps sometimes throw in KSFO as part of package-- as if they were just a generic station -- instead of the one of the top purveyors of violent rhetoric and genocidal statements directed toward Iraqi's, Muslims and liberals.

One thing I've learned about the right wing media, the hosts will not change because there are no consequences for even the most repugnant comments.

Some advertisers will accept a back room apology, believe transparent excuses or accept promises of future compliance. Others will look the other way when KSFO ads are hidden in massive ad packages. That is their choice. But some choose not to taint their brand. Others will remember they have been promised better behavior but note when the media spotlight dies down the host's true nature returns.

Based on their history, advertisers need to understand that KSFO shows will never be a safe place for their ads, either now or in the future. Sponsors are always at risk of their brand being tainted.

I accept that there are some advertisers who agree with Sussman that gay rights activists are out to "completely destroy and pervert this country". or agree with Lee Rodgers that the Iraqi's better not "Give us a reason to come back or we'll massacre every last damn one of you." but I doubt they will say it out loud.

Most advertisers are decent humans that ARE concerned about things like equal rights for gays and the ratcheting up of violence on the airwaves. They see the incompatibility of right-wing radio with their products, services and core values. Removing their ads from right wing radio is one way they can do something instead of throwing up their hands after the next shooting of someone targeted by the right-wing radio hosts.

Here's the deal folks. There will be another shooting. The shooter will be a regular listener of right-wing radio. He may even come right out and say exactly why he is acting and where he got the idea from, but no action will be taken by any right-wing radio management.

Right wing media management will never accept any responsibility for encouraging violent rhetoric and genocidal statements toward others. Unless there was a law and a fine, like we have for obscenity, indecency and profanity, they will ignore our comments and encourage the hosts bigotry and genocidal statements. They will never acknowledge a causal link between violence suggested on the radio and violent action taken by a listener, even though they regularly expect listeners to take action such as going to teabag parties and buying sponsored products.

However they will have to accept a causal link between the advertiser pulling their ads because of the violent rhetoric and bigotry of the hosts.

I'm so pleased that Beach Blanket Babylon and LifetimeTV have stood up against the anti-gay rights statements from KSFO hosts. They did it in a way that reflected their own values and they can even respond to the most extreme free speech supporter by saying that removing financial support is not silencing a critic. As someone who HAD been silenced, when my blog was shut down by KSFO/ABC Radio/Disney with a bogus copyright claim, I know the difference.

As Matt Zimmerman from the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, "While such radio personalities certainly have a right to air their views, the First Amendment says nothing about a right to advertiser-subsidized speech."


Blogger ellroon said...

Most excellent work, Spocko!! I am in awe of your persistence in face of the horrific ugliness and hate pushed by KSFO. You really are a hero.

Thank you.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Meander said...



LifeTime! LifeTime! LifeTime!

Congratulations on a palpable victory!

Go kick 'em again.

12:42 PM  
Blogger watertiger said...

Go git 'em, Spocko!

Congratulations, amigo!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

A Victory! Way To Go, Spocko!

7:35 AM  
Blogger Sarah Deere said...

Victory is sweet. You're terrific!!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Xan said...

Wonderful news and brilliant damn strategy. If Gandhi had worked in an environment where broadcast media was a major influence, he would have done just as you are doing now. Civility, not censorship. Rah!

11:19 AM  
Blogger coho said...

Go, man, go.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

You are so cool. I'm honored to be on the same planet with you.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Lazlo said...

Kudos to you for taking a stand. Our country was founded by men of principle, in the face of great risk. With brave work like yours, those values will prevail.

The effect is starting to spread. The Glenn Beck program is losing advertisers, too.

Color of Change has a petition form to lobby more advertisers to drop Beck's show.

Cast your consumer vote now. You can make a difference.

12:11 AM  

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