Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Privacy, Violent Rhetoric and Talk Radio: Michael Savage Edition

Michael Savage vows to post Media Matters staff pictures and ‘pertinent information’ on website (Link)

The story above really is scary.

Just how close do we have to be to RTLM (Hutu Power Radio) for anyone to see the parallel and say, "That's enough, the people making these kind of threats are off the air for good."?

(You might recall from your watching of Hotel Rwanda that the hosts at RTLM gave information on where the Tutsis were located after talking about crushing the Tutsis like cockroaches. Note: those hosts are now serving jail time for war crimes.)

Is it going to take a few more murders of the targets of right wing talk radio host's ire for someone to act? And by someone I mean their own management. And if management doesn't act, showing us in writing the warnings to Savage along with his signed agreement posted on his website that he won't do this, then they need to pay a financial price. That is the only thing that might get them to act.

The government will not act unless the EXACT right type of murder or violent assult happens. I don't think that will ever happen. Savage knows he needs to avoid certain words and phrases. He knows that unless it is spoken in-person to the person carrying out the murder the people defending the hosts will work on the "he has his right to free speech!" line.

All talk radio and TV hosts know this, so they dance around it and practically demand that the people on the LEFT defend them.

Here is an example of what I mean. Last week

Terry Gross of Fresh Air interviewed Chip Berlet last week and asked him the question about violent rhetoric. She set up for him the question right wants the left to answer. She said,
"The right wing pundits don't pull the trigger. The don't whisper in the ear and say, 'You, you go out and shoot somebody.'"
-- Terry Gross, Fresh Air
interviewing Chip Berlet Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. (link)

That is bar that the right is happy the left is setting for them. "Legally he isn't culpable because he didn't pull the trigger." They are very concerned about protecting his "right" to make violent death threats on the air.

My buddy David Niewert can warn people, write excellent books on the topic and then, when the shootings happen go on TV and explain why it happened, but the media will continue to defend these radio and TV hosts. Why? Is it even ever possible to get them to say these people have gone too far? I don't think so.

The media are afraid that any suggestion of limitation of speech will be used against them. Even speech that clearly crosses the line in the category of falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, . At a macro level they see Savage as "one of them".

Who enables Michael Savage? Several groups:

1) His management. Talk Radio Network, they profit from him and as long as he is making them more money than he is costing them, they will do nothing.

2) His listeners on the right.

3) People on the left who believe standing up for Michael Savage's violent rhetoric and incitement to violence are somehow standing up for the First Amendment.

4) The advertisers who are paying to advertise on his show with the hope that the listeners will buy their goods and services.

Hosts like Savage want to be defended by people on the left. They want it to become a "free speech" or First Amendment issue. But as I have pointed out, it's a corporate issue and a financial issue.

The people who profit from Savage are not going to reign him in, unless he costs them money. And unless he is generating negative revenue they have no incentive to tell him to do something differently.

The people who support Savage's views are not going to tell him to stop.

The people on the left get antsy when it comes to any kind of development of new government speech rules. It is a long expensive legislative battle they don't want to fight. (As much at the right is screaming about a reinstatement of the fairness doctrine, Obama has said that he isn't planning to go there. Of course they don't care what he says, they will still bring out this boogy man whenever they want.)

The only people who can have any impact are the advertisers. We can point out to the advertisers just how bad it is to be connected to Savage. They often have advertising guidelines that give them permission to walk away from controversial people like Savage. If they really, really want to keep advertising they will make up reasons to stay, I think we should give them reasons to leave. Reasons that are consistent with their own internal rules. "Hey, I didn't write your HR and advertising guidelines, you did.")

Some advertisers will wait until more people are killed or violently attacked to act. They are hoping to squeeze out some juicy juicy sales from the people who support Savage. That is their choice.

I don't think that they really want to see, "These acts of violence against Media Matters staff are brought to you by Product X, a long time sponsor and friend of Michael Savage! "

Remember, Nike dumped Michael Vick. They had no desire to be connected to him after what he did. They understood that you need to protect your brand from people who are tainting it. It's too bad they couldn't have extracted themselves and their sponsorship BEFORE the revelation. Maybe there weren't any warning signs in the Vick case. In the case of Savage the warning signs are out there every day. Do you really want to be the last advertiser standing by the next Michael Vick?

Coleman concedes. It's Senator Franken Now!

Update 4:28 p.m. ET: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has released a statement announcing that he will sign the election certificate, which clears the way for Franken to be seated in the Senate. "In light of [the] decision and Senator Coleman's announcement that he will not be pursuing an appeal, I will be signing the election certificate today as directed by the court and applicable law." Earlier, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Franken could be seated as early as next week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Swearing on KSFO, The Brian Sussman Show

Dear FCC:

Below is a profanity complaint:

On 06/22/2009 at 06:15 pm on the Citadel Broadcasting Corporation (Public, OTC:CTDB) on radio station KSFO, 560 AM in San Francisco, CA on the Brian Sussman show starting at approximately 6:15 pm a regular caller, "Farra" uttered a profanity during a conversation with host Brian Sussman. The caller was talking about people in Iran:

"They want to be part of the structure of the whole world, that want to another country. They want to communicate they don't want isolation. And the whole thing is not between Mousavi or Ahmadinejad is just people being tired of this bulls**t mullah business for three decades."

Sussman: Farrah I appreciate your call here on KSFO, thanks for being with us at 18 minutes past six o'clock.

Here is the short audio link of the specific phrase. It is stored here in two formats
MP3 short link
WMA short link

Here is the audio clip of the entire call.
MP3 long link
WMA long link

All the material above can be filled in directly with the FCC online form (link)
Or you may email your completed complaint form and supporting documents to fccinfo@fcc.gov.
Here are other ways to file (link)

Please take this information and file a complaint.



Conservative talk radio is always talking about their desire for people to follow the rule of law. This is their opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.

As I said in more detail here

These are THEIR rules. I'm just asking that they follow them. This isn't about me, this is about them. The religious right worked overtime to make those rules have financial teeth. Not 6k fines like in the old days, but $350,000 or $550,000 (the hosts should remember that the unions, which the right hates, ensured that those fines wouldn't be levied to the host personally. Be sure to thank your union rep next time you see him.)

Broadcast Radio and TV people love to go on about how profane bloggers are, I remind them that for the most part we are NOT writing or podcasting in a regulated environment. They are. Their industry is the one that is regulated in exchange for the use of the public's airwaves. If they want to fight for the option to say profane words go right ahead. Of course you will be arguing against the Christian Right and their guy, Justice Scalia, who remembers the rules that were put into place that they agreed to:
"Programming replete with one-word indecent expletives will tend to produce children" who use them, Justice Scalia wrote.

For decades the rules have been the same and the broadcast industry have established protocols and tools to protect themselves. They use seven second delays, tape delays, call screeners, producers or engineers with the ability to dump profanity. It's not as if they didn't know this might happen or didn't have the tools. This is just the cost of doing business in the environment that the created.

I'm sure a potential $350,000 fine would have been nice to avoid and, like Fox with Bono, I'm sure they will scramble the lawyers to attempt to dismiss it, or stop it using all the standard tricks.

I have said in the past that Citadel management's insistance in seeing these KSFO hosts as assets and not liabilities is a mistake, but one that they have chosen to make. I don't know how many more ways I have to demonstrate this to them.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Joe the Plumber Suggests Lynching Chris Dodd

Violent rhetoric directed at an individual. This is irresponsible, dangerous and should trigger a law enforcement visit. 

Mayor found nude: Guess the Party

I've got 200 quatloos on Republican. 

Former Georgia Mayor Arrested For Nudity

Friday, June 26, 2009

Now THAT is a tall basketball player

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hammer Dance in Clothing Store

Every where I go from Antwerpen to LA people just seem to be showing up and dancing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

RULE OF LAW! Until it happens to Fox.

Court Backs Fines for On-Air Expletives

WASHINGTON -- A 5-4 Supreme Court ruling Tuesday upheld the Bush administration's rule penalizing radio and television broadcasters over isolated utterances of an expletive before 10 p.m

This is about Fox losing the case regarding the 2003 Golden Globe Awards, when U2 singer Bono said on live television that winning a trophy was "really, really f -- ing brilliant!" Read the whole thing in the April 29, 2009 Wall Street Journal

This story isn't really about free speech. It's about money. Fox doesn't want to pay the fine. And the liberal media will defend them because they don't want to be fined either. If you have enough money you can figure out a way (with enough clever lawyers and lobbyists) to get around the rules."Follow the money" is great advice for journalists, but also useful when understanding why companies (and people) do certain things.

The right wing authoritarians LOVE rules and like to enforce the rules when it can be used to punish someone else. When it comes to being used against them? Well that's another story! They don't want the rules to apply to them, especially rules that were designed to hurt their competitors or rules that were enacted by their base. For example, say that the base believes that obscenity and indecency is a bad thing. The right wing broadcasters are fine with that, especially when it hurt Howard Stern. But what do they do when it happens to them?

Blogosphere slogan: IOKIYAR which means, It's OK if you are Republican. Sometimes it's their own rules that are broken. I may or may not agree with them. I didn't make them. But the whole industry acknowledged them, and everyone agreed to follow them. They set up 7 second delays, they screened callers and when someone slipped, they fired people. (Like the recent firing of KGO talk radio host "Karel" and the board operator who let the obscenity-laden rant go out on the air and wanted "Joe the Plumber" dead.)

If we demand that they follow the rules they attack us, "Well YOUR people swear all the time! Your liberal friends swear! Your RAP music is all about swearing and killing and violence! We didn't even say it! It was Bono, a LIBERAL, who swore! What about that? Huh? I thought you believed in free speech! I thought you loved George Carlin!"

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?

These are THEIR rules. I'm just asking that they follow them. This isn't about me, this is about them. The religious right worked overtime to make those rules have financial teeth. Not 6k fines like in the old days, but $350,000 or $550,000 (the hosts should remember that the unions, which the right hates, ensured that those fines wouldn't be levied to the host personally. Be sure to thank your union rep next time you see him.) The right designed software and sent blast emails to the FCC. Many on the right believed the arguments that it was to protect the children. Apparently they even convinced the majority of the Supreme Court.

Their guy, Justice Scalia, remembers the rules that were put into place that they agreed to:

"Programming replete with one-word indecent expletives will tend to produce children" who use them, Justice Scalia wrote.
Instead of just accepting the fine they are fighting it using all their rhetorical and legal tricks. They really want to come down on the side of the First Amendment because the alternative is to come down in favor of obscenity. Well I say let's turn this back to what it is, News Corporation not wanting to follow the obscenity rules.
Right now News Corporation (Fox News parent) is working to develop a brief in favor of people swearing on broadcast radio and TV. That's right, Fox News wants your children to hear more of the F-word, the S-word and the C-word. They want the time when your children are watching TV or listening to the radio to be an unsafe place for children. Of course that is not how they will position it. It will be all about the Government limiting their speech and their "First Amendment Rights!". Now, does Fox have the right to make these arguments? Sure. And they will spend millions of lawyer dollars to make them. They will appeal and delay and work the FCC staffing hoping that they get swearing friendly Obama appointees.

This is just another aspect of big media using their power to break the rules and ignore the wishes of the people (especially their own listeners) when it comes to current and future profits.

FCC Fines That Don't Exist

I like to remind people that the FCC didn't have any fines to give out when Melanie Morgan called for the death of journalists by hanging or when Lee Rodgers called for the killing "like a mad dog" of political supporters of Ron Paul. They did not have a fine for KSFO when Brian Sussman talked about cutting off a finger and a penis of an Iraqi. That is why I went to the advertisers. The management didn't care, they FCC didn't care, because there wasn't a group of people who got together and said, "This kind of violent rhetoric is dangerous and creates an environment where someone will act." I actually asked acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps about this. He said that contacting the advertisers was the best course of action unless I wanted to lead an campaign about new rules for violent content.

But the FCC DOES care about obscenity and indecency on the broadcast airwaves because a one time in history a group of people convinced the FCC to regulate the broadcast airwaves. It was about protecting the children.

This Supreme court ruling means that at this moment in time this is settled law. (Unless you think that Justice Scalia is being an activist Judge!)

I can and will ask the FCC to enforce their own rules about obscenity and indecency because they are their rules. If the right wants to go after Rappers for swearing on publicly broadcast radio or TV, go right ahead, be my guest. The right wing went after Howard Stern and forced him out of broadcast radio, they have the power.

There are very few levers that the public has when it comes to media. Demanding that they pay a financial price for what is deemed irresponsible speech is one of them. We as a country haven't yet decided that calls for death of individuals and groups on broadcast radio and TV is irresponsible enough for an FCC fine. But we have decided that obscenity and indecency qualifies for a fine, if Howard Stern had to pay, so does Fox News.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mythbusting Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism

These Mythbusting points are from Sara Robinson over at Orcinus. Read all the points, each myth has info underneath it to explain more. Here are a few of the myths (link) See #7 in which my work is featured.

1. These are just "lone wolf" psychos who are acting alone. You can't hold anybody else responsible for what crazy people decide to do.

True and false. But mostly false.

4. This is just a minority movement that isn't really capable of changing anything. We don't really need to worry about it.

False. And evidence of tremendous denial.

5. It's not fair to hold right-wing media talking heads responsible for the things their listeners might do.


6. All that crazy stuff you hear on the right -- you can find the left wing saying things just as bad. They're equally culpable for how bad it all its.

False. There is no equivalency whatsoever to be drawn here.

7. "Dial it down?" Don't you mean that you want to use the power of government to forcibly shut up right-wing hate talkers?

False. There are a few folks in Congress who tried to gin up support for some kind of legislation -- but progressives should resist this impulse, and denounce it as the shameless grandstanding that it is. We believe in the First Amendment. And if we compromise it now, we're no better than the Bush-era conservatives who were so eager to shred the Constitution when they felt threatened. We are better than that -- or should be.

Besides, we've already perfected a tried-and-true method that actually works. Even better: it's grounded completely in conservative free-market philosophy; so if when the right wing starts blustering about it, we get to fire right back and call them out as hypocrites. Big fun all around...and so much more elegant than wantonly trampling on people's civil rights.

Short and simple: we take our appeal to the advertisers. We note who the hate talkers are, what they're saying, what date and time they said it -- and then we write letters to the CEOs of the companies that sponsored those shows. Do these people speak for you? Is this the kind of media you want your product associated with? If the answer is no, what do you intend to do about it?

Note that this is not a boycott -- just a call for moral accountability. Being associated with hate speech is so bad for business in so many ways that no boycott should be required. It taints the brand. It usually violates the sponsors' own HR standards -- any employee who said that stuff at the office would be canned on the spot. It's horrible PR, especially if some enterprising blogger decides to make an issue out of it. Simply pointing that out has often been enough to convince executives that it's a bad idea, and they need to get out before it blows up in their faces.

Don Imus lost his show this way. So did KSFO's Melanie Morgan. (There's even a verb for it -- "spockoed" -- referring to the blogger who used this technique to get Morgan and several other California hate talkers off the air.) It turns out that advertisers actually read these letters -- especially when they're getting them by the hundreds. It doesn't take much of this before they pull back their ads; and when their major sponsors walk away, the talkers lose their shows. They may thrash a little -- but usually, it's all over in a matter of just a few weeks.

Note, too, that both TV and radio stations are already losing revenue year over year at a rate that's starting to rival newspapers, so they're probably even more exquisitely sensitive to this kind of pressure now than they were just a couple years ago. If we want these people off this air, this is the way to get them gone for good -- and make the cultural point that this garbage is no longer acceptable on the nation's airwaves.

There are more, check them out at Orcinus

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is to be Done? Violent Rhetoric on Talk Radio

I get really frustrated when I see people on the left get pushed into the black and white corner of the right when it comes to violent rhetoric on talk radio or TV. People in the media have an especially hard time discussing this issue because they are afraid of saying anything that even hints of a restriction.

If you call out someone for their violence rhetoric following an act of right wing violence the quick response on the right is, "Are you saying I'm responsible? I didn't pull the trigger. I've got my free speech! What, don't you like free speech?" Then, to respond, some people start with the, "I didn't say you were responsible, Yes, I love free speech, I'll defend your right to say etc. etc. etc."

Using this response they have pulled us into the position to supporting THEM.

The right will never say that their words will have a direct causal link to action when it comes to violence.


One reason could be because they don't believe their words are powerful enough to convince someone to be violent. Their words can convince people to:

  • buy products
  • vote a certain way
  • make phone calls
  • show up at rallies
  • donate money

but in their mind their words can not convince anyone to do anything violent. Does that make any sense?

The power of their words always stops short when it comes to violence. Nice trick that, obviously they know their audience and their non-violent ways and commitment to peaceful resistance. (snark)

Another reason is that the focus has been moved to who is responsible is broadcast lawyers advising them. They have developed the idea that they can't be held legally responsible so they are working that argument in public. They don't want to deal with moral or ethical responsiblity, just, "Can I be sued or go to jail if I say this?" It is a legalistic mind set that fits in quiet well with the Authoritarian mind set. They will happily use lawyers to help them create legal cover. They ask the lawyer, "I want to do this, how can I do it with out getting into trouble legally?"

They will also use people I call platitude free speech advocates to support them. These are people who bring out the "I'll defend to the death your right to free speech" before knowing what the other person is even talking about. If you asked them, "Would you defend their right to falsely yell fire in a crowded theater?" they would say no. So you really need to look at exactly WHAT you are saying you are defending.

I was at a presentation Monday sponsored by Working Assets/Credo that brought together Dave Brock, CEO of Media Matters, Eric Boehlert, author and senior fellow at Media Matters and Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.

I asked a question I wanted them to address. What can we do economically about violent rhetoric on talk radio?

I wanted to get us into an area that we have some proven successes in this regard. We could go to the FCC to start the process of adding inciting violence to the list of finable offenses, but that would be a multiyear process and a fight that the right might want to have so they can be seen as the poor victims who are just talking about "self defense". It also would turn into a linguistic word splitting game. And as we all know, the right is better at parsing words to avoid responsibility than anyone.

The government might not want to step in and say, "If you suggest to your listeners on the air that they go out and kill people" we will fine you or take away your license, but that doesn't stop the sponsors from saying, "Our corporate value system is against suggesting you kill people on the air." (Pretty funny that we need to count on a corporate value system, but there you have it.)

Corporates are still made up of people who can make decisions on where they spend their advertising dollars. They are not the Government. They can make a business decision that they do not want to taint their brand by sponsoring people who suggest violence toward others. Others who are potential customers. Others who are current customers.

They do not have to come out and say anything about whether or not the radio hosts are or are not responsible for anything, if they pull support they aren't censuring any one, just withdrawing their paid support. As I point out time and time again, the hosts have no right to paid sponsored speech.

Friday, June 12, 2009

False Comparisons: SOP in Debates

I was a lousy debater at the Vulcan Science Academy. I was too easily pushed into my human side by Vulcan bullies (as demonstrated by the documentary of one of my alternative timeline lives).

As I got older and my logic took over I got better. I got even better when I began to see the patterns in the debate and give them names. I still didn't really like to do it, I would rather persuade than argue, have a conversation than a debate. Folks who have degrees in rhetoric like my dear friend Interrobang give me names for techniques that I experienced in the right-wingnutosphere.

Some times I knew how to counter them, other times I realized that the person I was debating would never admit they were wrong, but simple switch to another technique to "win" the debate. Since there was usually not a third party to declare victory, like ajudge, debate coach or wise respected parent, they would never stop. Frankly it got tiresome. I also found some wouldn't take YES for an answer. "I AGREE with you! I think Gary Davis is a crummy governor. You've won! Stop trying to convince me."

The people I'm arguing with are usually men, when they have lost they rarely, if ever concede. From the book "You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in conversation" Deborah Tannen explains the loss of status that men often feelwhen it comes to admitting they are wrong, (this explains why they hate to admit they are lost. Even admitting to someone they will never see again, like a gas station attendant, is seen as a status lowering event. )

A long time reader of this blog, Jim, who often brings me good comments that force me to be more complete in my posts, wrote the comment below.

I sometimes wait for one of my other 18 readers to respond, but I figured that I would respond to this. And since I only have 19 readers (which is 16 more than many bloggers) I always try to be polite. I leave the righteous swearing to Athenae at First-Draft.

Here's Jim:

So 1 neonazi nut shoots people and it's caused by right wing talk radio? I suppose you can also say that liberal bloggers supporting muslims cause american soldiers to die because 1 muslim nut killed an american recruiter: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-06-01-army-recruiter-killed_N.htm

6:11 AM
Blogger spocko said...

Jim, Jim, Jim. Come one, you are usually better than this. And usually your reading comprehension is much much better. Often you provide me with well thought out rebuttals which offer me a chance to make my points clearer. And in the past I've agreed with some of your points. I'm sorry that you jumped to this argument. You are probably rusty (like I know that I am after my vacation).

As you can see I didn't say that right wing talk radio caused the neonazi to shoot people. I said, "I believed that the constant repeating of anger, hate and suggestions of violence toward others had and has a very real effect on people's thinking."

I still believe that my statement is correct. Unless you believe that people are never affected by what their hear. And I don't think you would argue that.

As for your second comment. Come on, that is a weak strawman. I hate the fact that military recruiters were killed. I'm against violence without just cause. I don't condone it, and if you can point to serious public people on the left calling for Muslims to kill American Recruiters I'd like to see it. On the other hand I CAN provide you with audio clips of Lee Rodgers calling for the death of millions of innocent Muslims. I can provide you with audio clips of Brian Sussman wanting to torture Iraqi's by cutting off their fingers and penises. I can provide you with audio clips of Sussman agreeing with a caller who wants to send cruise missiles into Mosques. (hmm, killing defenseless people in their houses of worship, where have we heard of another man doing that lately?)

When Melanie Morgan gathered a bunch of her supporters using her broadcast pulpit at KSFO to have a "show down" at "high noon" with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink during one of her peaceful protests of the military recruiter sites in Berkeley I wrote Morgan's management telling them that her language was inflammatory and that gathering a mob to confront a group for a "show down" at "high noon" (Morgan's words) has a high potential for violence. And guess what? Violence happened. One of Morgan's supporters took a knife and slashed the Code Pink banner and then slashed the cord to Benjamin's microphone. A few inches in another direction and it would have slashed the holder's neck. Now, I have talked to a DOJ attorney about his, talked to Medea and talked to the head of the rally who has photos of the perpertrator. I have audio of Morgan's comments before that event documenting her inflamatory comments.

With all this there are people who will say that isn't enough to show inciting violence to give the government a reason to step in. Okay, fine, but that doesn't mean that the company that funds her can't say, "That is irresponsible, tone it down or we will be on the hook for a civil claim in someone comes after us."
If the government is afraid to act because of their concerns of stifling free speech then we need to ask the responsible corporations to act. To ignore it is to condone it. If the people at the radio station aren't responsible then we need to ask the people who pay the bills, if they want to keep supporting them. The station will act out of fear of lawsuits, and maybe some of them understand the potential for violence and just don't like it for their own brand image.

Michael Rowe has an interesting article over at Huffington Post
That makes the point that, there was "A time when it was expected that citizens would understand the difference between free speech and irresponsible speech."

I don't want to get into the technical and legal definition of hate speech here, but the "falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater" argument has to do with the potential for injury. The FCC has a whole section on inciting violence and what constitutes "fighting words" but they don't have fines. They have left that up to the good judgment of the rational managers of the radio stations. The FCC figures they have their hands full with the obscenity and the indecency rules that they currently spend their time regulating.

Speaking of obsenity, are you actively spending time trying to get obscenity back on the radio so they can have their "free speech?"over that?
Or are you accepting that decision as something the public decided to do to regulate its public airwaves?

Thanks for posting Jim, but this is not one of you better efforts. Keep coming back though, maybe next time you'll "win" the conversation.

In memory of Dr. Tiller. Where to Donate --By Interrobang

So, the terrorists have managed to close Dr. Tiller's clinic. In nearly no cases will this outcome "save" any "babies." What it will do is condemn a lot of women to unsafe deliveries of dead fetuses, condemn a lot of women to delivering their doomed children in a regular maternity ward, only to be surrounded by happy parents -- while they wait for their child to take its last breath. What it will do is practically guarantee that a woman dies unnecessarily in childbirth. What it will do is increase the amount of misery in the world.

What it is doing, step by step, is depriving women of their ownership of their own bodies. By terrorism.

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Dr. Tiller, and to help increase abortion rights and access, here are some places you can donate:

A list from Feministe, including:

The National Abortion Federation
Medical Students For Choice (Note: You can earmark donations to MS4C to your favourite group; I sent mine to the university where I did my undergraduate degree.)
Planned Parenthood and International Planned Parenthood Federation
Haven Coalition
Lilith Fund (helps women pay for abortions)
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
DKT International (overseas family planning services)
Catholics for Choice
Education For Choice (UK)
Marie Stopes International

If you are in Canada and would like to make a donation to a Canadian pro-choice cause in memory of Dr. George Tiller, a contact at the Morgentaler Clinic recommends:

The Morgentaler Defense Fund
33 Hazelton Ave # 101
Toronto, ON
M5R 2E3
(to assist Dr. Morgentaler in his legal battle to ensure abortion access in New Brunswick)

The Morgentaler Patient Assistance Fund
727 Hillsdale Avenue East
Toronto, ON
M4S 1V4
(According to the woman I spoke to at the MC -- I am keeping her safely anonymous -- although most services are covered by the provincial healthcare plan, many women require travel assistance, and many many women come to Canada from abroad to obtain safe, accessible abortions in Canada, where otherwise abortion is illegal or they would be facing prosecution.)

ARCC - Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
P.O. Box 2663
Station Main,
Vancouver, BC
V6B 3W3
(fights to ensure access for Canadians)

Canadians for Choice
300-260 Dalhousie St.
Ottawa, ON
K1N 7E4
(Canadian pro-choice activism)

---From Interrobang

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Right Wing Violence: Holocaust Museum Shooting

I was on vacation when Dr. Tiller was shot so I didn't comment. I'll put up a post from Interrobang later to address that. Today someone shot two people at the Holocaust Museum in DC. Coincidentally, I just found out Monday that I had a connection to the Holocaust story that I didn't know about.

Monday I was at the service for my Uncle, a WWII paratrooper who I just found out liberated one of the concentration camps. He submitted a description of his experience to the Holocaust Museum in 1997. When I get a copy of his recollections from my cousin I'll post some of it.

I could do a big post talking about the role of right-wing radio hosts in inciting violence toward multiple people and groups but I've written that post over and over again.

Everyone Talks about Violence on Talk Radio but Who Does Anything About it?
When I heard on talk radio violence directed at others I got so sick of it I did something about the situation. I believed that the constant repeating of anger, hate and suggestions of violence toward others had and has a very real effect on people's thinking. I think it is irresponsible to not vigorously challenge calls for violence on commercially supported broadcast radio. And, because I know how the right wing radio loves to play the courageous protector of "Free Speech", especially when they cross the line with violence, I made a conscious decision to go to the only audience that really cares what they say, the advertisers.

[Side note: How much of an impact did we make on KSFO? I don't know for sure, but this was posted to my blog on Feb. 9 2009 in response to my post about the UUC killings of Jim Adkisson's. I can't confirm the financial figures, but I find it interesting]
we've been waiting for you to get back on the pulpit spocko. i highly doubt that you, your readers, or the media who covered your efforts over the past few years, have any idea how much you affected ksfo. your work cost them millions of dollars in a very short period of time. the long term losses are much greater and will never be recouped. probably tens of millions in future losses.

think about it. 27 big brand advertisers, gone. agency buyers who are familiar with your work don't take the risk exposing their other clients to ksfo so that money is gone. melanie morgan, gone. so much time and energy spent on damage control by sales people and management. the list goes on an on and on. it all began with a few emails to key people and tens of millions of dollars later, we still remain in awe of you.

You see the advertisers are not the government. They aren't radio management (who get higher ratings from a controversial host than one who is rational.) Advertisers can make a business decision and don't have to worry about violating the First Amendment when they pull their ads or tell a host to knock off the violent threats right before they play a commercial for their product. And, if they look at their own internal corporate policies, they often find the hosts are violating their own HR guidelines.

Radio Host's Violent Rhetoric Taints Brands
Can you imagine Mercedes sponsoring a newspaper ad with a photo of Lee Rodgers making this comment, "This call to kill Jews is brought to you by Mercedes"? Then why when Lee Rodgers calls to kill Muslims Bay Area Mercedes still acts as a sponsor? What's up with that? Double standards on who it is okay to talk about killing on the air? You bet. [Audio of Rodgers suggesting that millions of Muslims need to be killed (and he didn't mean terrorist Muslims, just plain ol' Muslims.)]

Note to Bay Area Mercedes, "Dead Muslims can't buy cars.
" Sponsoring a host who calls for the death of potential car buyers is a marketing fail.

Of course what the radio hosts never mention is that they are already regulated by the government when it comes to obscenity and indecency. If there were fines for incitement to riot or suggestions of violence toward others you can be sure that the seven second delay button would have been worn out being used on Lee Rodgers, Brian Sussman, Melanie Morgan and "Officer Vic". A couple of $350,000 fines and they would be off broadcast radio.

It is really only the threat of losing money from their calls to kill people that could have an impact. Especially in a timely fashion. If the left decided to go to the FCC and ask to include threats of violence to the fine list that would be FUN for the right wing. They would get to be "under fire" from the liberals. "They are trying to squelch my free speech!!" Bill O'Reilly would try and rally people on the left who don't know the distinction between commercially sponsored regulated speech that is approved by his management --and unwitting sponsors --and speech that the government is not supposed to mess with as stated in the First Amendment.

Who Supports Violent Threats on the Radio and TV?

There are people on the left who you will hear say, "I don't like what he has to say but will defend to the death his right to say it." I ask these people if they will defend his right to call for someone to be murdered on the air and then give his address and work schedule. Some of them understand the difference in those comments, but others still like to stick to a platitude. Not surprisingly sometimes they are the people who make money off the hosts. "Hey it's just his opinion, he has a right to his opinion."

It is an important education process to help people understand the logic underpinning the rule about falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater. It's about the potential for harm to others with irresponsible speech.

I'm not an scholarly expert like the folks that Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle included in his round up story about the topic. I wish that he would have called me because exposing violent rhetoric from right-wingers has been one of my main issues for years. Of course I understand-- quoting someone named "Spocko" from a blog named Spocko's Brain doesn't carry the same weight as Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics or David Hudson, a scholar for a First Amendment Center. But if, as is often the case in American, you look at the bottom line, I think what I did, and the methods I used are worth discussing. Especially since we did it all legally, using the marketplace and we exposed the hypocrisy of the management that would cry "they have free speech!" on one hand while shutting down my blog with a bogus copyright claim on the other.

The national hosts are more popular and maybe more fun to focus on, but sadly here in San Francisco we have our own radio hosts at KSFO who have called for the violent death of their political rivals, journalists, liberals, democrats and Muslims.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Cheerful Song from Garfunkel and Oats

I love the shout out to Duck Tales.

Lots of sadness in the world today, a happy silly song is just what I needed. Thanks Riki and Kate.