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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    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Will Citadel Broadcasting Hire That Guy Who Killed Two UUC Church Members?

    Photo by Lisa Hudson, AP

    Later this week I'm going to print Jim Adkisson's manifesto in which he talks about how much he hates liberals. This was the note he wrote before he when out and shot eight members of the liberal UUC Church. He killed Linda Kraeger, 61 and 60-year-old Greg McKendry, the liberal hero who died shielding others from gunfire.
    (For a post on What This Means, read my friend Sara Robinson at Orcinus. )

    Did you ever wonder what kind of person talks about killing people because of their political beliefs? What kind of people use threats of violence to others in their everyday work life? Mobsters. Gang members. Street criminals. Talk Radio hosts.

    Which publicly traded companies have a philosophy that accepts and embraces these people? Citadel Broadcasting (CDL) for one. Can you imagine paying someone big bucks who says that his co-workers should trace, hunt down and kill someone, "like a mad dog" just for sending an email with political views they don't agree with? (see video below) Citadel Broadcasting hires and pays these people.

    Maybe Jim Adkisson should have searched for work at Citadel before he went on his shooting spree. Based on his note, he would have fit right in. Maybe he can broadcast on KSFO from prison, after all, Lee Rodgers isn't in the studio, he broadcasts from Arizona. What's great about working for Citadel is that you can even break the company's own rules about threatening talk and still get your contract renewed. Sweet!

    (Jim, if you want to apply for a job at KSFO do it though their close friends at I'll bet that if you can't find one there, BAjobs can find you another company that doesn't require employees to following any rules, better yet, apply to Citadel directly Citadel Broadcasting Human Resources Susan Arville can tell you how they allow people to ignore the violence rules AND ignore the female harassment rules. )

    How do Talk Radio hosts get away with it? Well partly it is because they have convinced the very people they are threatening to defend them. Nice trick. Kind of like the way they get the automakers they insult to pay them.

    Defending People Who Incite Violence
    Two weeks ago I spoke to a guy who told me my example of violent rhetoric from a talk radio host directed toward specific individuals was not inciting violence.

    He said, "Only if the person was physically standing there and said, "Go get 'em." and the people heard him and then went right over and did something violent to another person would it be inciting violence. And even then, the person who did the violence had a choice, he didn't have to act."

    As I listened to him I realized that he, like a defense lawyer, was figuring out how he would protect the client (the radio host) as an intellectual exercise. I know this was the case because he said, "At least that is how their lawyer will defend them. They will say that the radio host is not responsible for the actions of the person who committed the violence." He was thinking about how to defend the "free speech" even when it involved the one area most people agree is NOT covered --the "don't yell fire in a crowded theater someone might get hurt" part.

    But responsibility for the act is different from the act of incitement. And legal responsibility is different from a moral responsibility.

    Talk Radio is Regulated for Words Deemed Harmful
    How did this regulation happen? Enough people decided that obscenity and indecency are harmful to the public so they convinced the FCC to make corporations take steps to prevent these words and phrases from reaching the public.

    Whether or not you agree with these views, the fact is an obscenity said over broadcast radio can cost the corporation money if they allowed it to be broadcast. The fines can be up to $350,000. So, the corporations, to protect their bottom line, reissued guidelines. They made sure the seven second delay buttons, which they have been using for decades, were still working. Producers were told to keep their finger on the button to protect the public. Some slipped. Fines were levied. Radio host were fired. The corporations fought the fines under the mantle of "our right to free speech" but it wasn't as if they didn't know the score regarding obscenity and indecency when they got into the game.

    But when it comes to suggesting, on the public airwaves, that a group of people be killed there is no FCC regulation or fines. And, as we have seen, the self-regulation of the corporation's own policies are ignored.

    There are no FCC regulations that would result in a fine if, for example, a radio host said, "We'll trace you back, run you down and kill you like a mad dog." or "Liberals need to be hanged." or millions of Muslims need to be killed (and they don't mean terrorist Muslims, just plain ol' Muslims.).

    In 2007 I asked current acting FCC commissioner Michael Copp,
    "Is the public good being served by conservative radio hosts that suggest that their political opponents be killed?

    His answer was "go to the advertisers" since there are no regulations at the FCC level. That is what I did, but even after 28 advertisers left the KSFO hosts are still at it. They are even allowed to ignore the company's own self regulation policies and keep on broadcasting. What will it take for something to change? Does someone need to act on their words? Wait, someone did! But since it wasn't their specific words and they weren't there to tell Jim to pull the trigger it still wasn't enough.

    At Citadel Broadcasting station KSFO it appears you can call for the death of your political opponents on the air, violating the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics of your parent company and profit!

    I wonder if the rest of the employees at Citadel Broadcasting are paying attention to how clearly the KSFO hosts ignore the rules? Will they will follow suit since there are no consequences? Follow the money! Who's making money? The people who break the rules! Unless it costs money when you break the rules (via FCC or internal guidelines) people in media corporations won't follow any rules.

    Brian Sussman can finally start Bring Your Gun to Work Day and there is nothing Citadel can do to stop it. If they want to challenge Sussman's second amendment rights, I say go right ahead and when you do be sure to tell his fans you have required him to follow your rules Citadel. I'll bet they will be very upset. (And when you get the upsetting letters be sure to remember this is the audience you are courting and encouraging, see how comfortable they make you feel when you tell them you are requiring Sussman follow your rules and regulations.)

    If you ask him to not bring his gun to work he will probably talk about how you have made KSFO a "Victim disarmament zone." and suggest more guns. In case you haven't noticed, that is the new tactic. Their solution to gun violence is more guns (frankly I thought it was tax cuts, because usually that is the conservative's answer to everything).

    Sussman certainly won't following any code of behavior rules if the Great Lee Rodgers doesn't have to. As Brian reminded us just after Obama got elected.

    "I don't use my gun for hunting, if you know what I mean." (audio link)

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

    Yes, KSFO advertisers from BMW, Mercedes and Toyota the Citadel Broadcasting Corporation encourages these men. Read what Jim Adkisson said in his manifesto then compare that to what Lee Rodgers or Brian Sussman have said on the air for years.

    Talk radio hosts are supposed to get people to act, to buy advertiser's product. What if the product is violence toward a group of people? Well then we have our own version of Hutu Power Radio. The results are not an abstract intellectual exercise. It's bodies on the floor of a church.

    Jim Adkisson is talk radio's biggest success story
    I'm sure right wing talk radio hosts are proud of themselves. Adkisson didn't just buy the product, he bought the ideas and he ACTED! That is what a real right wing conservative would do, right? Act! Are the hosts telling us that they DON'T mean what they say? Lee Rodgers has said in the past that he means EXACTLY what he says. (audio link) As Rodgers has also said, "Nobody is gonna tell me, what to talk about or not talk about or in what fashion on this radio program. It ain't gonna happen!" (audio link)

    Bottomline, the stations profited, and that is all that matters. That is the only "public good" that matters to the owners of the broadcast licensees. Unless there are financial consequences nothing changes.
    UUbuntu caught my typo on the church being the Unitarian Universalist Church not UCC.
    Thank you for the correction. It was the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
    He wrote an excellent post on the subject.

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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Charlatan by Pope Brock: "A Facinating book"

    I just finished the new book Charlatan by Pope Brock. I was so excited by the book I wrote about it before I even finished. It reminded me of the time I called some friends in the middle of watching the TV show "Action" with Jay Mohr and said, "Turn on your TV right now, there is a hilarious new show on." Of course that show was designed for HBO but moved to Fox where it was too brilliant, so it was canceled. In the case of this book, it won't ever be canceled, it can only get more popular after more people read it.

    I had no idea that it would touch so many of my areas of interest in such a gripping and entertaining way. It touches on the power of radio and radio personalities, politics, religion, the state of our country's pure food and drug laws and people who will say anything in exchange for enough money. It even included some famous characters like Sinclair Lewis, H.L. Menken and radio czar and secretary of commerce Herbert Hoover. (Hoover later went on to be the famous inventor of "Hoovervilles" which provided affordable housing to people who believed that the government should give more tax cuts to the rich during economic downturns.)

    In 1932 Dr. Brinkley was broadcasting one million watts on XER-AM out of Villa Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, making it the most powerful radio station on the planet. "On clear nights Brinkley reached Alaska, skipped across to Finland, was picked up ships on the Java Sea. In later years Russian spies reportedly used the station to help them learn English." In contrast, KSFO, out of San Francisco broadcasts on 5,000 watts reaches the entire Bay Area and "can be heard East to Reno, South past San Jose and North, nearly to Eureka." National syndication does for our modern day radio personalities what one million watts did for Dr. Brinkley.

    [One Million Naomi Watts]

    The fight about the radio air waves in the 1930's reminds me of stories from Eric Klinenberg's excellent book "Fighting for Air. The Battle to Control America's Media." Brock shares Klinenberg's crackling style and crisp characterization of the major players in the story.

    Brinkley ran for governor of Kansas and came very close to winning. He used advertising, public relations, religion and powerful political connections to sell his ideas and his worthless (and in multiple cases deadly) medical procedures and tonics. In many ways he was a pioneer in spreading hope, fear and death in the guise of entertainment, medical rejuvenation and religion.

    Like the best thriller fiction books, Brock's story sets up multiple clashes between the two main characters with the stakes getting higher and higher with each encounter.

    I especially liked his portrayal of Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association who fought against Dr. Brinkley. What is astonishing to me is just how long and hard he fought for things we take for granted today like medical licensing, regulation of drugs and medical devices. We have people like Fishbein, and Sinclair Lewis to thank for their hard work, but for every Fishbein and Lewis we had hundreds of quacks and hucksters who cheerfully sold false hope in a bottle.

    As I said before, what makes Brock's book better than a simple retelling of an epic battle between two charismatic individuals is his answers to the question, "Why does this happen?"

    Here is one of my favorite passages:
    Still, there has probably never been a more quack-prone and quack-infested country than the United States. Flocking west with the pioneers, they struck in one town, vanished to the next, and taught their tricks to others. Dupes were as common as passenger pigeons. Many Americans viewed hospitals, sometimes with justice, as tricked-up funeral homes and doctors as crooks who had a financial stake in keeping them sick.

    But quacks weren't just accepted; they were joyously embraced, thanks to a perverse seam in the American mind stretching back almost to the dawn of the republic.

    It first appeared in the early nineteenth century. In the heady days of Jacksonian democracy, that delirious celebration of the ordinary, the nation's elite--preachers, doctors, lawyers--were overthrown (at least mentally) with an abandon reminiscent of the French Revolution. Suddenly, to be educated was to be despised. Now, when it came to physicians, Americans not only tolerated but demanded incompetence. So high was the common man exalted that state governments, all but three, actually repealed licensing requirements for doctors. In midcentury educator Lemuel Shattuck, asked by the Massachusetts legislature to conduct a sanitary survey of that state, reported back: "Any one, male or female, learned or ignorant, an honest man or a knave, can assume the name of physician, and 'practice' upon any one, to cure or to kill, as either may happen, without accountability. It's a free country!"
    "Americans not only tolerated but demanded incompetence." Gee, does that sound like a time we know in the political world?

    In recounting the story Brock hits upon another underlying theme. "[Brinkley's] career was sustained in part by America's deep reluctance to criminalize greed."

    As we start to find out more about what happened during the Bush administration we often need to look at this perverse aspect of our national character. You will see it the "investigation" of the financial industry. Lack of regulation and oversight can generate tons of money for a few, but it can also cost many. When you see the admiration of someone who makes money off of "the rubes" is may be fun to pat yourself on the back that you weren't taken, but there is also a price that is paid for ignoring their plight. As my friend Athenae at First-Draft reminds us, we are all connected. Is losing your job and savings as devastating as losing your life? I don't know, I don't remember what it was like being dead, but I know how devastating losing money and the fear of losing money can be.

    We have a lot to learn from Brock's book that applies to our time. We need more people like Dr. Morris Fishbein, Sinclair Lewis and H. L. Mencken. The hucksters will always be with us, but they can be regulated to do less harm when brave people stand up against them.

    To be inspired, entertained and enlightened pick up Brock's book, Charlatan.

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Love your Neighbour. Give him Soup. Or Kill him.

    My friend (O) CT (O) PUS is ill with an eye infection. And since octopuses have such big eyes he's out for a while. He was going to post on talk radio, but instead ran an animation video by Norman McLaren called Neighbours. (The Swash Zone link) I remember when I first saw that animation technique. I remember thinking what fun it was to watch.

    I also remember when I first heard the phrase, "Love your Neighbor." I liked my neighbors, they were just like me. Sometimes I ate dinner with them, we had Mrs. Grass' chicken noodle soup with the golden flavor nugget which "you drop in yourself!"

    I remember thinking, "Loving your neighbor shouldn't be that hard." Then they described how it was everyone we were supposed to love. I thought that was crazy. "What about the people who want to kill us?" Were we supposed to love them?

    As a child that was a hard one to grasp. I thought that was stupid so I followed my childlike view. If they hate you, hate them right back. And, as a child, I developed a whole system of hate levels. We even had a club where we hated people who wore white socks. We called it, "The White Socks Hater's Club." We sat on the swing set and talked about how much we hated people who wore White Socks.

    It wasn't until Star Fleet Academy where I started seeing the radical nature of what Jesus was talking about. Using logic I could see a bigger answer in the question, "Who is our neighbor?"

    I saw how we benefit from seeing us all connected. But being half human I also understood why people wanted to redefine the words "Love your Neighbor" so that it could include killing others, or at least hating them.

    I was always amazed that people could call themselves Christians yet wanted to kill people, especially people who hadn't done anything to them. That they were convinced to kill people who MIGHT kill them in the future was astonishing to me. Clearly they weren't like us and they were in the same general area so they MUST be trying to kill us."PreCrime!"

    When we found out that those people really weren't going to kill us in the future I remember thinking, "People who call themselves Christians started this? Boy, they REALLY didn't get the message."

    Sometimes it's hard to be a "Love your Neighbor" kind of person. I understand that.

    What if you felt it was your job to figure out a new way to hate your neighbor? What if your job depended on drumming up fear of and disgust for your neighbor every single day?
    That would seem to be kind of unchristian. But of course you wouldn't tell yourself that. You would tell yourself that Jesus really was cool with hating your neighbor, that Jesus was an angry guy who would flip out at the slightest provocation, "Jesus flipped over TABLES in the temple! He TOTALLY would be down with killing people!"

    You would tell yourself that you have a better understanding of who your neighbor was than Jesus. Jesus never had to fear airplanes crashing into his buildings. He never had to fear a smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud. (Ah ha! He didn't even know what a smoking gun or a mushroom cloud was, they didn't exist so he couldn't have known a real threat!)

    What if you felt it was your job to STOP people who wanted to love your neighbors more? What if you felt that you needed to actively work against anything that involved forgiveness, turning the other cheek and loving your neighbor? I guess that would be fine just as long as you didn't call yourself Christian. What if you sat in a pew every Sunday for 20 years and heard messages like "Love your neighbor" and then 5 days a week for 3 hours a day you preached to millions, not, "Love your Neighbor", but kill and torture your neighbor? (I'll have to ask my friend Padre Mickey at Padre Mickey's Dance Party about the kind of person who doesn't get the message, then maybe I can get on his blog roll.)

    It would be nice if they just stopped calling themselves Christians, that would be more honest, but on the other hand it does allow us to use the words spoken by their namesake to challenge them.

    How do they get around defying the words said by their namesake? Easy. They have a system for getting around accusations of failure to follow the guidelines of Jesus . "I'm not perfect. Forgive me. Love me. I'm your neighbor. I'm just like you! If you were a good Christian you would love me. Now please purchase Campbell's Chunky™ Chicken Noodle soup. Mmmm, Mmmm. Good. Now about waterboarding it is not torturing your neighbor..."

    I'm Vulcan so I can see the flaws in their "logic" (such as it is) and the inconsistent reading of their own text. I don't have to follow the guidelines of their namesake even though I can see the logic in his words. It's too bad humans who claim to follow him can't.

    Live Long and Prosper,
    Your Neighbor,

    Padre Mickey said...

    Well, since you asked the question, I had to put you on the blogroll. Rules are rules!

    Also, in answer to your question: We call those people "really stupidly slow learners" and "Republican politicians." You know, the kind of people who, after giving tax cuts to the wealthy for years and years and then seeing the economy collapse believe that the solution to the problem is to give the wealthy more tax cuts!

    Thanks Padre Mickey!

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    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    What Happens the Day After They Spill Blood?

    When does inciting violence toward anti-war protesters become real enough to matter?

    Does someone have to die? Does getting punched or tackled count?

    If you gather a group of people for the express purpose of "fighting back" against peaceful protesters and someone then is hurt or dies, are the people who used the public air waves to assemble them responsible?

    Are the bosses of those people, who are aware of and encourage these activities, responsible?

    I ask these questions because the other day Phoenix Woman, writing at Fire Dog Lake, wrote about how a peace protester was assaulted by a group from Gathering of Eagles. (link)

    I heard another similar story about what happened at the September 15th protest by the Move America Forward Chairman, Melanie Morgan.

    Morgan is quite proud of her "Fighting Debs" for punching a die-in protester on Sept. 15 in D.C. (Listen at 3:45 minutes in to this audio link is 7 minutes long (don't want to be accused of being "out of the context!") You can hear how happy she was that an anti-war protester got punched.

    Hear how excited she was that "the crowd was so riled up after our rally was over" and since they were all fired up they had to "take it to the streets, I mean they had some 'tudes going on" so of course they go looking for trouble at the die-in. (She sounds like she envisions some kind of Jets/Sharks rumble.)

    You will note in THEIR description of Deb Johns punching out this middle-aged member of the "moonbat" contingent, that it was clearly self defense. Is that how it really happened? I don't know, I wasn't there, I don't have video. But in their world when someone shoves you, you escalate it, you punch them.

    What if Something Really Happens?

    MAF has sponsored counter protest events before and they are planning to do it again. They promise the TV media some shouting and dangle the possibility of violence and the cameras show up. They WANT something to happen. They are the ones setting up the scene.

    They were down right giddy the last time the media fell for it in the Bay Area. You can bet they will do it again. The media got their juicy footage of a father of a dead Iraq soldier screaming at the little old woman who owned the land at the Lafayette hillside memorial. With that kind of exciting footage who can resist?

    Right now Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward has alerted her "one million member pro-troop" organization to the event below. I want you to note her links to her good friend Michelle Malkin. This was also posted on Malkin's website, Melanie Morgan's website and on the KSFO website.

    This following is from Move America Forward's website.

    STOP Harassment of Military by Anti-War Activists!

    CALL TO ACTION:We will rally to support our troops and denounce efforts by Code Pink and others to 'chase' the military out of Northern California. We make our stand at the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley which has just been defaced by anti-war protestors.

    Code Pink has a rally planned to denounce the miltiary [sic] on Wednesday, October 17th. We are calling on YOU the patriotic mainstream of this nation to join with us and counter their effort with a pro-troop show of support for our military men and women! Bring your American flags and signs supporting our troops and our veterans!

    [snip. Location information]

    From Move America Forward Chairman, Melanie Morgan:

    I have a favor to ask.

    Code Pink has vandalized the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley, California and is harrassing [sic] the landlord to cancel the lease for the 'illegal, immoral, unjust' war machine--calling our guys 'TRAITORS.'

    Code Pink says it is going to demonstrate there until the Recruiting station is driven out of Berkeley.

    I am furious about this insult to our troops, and I am organizing a counter protest for Wednesday, October 17th at high noon. I am planning to bring as many of our KSFO audience as possible, plus do a big Move America Forward push for a large crowd.

    Tip of the hat to Michelle Malkin - HERE and ALSO HERE.

    Enough context for ya? If you wish to see the whole alert you can go to the website www moveamericaforward com.

    This is not a, "we will use the public air waves to gather people for peaceful assembly" This is "Hey, I'm furious at those smelly hippies. Let's get some angry people together to provoke the hippies until one pokes us back so we can let them have it in "self defense"." kind of message. And if you don't believe me you can check out of some of the comments on Malkin's page:
    On October 5th, 2007 at 1:34 pm, trinitytim said:
    Lock em up!

    Code Pink has NO patriotism. They are idiots who can’t spell or think. They are not worthy of the protection we provide them.

    Lock em up or better yet, as Fasternu426 said, Fix Bayonets!

    People told me not to worry about them, they are harmless, they won't REALLY do anything rash, it's all just for show, but with the video that Phoenix Woman had and the audio I have ( link), I conclude that they are just one step away from serious violence.

    During the week of the Sept. 15th protests, a group from GOE showed up on the doorstep of Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink. Did they do that so they could have a "market place of ideas" discussion? No. They wanted to let her know they know where she lives and that they can get to her whenever they want.

    People ask me if the FCC cares about this. Not really. Not until someone dies, and even then nobody is going to lose a precious license if the management moves fast enough and fires enough people. However, what the FCC may or may not do isn't what the new head of ABC Radio should be paying attention to.

    Follow The Corporate Sponsors -- out the door
    In the corporate world when your spokesperson does something wrong, spokesperson money dries up and goes away.

    If someone is seriously injured at a MAF/GOE event that was promoted on your station by your employees, who do you think they are going to come after financially? Remember the radio stunt where a woman died from drinking too much water? It wasn't just the DJs that got fired.

    We do know that James M. Robinson, president of ABC Radio Networks, is aware of all this. He knows that KSFO encourages and supports the MAF activities on their radio station. He knows that KSFO management has given its blessing, its facilities as a meeting space and a TON of free advertising (about 5-7 minutes in every hour) to MAF so they can gather a group of people together for the express purpose of "fighting back"against the anti-war people.

    Maybe its because I'm only half human, but I can tell the difference between a group of angry pro-war counter-protesters and a peaceful non-violent protest. (NOTE: I try not to use the word "mob" because it has other connotations, but a group of angry pro-war counter-protesters might be considered a mob to some.)

    Of course Robinson probably doesn't care about the inciting violence aspect of this because nothing "real" has happened yet. He's a bottom line kind of guy. Will this cost him money? Will it make him more money than the potential cost? What are the odds? What is the history of these people at this station? Do they follow reasonable guidelines?

    Robinson doesn't have to do any preventative action, that is not how corporate managers think. Most wait until AFTER something bad happens, and say, "Nobody could have anticipated..."

    If I was a time traveler from the future I could say that Mr. Robinson might consider this his August 6, 2001 PDB. I believe the headline would be, "Morgan determined to strike anti-war protesters".

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    Saturday, September 29, 2007

    Fox Radio Host calls Oprah a Nazi racist for her Obama support

    Some high-level discourse from the right wing "marketplace of ideas" in advertiser-supported broadcast talk radio.

    On September 14, 2007 at about 3:22 pm Bryan Suits, talk host from Fox radio station KVI* in Seattle said that Oprah is a racist for supporting Obama. He also calls Oprah a Nazi.

    Bryan Suits, KVI, Seattle:

    "Does the fact that only Barak Obama is so er well that the only presidential candidate that will appear on Oprah's show, does that make her a Nazi racist? Is it mutually exclusive that a black woman can be a also a Nazi? I don't think so. I frankly think she is a Nazi."
    (short Audio clip MP3) (Short Audio clip WMA)

    I think she has a right to do what she is going to do, I think it makes her a racist though. And I'm not goin' use any kind of coded language or whatever. Anyone can be a racist, we all understand that right? Anyone can be prejudiced and I think she's prejudiced. I I don't think that Barak Obama is anything except a guy who's capable of of well-delivered high sounding rhetoric, but when one asks him for specifics eh his depth suddenly shows itself.

    So, the fact that Oprah not only, and I don't have, I throughly understand why a racist would support someone of their own race. I get that, but the fact that she's excluding other candidates first of all-- as someone with a talk show I'll tell you yeah it's her right but it means something, it is revealing something, it's revealing that you are close minded. So if somebody can take her side, and like I say, I know that none of you watch Oprah, certainly no men do, but your friends do, so if you can explain to me why your friends don't think that she's a racist Nazi fraud, I'm curious, but like I say, it is her right.

    (short audio clip MP3) (short audio clip WMA)

    Here is the seven minute full clip in two formats.
    (Audio link WMA) ( Audio link MP3)

    I don't usually focus on name calling on right-wing talk radio, if I did it would be like counting tribbles after a quadrotriticale feast. But I stumbled upon this guy while discussing right-wing talk radio in other parts of the country.

    The usual hosts I track, Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan, Brian Sussman at Tom Benner "Officer Vic" at KSFO are busy calling for the death of Ron Paul supporters and mocking McCain's POW
    or joking about rape right before interviewing the Raider coach.

    Ad Hominem Attacks

    When I first heard someone describing this kind of name calling as ad hominem attacks I asked, 'What does Jackie Gleason saying 'Hummana, Hummana, Hummana' have to do with name calling?" Then they looked down their "I took Latin and you didn't" nose at me and explained that ad hominem can mean attacking an opponent's character rather than their argument.

    Any time I hear someone on right-wing radio bemoaning the lack of decorum and crying about name calling on the left I just have to wonder, "Don't they have ears?" Two seconds after being OUTRAGED at the left for name calling and disrespect they will summon the worst possible slurs they can get away with, as well as a ton of garden variety ones.

    But some words are different. There was a time in this country when calling someone a Communist could destroy their career. Yet it is casually tossed at people on the left today. There are words that can do the same today, they are different ones, but there are still words that can be used or abused.

    I don't want totally to address name calling at public figures, because the rules are different for them. But I do wonder about name calling of non-public figures. Who is a public figure these days? Everyone? Everyone with a blog?

    What name calling is okay and what crosses the line?

    I recently had a great discussion with some women about how really damaging name calling can be to people. I thought about that and wondered who leads the way? Who "normalizes" name calling, who ratchets it up to new levels of viciousness?

    Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich understood the power of name calling. They focus group tested names to use as weapons against political parties and groups of people. There is a reason that they told everyone on the right to call it the Democrat party and it wasn't to save time talking. ("It rhymes with rat! Get it? DemocRAT? HA! I crack myself up Newt.")

    Intelligent people can even admire the linguistic creative powers of someone like Rush Limbaugh, and still be disgusted at how he has applied his powers.

    Interesting note: Rush credits Tom Hazlett, a Professor of Law & Economics at George Mason University with coining the term Femi-Nazi. I just looked at his CV. No mention of that creation, I'll bet his students and telecom clients would WANT to know what he is REALLY famous for rather than some dusty policy papers. Can you image? "Hi Ms. VP of marketing I was the one who told Rush to call you a Femi-Nazi, now get me a cup of coffee and let me tell you how to run your telecom business. And get me my 50K fee check while you are at it!"

    What about calling someone else a liar? There was a time when people actually cared about their reputation enough to say, "No I am not a liar. Take back what you said." But it is hurled at ordinary people and journalists by talk radio hosts with nary a thought.

    I think that for people who want to be known for their honesty in dealing with people calling them a liar can be pretty damaging. Sometimes people's reputations mean something, and even famous people like Oprah might be hurt when someone crosses the name calling line.

    I don't expect Oprah's people to do anything about this. I don't expect Obama's people do to anything about this either. They will see this as an attempt to get ratings and won't engage. But who should care? Everyone who associates with the name caller. This is your guy. You OWN him. He works for you. Every commercial he reads, every advertiser who wants to be on the Bryan Suits' show should know, "I'm supporting the guy who called Oprah a racist Nazi." They may be fine with that, I don't know their demographics or their stated value systems. It's their choice, but they should know.

    Sticks and stones can break my bones, but please... don't throw sticks and stones.
    -Old joke, author forgotten.

    People always have and always will call others names. It's a way to belittle others and "put them in their place." I'm not a total pearl clutcher, I've even indulged in some name calling myself at times, I try to be aware of the line, but I'm only (half) human.

    *Note: KVI is a Fox station owned by Fisher Communications, which also owns several CBS TV stations and one ABC TV station in Seattle. They have stations in WA, OR, MT and ID.

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    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Who REALLY disrespects Vets and POWs: Conservative edition

    From conservative talk radio station KSFO, 6-11-07. Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan.
    (Audio link WMA) (Audio link MP3)

    Rodgers: Here is what John McCain, that two faced phony, from Arizona said on the TV show yesterday, and I know this only from reading the transcript of it, regarding the first round loss and lets hope it was also the last round. The loss in the Senate of the immigration bill that he co-wrote with Teddy Kennedy. I mean if that isn't enough to poison the well for every Republican voter in the country I don't know what else it would take, maybe it would take this. He said er the reason why it lost in the Senate last week, 'I think the more conservative, anti-immigrant anti-legislation group were very well backed up by a very vocal group of people eh who were supporting them.'

    That would be people like us, I guess

    Morgan: Uh huh

    Rodgers: We're fairly vocal about it, but listen, 'conservative, anti-immigrant' here's another dumb SOB who is apparently unable to distinguish between the word legal and the word illegal. If you don't believe in open boarders and giving amnesty to people whose first act on entering this country was a crime, you're anti-immigrant. He is just beneath contempt.

    Morgan: You know it would be really really cool to see a pay-per view dust up between you and John McCain. That would be amazing.

    Rodgers: Yes it would. It would.

    Morgan: I would love to see that.

    Rodgers: It would, it would.

    Morgan: It wouldn't make any difference, because the guy, as you said, he's finished politically in this country. Absolutely done, cooked, over, toast. And the only one who doesn't know it is John McCain. Apparently he says over the weekend that he is going to be raising or has commitments for another 12 million dollars, but basically his campaign is out of dough.

    Rodgers: Yes.

    Morgan: He's busted he's broke,

    Rodgers: They are scraping the bottom of the barrel. While he has been able to skate through in the Senate, for I don't know how many terms he's been in there, but he has been able to coast, strictly on having been a POW during the Vietnam war.

    Morgan: Well..

    Rodgers: He himself said it in his own book. I'm not a hero, I got my plane shot out from under me. Alright, take him at his word. Just because you were a prisoner of war, doesn't mean you are qualified to be a US Senator or a dog catcher for that matter.

    Morgan: He has..

    Rodgers: There are a lot of people in this country who have served time in war time as prisoners of war who don't make any pretense at being qualified to be a Senator much less President of the United States, and it's about time he learned it. He's had a free political ride for a long long time because of the "Oh, poor John he was a POW in Vietnam" syndrome. But I think the country is getting pretty well fed up with that.

    Morgan: Well the thing that his major legacy as far as legislation is concerned has been his McCain Feingold act which has been an unconstitutional bane.

    Rodgers: A disaster.

    Morgan: It's been a complete utter failure and I don't know how he could look anybody in the American public with a straight face and claim what a wonderful piece of legislation that was.

    Rodgers: The guy is stupid. I mean there is no other explanation. He's just plain bleeping stupid.

    Morgan: Politically tone deaf, that's for sure.

    I expect McCain supporters to ignore this because it is clearly just a ratings ploy and an attempt to get McCain to buy ad space or go on the show. That is the great trick of conservative radio. They can insult their listeners, supporters, advertisers and potential advertisers and the conservative candidates will still suck it up and go on the show.

    Sorry for the long transcript, don't want them to throw the dreaded "out of context" at me (even thought they use shorter snippets all the time).

    Lee Rodgers is NOT Fred Rogers

    And just so you can hear what else goes on at KSFO following this discussion, next they segue to celebrity talk where Lee Rodgers jokes about savagely beating a child.

    Lee Rodgers: I thought we were going to enter the arena this morning with out any new sleaze to titillate you, Mel.
    Morgan: Oh no it's been a
    Rodgers: You know we got the Paris Hilton stuff but uh, but that's getting to be a very very tired story. By the way I would say this to any parent in America. If you have a child who admits to admiring Paris Hilton

    Morgan: (Laughs)
    Rodgers: You have my permission to beat that child savagely
    Morgan: (Laughs)

    Yes, that last bit was clearly an attempt at a joke. Even a logical person could see that.

    I will note that the California Teachers Association is an advertiser on KSFO but since this is a conservative radio station, known for both their lack of support of teachers unions and violent rhetoric, I don't expect them to care. I guess they believe in the the old, "Fund you attackers!" game, with the hope that the attackers will be less vicious if you pay them off. Psst, Barbara E. Kerr President of CTA, it's not working!

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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Attn: Ron Paul Supporters. Lee Rodgers Wants you Dead!

    Allow me to reach across the ideology aisle for a moment. For a long time I've been monitoring the violent rhetoric that comes out of KSFO Radio, 560 AM.

    So it's really no surprise that on September 6th at 5:27 am ABC Radio employee Lee Rodgers yet again talked about killing people on the advertiser- supported broadcast airwaves. I guess the only twist this time was in addition to his desire to see liberals, journalists and Muslims dead, he now wants to see conservative listeners dead. Welcome to the club Ron Paul's people.

    Background And Transcript
    Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers and "Officer Vic" (who is neither an officer nor named Vic) were talking about a recent Republican debate and how they thought that none of the candidates have a chance of getting the nomination. Rodgers mentions Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee and John McCain as people he didn't think had a chance at winning.

    Rodgers: You are using up all this time on people who ain't goin' nowhere.

    Morgan: Yeah. They need to thin the herd

    Rodgers: Yep. Time to cull the herd

    Morgan: Especially get rid of that Ron Paul. Gosh he irritates me.

    Rodgers: Oh, he's a moron.

    Morgan: And his people, don't email me. If you do I'll just delete you. I'll hit delete, delete, delete.

    Rodgers: Oh come on, go with the real threat, "We'll trace you back, run you down and kill you like a mad dog. Go ahead say it Mel, that's what you really want to say."

    "Officer Vic": Oh dear, oh dear

    (WMA audio link) (audio link MP3)

    What Can You Do?
    So Ron Paul supporters, what will you do? You can't write Morgan, she will delete your emails. Rodgers wants to trace you and "kill you like a mad dog". Morgan's husband, Tom Swanson, is the operations manager, so no help there. Rodgers has stated on numerous occasions that ABC Radio/Disney and now his new employer, Citadel Broadcasting, support him. (Audio link)

    Do you think you could get him to apologize? Actually, it might work for you. Why? Because you are conseratives and the supposed target audience. I'd like to think that they would listen to you.

    You could really show your power if you could wrangle an apology out of Rodgers or get management to give one of those "we regret it was broadcast" bogus apologies for him like when he defamed George Soros. (link) (Wow, talk about powerful! Even Imus did his own apologies.)

    Of course if he was forced to apologize for this, then by Rodgers' definition that would mean that Citadel Broadcasting management are "little frightened wussies" who apparently speak with a lisp too. (Audio link short) (Audio link longer) You see, in Rodger's world, radio management who ask hosts to stop insulting listeners or call for their death are "gutless weasels" (audio link)

    Of course Rodgers didn't apologize for his other violent comments such as the suggestion that they torture a common criminal and then "blow his bleeping brains out". (audio link)

    Sounds like a bit of a double standard to me. It must be because it's okay to talk about killing a black man, liberals, Muslims and journalists but not Ron Paul's people. (Oh and by the way, that man that Rodgers suggested be tortured and killed was black, Rodgers' claim that he didn't know he was black at the time of the comment might be valid, but the claim that he STILL didn't know he was black months later when he refused to apologize, strains credulity.)

    Who Might Care: Advertisers and Your Boss
    Now you could write a few advertisers to let them know what they are paying for while they are trying to reach YOU, KSFO's self-selected conservative audience. You could also suggest to Ron Paul that KSFO wouldn't be a good place to place ads, why should your candidate pay the salary of the hosts that hate you, think your guy is a moron and want you dead? And they aren't just down on Ron Paul, they have trashed every single Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Tom Tancrado, Duncan Hunter, or Fred Thompson.

    My suggestions:
    • Ask advertisers if they are aware they are paying for this kind of talk
    • If they were an advertiser who went away then came back, like AT&T, see if they were promised this kind of violent rhetoric from KSFO hosts would stop.
      Maybe the advertisers believed the sales reps who said that the hosts wouldn't talk like that any more. (Surprise Mercedes, Lexus, Chevrolet, Kaiser and AT&T! Someone didn't keep their word that Rodgers would stop talking about killing people on the air! Maybe you should have gotten that promise in writing.)

    • Ask them if these type of comments are reflective of their own values.

    If they say, "Well the hosts are just trying to piss off liberals and if you don't like it to change the station." Please let them know that you aren't liberals, this is your conservative station and that you don't think it is funny or a wise business move to advertise on a station that wants to kill their listeners.

    Here are a few specific advertisers who Rodgers is the voice of on KSFO.
    AT&T (audio link) from 8/30/07
    Lexus (audio link) from 8/30/07
    Select Comfort (audio link) from 8/30/07

    Good luck!

    UPDATE: 9/21/07 4:30 pm
    Greetings Ron Paul supporters!
    It appears that several people have picked up this post about KSFO.

    I will politely suggest (as I've stated above) that you do NOT engage with the hosts at KSFO. Do not call them, do not email them. I also want to STRONGLY condemn any kind of threats of violence toward anyone connected with this station. I've said the same to my liberal friends and I'll say the same to you.

    I personally am not a fan of profanity, however since you are not part of an advertiser-supported broadcast radio station which has a 7-second delay (and the threat of $350,000 fines over your head), your situation is different. Some may choose to use strong language, that is your choice.

    However, no matter how well reasoned, polite, thoughtful (even logical) your comments may be, they are not really interested in hearing from you. I will say the same for management.

    ABC Radio management is very much aware of everything these hosts say. In the past management has attacked people who contacted advertisers to alert them to this kind of talk. ABC/Radio Disney had my blog shut down in January of this year simply to prevent advertisers from hearing what they are paying for when advertising on this station.
    If any of you college students want to read about ABC Radio/Disney's actions curtailing speech, please note, it was ABC Radio/Disney management who had my blog shut down and my speech silenced using a bogus copyright claim. (link to Electronic Frontier Foundation)

    The hosts on KSFO have a history of violent rhetoric. ABC Radio management profits from it so they turn a deaf ear to the violent comments directed at multiple groups of people and individuals. Ron Paul supporters are simply the latest group to be attacked. Make no mistake, people at the highest levels at ABC Radio, Disney and now Citadel Broadcasting know of these comments. They have done nothing, they will do nothing.

    That is why in the past I took this information to the advertisers and asked them, "Do these kind of comments reflect your values as an advertiser? Listen for yourself, if not, perhaps this is not the show for you." I did not suggest anyone boycott the advertisers, most advertisers had no way of knowing that they were paying to be associated with these kind of violent, cruel and crude comments. Many advertisers agreed. A large number pulled their ads. This is the marketplace at work.
    Note: Some advertisers who never "officially" stopped advertising, but did curtail their purchase on other grounds, have returned. Others who replaced the advertisers who left may have been given assurances that either the hosts have apologized (which Rodgers clearly did not), that they will not talk like that in the future, or that the offending host will no longer read their commercials. As you can hear, none of those assurances appear to have been met.

    To aid those who want to politely contact advertisers:
    Wendy Clark, VP-advertising, AT&T wendy . clark @ att . com
    AT&T's dodge in the past to avoid association with Rodgers was to give the commercial reading duties to Melanie Morgan, maybe it was after Morgan threatened to cancel her AT&T business they came back (audio link).
    You may want to contact Eric Hausken in AT&T Corporate Citizenship
    ehausken @ attnews . us

    Deborah Wahl Meyer, Vice President Marketing, Lexus Division
    It's the local dealers who buy into the advertising on KSFO. They might be interested when they find out that it's not just liberals KSFO hosts attack, but their own conservative audience.
    Select Comfort (Email form)

    Sleep Train,
    Dale Carlsen, (retail sales of Select Comfort beds and a KSFO advertiser (dale @ (Audio of Morgan saying they couldn't torture her into giving up her bed. Nice brand loyalty I suppose, but the mental image of the product being associated with torture isn't really appealing to me.)

    Arthur Southam, Senior vice president, Product and Market Management
    Debbie Cantu is responsible for this area. debbie . cantu @ kp . org
    Kaiser is another advertiser who no doubt was given assurances that their "Thrive" campaign would not be run while violent controversial remarks were made. Maybe they need to review their relationship with KSFO, maybe even with the larger organization if this is how ABC Radio disrespects their wishes.)
    You can listen to their podcast to see which other companies are advertisers.

    I will write more later, right now it is fascinating to note the process that goes on when the radio hosts have their own words reflected back to them. Today at about 15 minutes into the program the name calling starts, the denial that Rodgers even SAID the words he said. He calls everyone liars for accurately repeating what he said.

    First he believes that sincere Ron Paul supporters are misguided.
    But the rest of you are:
    "psychotic lunatics who are pathologic liars"
    Then he says that nobody from other parts of the country would listen to this program.
    Of course this contradicts his bragging on 8/31/07 at 5:25 am that people listen on the internet and he hears from people "all over the place". (audio link) I would send you to their podcast of that comment but alas, down the memory hole.

    Now what is interesting is how he calls his own comments about Ron Paul supporters, "flat out lies" and says that another comment about him joking about lighting a dog on fire a rumor. Well if it is a rumor, he started it since he said it. (audio link long Officer Vic's memory needs to be jogged since he was the one who made yelping sounds of the burning dog after Lee Rodgers joked about setting its "ass on fire") And you will note that although I'm sure he loves HIS dog, it is Morgan's dog he is joking about burning.

    KSFO Hosts Recommend Accused Criminals be Hog-Tied and Set on Fire

    As sick and unfunny as that was, Rodgers and Morgan weren't joking back on October 27 of last year when they talked about an accused arsonist. They seriously talked about this,

    Rodgers: I say they catch the person, tie 'em to a post and burn 'em. Set 'em on fire,
    "Officer Vic.": Yeah.
    Rodger: let 'em know what it feels like.
    Morgan: Hog-tie 'em first, that would be good.
    Rodgers: Yeah, yeah.
    Morgan: Campaign finance reports...
    Rogers: I'm a compassionate conservative.
    Morgan: So am I, so I agree with you. (audio link)

    If you wonder why I bring up this old clip, I include it because Rodgers and Morgan never apologized for that either, so one could conclude that management approved of that comment. There was a chance to denounce it on January 12, 2007 during their special broadcast, but they didn't, I will note that apparently the Disney lawyers were in the room and management was listening that day, so if ever there was a time to distance themselves from these comments, that was the time. But they didn't.

    I also bring this up because in a sick coincidence in San Francisco on Jan. 12, 2007 "... two women allegedly kidnapped [Jill] May off the street, took her to Candlestick Point, doused her with gasoline and burned her alive -- a slaying that made national news for its utter depravity. " (SF Chronicle Link, Link)

    I'm not saying that Morgan and Rodgers' suggestion that people accused of a crime be hog-tied and set on fire had anything to do with the burning of Jill May alive, but when you listen to how casually they talk about and all agree on burning someone alive, you have to wonder how many advertisers would want to have their name associated with these people and this station.
    I also like to point out that there is a REASON that responsible broadcasters still say allegedly, some have learned from the Richard Jewell case.

    But Mercedes Benz is a sponsor of KSFO. Could you imagine this being printed in a paper? "KSFO hosts recommend accused criminals be hog-tied and set on fire, this comment brought to you by KSFO advertiser, Mercedes Benz." This kind of association passes on the radio because people can't see the connection, even though they can hear it. Yet the hearing connection is just as powerful as the seeing connection.

    Finally, for those of you writing advertisers, use your own words and remember, suggesting someone stop sponsoring this kind of talk is very different than telling someone to stop saying what they are saying.

    (9-27-2007 5:52 pm Edited typo and extended quote on burning alive alledged arsonist.)

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    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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    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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    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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