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ABC/Disney Picks a Fight it Can't Win

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Most of you know that Disney owns ABC. ABC, of course, owns the ABC Radio Network. Finally, ABCRN owns KSFO, a hate-radio talker in San Francisco. Common to every level of the corporate chain is an abiding affinity for Republican rule and a willingness to use hate and deceit in furtherance of their political objectives. Most recently, ABC set themselves up as the arrogant peddlers of the propaganda hit piece, "Path to 9/11" that blatantly lied about the path to 9/11 in ways that glorified Bush while smearing Clinton's role. The ABC Radio Network is home to Sean Hannity. KSFO? Well, you'll see (and hear).

But this is our moment. Progressives control both Houses of Congress. They pass the laws that govern the boundaries of what can be broadcast over people's airwaves.

If you read the diary I posted a coupla days ago, you’ll have some idea of what this is about, but if you haven’t, start there and come back here. For those of you that skipped the click and are in the dark, the short version is that a blogger, Spocko, recorded audio of some KSFO radio shows. He blogged about the startling nature of the rancid hatred on display and eventually began to contact advertisers. Soon, advertisers signed off. KSFO wasn’t pleased. Spocko found his photo posted on KSFO’s web site and was threatened by their management with a myriad of consequences. Finally, on Christmas Eve last, Disney/ABC served Spocko’s ISP with a Cease & Desist Notice which resulted in the silencing of Spocko. We won’t let this stand.

First, allow me to speak to the goals of this action. Primarily, we want to raise awareness of the hate that is broadcast over our airwaves every single day. To that end, it’s useful to highlight clips like this one, in which the KSFO host ponders, “the day will come when unpleasant things are going to happen to a bunch of stupid liberals. It’s going to be amusing to watch, [cohosts laughter] very amusing to watch.” Or this one, in which Melanie Morgan, speaking of Nancy Pelosi, claims to have “a bull’s-eye painted on her big wide laughing eyes.” It is our hope that by shining the disinfectant that is sunlight upon these advocators of violence, we will give Congress reason to take a closer look at what has happened to political discourse since the evisceration of the Fairness Doctrine.

A secondary goal is to begin a dialogue with the advertisers that may still be ignorant of the horrible things uttered by the hosts at KSFO. For instance, does it make sense for Match.com: to pay for advertisements that run immediately after Melanie Morgan suggests that Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, should be dug up and so that she could be killed again? How romantic do you feel after that visualization? Does it make sense for Denny’s, a company with a, how shall we say... less than adequate race record to advertise on Brian Sussman’s show when he agrees with a caller that all mosques in Syria should be blown up by cruise missiles when they are most likely to be full of praying Muslims?

Another of our goals is to encourage corporate responsibility. Disney allows their subordinate companies to engage in this kind of hateful behavior because it is profitable to the Disney parent. As long as Brian Sussman makes KSFO money by demanding that a caller prove he’s not a Muslim by saying “Allah is a wh*re,” Disney will not intervene. Of course Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Mickey Mouse and Snow White’s hearts are broken, but no matter...

Disney isn’t in it for the morality. It’s all about the benjamins. Why else would they allow Melanie Morgan’s cohost, Lee Rodgers to tell his listeners that good reason exists to “go in and attack the New York Times.” Why do they allow express advocacy of violence against innocents to be broadcast from their corporate property? Here – listen to “Officer Vic” call Senator Barak Obama a “halfrican” because his mother is white. Or try this one – Brian Sussman describing how he would torture...

Finally, we’ve got some selfish goals. We are tired of being marginalized by fringe kooks like these guys. This clip here, in which they fantasize about putting NY Times Editor Bill Keller in a malfunctioning electric chair, really says it all. These people have set the tone and defined the discourse for the better part of 5 years – or longer. It is a ridiculous thought that these immature and dysfunctional children are given platforms from which their bile and venom is broadcast to millions. This air pollution is absolutely toxic and damaging to the goal of a reasonably harmonious and peaceful society and it needs to be marginalized. Nothing will marginalize it further that making what they say known. Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, “Officer Vic” and Brian Sussman would be involuntarily confined if they uttered these statements on a street corner. Why should they be given 50,000 watts to do it over the broadcast spectrum that belongs to you and I?

The Plan

The mission is this. Spocko’s ISP, 1&1, has been served a cease and desist letter by ABC. Cowardly or otherwise, they chose to avoid conflict by shutting Spocko’s site down rather than defending the electronic rights of their subscriber. As a result, this audio is no longer available for download from Spocko’s blog and ABC/Disney probably think they’ve won a significant battle. We won’t stand for their bullying and intimidation. If you host a blog, please download each of the clips I’ve linked to in this post and host them at your site. Explain the goals of this mass-posting in your own words to be sure you stay within the Fair Use Doctrine. As I understand it, simply ripping audio and posting it without anything added could be construed as copyright infringement. If you add satire, political or artistic commentary of your own, however, you insulate yourself from any copyright infringement liability. That said, I am not a lawyer, so do not count this as legal advice. If you are truly concerned, read up on your rights at The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Secondly, contact the advertisers listed at the bottom of this post and let them know what offends you the most. Remember, most of these advertisers have corporate human resource policies that expressly condemn violence and discrimination in all of its forms. Why in the world would they want to associate themselves with this lunatic fringe?

Be polite in your communications – don’t assume the worst. As a matter of fact, as I understand the situation, ABC markets many of its radio stations as “family-friendly” Disney owned properties. Individual ad buyers never hear or have reason to know how their product is being tied to this filthy hate-pornography. Finally, contact your representatives – especially if you live in the Bay area. Make them aware of the garbage that is being broadcast into their own districts. Demand protection from offensive content. If there are seven words you can’t say on the radio, why should these people be allowed to advocate actions that are so much more dangerous? Obscenity is obscenity. KSFO has earned the right to millions in fines, but unfortunately, nobody has had the political will to hold them accountable. Maybe that time has come.

KSFO Advertisers

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Finally, follow up with these folks. I've posted phone numbers of many of the advertisers to make it easy for people to contact them, but this should not be the end. On your own blogs, and in the comments below, do your own research. Find addresses and write to the responsible executives. Tell Disney and ABC what you think. Make this activist action a model for those to follow. This is merely scratching the surface of the cesspool that is hate radio. Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager and Sean Hannity all have sordid tales of hatred to tell. We'll work our way up to them, but for now, let's pick the low hanging fruit that is KSFO.

Keep us up to date in the comments. If you've mirrored the audio and have a server that can afford the hotlink bandwidth, email me at stark.m - at - gmail so I can remove some of the burden on my server. If you've blogged about it, let me know so that we can get an idea of how strong this blogswarm has become. If you've received any notable feedback from advertisers, share your story so that we may examine what worked and what didn't. Most of all, pat yourselves on the back. You are on the side of the angels.