Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fighting Back Against Hate Speech

On a local note, there is a very worrisome incident unfolding right now here in the SF Bay Area that some of you, I know, are already familiar with -- the case of local blogger Spocko, who authors Spocko's Brain, versus local Hate Radio station KSFO. (Full disclosure here -- I have to admit to not having been familiar with the Spocko's Brain blog until just the last few days, but I like what I've seen there so far, and I definitely think he's on the right side of this argument.)

Anyway, it seems that some KSFO personalities -- specifically Melanie Morgan and Lee Rogers and a couple others -- are extremely miffed that Spocko had the audacity to post some MP3 files of some of their more vicious right-wing blather, and to also send those files to companies advertising on KSFO, asking if those corporations (such as Netflix, Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, Kaiser, FedEx, AT&T and others) were comfortable with their products and services being advertised on shows that featured such divisive and hate-filled rhetoric. In other words, he let the companies know what these people were saying -- in their own words. This enraged the wannabe-Limbaugh announcers so much that they had their corporate lawyers at ABC/Disney (owners of KSFO) send Spocko a cease and desist letter -- even though he was clearly using the audio files under the fair use portion of copyright law.

To be clear, Spocko is not calling for censorship. He, like I and most bloggers I know, advocate free speech for all. Whatever these idiots on the radio want to say is up to them (and the FCC -- who seem to be quite gung ho about catching stray nipples and silencing any left-wing voices of dissent, but are strangely silent when it comes to right wing eliminationist rhetoric), and no one is trying to claim otherwise. What Spocko is doing -- and I applaud him for it -- is letting the people who pay for these programs know what their advertising dollars are supporting. Whether those corporations want to continue being associated with KSFO or not is then up to them.

Of course, this story is rapidly spreading all over the blogosphere. My esteemed colleagues Kvatch and Mrgumby2u have both posted about it on the Barbarian Blog, and you can find plenty more information on the subject if you just poke around a bit. Surprisingly enough, this story has now even made the mainstream media. But it's a story worth telling, and worth repeating.

Thanks also to an email from Mrgumby2u for this valuable bit of related information:

Tomorrow at noon KSFO is having an on-air forum to address what it describes as "misleading information on the internet and in the mainstream media" about the station. As I did in my blogpost, I encourage you to tune in to KSFO to participate in its forum and let the station know that its brand of hate is not welcome in the bay area.

Personally, I will be working tomorrow at noon, and thus unable to participate. Also, being somewhat too sensitive for this world (and for "Hot Talk Radio"), I have a distinct aversion to listening to the hate-mongers of KSFO and their ilk belch and flatulate forth their murderous rhetoric, so it's unlikely that I'd participate anyway. But for those of you with strong stomachs, I highly recommend you participate, if at all possible. If you can't, maybe you can send a donation to Spocko (who may be facing serious judicial trouble in the coming months), or send a letter to a KSFO sponsor, politely asking if they appreciate having their name associated with the kind of hate-mongering that that radio station engages in on a routine basis. Haven't we had more than enough of the Ann Coulters and Michelle Malkins and Michael Savage-Weiners and Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of this country calling for the death and torture of liberals and Democrats and pretty much anyone who opposes Dear Leader and the neocon agenda? Isn't it time to fight back?

***UPDATE*** Thanks to Oliver Willis for this link to more on the story from Media Matters. It seems that poor Mel Morgan has her pantyhose all in a twist over this thing, claiming that the words she and her colleagues spoke -- which were duly recorded, with plenty of context -- are "old, lacking in context, and in some cases outright lies." In what context is claiming to put "a bullseye on Nancy Pelosi" or telling a caller to "say Allah is a whore" to prove he is not a Muslim, or saying that journalists should be hanged, thieves should be tortured and killed and people should be stomped to death, burned alive or have their testicles cut off not bigoted, divisive hate speech? Apparently she's mad that anyone would have the temerity to actually play back her comments to people who might disagree with her.
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