ABC “hate radio” blog war

As someone very interested in both blogging and broadcasting, a developing story out of San Francisco has caught my attention today. ABC’s KSFO-AM 560 is one of those “conservative” talk-radio stations that have taken over the AM dial in recent years. The station features the typical right-wing rubbish of syndicated blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Dr. Laura, but the station’s own local morning team of Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan is especially offensive; in recent days they’ve made headlines not only by insulting Muslims, but have also hinted at the assassination of new liberal Democratic house speaker Nancy Pelosi by saying “we’ve got a bulls-eye painted on her big wide laughing eyes”. This is just the latest in a long spew of venom from Morgan and Rodger’s “Morning Show” which has earned the station the nickname of “Hate Radio”; among other things, the pair have advocated stomping war protesters to death, the public execution of liberals, clamping the electrodes of a Sears Diehard battery onto the testicles of a black man, and burning down the New York Times for revealing the government’s illegal domestic wiretap program. Last week, one local blogger known as “Spocko” decided he had finally heard enough of this garbage: he posted audio clips from the station on his site, and asked his readers to write the station’s advertisers to make them aware of exactly what was being said under their sponsorship. As a result, some high-profile sponsors such as Netflix and Bank of America pulled their ads from the station.

Before long the Mouse roared back: Disney Co. (parent company of ABC and the station) brought out their big legal guns, first issuing cease-and-desist orders to pull the clips from the blog, then persuading Spocko’s Internet Service Provider to kill his web site altogether. Morgan and Rodgers also attacked Spocko on their program almost daily after the incident, calling him a “coward” and claiming the station was a “victim” of an “anonymous internet smear campaign”.

The next salvo in this skirmish has been fired by bloggers, demonstrating the truth of a new adage: “Don’t Fuck With The Blogosphere”. Spocko’s Brain is back with a vengeance at a new site, and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of “little blogs” like mine are spreading the word far and wide that we’re fed up with this crap polluting our airwaves. The story was also picked up by the mainstream media, including the Bay Area’s CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV channel 5, as well as this article in the S.F. Chronicle.

If you’re interested in helping out, visit Spocko’s Brain and leave an encouraging comment. If you really want to get involved, support organizations like the Electronic Freedom Foundation, who are working to protect the digital rights of “little guys” such as Spocko (as well as you and I) from censorship and legal harassment by big media conglomerates like Disney. But the most important thing you can do is to simply remain vigilant: as Spocko says on his site, “Bloggers on the left want journalists to do their jobs because it is important, on the right they want them hanged. That is a fundamental difference and one you should all notice.”

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