Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spocko versus the Mouse

There's a bay area blogger going by the screen name of Spocko who about a year ago, disturbed by the hatemongering of Lee Rogers, Melanie Morgan, Brian Sussman, and "Officer Vic" of the KSFO morning radio show, started alerting advertisers on their program of the content of the show. Sending very politely worded emails, accompanied by audio clips of the program, he asked the advertisers if they were aware that they were advertising on programs with this kind of content and if they wanted their products to be associated with the views expressed on the program. What Spocko did not do was call for an advertiser boycott or file any complaints with the FCC.

Working with support of some of his readers he has had some success, leading to AT&T, Bank of America, and others to no longer advertise on the morning show. That success attracted the attention of KSFO's parent corporation, Radio Disney, whose corporate lawyers threatened to sue Spocko for copyright infringement and persuaded the ISP carrying Spocko's Brain to shut down his site. He has since set up shop elsewhere. After that happened Spocko drew support from Daily Kos and the story has since been picked up in the Bay Area by The San Francisco Chronicle and the local CBS television station, KPIX (a former employer of Sussman, back in his days as a weatherman). Oddly enough, the story hasn't yet been picked up by the local ABC affiliate.

With all this media attention, the KSFO crew has decided to strike back. This message has been at the top of the KSFO webpage since at least this morning
Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan, Officer Vic and Brian Sussman will address issues and concerns prompted by misleading information about the station on the Internet and in the mainstream media. The broadcast will air on KSFO Radio starting at 12 noon on Friday, January 12, 2007 and will continue as long as anyone has relevant questions of our hosts.

Both friends and critics of the station are invited to participate. Members of the news media and the blogging community will be encouraged to participate, as well.
Despite what sounds there like an attempt to engage the community in a constructive dialogue, the KSFO crew sounds anything but openminded or conciliatory (what a surprise, coming from conservative talk show hosts). As noted on Media Matters, this morning Melanie Morgan came out swinging, alleging the whole thing had been set up by Media Matters and that this was attempt to censor Rogers, Morgan, et al, and deprive them of their livelihood and that "are prepared to fight back against people who are trying to get us fired here at KSFO radio and who are trying to deprive us of a livelihood and who are trying to deprive us of our free speech rights."

In light of Morgan's tantrum, I want to emphasize again what Spocko has done and not done. He has only sought to alert advertisers of what it is they are paying for. He has not tried to or suggested that Morgan, Rogers, and their sidekicks be taken off the air. Nobody's required, however, to support speech that they disagree with or will harm their business. Aside from whatever Morgan, Rogers, Sussman, and OV might incite their followers to do, their words have consequences, and one of those consequences is that some of their erstwhile advertisers no longer wish to support them.
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