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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, April 23, 2014
'Green News Report' 4/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
It's our 500th episode! Coincidentally, it's also Earth Day! So, we look both back and forward at climate coverage & the GNR in a very special Green News Report!...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/14 - 4/15/14 - Archives...
CA Green Party SoS Candidate Excluded from Sacramento Press Club Debate
Despite a recent poll showing he leads two candidates who were invited, David Curtis gets snubbed by press group, and he's not happy...
'In Your Heart, You Know He's Right'
Barry Goldwater, the GOP's most conservative Presidential nominee ever, was a leftist, tree-hugging, Big Govt environmentalist whacko hell-bent on destroying the economy...
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat we face with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find any reason to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

U.S. Supreme Court ruling 'opens floodgates' even wider for political spending and an MSM windfall...
By Sue Wilson on 4/4/2014 6:05am PT  

Guess who is popping the champagne cork over this week's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon vs. FEC, which will allow wealthy individuals to donate virtually unlimited dollars to candidates, political parties, and political action groups?

Why, broadcasters, of course. The same companies which operate on our publicly owned airwaves stand to gain the most from McCutcheon and its earlier obscene counterpart, Citizens United.

On Thursday, the radio industry newsletter Inside Radio wrote [subscription req'd] that the McCutcheon decision was "likely to boost [ad] spending" in 2014. They explain that the 2010 Citizens United decision "opened the floodgates to more dollars in politics and the result was record campaign spending on radio in 2012." They predict that the Court's ruling this week "could help spur even more spending."

In another piece this week [also subscription req'd] the newsletter trumpets:

Political ad spending forecast upsized.

More competitive races, combined with a greater number of outside groups that don't qualify for the lowest unit rate, have the potential to make the 2014 mid-term election cycle more ad intensive than first thought. So much so, that the analysts at Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), have boosted their political spending forecast. Kantar estimates radio could see $180 million in political ad spending by Election Day."

$180 million? That's chump change when it comes to what the television industry stands to make. Bloomberg reports that TV stations will make in excess of $2.5 billion --- with a "B" --- from political ad sales in 2014. And that's nothing compared to what they expect to make in 2016 during a Presidential race.

And of course, many, if not most of those ads mislead or outright lie to the very public in whose interest the broadcasters are licensed to serve.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

Overturning Citizens United and McCutcheon may take years, decades even, if it ever happens at all. But given that We the People have real power as the owners of the airwaves, I see some ways we can reduce at least some of the political ad spending, and perhaps take a lot of money out of politics...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Sue Wilson on 3/5/2014 7:35am PT  

The question I hear time and time again from audiences who see my documentary film, Broadcast Blues is, "Why did you leave your lucrative career in broadcasting to become a media reform activist?"

The truth is that, once upon a time, I worked in a newsroom where a corporate owner ordered me, a reporter, to skew my reporting to purposely make a man on trial for murder --- look guilty.

In an instant, my entire life changed. The trust I'd had in my news organization vanished. And the deeper I looked into the way corporate owners manage the message they want the public to hear, the more disillusioned I became.

There is more to that story --- so much more --- but you'll have to wait for me to finish my book to get all the chilling details on it.

But this is the kind of story that many reporters could tell, if only they dared. But when they dare, as Jane Akre and Steve Wilson did, they can get fired for telling the truth. (Who can forget the story of these Fox affiliate investigative reporters who tried to report on Monsanto Bovine Growth Hormone being injected into cattle, only for it to then be found in the milk supply, which experts said could cause cancer? WTVT fired them after Monsanto complained to Fox "News" chief Roger Ailes.) The reporters filed a whistleblower suit, and Akre won. But Fox won in the end, by getting a court order that, legally, news does not have to be true. Akre and Wilson lost not only their jobs, but ended up having to pay Fox' attorney fees. (See my story from Broadcast Blues on this case, including courtroom footage here.)

This is the kind of information I suspect the FCC was hoping to tease out in their planned "Multi-market Study of Critical Information Needs" [PDF] which, as I wrote last week at The BRAD BLOG, sparked a right wing firestorm in recent weeks when Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai went public with a Wall Street Journal op-ed accusing his colleagues of "meddling with the news" by simply asking voluntary questions of newsrooms. The study was part of the FCC's statutory requirement to report to Congress every three years, as they have for decades, on identifying "barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses."

The question for reporters from the CIN study that was most disturbing to Pai: "Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?"...

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By Sue Wilson on 2/27/2014 11:06am PT  

The entire right-wing mediasphere flexed its powerful muscles last week against its only regulator, the Federal Communications Commission.

It started when the new Republican FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai, ignored traditional inter-agency channels and went straight to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal to accuse his colleagues of "meddling with the news."

That was all it took.

Pai's beef? That the FCC would be conducting a "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs" (CIN) to question radio and TV reporters and editors about how they determine which stories to run and which not to run. The study would also ask ask about "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."

As I reported at The BRAD BLOG way back in 2011, "The FCC is tasked with making sure the broadcast media --- via the limited broadcast spectrum which is owned by we, the people --- serves the public interest. Every four years, as required by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC must revisit the issue of public interest in media ownership." Despite the right wing hyperventilation over the nefariousness of the CIN study, it's simply part of the FCC's statutory mandate, as explained here.

What's most interesting, however, is that Pai enlisted the very same right wing Pied Pipers who have long taken control of and, indeed, dominate the very airwaves we ALL own, and which most of us agree need more diversity and public oversight --- in hopes of intimidating the new Democratic FCC Chair Tom Wheeler into providing less diversity and public oversight.

That bit of upside-down policy jujitsu was, ironically enough, enabled by the tremendous power of broadcasting over our publicly-owned airwaves.

Following the siren call of Pai's piping, both Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck dutifully took to those airwaves coast-to-coast to work their 30 million or so radio listeners into a frenzy to prevent the FCC from following the agency's decades-long mandate for determining whether local broadcast news organizations are serving the "public interest" or whether they are merely producing news stories mandated by their corporate owners.

Pai's ploy appears to have worked...

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By Sue Wilson on 6/5/2013 12:29pm PT  

The radio industry magazine Radio Ink caught wind of my recent article, "Tell the FCC: Talk Radio is NOT 'Bonafide News'", as published at The BRAD BLOG, (and subsequently reprinted by the Huffington Post.)

As might be expected by an industry with a long track record of willfully misinforming the public, perhaps it is not surprising that Radio Ink --- which bills itself as "Radio's Premier Management & Marketing Magazine" --- would wildly mischaracterize not only the piece I wrote, but the legal underpinnings of the case which is helping to bring the question of what comprises "Bonafide News" to the forefront.

In other words, rather than challenge my actual argument or what I actually wrote or what is in our published legal filings, the unbylined Radio Ink article simply made up a straw man --- she wants to "stifle" and "silence" and "censor" Talk Radio by "government mandate"! --- and then knocked it handily down. That is, of course, what they do in Talk Radio.

Let's start with Radio Ink's first words (I wish I could tell you the author, but he/she remains anonymous): "The Huffington Post is helping the Media Action Center promote the organizations [sic] attempt to stifle the long success of Talk Radio, mainly Rush Limbaugh, and put pressure on radio stations to let them on the air via government mandate."

What a loaded sentence. But let's start unpacking.

Yes, Huffington Post printed my oped on their pages, (as did The BRAD BLOG). Printing well-researched stories is what online news outlets do. But Radio Ink is apparently not an online news outlet, in that sense, so they may not be familiar with how they work. Instead, they insinuate some kind of collusion between my organization, Media Action Center (MAC) and HuffPo. They do it with good cause: they are creating a meme for the entire talk radio industry --- and its helpful sycophant echo chamber on the Right --- to follow. First, they name a left wing bogey man (HuffPo!), then they completely misstate my organization's objective, which is not to "silence" anyone, but rather, to fight to not allow anyone to be silenced over our public airwaves. Finally, they bring forward the oft-repeated, knee-jerk cant that we want a "government mandate" to allow the collective us onto the airwaves --- the airwaves that we all own.

Absolutely none of that is accurate or true, or even close to what my article was about. But that's "talk radio" in written form apparently. Which leads me to ask this: Why does Radio Ink and its followers hate the rule of law?...

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Corporate media outlets are using our public airwaves to promote their favorite candidates --- in violation of the law...
By Sue Wilson on 5/28/2013 6:05am PT  

President Obama recently nominated Tom Wheeler as the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal agency tasked with protecting the public interest in broadcasting, particularly over our public airwaves.

One of the first questions Wheeler's FCC will have to (reluctantly?) decide: Is Talk Radio the same as "bonafide news"?

More than three quarters of the American public say no, according to Pew Research, and one would think an agency sworn to protect the public interest and its airwaves would agree with that vast majority. But will Wheeler choose to put the public interest first, or will his FCC continue to simply turn a blind eye, as the agency has done since the Reagan administration?

After what we documented last year in Wisconsin, and after official complaints were filed in turn with the FCC about how corporate radio stations there appear to have abused their licensed privilege to broadcast over our public airwaves, that question may finally have to be answered by the federal agency tasked with enforcing the law over those very airwaves...

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With mega-media conglomerates killing Progressive talk radio and licenses coming up for renewal, will the Feds finally do their job in Wisconsin and elsewhere?...
By Sue Wilson on 11/21/2012 12:37pm PT  

There is a little known ritual that occurs in the election years when Democrats prevail: Big "Conservative" Media starts to pull progressive talk radio off the air.

I documented this in my 2009 documentary film, Broadcast Blues: after Democratic candidates made big gains in 2006, Clear Channel and other public airwaves radio licensees pulled several well performing progressive talk radio stations off the air, and replaced them with sports and other programming. It would be easier to understand if the new programs got big ratings bumps, but that didn't happen. The new shows' ratings are typically only half those of Progressive Talkers.

True to form, Clear Channel Communications, which owns about 850 radio stations nationwide, took the Progressive voices off of the public airwaves in Portland, Oregon just days after Democrats won big nationwide. When devoted listeners tuned in to Portland's 620 AM, they expected to hear Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy and other Progressives waxing exuberant in the wake of this year's election results and looking forward to new possibilities in the new session of Congress under a wildly popular re-elected President. Instead, they heard fans exuberant over some football game or other. FoxSports620 now broadcasts over that 25,000 watt frequency on our public airwaves.

Bye bye lefty talk, hello left-handed quarterbacks.

It isn't like Portland needs another sports radio station; there are already two in that very same market. But the community does need to hear an alternative to the "conservative" talk which is broadcast on eight, count them, eight separate frequencies on Portland's radio dials.

But as of November 9th, as reported here on The BRAD BLOG, Portland joined the ranks of the other 95% of the country which can hear many stations spewing Right Wing propaganda [PDF], but not a single one broadcasting progressive points of view. A few days later, we learned that the CBS-owned Progressive station in Seattle --- also in one of the most progressive cities in the nation --- is scheduled to disappear, most likely on the first of the year. It's KPTK caller letters have already been changed to KFNQ (Fan Q) in preparation for the all sports station it is scheduled to soon become, unless something changes.

Take a look at these maps from Broadcast Blues, graphically representing the number of Rightwing vs. Progressive radio stations as of 2009....

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By Sue Wilson on 6/8/2012 10:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Whatever questions remain about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election, there is no question that his campaign was built on big money, the likes of which we've never seen in a gubernatorial campaign before. And where did all that money go? Right into thin air - OUR air.

And as owners of the air - our public airwaves, to be precise - there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections, by holding our partners in broadcasting, local TV and radio stations, accountable to the communities they serve.

Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, is the reason huge amounts of money poured into the Walker camp from third parties like the billionaire Koch Brothers and others, (compared to the relatively paltry sum given to his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett by unions and others.)

As previously noted by The BRAD BLOG:

Focus will turn to the unprecedented amount of dark money raised and spent in the election, with Walker's campaign raising at least $30.5 million (a majority of it coming from out of state) to Barrett's $3.9 million. That, of course, is just the money raised by the two campaigns themselves. It doesn't take into affect the extraordinary amount of money spent by outside groups on behalf of the candidates, largely in support of Walker by a reportedly outsized ratio of 25 to 1.

So the Walker recall gave us the first glimpse at how the infamous Supreme Court ruling will affect campaigns for years to come unless something changes. . There is a large and growing movement now from organizations such as Move to Amend, to amend the Constitution to help put the brakes on the unlimited spending allowed by Citizens United. Such an effort, however, will take years to accomplish, if it ever happens at all.

But what's not being talked about is where most of this unrestricted money goes: about half of all campaign dollars go directly into your local radio and TV stations' wallets --- local broadcast stations which get licensed in the public/private partnership of broadcasting ONLY IF they "serve the public convenience, interest, and necessity."

As to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has also ruled, in Red Lion v. FCC that "it is the right of the viewing and listening public, and not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount."

Nonetheless, until Citizens United is changed or overridden in some fashion, things are only going to get worse --- unless we the people do something about it now with a few, still-unused tools that remain at our disposal...

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(And can the Supreme Court be far behind?)
By Sue Wilson on 5/29/2012 10:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

Anyone remember a time when radio seemed friendly and informative, rather than hostile and manipulative?

I do. And I remember when it changed in 1996, after Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, and suddenly, huge corporations like Clear Channel began using our public airwaves --- those scarce radio frequencies which are owned by us ALL --- as a hammer to pummel Clinton and all other Democrats.

I've been working to correct the problem ever since 1998. I've advocated rewriting the Telecommunications Act, made the film Broadcast Blues to educate people about the problem, founded the Media Action Center to get local groups communicating with their local broadcasters, filed petitions to deny stations' licenses, and more.

Nothing worked.

But now, I believe I have found the legal means to put Talk Radio on trial at the FCC --- and perhaps eventually at the Supreme Court --- and, ironically enough, we just may have embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to thank for it...

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Attempt to ease media consolidation rules overturned by court...
By Sue Wilson on 7/8/2011 12:41pm PT  

Guest blogged by Sue Wilson

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia handed the public a huge victory on Thursday, and giant corporations a rare loss, in their decision [PDF] on a case that (ironically enough, given the subject matter) most of the public knew nothing about, but one which has the potential to benefit real people with better quality news and information for decades to come.

The case, Prometheus Radio Project v FCC, pitted "Citizen Petitioners" who seek more persons owning local media outlets to ensure diversity in viewpoints and news coverage, versus "Deregulatory Petitioners" who want fewer persons (spell that "corporations") to own local media outlets, and the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves that go with them, in order to enhance their profits.

At stake were the rules determining how many local TV and radio stations one company can own in a single market; whether a newspaper owner can also own a TV or radio station in the same town; and how broadcast ownership by minorities and women should be handled.

The Deregulators challenged the FCC's constitutional and legal authority to set rules and restrictions on ownership of broadcast spectrum licenses, while the Citizen Petitioners sought to protect the FCC's authority, even while challenging a number of new rules the agency speciously attempted to enact without appropriate public input.

Six attorneys representing Free Press, Media Alliance, The United Church of Christ, and Prometheus Radio Project went up against 48 lawyers representing such corporate behemoths as Clear Channel, CBS, Belo, FOX, Cox, Sinclair, Tribune, and Gannett, and groups including the National Association of Broadcasters, plus another 8 attorneys for the FCC and 5 more from the US Department of Justice. The case became a classic David v. Goliath struggle.

The good news this time around, at least for the moment, David finally won one...

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By Sue Wilson on 4/28/2011 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

After revealing his "long form" birth certificate Wednesday, President Obama scolded the news media for letting this non-issue become a national obsession.

But if President Obama really wants to restore reporting to its rightful role, he needs to act on commitments he made immediately after his inauguration. As I wrote in September 2009 for The BRAD BLOG:

Shortly after Barack Obama was sworn in as President last January, as Brad Friedman reported at the time, the new White House website "Technology" page signaled a hopeful change, and a call to re-examine the oversight of our public airwaves:

Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum.

Okay, let me connect some dots here.

For more than two years, GOP extremists have made the President's birth certificate an issue that has successfully permeated the country's consciousness. According to a New York Times-CBS News poll last week, 43% of the country is not sure Barack Obama was born in this country, despite long standing factual evidence to the contrary.

How did GOP extremists manage to make a non issue such a huge issue? They used the power of broadcasting to beat the drums of paranoia into 50 million people across our land. They used the power of talk radio, which they have used successfully tomarginalize Democrats and anyone else outside their narrow point of view.

That's right. According to Arbitron, 53 million people listen to talk radio every day in this country. When Glenn Beck loses his Fox "News" audience of 2 million, he still will have his radio audience of 10 million...

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By Sue Wilson on 1/12/2011 2:02pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

A moment in the culture.

A moment like Columbine, like Fort Hood, like Oklahoma City, yet different; different because the madman's rampage that targeted Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was predictable.

It's hot in Tucson --- temperatures soar to 117 degrees in the summertime. But that's nothing compared to the political heat generated recently in this community just an hour north of the Mexican border. Nowhere in the country were the 'Tea Parties' angrier than in Arizona; rage over healthcare and immigration reform boiled over in Tucson.

It had been bad already, even before Obama had been elected to office in 2008. Take a look at this remarkable list of eliminationist rhetoric coming from the Right, as compiled as long ago as March 2007. But, as if that wasn't horrible enough, things have gotten even far worse since then.

Who wouldn't be incensed? Reports of increased crime, beheadings on the borders, government takeover of health care, death panels. Given all that, who would not stand and fight to protect their grandmothers?

If all that were actually true. But of course, it is not true. Those reports and other fabrications like them are a creation of Right Wing Talk Radio. It isn't just the vitriol spewing from Savage and Hannity and Boortz and others, it is what is behind the vitriol: a genuine fear born of propaganda. And as a culture, we the people are buying into it.

So, regardless of whether the alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner actually listened to any of the six "Conservative" stations on the dial in Tucson, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was correct when he blamed the attack on a cultural environment built of Talk Radio...

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By Sue Wilson on 10/21/2010 10:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.

Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."

To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.

Okay, time for a bit of history.

Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.

So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.

The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.

But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...

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What about 'the public interest' in the death of Jennifer Strange?...
By Sue Wilson on 9/7/2010 3:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

Wow. The FCC just fined a radio station $4,000 for getting a date wrong in some radio contest rules. If that infraction is worth four grand, whatever will the FCC do to the station which killed someone because it failed to give contestants any rules at all?

Will the FCC find that such a 'murder-by-radio' did not, in fact, serve the "public interest" which broadcasters are supposed to uphold in exchange for their free license to use our public airwaves?

DJs at Nassau Broadcasting's WWEG-FM, "106.9 The Eagle" in Myerson, MD, had broadcast rules that a Father's Day contest would be open "through June 13, 2008." But the contest actually ended June 12, apparently depriving would-be contestants of their right to enter. Two years later, the FCC is punishing WWEG for violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's rules, which state that broadcast licensees must "fully and accurately disclose the material terms" of any contests that it conducts, and "conduct the contest substantially as announced or advertised."

Okay. Let's now contrast that swift accountability in the public's interest, against what happened when Sacramento's Entercom Communications station, KDND, the unfortunately nicknamed "107.9 The End", didn't follow its own rules when it ran a water drinking contest which resulted in the January 2007 death of a mother of three, Jennifer Strange. This is a case where a jury found the station liable for Strange's death, awarding her family more than $16 million, even as the corporation who has been granted the broadcast license has yet to face a single sanction from the FCC…

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Rightwing 'Tea Partier,' talk show host, calls for the waste of federal tax dollars...
By Sue Wilson on 7/2/2010 2:35pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

Just days after resigning as Chairman of the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, former talk show host at Sacramento's KFBK radio, began encouraging people to file claims for the BP fund which is being set up to provide financial assistance to those damaged by the Gulf oil spill. He's not just encouraging residents of the Gulf or those who do business with Gulf Coast fisheries to file claims; he is encouraging everyone in the country to file a claim against BP, and brags about having done so himself.

Williams asserts on his blog, MarkTalk.com, that in so filing, people are not stealing. He writes, "You are only recouping some of your own money that the Obama regime is stealing from you to redistribute," and he cites fund administrator Ken Feinberg as telling people "we should '...all file a claim…' because specific criteria for valid claims has not yet been set."

He further writes, "Let's show the Marxists who occupy our government and their flying monkey supporters what life under socialism is really like when the productive stop producing and join the gravy train."

The BP fund, according to a conversation I had with Feinberg's office this week, "is paid entirely by BP." Even the administration of the fund is paid by the private corporation which caused the spill. "There are no merits to claim that U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill."

Nonetheless, Williams describes the fund as run by "Marxists", constituting "life under socialism", and as nothing short of a "gravy train". Yet, oddly enough, it's the "conservative" Mark Williams, whose agenda could lead to the waste of untold numbers of tax-payer dollars...

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Republicans amass an army to retain corporate control of the public airwaves...
By Sue Wilson on 9/15/2009 2:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

I was strolling through my local county fair this summer, a small fair, a friendly fair, where cows, sheep, and pigs outnumber food vendors.

The Republican booth caught my eye, but not because of the red, white, and blue decorations. What caught my eye was the sign they'd posted, the sign that summed up the one key issue of importance to local Republicans.

What would it be, in this raucous political summer of 2009? Anger over bailouts, fear over death panels? No. The number one issue for Amador County Republicans: "Save Talk Radio."

I hadn't realized that the industry that just signed a $400 million contract with Rush Limbaugh needed saving, but they thought so; they even had a petition to save it...

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