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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 23, 2014
Ryan Ignores, Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2011 2:34pm PT  

Good for Congressman Nadler! Calling on the people's airwaves to be used, as required by law, in the "public interest"...

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that the Federal Communications Commission should reinstate the fairness doctrine for broadcast television to ensure that multiple sides of controversial topics are offered to the public.

“For over the airwaves TVs, I think they should bring it back,” said Nadler on Fox Business News with Andrew Napolitano.

“I think it makes sense for people to be able to hear as many sides of political opinions as possible, and as long as it's the people's airwaves that should be used for that purpose.”

Nadler’s comments come in the wake of the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which has re-launched the debate over what role heated political rhetoric plays in the spurring people to take violent actions.

Nadler's comments follow on the heals of remarks by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) following the shootings in Tucscon. "Free speech is as free speech does," he is quoted by the The Post and Courier as saying. "You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that."

Despite originally calling for a "clarif[ication of] the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum" on the White House website the day he was inaugurated, the Obama Administration has since retreated after false charges by the Right that Democrats intended to "censor" Rightwing talk radio. The passage was quickly removed from the White House website and, more recently, the Administrationhas said they have no interest in revisiting the Fairness Doctrine. (Though, we should note, that doctrine is not the only way to help restore fairness and balance to our public airwaves.)

The Fairness Doctrine, which had been enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 1949, required those who used the limited and publicly licensed broadcast airwaves to at least attempt to offer opposing views on controversial issues, was ordered abolished by President Reagan in 1987.

The doctrine's abandonment immediately paved the way for round-the-clock, one-sided propaganda from nationally syndicated talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and scores of others.

Diversity of viewpoints shared in the public interest over our public airwaves was further brought to an end by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton. The act, sold as a "boon to competition in the market" lifted the cap on the number of radio and TV station licenses that could be procured by a single corporation. For example, prior to the Telecom Act, the Clear Channel corporation owned just 59 radio and TV stations nationwide. After passage of the act, they were allowed to purchase and control more than 1,200.

In the bargain, real competition --- and virtually all pretense of fairness and balance --- on our public broadcast airwaves largely died, rather than flourish as supporters of the Telecom act had claimed (and as detractors, such as Ralph Nader, had predicted), as corporations were allowed to hold virtual monopoly control over political viewpoints on the nation's airwaves in nearly all major cities across the country.

The BRAD BLOG has covered this topic for years, long calling for fairness and balance to be restored to our public airwaves. Following the recent shootings in Tucson, we have revisited the topic again, most recently in an article highlighting Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's spotlight on "vitriolic rhetoric" on radio and TV as an element helping to incite violence and bigotry in his city which features six Rightwing radio stations, but none offering a progressive voice. And in another article, posted the day after the shooting, we offered statistics on how bad the problem is across the entire nation.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2011 4:28pm PT  

As you may have noticed (or expected), I've been doing a lot of radio lately, discussing the AZ Shooting and related issues, such as the RW media and Democratic Party culpability and what needs to be done about it.

A discussion I had earlier this week with the non-partisan Allen Handelman on North Carolina's powerful 100k watt "Super Station," FM Talk 101.1 WZTK was particularly enlightening, I think. Most interesting was that the bulk of the callers --- even though I had been hoping for folks to call in disagreeing with my take --- seemed to generally agree with me. That, even on this station in supposedly "red" NC which features both non-RW talkers as well as far RW misinformants and miscreants such as Michael Savage and Neal Boortz who use our publicly owned airwaves to skew the nation with damnable lies and propaganda.

Happily, NC's FM Talk 101.1 is the exception to the national rule, as it uses its licensed airwaves to serve the public interest, as they are supposed to by law, by offering a variety of political viewpoints. In the bargain, they are the area's #1 talk station (yes, even beating the stations which carry Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). That, of course, would go against a lot of the "conventional wisdom" (propagated, naturally, by RWingers) which says that NC is "red," that RWingers only want to listen to RW talk, and that folks like Limbaugh and Hannity are so "good" and so many people agree with their "point of view" that they can't be beat. Of course, having the biggest 100k watt blowtorch in town never hurts either, as is the case in most places where the most powerful signal also seems to receive the most listeners for some odd reason.

So where RW stations are placed on 50,000 watt clear channel transmitters, they tend to handily beat the 1k and 5k and 10k stations where one may be able to hear progressive talk --- if you are in a town lucky enough to have such a station and live close enough to its transmitter to actually hear it.

If you'd like to listen to my two "hours" (with commercials already removed, they're really about 40 mins each) with Allen, they can be downloaded or listened to online below. My thanks to Allen for both having me and for sharing the audio files. He also informs me that he'll be re-playing these two hours on his nationally syndicated show as well this weekend...

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

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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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2010 12:22pm PT  

I was interviewed briefly on Monday by David Pakman on his nationally syndicated radio/video-stream show, on issues mostly related to WikiLeaks. Here's that interview...


Related: I'll be guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show again this Friday night. What should we talk about? :-)

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Tonight: DELAY GUILTY! Plus: Andy Worthington, Susan Pynchon, Derek Brett...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2010 4:30pm PT  

Another big show tonight as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show this week. (Note: We're off tomorrow, but back on Friday!)

We'll be BradCasting again LIVE tonight from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Please join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

So far scheduled for tonight's show...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

Click here to jump into our LIVE Chat Room during the show. Or just see below!...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Commercial free audio archives are below (and the chat room archive is below them.) Lots of interest stuff tonight, some great calls, and plenty to be thankful for...somehow...including my thanks to Mike and Kathy for allowing me to fill in. My favorite call tonight: Curtis in the third hour. Mike is back tomorrow with a Thanksgiving "Best Of" and then I'll be back again Friday night! See ya then! Happy holidays and enjoy the archives until then...

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

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Tonight: OH Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner & Timothy Karr...
[Now UPDATED with UNCENSORED audio archives!]
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2010 3:05pm PT  

I hope you'll join me as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show again for a few days this week. I'll be on duty tonight (Tuesday), as well as Wednesday & Friday.

We'll be BradCasting LIVE from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) as usual. Please join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

So far scheduled for tonight's show...

  • OH SEC OF STATE JENNIFER BRUNNER. Now that Ohio has again elected a Republican Governor and Sec. of State, will the 2012 Presidential Election look like the 2004 disaster in the Buckeye State? We'll talk about that and much more with the state's outgoing Democratic SoS.
  • TIMOTHY KARR of FreePress.net and MediaCitizen joins us to discuss the uncertain future for Net Neutrality and, oh, whatever became of that whole Fairness Doctrine thing, and that horrific Telecommunications Act that is now destroying the country?
  • PLUS: A whole whole bunch more from today's news, your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

Click here to jump into our LIVE Chat Room during the show. Or just see below!...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fighting with a cold all night, I think we still had a helluva good show! But you'll tell me. The commercial-free --- and yes, UNCENSORED! Hear what got dumped from the air! --- audio archives are now posted below. See if you can spot the wingnut troll before I did in the final hour! :-) (And the chat room archive is below as well, if you like.) See ya tomorrow night!...

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

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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...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2010 3:13pm PT  

Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.

Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).

I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!

The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...

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

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'Without freedom of the airwaves, there's no freedom of the press'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2009 8:35pm PT  

Alternet has just published my most recent op-ed article written for the Commonweal Institute (where I am a Fellow). The subject is the desperate need for media reform, particularly reform of our publicly-owned airwaves. The piece calls on Progressives to begin this most important conversation, while calling out Democrats for running away from it with their collective tails between their legs.

The article starts this way...

Our Media Need a Fair and Balanced Doctrine
Without freedom of the airwaves, there is no freedom of the press.

Just minutes after noon, on January 20, 2009, "hope" arrived for Constitutionalists and supporters of its First Amendment. A slight, little-noticed, but exceedingly noteworthy paragraph appeared on the new Administration's White House website "Technology" page.

"Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media," the paragraph began, "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."

After more than a decade of private corporatization of virtually every inch of bandwidth across the public airwaves, a new day seemed to be dawning with a new Administration's indication that they might reverse years of cynical, self-serving mismanagement of the people's airwaves by a few, very large, very far-right leaning corporations who had been granted priceless government largesse in the form of broadcast licenses without the responsibility of serving the public interest in exchange.

"Hope" would be short lived. By summer, the paragraph had been quietly excised from the White House website without a trace, apology or even an explanation.

The rightwing-dominated media's War Against Restoration of the Fairness Doctrine had been won before those who might have joined the battle were even aware there had been a first skirmish...

For more, please read, comment and/or hit recommend on the full piece at Alternet...

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And the death of real talk-radio...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2009 12:16pm PT  


Jim White, 1936 - 2003

A few personal observations... I doubt that I'd be involved in radio at all these days myself, were it not for the many late nights, as a child, in the dark, when I should have been sleeping, listening to Jim White broadcast over the 50,000 watt KMOX blow-torch in St. Louis, MO. Back in the days when talk radio was something very different than what it has now become...

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

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By Sue Wilson on 8/18/2009 2:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

On August 11, 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in a unanimous vote, became the first elected body in the United States to stand up to Hate Radio. Their resolution urges "the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive investigation on hate speech in the media, allowing public participation via public hearings, and asks the NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] to update its 1993 report on the Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes."

For two years, San Francisco's Hispanic/Latino Anti-Defamation Coalition (HLADC) has been trying to get some traction on this issue. They've staged rallies against Michael Savage, worked with the Media Alliance, Common Cause and Broadcast Blues to protest hate radio, and supported the National Hispanic Media Coalition's campaign to convince the FCC and NTIA to act. But HLADC leader Aurora Grajedas saw she could better effect national change by working with her own city's board of supervisors. Acting locally is a good lesson for all activists.

Still, there is resistance to any such study, as opponents charge these groups are trying to shut down the first amendment. But let us be clear, Radio Speech is not Free Speech. I will stand by Glenn Beck's right to stand on the street corner and say illegal immigrants should be made into a new fuel called "Mexinol." I may not like it, but I stand by his right to say it. But there is a difference between shouting on the street corner and broadcasting all over the country.

Broadcasting pioneers witnessed the power of propaganda with radio Tokyo Rose, so they worked with government on two key broadcast regulations. First, to qualify for a license to broadcast on the public airwaves, stations had to serve the public interest, which became defined as local news, political debates, equal time, and a rule that said no personal attacks. Second, one person could own just 6 radio stations, nationwide. There were a lot of "street corners" in radio.

Today there are almost none...

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

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Two Segments, Four Guests, All Republicans...
By Brad Jacobson on 1/29/2009 3:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

If you're Chris Matthews and you're attempting to regain a reputation for being "fair and balanced" after famously exhibiting excitement about Barack Obama and his presidential campaign, what do you do? How about facilitating a discussion about Obama's proposed stimulus plan with two lawmakers from the same party, the Republican Party?

That's precisely what Matthews did during a segment on his January 27 edition of Hardball, inviting only Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Representative Mike Pence, the House Republican Conference Chair, to discuss the plan.


Not enough?...

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

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Or, The Return of Fairness...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2009 1:47pm PT  

Promises on the campaign trail are one thing, as are position statements posted on one's campaign website. But positions posted at Whitehouse.gov by a President are quite another and raise the bar, as far as I'm concerned, in regard to holding feet to the fire for any particular promise, statement, or posted position.

Thus, while perusing President Barack Obama's new White House website last night, there was much I found of interest. There was a bit, here and there, on issues of Election Reform --- particularly of note to this site, of course --- which I'm sure I'll get to in a bit. But, for the moment, this comment from the "Technology" page caught my eye, as posted in the section titled "Ensure the Full and Free Exchange of Ideas through an Open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets" [italics mine]...

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.

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

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Milwaukee's Dan Shelley Exposes How 'Conservative' Talkers Create Their Phony Narrative on the Publicly-Owned Airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2008 3:36pm PT  

This article in Milwaukee Magazine was published last week, but I only had the chance to read it today. It was written by Dan Shelley, the former news director/program manager at one of Milwaukee's largest and most powerful radio stations, WTMJ. The article offers a lot of inside skinny on how Rightwing Radio chooses its slanted topics, marches in lockstep with GOP talking points, sets up its "conservative" listeners as victims, and shuts out all but the most artfully selected opposing viewpoints.

Shelley points to the popular Charlie Sykes, who hosts one of the shows he'd produced for years at WTMJ, and some others by way of examples of how the scam works.

"There is no way to win a disagreement with Charlie Sykes," writes Shelley. "Calls from listeners who disagree with him don’t get on the air if the show’s producer, who generally does the screening, fears they might make Charlie look bad. I witnessed several occasions when Sen. Russ Feingold, former Mayor John Norquist, Mayor Tom Barrett or others would call in, but wouldn’t be allowed on the air."

I'll take this moment to mention, yet again, that this is all being done on the publicly owned airwaves, which we grant license to out of the kindness of our public hearts, and which the wingnuts enjoy as public welfare queens to bludgeon Americans into voting against their own self-interest.

There's a reason guys like Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are so frightened of some form of restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. It's not because it would remove them from the air, as they like to lie about to their listeners, but because it would actually require them to be fair by carrying opposing viewpoints. Ya know, that balance thing you've heard so much about on Fox "News" where they're just kidding about it. If they weren't kidding about it, why would they be so terrified about restoring what Reagan did away with in 1987, which then allowed for the Hannitys, Limbaughs and O'Reillys to go on air, on virtually every single station, in every single market, to freely lie to the public via its own airwaves?...

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

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Didn't Mention that Night is Day, But May as Well Have
His Guests from 'Both Sides' Agree With Him, Of Course...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2008 11:21am PT  

Black is white. Up is down. And it's those calling for media reform who are "fascists" and "pose a danger" to this country according to Fox "News" entertainer clown Bill O'Reilly. Yes, that's what he claimed during the coverage of last weekend's National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis.

Happily, O'Reilly was able to find two "Fair and Balanced" guests, rightwing pawn Mary Katherine Hamm of Townhall.com and Fox's own "non-Rightwinger" Juan Williams (who has, clearly, enjoyed his fill of delicious Republicanist-flavored Fox "News" kool-aid over the years) to agree with him. Go figure.

There is more to comment on in this clip, than I possibly can, and still have time to prepare for guest hosting the Peter B. Collins' radio show again later today. But I hope to speak more about this on air with one of my scheduled guests, Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher, author of the new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, The Pundits --- and the President --- Failed on Iraq ...


BTW, contrary to O'Reilly's and guests' claims that those of us who favor corporate media reform wish to shut out "Conservative" voices, when I guest host I regularly try to include such voices, as on today's show, for example, when one of my first guests will be Ron Prentice of the California Family Council and the "Protect Marriage Coalition." His group is sponsoring the "California Marriage Protection Act" [PDF] ballot initiative this November, which would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage here. I look forward to the conversation on the air later today.

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