On the January 11 broadcast of San Franciscio radio station KSFO's Morning Show, co-host Melanie Morgan lashed out over the controversy surrounding Spocko, a Bay Area-based blogger who last year attempted to spotlight the racist and violent rhetoric common to Morgan and other KSFO hosts. Spocko highlighted examples of the hosts' inflammatory remarks on his weblog and in letters to various KSFO advertisers. But as numerous blogs have noted and as Media Matters for America documented, after several major sponsors reportedly pulled their ads from the station, ABC, Inc., which owns KSFO, apparently issued a cease-and-desist letter in December that ultimately led Spocko's Internet hosting service to shut down his blog. Morgan confirmed that "a couple of folks [advertisers] ... have cancelled on us, but we've had other new advertisers coming online."
After Media Matters and others called attention to this story on January 9, both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX have reported on it and stated that Bank of America and MasterCard have pulled their advertising from KSFO. "We have been under attack here at KSFO radio," Morgan stated on January 11, in response to the increased coverage of the controversy. "It is something that has been quite disturbing to us at a number of levels but we 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." Declining to offer any specifics, she claimed Spocko had highlighted "these audio clips which are out of context, old, or in some cases just outright lies."
Morgan went on to assert that Spocko "has been joined by some very dangerous and frightening fringe-left groups in this country" and specifically singled out Media Matters. "This is all going through Media Matters," she said.
Morgan further announced that KSFO would be pre-empting its regularly scheduled programming on January 12 to air a live special intended to "hit back against those people who are trying to silence us and take away our free speech rights, get us fired, thrown off the air, because they don't like what we have to say." She explained that she and the other KSFO hosts targeted by Spocko -- Brian Sussman and Morgan's Morning Show co-hosts, Lee Rodgers and Officer Vic -- would host the special program, which she said would last "three hours or however long it takes to answer all the questions." Morgan invited "the public as well as the media as well as bloggers to participate in this."
From the January 11 broadcast of KSFO's Morning Show:
MORGAN: I have to tell you, we have some very special programming coming up for you on Friday, which is tomorrow. We have been under attack here at KSFO radio, and the situation has become very dire. We're going to explain what the attack is, who the attackers are, and what we plan to do about it. This is something that you don't want to miss. It is something that has been quite disturbing to us at a number of levels, but we 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.
MORGAN: There is a very, very serious story, folks, that we need to tell you about. We had hoped never to have this discussion on the air, that a crank with a keyboard would simply go away. But clearly, he has been joined by some very dangerous and frightening fringe-left groups in this country, and have tried to portray KSFO as a big corporate giant stomping on their rights to free speech, when in fact just the opposite is true. In the San Francisco Chronicle today, there's a big article about this, written by Joe Garafoli. The headline on page A2 is "Trying to Censor Blogger: Owner of conservative radio station KSFO demands liberal critic quit using audio clips." Let me just sum this up for you. There is a liberal, left-wing kook by the name of Spocko's Brain, who is a Star Trek fan, and refuses to identify himself publicly and just cowers in anonymity. I think he's just a chicken bleep because he won't come forward with his own name. Of course, he attacks us as hate radio, as hatemongers, as spewers of violent rhetoric. Well, I have to tell you that what he has done is take a lot of our old comments from audio from our radio station, which is copyrighted. They're old, lacking in context, and in some cases just outright lies. He's put these audio cuts up on his little tiny website, and then he's contacted all of our advertisers and asked them to quit advertising with us and then, you know, keeps pushing these audio clips which are out of context, old, or in some cases just outright lies, as I said. We have had a couple of folks who have canceled on us, but we've had other new advertisers coming online, so his efforts have been futile. But he thinks that he is a very powerful individual now, and he's had his stalker friends on the Internet join with him, including a man named by the name of Mike Stark, who actually stalked Senator Allen -- Senator George Allen's campaign. This is all going through Media Matters, being coordinated as a strike against us through Media Matters, and by us I mean Lee Rodgers, I mean myself, I mean Officer Vic, and I mean Brian Sussman. I'm not going to get into any more details about this, other than to say that tomorrow morn -- tomorrow at noon [Pacific time], we're going to do something we have never done before here at KSFO. We are going to bust out of our regular format, we are going to drop Dr. Laura programming at 12 noon tomorrow, and we are all going to go on live for three hours or however long it takes to answer all the questions. We are going to invite people to call us on the phones at 808-5600, we're going to invite the media to participate or watch -- either participate via our computer stream or to be involved by watching us here in the studio. We were also hit by a very unfair, liberal and biased KPIX television so-called news report that aired two nights ago --
OFFICER VIC: And last night as well.
MORGAN: Oh, it did?
OFFICER VIC: Yeah. They ran a follow-up.
MORGAN: Oh, they did? What did they say?
OFFICER VIC: It was pretty much the same as the first night.
MORGAN: Did they -- really? Because no one actually contacted me on the first one or the second one. Did they run my audio cuts again?
OFFICER VIC: Yes.
MORGAN: Oh, OK. So I am allowed to be slandered by a lot of people, but nobody is -- they're not going to ask my side of the story.
OFFICER VIC: Oh, certainly not.
MORGAN: Fine. We are going to invite the public, as well as the media, as well as bloggers ,to participate in this, and it's going to come up tomorrow at 12 o'clock. It will be Lee Rodgers, myself, Officer Vic, Brian Sussman, and we're going to respond. We are going to hit back against those people who are trying to silence us and take away our free speech rights, get us fired, thrown off the air, because they don't like what we have to say. Basically, that's the bottom line.
OFFICER VIC: Free speech only goes one way, you know.
MORGAN: And it only goes that way for the left. And of course, they lie and try to make it an issue about themselves and about their free speech rights, which is just absolutely a crock of BS.
OFFICER VIC: I feel like I've been crumbled by an entire corporate weight. [crying noises] Where's the tissues?
MORGAN: That's a fairly decent imitation of a bunch of creepy liberal --
OFFICER VIC: It's a general impression. It's not anyone specific. It's just kind of a general impression of a certain aspect of humanity, that's all.
MORGAN: OK, all I have to say is, "Beam me up, Scotty."