January 12, 2007
Robert A. Iger
President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
President, ABC Entertainment
David L. Westin
President, ABC News
The Walt Disney Company
77 West 66th Street
New York, New York 10023
Dear Messrs. Iger, McPherson, and Westin:
We are writing to urge ABC/Disney to stop airing the violent hate speech and racist fearmongering of extreme right-wing radio talk show hosts Melanie Morgan and Brian Sussman on KSFO radio in San Francisco. Morgan, Sussman, and their associates have no right to advocate torture and murder on airwaves that are owned by the American people and licensed to ABC/Disney.
We wonder why ABC/Disney and its sponsors would want to continue to be associated with such extremist views.
Recently on KSFO:
- On the November 14 broadcast of KSFO's Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan Program, Morgan said, "We've got a bull's-eye painted on her big, wide laughing eyes," referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as noted by Bay Area blogger Spocko. On the November 20 broadcast of the show, Morgan again asserted that "it's time to put the bull's-eye" on Pelosi. As Media Matters for America has noted, Morgan previously said that she "would have no problem" with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller "being sent to the gas chamber" if he "were to be tried and convicted of treason" for the publication of an article about a Treasury Department program that monitors international financial transactions for terrorist activity.
- Morgan suggested that someone "dig ... up" late environmentalist Rachel Carson "and kill her all over again."
- KSFO hosts have suggested torturing and killing a Nebraskan criminal, asked a caller to prove that he is not Muslim by calling Allah a "whore," and advocated the murder of millions of Muslims in Indonesia, according to Spocko.
- On the December 4 broadcast of KSFO's Sussman, Morgan & Vic, Morgan referred to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as an, "as you call, 'Halfrican.' "Sussman responded, "Halfrican ... his father was from Kenya, his mother's white." He added that, "in my opinion -- 'cause my opinion is your average white guy," Obama "is not allowed to wear the African-American badge because his family are not the descendants of slaves, OK? He can't identify with the discrimination and the slavery and all of that that's gone into these black families for generations."
Media Matters for America has posted several examples of KSFO hosts' extreme rhetoric, and recently included Morgan in a petition against "hate merchants" on the airwaves that has garnered more than 33,000 signatures to date.
We are also gravely concerned that ABC/Disney has engaged in what appears to be corporate intimidation in an effort to silence the voices of those Americans who would dare to criticize this type of dangerous and un-American rhetoric.
As you know, ABC/Disney recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Spocko, the Bay Area blogger who posted clips of KSFO hate speech on his weblog for the purposes of critcism and contacted station advertisers to make them aware of the views being publicly advocated with their dollars by Morgan, Sussman, and others. The cease-and-desist letter ultimately led Spocko's Internet service provider to shut down his blog, as Media Matters documented.
It is hard to believe that the same company that brought us Mickey Mouse and The Little Mermaid could be involved in any way with individuals who publicly advocate hate, racism, and violence.
For ABC/Disney and its sponsor companies to continue to fund, promote, and broadcast this program and others like it suggests a serious lack of judgment on the part of one of this nation's trusted media companies, as well as a lack of commitment to use of the airwaves as a public trust, and we implore you to reconsider airing such deplorable content immediately.
President & CEO
Media Matters for America