Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ADD YOUR NAME: Tell iHeart to Stop Destroying Democracy in Wisconsin

Leaked documents reveal that the Russians targeted African Americans and women in Wisconsin in a major cyber attack designed to elect Donald Trump (McClatchy, 7/12/17). This is a serious threat to democracy itself. Yet, Wisconsin conservative radio shock jocks continue to unconditionally defend Trump and vilify any media that report on the scandal. They are cynically spreading disinformation and stoking up hatred for people and media sources that seek the truth.
We call on iHeartRadio, the corporate owners of conservative talk WISN radio Milwaukee and WIBA radio Madison, to restore balance and truth seeking to the publicly owned airwaves by: 1) fact checking the often dishonest and inflammatory statements of the radio hosts it employs and 2) including alternative views in its programming that are not unconditionally pro-Trump and not hostile to people and media that seek the truth.
ADD YOUR NAME. We cannot allow for-profit companies like iHeartRadio to profit at the expense of our democracy through airing one-sided ideologues, when our state itself is under attack by foreign entities!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Self-Righteous Wanna Be Journalist Mark Belling Loses All Credibility


By Ted Kraig 

Members of the Radio-Active campaign's monitoring team listened in to Mark Belling’s broadcast on Monday, June 26, and heard a gem of a Belling rant.

In that broadcast, Belling read and commented at length on an article originally published on June 21, but reposted on Alex Jones's prominent fake-news site Infowars the day of Belling's rant. Belling claimed he found the article in “a prominent online magazine” called Medusa that he asserted is “widely read in the radical feminist world.” The article, which Belling claimed would be “interesting to the people at Berkeley and in Hollywood,” reads like an overwrought conservative caricature of a race conscious, politically correct feminist. Something one might find in a right-wing version of The Onion. Typical headlines such as "Are Canker Sores Sexist? " "Make Masturbation Illegal for Men," Childhood Toys Are RACIST," and "Why Free-Bleeding Is an Essential part of Feminism" lead us to believe that Belling is referencing an outrageous fake-news clickbait blog for right-wing media to use to lure in less than savvy readers. (It turns out that's exactly what it is.) And it worked! Belling bit, pouncing on the fake news story without checking its legitimacy and falling for an online example of Poe's Law to buttress his flimsy attack on liberals' sanity.

The “crazy” article includes statements like “white families stand in the way of equality and justice,” “the white family must be destroyed,” and ended with the proposed solution that “white women should be encouraged to abort their white children.” Throughout his dramatic reading of the article, Belling interspersed commentary like “see the seething hatred of white people” and “people like these get jobs at American universities.”

Belling’s point? People on the left are “crazy” and ideas like the ones expressed in the online article will ultimately become mainstream liberal positions, promulgated by his named enemies of purportedly rational conservative thought: “universities," "Hollywood,” and "the liberal media.” According to Belling, this is how tolerance for gay marriage, transgender people, and Islam started, as crazy extreme positions ultimately adopted by the liberal elite. In stark contrast, conservatives are positioned by propagandists like Belling to have “common sense” and use “logic” in determining their values and beliefs.

The problem with Belling’s rant? A simple web search revealed that Medusa is anything but a “prominent online magazine,” apparently having gone bust in 2013, and the article was most likely written by a conservative satirist posing as a “radical feminist.”

It’s especially ironic that we caught Belling being so comically loose with his sources, given that he frequently claims to operate with higher journalistic standards than the rest of the media. The very next day, June 27, Belling ranted against Fox 6 and the entire local television news media as “hack organizations not interested in the truth,” operating with a “political agenda,” and “not reporting, but propagandizing.”

Why does it matter that conservative squawkers like Belling go this low? This is just one glaring example of the kind of propaganda coming from Belling and his fellow right wingers on the radio for fifteen hours a day every day. The stories they tell are often misleading if not completely baseless. And they’re often mean and hateful, characterizing political opponents as crazy, ruthless, and bigoted.

We would not be so concerned about such blather (and would not have created Radio-Active) if we weren’t convinced that the lies and mean propaganda have real and dire consequences for our communities.

According to the Washington Post, a recent poll found that among Republicans 84% believe Trump is doing a great job as President. We think they feel this way despite all evidence because they are tuned into Fox News and the many dozens of local conservative radio hosts like Belling who routinely tell them things like: concerns about Congress’ repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act are exaggerated liberal hysteria, and suspicions of Russian interference into our Presidential elections with possible Trump campaign collusion have been found to be entirely baseless and were drummed up by ruthless left-wing Trump haters.

A very large segment of our community listens to hosts like Belling and believes they are credible. It is high time that we convince them to reconsider the credibility of their sources.