Group wages battle against Glenn Beck
February 9, 2011
A group of San Luis Obispo County residents, prompted by last month’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz. that left six dead, has mounted a campaign to pressure local radio stations to limit what they call “hate talk.”
Since January, outspoken critics of the Glenn Beck Show began campaigning to local radio station KVEC 920 AM to change its programming. They initially contacted KVEC management and have progressed to asking KVEC’s sponsors to halt advertising until the nationally syndicated Glenn Beck program has been dropped from the station, which airs weekdays at 12 noon.
“We believe the violence is connected to the nasty rhetoric that they are supporting. They have nine hours a day of fanatics which is way too much,” said Pete Evans, founder of Alliance for Positive Programming (APP).
Another critic contends Beck’s incendiary political rhetoric is dangerous.
“The history of Glenn Beck’s incitement to politically-motivated murder of Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel and others he wants to ‘beat to death with a shovel’ or ‘line up and shoot in the head’ is well-documented,” said David Broadwater in an electronic letter that is circulating to numerous local advocates, KVEC management and advertisers.
The Jan. 8 Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and wounded another 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), has prompted criticism of inflammatory language by some conservative talk-show hosts like Beck.
News media, blogs, and twitter have been rampant with accusations that conservative talk radio, particularly “right-wing rhetoric,” may have influenced the mentally unsound Tucson shooting suspect and have created a climate of hate in America. While investigators have yet to prove this theory, the shooting has prompted a new wave of backlash against extremism in conservative radio.
Evans said he would like the station to offer counter programming, such as the Clark Howard Show, a syndicated show about saving money and finance that the station aired for about a year and a half before it was canceled last July because of falling ratings.
Last summer, the station swapped Howard for Beck and within six months and the station’s ratings were back to pre-Howard numbers.
When asked for a comment by CalCoastNews, KVEC’s management did not respond.
However, KVEC talk show host Dave Congalton, who is also a contributing editor at CoastCoastNews, said that while he cannot speak for the station’s management, it is apparent that the Glenn Beck Program is widely supported on the Central Coast.
“It is not my job to defend KVEC programming,” said Congalton, who is in his 20th season on the air at KVEC. “We offer programming choices and the listeners decide.
“San Luis Obispo County overall is very conservative and conservative talk radio does very well on the Central Coast,” Congalton continued.
“In contrast, the liberal-oriented Air America station in San Luis Obispo limps along from year to year, barely registering in the ratings. What does that tell you?”
The alliance and its supporters plan to continue its campaign to persuade KVEC to remove Beck from its airwaves “due (to) his most explicitly documented record of advocating politically-motivated assassination.”
“This station runs nine hours of nationally syndicated loud and angry right-wing rhetoric every day, yet touts itself as ‘hometown radio.’” Evans said. “These talk shows often promote violence and would tend to convince the already unbalanced to take up arms against innocent people. We have seen this over and over during the past decade.”
Congalton argued the group is made up of “far left-leaning liberals” and has yet to make an impact. “I know they’ve contacted some of our advertisers, but we haven’t lost any clients due to this so-called campaign,” he said.
In a January letter, Beck defended himself against the backlash. “While Americans are grappling to understand the Arizona tragedy, the absolute vacuum of leadership on both sides is staggering,” he said.
“Far too often, we have seen in our schools and in our post offices, acts of violence from misfits of society. Turning these horrific events into an opportunity for a political attack is a very childish response to a very grown-up problem,” Beck said. “This is not about winning a political blame game.”
Beck continued by saying he denounces violence regardless of political motivation
Within the last few months the conservative commentator’s program has been dropped by several radio stations including one in Philadelphia where he got his start.