Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Highly Offensive and Factually Distorted"

In August, Gossips reported that Brian K. Mahoney, editorial director for Luminary Media, had condemned the use of a quote from Chronogram in an ad attacking Antonio Delgado paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund. Asserting the ad "takes our coverage completely out of context," Mahoney's statement concluded: "Chronogram encourages voters to look beyond political attack ads paid for by outside groups and focus on learning about where the candidates stand on the issues."

Last week, Radio Woodstock (WDST/100.1FM) announced it would stop running the audio only version of the ad. The following is the statement that was released by Gary Chetkof, president of Radio Woodstock.
Dear Radio Woodstock Listeners,
Thank you for your phone calls, messages and emails concerning The Congressional Leadership Fund anti-Delgado ads. While we try not to impose censorship restriction and while we do support the free exchange of ideas (even those we do not support), we believe these ads are highly offensive and factually distorted.
Therefore after extensive conversation with our FCC attorneys in order to understand our right to not run these political ads, we have decided to discontinue these advertisements.
If you've never heard the radio ad, you can do so by clicking here. Interestingly, one of the final barbs hurled at Delgado in the ad, that he "just moved here to run to Congress," is a theme taken up by John Faso in his final remarks at the Ulster Regional Chamber of Congress "Meet the Congressional Candidates" event last Thursday. Faso alleged that Delgado had "no experience or dedication in the district" and had "just moved in and a week later decided to run for Congress." Delgado was born and raised in Schenectady, admittedly not in the district but just across the border from it, and his wife, Lacey, whom he met while in law school at Harvard, is from Woodstock, which is in the district.


  1. Thank you WDST. The outrageous race baiting of the Faso campaign is revolting!

  2. A reader, whose identity I know, submitted the following comment and asked that I post it anonymously:

    Last week, before WDST discontinued the Faso adds, the station was playing the ads for both candidates back-to-back after explaining to listeners that what they were about to hear was made possible by "Citizens United," a 2010 US Supreme Court decision.

    I thought that was awfully clever because it provided a disclaimer as to why WDST is bound to honor everyone's constitutional rights, while at the same time the station implicitly criticized the court decision which recognized the right in the first place.

    With Radio Woodstock's decision to now discontinue the Faso ads, the station is single-handedly nullifying the nation's election laws, and also in a way that smacks of self-promotion. If Radio Woodstock / WDST is willing to risk its legal position (surely for increased ad revenue), then it deserves all the legal trouble it's going to get.

    The owners of Radio Woodstock claim that they "try not to impose censorship," but that's precisely what they're doing. (I hasten to add that I'd defend either candidate's interests under the law against censorship.)

    Radio Woodstock is paralleling Chronogram's own assertion, in August, to the effect that 1) the pro-Faso ads "take [Chronogram's] coverage completely out context," and 2) that using an artist's racially-loaded words against him is in itself racially motivated.

    When you read the full "context" of the Chronogram story - what its writer alleges is missing from the Faso ads - you understand Chronogram to be saying that the artist's lyrics were THEN, while the politician's policies are NOW.

    Chronogram merely required of its simplistic readership that they disregard the "non-story of decade-old rap lyrics." But within days of publishing, the candidate himself stood by his own lyrics as "an adult choice," and words with which he still identifies. He could have distanced himself from his lyrics, saying that they were juvenilia. Instead he identified with them which, if admirable, was also naive.

    Following on the heels of Chronogram's fake spin, Radio Woodstock's repeated claim that the pro-Faso ads are "highly offensive and factually distorted" went out the window the day Mr. Delgado owned his own lyrics unreservedly.

    For Radio Woodstock, this will end in a big fat fine by the FCC, as it should. (Again, I'd make the exact argument if the candidate's or parties were reversed.) Unfortunately, it will also generate the attention Radio Woodstock craves, and that's only possible because so many in the WDST audience suppose that censorship is only objectionable if it's practiced against them.

    I'd be curious to know if any of the youngsters at WDST can identify the following phrase: "Four legs good, two legs bad."

    I'd also be curious to know what's happened to the brains of those Baby Boomers who once understood Orwell's cautionary tale, perhaps when they first read it, but no more.

  3. For the anti-censorship rule of the Communications Act to take effect, Faso has only to "approve" the message.