Monday, November 5, 2007

The "Hypocritical Wanker(s) Of The Day Award" Goes To ...

(Artist's conception by Cujo359)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Bruce Springsteen's appearance on Today. I wrote:

It's a speech, which is often a tiresome thing at a rock concert, but songs and the occasional line in a TV show is the only way we get to explain what's happening in this country nowadays. Do you think neocon spokesmodel Matt Lauer will be chatting with anyone who talks about these things? Not bloody likely.

Apparently, even this little rebellion is too much for Clear Channel, as Howie Klein explains:

Another friend of mine distinctly recalls the Senate hearings on radio consolidation in light of the Dixie Chicks boycott where Barbara Boxer and John McCain heard testimony including an internal Clear Channel memo threatening "Just wait and see what happens if Springsteen tries this." I guess we're seeing that right now.

Of course, Clear Channel hasn't publicly said they are boycotting Springsteen's music. But they are. Fox News, hardly a hotbed of liberal alarmists, reports that "Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from Magic... no new songs by Springsteen, even though it’s likely many radio listeners already own the album and would like to hear it mixed in with the junk offered on radio."

Clear Channel, Republican Propaganda Network, Out To Kill Springsteen's Magic?

Springsteen's album, which includes both "Living In The Past", and the not-so ironically named "Radio Nowhere", is selling like crazy, according to Billboard:

A couple weeks ago the new album was #1 on the Billboard album chart. Kid Rock's new album knocked it down a peg and this week, Springsteen disposed on Kid Rock and is back at #1. The album is already gold and headed right towards platinum and he's got a great shot to win a Grammy for Best Album of the Year.

Clear Channel, Republican Propaganda Network, Out To Kill Springsteen's Magic?

As John Amato points out, this is what happened to the Dixie Chicks.

Why do we think Clear Channel is Republican owned? Howie explains:

In 2006 Clear Channel Communications ponied up almost $800,000 in legal campaign contributions, 65% of which went to Republicans. The two top dogs at the company are long-time Bush family retainers and cronies, Tom Hicks and Lowry Mays. Mays has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates for office over the years. A few: $69,500 for the Republican National Committee, $21,000 for the NRCC, $14,200 for Michael McCaul (TX), $2,500 for James Sensenbrenner (WI), $2,300 for Duncan Hunter (CA), $16,300 for Lamar Smith (TX), $6,500 for Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX), $3,000 for Tom DeLay (TX), $13,000 for Henry Bonilla (TX), $10,250 for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $2,500 for Heather Wilson (NM), $6,000 for John Cornyn (TX), and $2,100 for Flip Flop Mitt and grudging grand for Giuliani (NY).

Clear Channel, Republican Propaganda Network, Out To Kill Springsteen's Magic?

Ironically, a couple of months ago, Clear Channel were all about free speech, at least in one city. Tacoma, Washington had enacted an ordinance that banned large billboards in residential areas:

The ban takes aim at billboards that are bigger than 300 square feet or within 250 feet of a residential area, church, school, historic district or park. The City Council passed it in 1997 in response to the erection of a 600-square-foot billboard at South Union Avenue and Center Street, as well as an increasing number of billboards popping up on roadside property under tribal jurisdiction.

The council granted billboard owners a 10-year amortization period to recoup their investments before the ban would be imposed. In the lawsuit filed Thursday, however, Clear Channel Outdoor said the amortization period doesn’t count as just compensation under the Fifth Amendment.

New twist in sign battle

Even though this ordinance was to take effect over the course of ten years, Clear Channel did nothing about their billboards until the day they were supposed to either take them down or restrict what was advertised on them to - get this - political or other issue ads. Instead, they started plastering red, white, and blue signs on them that said "Constitutions Matter".

So, to summarize, Constitutions matter when they affect profits. Otherwise, not so much.

For their naked hypocrisy and arrogance, Clear Channel wins the inaugural "Hypocritical Wanker(s) Of The Day" award. There's no material value to this award, not even the tasty morsels other awardees get. Considering Clear Channel's priorities, I think that's poetic justice.

UPDATE: Forgot a h/t to Christy at Firedoglake, who started all this today.


Anonymous said...

Cujo - what an excellent post. It's hard to believe that Clear Channel is so out of touch they don't even realize that many music listeners get the product from somewhere other than commercial radio. Plus, they won't succeed in villifying the Boss the way they did the Dixie Chicks. He is bigger than they are.

This kind of blatant politically-motivated censorship from media monopolies is all the more reason for folks in the Puget Sound area to attend the *seven hour* forum on media consolidation at Seattle's Town Hall Friday. (4-11 p.m.) The two more liberal, reasonable commissioners will be on hand to host the event. Just to give him props, this is at least the third time in three years that commissionaer Michael Copps has been to Seattle.

Cujo359 said...

Thanks, shoephone. The irony was just too much and I had to vent a little. :)

Springsteen may be bigger than the Dixie Chicks, but they were certainly popular before they became right-wing whipping girls. So far, it doesn't look like Springsteen's suffering, at least partly because most of his audience knows about him already, and doesn't need radio to introduce them. The Internet and word of mouth is probably enough.

Anonymous said...

I dig the Chicks. And they certainly were popular long before the swiftboating began. It's just that Bruce is a wizened and wise fellow who is so beloved -- even by conservatives -- that Clear Channel's censorship won't have the intended effect. Plus, the right wingers always find it easier to pick on women than men. Sad but true.

No way am I going to be able to make it through all seven hours of the forum. I'm going to try and be there for the two-hour public comment period. Maybe I'll have something to blog about.

P.S. I'd put up a comment in your Mukasey confirmation thread but I'm over my weekly limit of disgust with the Senate Democrats.

Cujo359 said...

I just got home, shoephone. Don't think I'll be going there tonight. Hope it goes well.

Unfortunately, I'm not in a "reasonable" mood, either. I wrote in a comment at FDL that as far as I'm concerned, Congress getting distracted by something like impeachment could only be a good thing. I think that's true even if they never actually impeach anyone. Doing nothing would be preferable to what they've managed so far.