Liberals Try To Sue Conservative Talk Radio Off The Air
When All Else Fails, Use The Courts To Silence Talk Radio
Having failed to shut down conservative talk radio through every means possible, including well- funded attack sites, smear strategies and so much more, the left has opened up a new front on its war against viewpoints they oppose. The new approach: simply sue your political foes right out of business.
In what appears to be a test case for what could become a future trend nationwide, a suit has been filed in Los Angeles against conservative talk station KRLA, which is owned by Salem Broadcasting.
In the suit, David Birke and attorney Johnny Birke argue that KRLA uses public airwaves to push Republican Party causes, an old lefty chestnut. Named in the suit are Salem, CEO Ed Atsinger and seven talk show hosts, according to the Glendale News-Press:
Radio hosts Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Miller, Mike Gallagher and Kevin James are named as defendants in the suit.
“My client saw a need to address something that has gone unquestioned for so many years,” Johnny Birke said. “He lost his interest in the public radio airwaves.”
David Birke is a longtime registered Democrat, according to the complaint.
“He’s not doing this for publicity,” Johnny Birke said. “My client’s case can be proven.”
Salem Communications’ attorney did not return calls seeking comment.
According to the complaint, “Salem Entities and Atsinger had no intention of serving the public interest, convenience and necessity. Instead, these defendants always intended to use the public airwaves to serve the interests exclusively of the GOP at the state and national level.”
The radio station, its media company and the company’s Political Action Committee have helped fund the Republican Party by raising money for its party-affiliated candidates and officials, according to the complaint.
“They [the radio station and media company] will try to portray this as an attack on free speech,” Johnny Birke said.
He said the lawsuit doesn’t go after the defendants’ right to speak freely, but questions their use of public airwaves to push the political beliefs of one party and demote another.
The complaint alleges that the radio station has never allowed a Democrat to host a show; uses call screening to “suppress” calls from Democratic supporters; and violates “campaign finance laws by providing free media for advertising, attacks on Democrats, fundraising, and promotion exclusively to GOP officials and candidates.”
Oddly enough, KRLA has in the past featured a show on the subject of lawsuit abuse.
So who are these people? There's very little information on Johnny Birke or David Birke, unless the latter is this person, who works in Hollywood. According to the story, David Birke does admit to being a Democrat.
They've refused to disclose whether they are related, for one thing, but it seems likely given the distinctive shared surname.
The obvious question: if conservative talk radio goes too far in promoting Republicans, what exactly is libtalk doing?
Have the Birkes ever heard of Air America? There's a full time affiliate in Los Angeles. What do they think it runs 24/7?
While one might be tempted to pass this off as a hopeless case, look at it this way: this form of judicial harrassment will drain resources at a time when KRLA owner Salem is already financially troubled. Its shares currently trade for less than $2 and the company seems to have wildly overpaid for a number of stations purchased in recent years.
And as much of Salem's syndicated lineup isn't terribly well-performing, a suit like this only serves to provide much-needed free publicity.
But even if they aren't successful, don't believe for a moment this isn't a test case for a wave of potential lawsuits designed to shut down conservative talk radio once and for all.
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