Radio Business Report reports that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution urging the FCC to investigate broadcast hate speech. A resolution by the board includes these whereas clauses:

    WHEREAS, Many groups have suffered harm at the hands of hate speech, including without limitation: African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, women, Lesbians, Gays, Transgendered people, and people with disabilities;

    WHEREAS, Hate speech against vulnerable groups exists in our media-and is not limited to a few isolated instances or any one media platform;

    WHEREAS, Hate speech is often aired on large mainstream media corporations including national cable news networks, television broadcasts, radio broadcasts, and on the Internet;

    WHEREAS, The media has the power to influence people’s behavior and perceptions and according to the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), a correlation exists between an increase in hate speech in the media and an increase of hate crimes committed against vulnerable groups;

Then the resolution urges the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to conduct an investigation.

RBR notes that SF supes, in 2005, also asked the FCC to carefully examine KNEW’s license renewal, objecting to remarks made by talent aired on the station, including Michael Savage, Jeff Katz and Bill O’Reilly.

Bay Area Media News


  1. The FCC never takes away a license for the content it puts on air. The board of supes effort is simply grandstanding.

    As someone who helped challenge the SFUSD's ownership of KALW a decade ago, the way to go is to check their public file and other technical issues.

    The license challenge of KALW forced the district to fight for the station and pay attention to their responsibility to use it to serve the community. It dramatically improved the station, even though the main effort failed.

    A license challenge can be a good thing, forcing often distant and uninterested owners to pay attention to the public service they are supposed to be providing the community.

  2. Do the supes ever get around to actual examples of how speech injures those who reside exclusively in the narrow range of the identified groups? I seem to recall a large mob of anti prop 8 activists making insensitive comments about Mormons. You don't suppose the Mormons would qualify for protection from free speech do you?

  3. SF Supes have no respect for the First Amendment. If they were the FCC, they would have shut down KSFO, KNEW and maybe even KGO. Remember Pete Wilson's comment on KGO about Bevan Dufty's decision to adopt a baby. The supes were ready to boycott KGO until Wilson apologized. Funny, but I'll bet these supes were part of the "free speech movement" earlier their lives, and now they believe in censorship.

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