So the guy who runs the blog The Church of Critical Thinking
said a couple of weeks ago that he'll no longer listen to Air America
because of the sponsors they have, notably Benjamin Creme, a messianic nutjob, and Wendi Friesen, a hypnotherapy kook.
He sent the following mail to their advertising director:
Dear Mr. Clark,
While listening to Unfiltered on Air America this morning, I was surprised to hear an advertisement for hypnotherapist Wendi Friesen. The ad in question directed listeners to her website www.iamsolazy.com which in turn leads people to Wendi's primary website www.wendi.com. While hypnotism may have interesting, entertaining, and even some valid uses, Wendi's claims go beyond anything scientifically verified, and are in fact dangerous. I urge AAR to stop accepting her ads before anybody gets hurt.
At her website, www.wendi.com, Friesen sells expensive hypnosis tapes that she suggests can help cure cancer, and repair brain damage. At best, these claims take advantage of the disadvantaged. At worst, they give false hope to those susceptible to outlandish claims who may seek out Friesen's tapes instead of the more expensive (and actually effective) medical treatments available.
Her website makes dangerous claims such as:
"I have created an amazing process to teach the brain how to repair damage from stroke or brain injury. This CD set asks the brain to electrically reconnect the wiring, find new area of the brain to perform functions, and heal the spirit."
"Expect a miracle!"
"Many diseases and illnesses have their foundation in emotional or traumatic events that have occurred in our lives. The use of Hypnotherapy can locate and release the trauma or emotion that is subconsciously powering the illness. Once the emotion is discharged, the body can heal naturally and rapidly. Every thought that we think has a physiological effect on our cells. (Read that last sentence again.) EVERY thought. Are you thinking your way to health? Do you even know how?"
"I think it takes courage to be sick and suffer through the painful and recurring illnesses, but it takes even more courage to make a decision to get to the true source of the problem."
"This program uses a unique method created by Wendi Friesen that creates a holographic connection between mind and body, then applies the cellular communication through this holographic grid. The program also accesses the "blueprint" of the brain when it had all the information for YOUTHFUL cellular structure, and asks the brain to apply this YOUTH blueprint to the current condition."
A holographic connection? A youth blueprint? None of this actually means anything.
Mr. Clark, Wendi Friesen's outlandish pseudoscientific claims have potential to cause harm to her victims who may forego actual treatment in favor of her hypnotherapy. I understand the importance of advertising to keep Air America on the air, and I hope it remains on the air for a very long time. But I can't imagine AAR would continue airing these ads in good conscience.
Apparently he got a response
from Air America
co-founder Sheldon Drobny, who asked him to give him a call. Why?
He told me that he's never gotten a letter from someone complaining about Air America, so he wanted to speak with me about my concern.
Um, they've never gotten a complaint letter? I think I'd find that hard to believe.
Here was his response:
"I do agree that the quality of advertising is not what we want it to be," Drobny told me. But he says Air America's ratings are doing extremely well, and that means they can attract more "quality companies" to advertise.
When I spoke of advertisers who make dangerous or misleading claims - above and beyond the expected hype of an advertiser talking up a product - Drobny told me, "We don't like these guys either, and they're gonna be gone." Drobny went on to praise Air America Radio's on-air talent, and suggested that they are probably of the same opinion about some of the current advertisers.
In the meantime they're going to continue to take their money. Man, that's integrity. Hey, they're a business. They're in this to make money. It's a little more understandable than NPR taking money from McDonald's and Ford, then begging for money from listeners every couple of months.
If they were in it merely as a means of promoting and organizing liberalism, then they could have started a non-profit. Inherently, though, a large-scale liberal media enterprise is going to have problems aligning their advertising with their ideals, especially if they're trying to appeal to anti-corporate, pro-environment, animal rights listeners. They're just not going to generate enough advertising revenue from organic hemp basket weavers, or any other number of businesses that are not large corporations opposed to everything they supposedly believe in.
It's pretty interesting that the guy from COCT took offense at the advertising that offended his sense of critical thought. I've seen a number of liberals adopt the whole "reality-based community" moniker, so it is interesting that much of the advertising for Air America
is from loonies nowhere near attached to reality.
But fundamentally, it's funny to criticize a station that doesn't engage in much critical thinking in its content
Look, I don't listen to Air America
for the same reason I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. It's exactly the opposite of critical thinking. It's cheerleading for extremists.
what the guy from COCT should be complaining about. That's
why he shouldn't be listening.