The Feds threatened L.A. radio station KFI?
[UPDATE #3 (7/6/04): despite UPDATE #2, this story appears to have been partly confirmed. See the post The White House is complaining about KFI's John & Ken]
[See UPDATE #2, which is rather important.]
The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly threatened to bar KFI reporters from DHS news conferences. KFI, at 640AM in Los Angeles (kfi640.com), is one of most listened-to news-talk stations in the country and can be heard throughout Southern California and on the Internet.
The DHS will reportedly deny KFI reporters access unless KFI hosts John & Ken stop their current campaign requesting that their listeners contact the DHS in support of the recent immigration sweeps in Southern California.
Bowing to pressure from a few Congressmen, the DHS has placed these sweeps under review ("Official says SoCal immigration sweeps violated federal policy", link)
John & Ken do not encourage their listeners to harass the DHS in any way. They have simply been asking their listeners to contact the DHS and let their voices be heard. So far, the DHS has received thousands of emails and phone calls in support of the sweeps.
The right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances" is a fundamental American right enshrined in the First Amendment. John & Ken are simply encouraging the public participation of their listeners. Any government attempt to stifle these attempts is contrary to our most fundamental principles.
Many news organizations might disagree with John & Ken's positions on the sweeps. However, all news organizations should feel threatened when the government attempts to restrict access simply because talk-show hosts upset government agencies by encouraging listeners to pursue their First Amendment rights.
I urge all news organizations to look into this matter and to hold accountable anyone who has been responsible for this threat against our most basic rights.
John & Ken discussed the threat from the DHS at approximately 6:45pm on Friday June 25, 2004. Other listeners have confirmed that they said this.
From John & Ken's web site:
If you want to thanks the San Diego Border Patrol for taking care of business, you can e-mail them at SDC.PIO@DHS.GOV
Contact Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border & Transportation Security and tell him that you want the Border Partol to do their job! Call at 202-282-8010 or e-mail him at asa.hutchinson [atsign] dhs.gov. Also, contact Robert Bonner, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection who sent out a memo for the Border Patrol to stop the sweeps at homeland [atsign] mail.house.gov or robert.bonner [atsign] dhs.gov.
Contact your Congressman! Click here (house.gov/writerep), and simply find your Congressman and let them know that if they don?t support the Border Patrol Sweeps, then they WILL NOT get your vote in November!
UPDATE: It should be noted that John & Ken broadcast Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm Pacific time. Thus, this threat was discussed at the end of their show. Hopefully they will have more information on Monday.
UPDATE 2: I listened to their show on Monday but I didn't hear anything about this. So, I called KFI...
Unfortunately, they don't know whether the DHS threat was legitimate or not. The person who made the DHS threat called in and did not leave a message or phone number.
And, KFI has contacted Asa Hutchinson's secretary. She says KFI will not be banned and everything's hunky dory between DHS and KFI.
I should have called KFI first and gotten the details. I at least could have included the bit about the call's legitimacy being in doubt in the post.