As a media figure, you know you’re having an impact when your opponents try to boycott you. Just ask Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck. It seems LA’s talk radio kings, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, of KFI AM 640, have now attained such influence.
They’ve grown accustomed to Governor Brown taking jabs at them and their politically active audience. Now, several “Latino rights groups” are trying to get the duo off the air. For SoCal locals, John and Ken have become the go-to radio hosts discussing the out-of-control progressive policies bankrupting California and killing citizens’ freedom. In recent years, their loyal audience has become increasingly vocal, calling politicians and other politicos when directed by the radio hosts.
One of the topics of their ire is AB 131, the California Dream Act, by Senator Gill Cedillo. In their daily radio program, John and Ken have been expounding on the lunacy of offering college scholarships to students whose parents aren’t legal citizens, taking money from students whose families have paid into the system and are legally here.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Immigration Law Center have announced a boycott of KFI’s advertisers because in their effort to prevent the Dream Act’s passage, John and Ken released the cell number for Jorge-Mario Cabrera with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, a group advocating for the legislation. After Cabrera was inundated with hundreds of calls from irate John and Ken listeners, he and his organization retaliated with the call for a boycott.
As a political communications professional, I understand Cabrera’s frustration. It’s not easy to be on the receiving end of angry phone calls from your opponents. And it’s really hard to get any work done when your personal cell phone is basically rendered useless by incessant calls. But you know what? That’s politics. Don’t put your personal cell number on a press release if you don’t want it released to the public. Especially in the Information Age of the Internet, such releases are bound to be published somewhere. And if Mr. Cabrera really does believe in his cause, then being able to defend his position should be part of his job.
When unions and other progressive organizations storm the capitol and harass– excuse me –“lobby” elected officials, are they ever denounced? Yet a pair of radio hosts direct their listeners to call and ask a Dream Act activist why he supports legislation that will harm the state and suddenly they are considered villains.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition has even gone so far as to label John and Ken “hate profiteers.” How exactly are John and Ken profiting from hate? They are merely pointing out the inherent illogic of spending millions of dollars in rewarding those who have disobeyed immigration laws.
With California facing a $10 billion deficit, 12% unemployment rate, and numerous other fiscal problems, why are Democrats so hell-bent on passing a bill it’s estimated could cost the state millions more? California’s UC and Cal State systems are grappling with tuition increases and budget cuts at the same time. Can they really afford to hand out more scholarships–especially at the expense of students whose families have contributed to the system by obeying the law? Apparently Governor Brown and his cohorts don’t care about fiscal solvency, since he signed the Dream Act into law on Saturday.
The real question in this controversy is whether the fabricated “Latino rights” to higher education trump legitimate free speech rights. Dream Act proponent Jorge-Mario Cabrera can’t take the heat for his position, so his revenge is trying to end the free speech rights of John and Ken and their listeners. If he succeeds, then the politically-created “rights” of Latinos will trump the free speech rights for all. That would be a tragedy.