Anti-Palin organizers receive threats

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Anti-Palin organizers receive threats

Postby michelle in alaska » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:33 am

Please move this to wherever is the most fitting.

All I have to say is that what is being felt on the Flag is being reflected in my home state: polarization. Can't remember this happening in recent memory....

[img]Anti-Palin rally organizers receive threats
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Anti-Palin rally organizers receive threats
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Rally organizers say they've received dozens of voicemails full of harassment and threats. (Carolyn Hall/KTUU-TV)



KBYR talk radio host Eddie Burke gave out the organizer's phone numbers on his radio talk show. (Carolyn Hall/KTUU-TV)



Some listeners ended up making abusive threats toward the two rally organizers. (Carolyn Hall/KTUU-TV)






by Lori Tipton
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Opponents of Gov. Sarah Palin's policies are being threatened.

Alaska Women Reject Palin, a local group that opposes the Republican vice presidential candidate, on Wednesday announced plans to host an anti-Palin rally this weekend.

Since that announcement organizers say they've received intimidating messages.

A press release for the Reject Palin rally went out to practically every media outlet in town Wednesday. And one talk radio host decided to share the names and phones numbers of the two contacts on-air.

That decision has left organizers feeling somewhat fearful of practicing their First Amendment rights.

KBYR talk radio host Eddie Burke admits he is a conservative and a "Palinista."

But on Wednesday Burke resorted to name calling when he found out Alaska Women Reject Palin planned to host a Saturday rally.

"They're a bunch of socialist maggots, that's what I'm going to call them -- socialist maggots, that's what they are, a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots," said Burke.

On Thursday Burke pulled back, a little.

"Yesterday, I was probably a little over the top," he said.

The talk show host encouraged listeners to call the two women listed on the press release, which he calls a public document.

Burke says he released the information across the airwaves because organizers had included their contact numbers in the press release.

But some listeners ended up making abusive threats toward the two rally organizers.

One message said, in part, "You liberals need to get a life. What is wrong with you? You think you speak for everybody? You don't speak for nobody but your individual, stupid selves."

An organizer of the rally said the message "shocked" her. Channel 2 News is not publishing or broadcasting the name of this organizer.

"I was honestly shocked because I couldn't believe that a member of the media would take information that I think is pretty standard in a press release and use it for what seems like pretty unethical purposes, for one thing," the organizer said.

This organizer and another woman have voicemail boxes "full of messages," they say, thanks to Burke.

The messages range from people objecting the rally to personal threats.

"To really abusive, hostile, you know, swearing, personal attacks, name calling," they said.

Burke says he never told his listeners to threaten the women. He is backed up by his boss, Justin McDonald.

"I don't think Eddie told anybody to harass anybody; he just said, 'Hey, call and give your opinion,'" said McDonald.

On Thursday Burke returned to the airwaves and asked listeners not to threaten anyone.

"Today I'm going to go on the air and talk to listeners and say, 'Listen, you can express your point of view, but don't threaten people, OK?' Because that, I don't think is good for the public discourse. It doesn't help anything," said Burke.

Burke also announced Wednesday he is sponsoring a counter-rally for the same time and same place as the Reject Palin rally Saturday.

The anti-Palin group says everyone is welcome.

"Our group is committed to staying above the fray, taking the high road. We don't intend to engage in any verbal altercations or anything like that, we just want to speak our mind and go home," said an organizer.

It looks like Alaskans from all sides of the political realm are making plans to gather at Loussac Library this weekend.

The two rally organizers who received threatening phone messages did call the police.

They were told they could file a report alleging harassment against those who left messages.

And even though Eddie Burke did not tell his listeners to make threatening calls, according to Anchorage Police Department Lt. Paul Honeman, Burke did instigate the harassment.

Burke is not facing any type of punishment at this point.

Contact Lori Tipton at ltipton@ktuu.com
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