Back Atcha

According to our favorite local Republican wingnut blogger, Chapel Hill Tire owner Marc Pons is pulling his sponsorship of WCHL due to their broadcast of Air America programming.

I was a customer for many years, and all that time they never told me I was morally unacceptable! Good thing there are tons of garages in walking distance of my house; I will not be patronizing Chapel Hill Tire any more.



Al Franken's and Janeane Garofalo's shows are very good but the better show on Air America is from Randi Rhodes. Sorry she's not on in Chapel Hill. I'll have to keep listening on line through Portland, OR's KPOJ.

For someone who is supposedly embracing tolerance, you sure don't extend it very far with calling another blogger a "wingnut."

If the situation were reversed, and say the Tire Co was promoting a Bush/Republican/Conservative ad, perhaps you would denounce them with far more fury and protest than the local wingnut?

But because the company does not actively embrace your ideals (meaning, the owner could wholeheartedly support Franken, but decide that advocating a certain side in business is not in his best interest), your tolerance wears thin--to the point of not being a customer.

It's perfectly fine that you choose not to do business with someone who isn't a herald for your form of liberalism, and I'm sure it is a rational choice in your mind.

But masquerading under the banner of tolerance (I'm extrapolating from many of your other posts) really baffles me.

Oh, Krikey!

The amount of time spent posting to this site arguing the merits of whom whould work on who's car based on what radio programs they advertise on--or not--and which politics drive the aforementioned whom, who, what and which, could have probably translated into 100 calls for the candidate of choice, or the commensurate number of envelopes stuffed, or some other actually effective political activity.

One can avoid all this by having one's auto work done by Cleve Fogleman at F&F Automotive on Weaver St. In Carrboro. Cleve, and his wife, Carol,(hence, F&F--Get it?) are community businesspeople in the truest sense of th phrase, having been in the same location for nearly thirty years, having no affiliation with any chain, and are local residents. Cleve doesn't advertise at all, and resultantly steers clear of any entanglements with anyone who(m) may be politically unfashionable/incorrect/or otherwise objectionable.

As well, Cleve (shameless plug) always gets it right, and charges incredibly reasonable rates.The only downside is that he's usually

booked up a week in advance

So what kind of kickback will I get for this shameless plug, you ask?

He'll probably smack me upside the head and refuse to continue to fool around with my prehistoric Benz, when he discovers that I sicced all of these yuppity persnickity folks on him who will want to know why their Green Day CD won't play in the Saab that they got from Daddy's Trust Fund (or some such crisis) .

Oh, well, Promoting local business is what it's all about, eh?




Your purchasing decisions make the point why businesses try to stay out of politics.

I'll bet CH Tire isn't surprised by Ruby's reaction, any more than they were probably not surprised by the reaction of those who don't like the politics of the programming. People feel passionate about their politics.

If Air America goes off the air, what if WCHL decided to replace it with Sean Hannity or some other right wing controversial program? Then the roles would likely be reversed. Folks like Ruby would be asking CH Tire not to support a program offensive to them, and others who enjoyed those politics would be angry if they pulled their ads in response.

The point is, it's a no win situation for the advertiser, which is why most advertisers avoid association with avowedly political positions.

The truly unfortunate aspect of this situation is CH Tire has been thrust into this controversy by the station, not because of something they wanted to do. According to WCHL''s GM, CH Tire didn't seek sponsorship or an ad schedule on these shows. It was a station decision to run their spots on them and now CH Tire is paying the price.

Perhaps you're right, CH Tire shouldn't listen to a handful of folks on the right about this issue. But by that logic, they shouldn't listen to a handful of folks on the left about this issue, either. (Only a handful, or less, have made this an issue.)

Or, as a locally owned small business especially, perhaps they should listen to ALL their customers and try to serve them equally by sticking to advertising with Ron and avoiding programming about which some people have heartfelt disagreement.

That way, you can continue to get great service at CH Tire without having to worry about the political issues that affect your relationships with Wal-Mart, Exxon, etc.


Seems like Wall Street loves the theory that there is no connection between business and politics (except when business needs to buy politics). Personally, I think businesses can and should play an important role in creating a better world.

Do you think I should do business with Wal-Mart? I try to limit my dealings with them because of politics (economic globalization). I almost never buy milk that comes from outside Orange County. Is that politics? How about when I shop at the Farmer's Market? What about the fact that I still avoid buying Exxon gas as much as possible? Although I get a lot of automobile work done at McFarling's.

You can try to paint CHT's decision as value neutral, but it ain't. If someone criticized my business for advertising in the Chapel Hill News, I think I would just say thanks for the feedback and move on. I wouldn't change my advertising. Do you think CHN has less of an editorial bias than Al Franken? Maybe, a little. The fact is that IF the Chapel Hill News' editorial viewpoint affects how my potential customers view my business (which I don't think it does), then I fear nothing. Most Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents have political views that are quite consistent with the views of the CHN. Likewise (as I pointed out earlier on this thread) most people in Chapel Hill and Carrboro would probably agree with Franken's critique of the Bush administration.

I am not saying we should boycott CHT, but I am saying, how can they be surprised by Ruby's reaction? And so what if Ruby may have invited others to join her? Frankly, I intend to get more auto work done by CHT (which is just about the only place i get work done, other than at McFarling's). And when I do, I am going to tell them that they should not listen to a few other fringe activists who can't stand to hear any criticism of their holy trinity of Rush, Dubya and Rapesfeld.

-Mark Chilton

Oh my. I take a couple of months off the board to build the Great Wall of Chapel Hill (major landscping project) and all HECK breaks loose.

Ruby, I'm with Barry and the "support CHT crowd" on this one. You aren't supporting yourself with this board. As someone who has worked retail for years, let me tell you, politics has NO place in the retail world. Withthe possible exception of where one purchases one's goods for re-sale. The Gap et al just figured THIS one out! Other than that, one should remain apolitical...or suffer the consequences.

I don't care if one is conservative, neo-conservative, or a limosine liberal--one should keep one's politics OUT of it. SOme don't, but they SHOULD!



It appeared to me that you were advocating a boycott of CHTire because (on a Website which you maintain and on which you express opinions which, I assume, you would not lay out there if you knew they were going to be totally ignored) you said:

"We all have a larger obligation to (the) welfare of the community of which we are a part. . . .As I said earlier, voting with OUR DOLLARS (emphasis added) is essential to the healthy functioning of our 'capitalist democracy'." And, you went on to say, "I think the CHTire decision is understandable. However, if I responded that way every time I got a couple of angry, uninformed criticisms online, this website wouldn't be here."

As Easy for You to Say has already pointed out, fairness would seem to require you to explain why your self-imposed standards (with respect to a Website which, I'm thinking, doesn't make your mortage payments; please tell me if I'm wrong) are applicable to a family business trying to make a living in a highly competitive arena.

But if what you meant to say was, "I'm going to stop trading with CHTire but I don't think anyone else should do that," then I guess you weren't proposing a boycott and I misunderstood you.


Todd, I apologize for misrepresenting your words.


Add GM to your list of companies to ban. Hate Radio aint about Apple Pie!

"Ryndee Carney, GM's manager of marketing communications, said the ads were wrongly picked up from an earlier deal with WLIB. She said the station was ordered to "cease and desist" yesterday, and added: "GM will not advertise on any Air America affiliates."

This is from:

Read the above editorial about Hate Radio, or torture by radio as he calls it.

Barry, I don't get why you think I am advocating a boycott. If you read the beginning of this thread, you will see that Todd Melet encouraged people to complain (with the implied threat of a boycott) to CH Tire if they disagreed with the content of a show on WCHL. (See )

In my opinion, CH Tire seems to have overreacted to a few angry, misinformed, McCarthyist e-mails. Of course they are entitled to do that; and I am entitled to my opinion in response to it.

This may affect my my own business there, but I know the readers here can make their own decisions without my or Todd's advice.

And I particularly like the part that you left off:

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own."

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Washington, Apr. 21, 1803

But wait there's still more from where Fred left off!

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become their own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith, which the laws have left between God and himself."

or more fully (and noticing as none have so far that Jefferson was questioning Christianity):

To Doctor Benjamin Rush upon the Christian Religion

DEAR SIR: In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you, that one day or other, I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other. At the short intervals since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my contemplation. But the more I considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Doctor Priestley, his little treatise of "Socrates and Jesus compared." This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road, and unoccupied otherwise. The result was, to arrange in my mind a syllabus, or outline of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity, as I wished to see executed by some one of more leisure and information for the task, than myself. This I now send you, as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am, moreover, averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public; because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience, which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith, which the laws have left between God and himself. Accept my affectionate salutations. WASHINGTON, 21 April, 1803.

Chapel Hill Tire is one of the oldest, most honorable, trustworthy businesses in Orange County and we're supposed to boycott them because they don't want to sponsor Ruby's political agenda? Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave for so many of you to have forgotten his admonition, "It behooves all those who value liberty of conscience for themselves to resist invasion of it in the case of others."

Barry Winston

Hey I want to put my plug in for Chapel Hill Tire. They are AWESOME, they treat me with respect, take great care of my car, and they are honest and trustworthy. It's a real treasure to have them in our community. When I hear the horror stories my friends have about the automotive repair places in their towns, I am just all the more thankful to have a reputable company like Chapel Hill Tire available to me here.

OK, I feel the same way about WCHL. They really work hard to be a local resource for our community. I don't necessarily have to like every single thing I hear on WCHL to support the station's mission and overall objectives. And quite honestly, I don't think CHL needs Al Franken, Rush Limbaugh, or Casey Kassem to draw listeners! I'd put Ron Stutts up against Al Franken any old day!

Our society has allowed denial of reality to shape a perspective that is out of touch with the rest of the world. Basically, we are suffering a collective sickness - widespread depression and anti-depressant drug use fueled by pharmaceutical company campaigns, parents brainwashed to allow their kids to be sent off to kill, be killed, and maimed in a war based on lies, mining nature with little thought for those to come, etc.

We are seeing the beginning of a swing back toward societal health and one manifestation is the appearance of radio shows that are pulling the curtain back on some of the BS we've been constantly fed.

The good news is that it is drawing a strong response from those who have staked themselves to the vision of society that has led us down this dark cul-de-sac. The medicine is working.


I guess mixing politics and advertising explains why I haven't bought a sleep # bed, a metal building from the Giant or an economy size prescription of Hillbilly Heroin!

It's Todd's right to advocate for pulling advertising from programming inconsistent with his political philosophy. BUT....we should all be concerned about ideological manipulation of the press. While Al Franken's politics may be inconsistent's with Todd's politics, I find it sad and disheartening when censorship is promoted. Certainly not the democratic way--whether you come from the right wing or the left wing.

Correction to above statements:

I never called for a boycott of advertisers. I only suggested that if people find Al Franken repulsive like I do, they let advertisers know. Advertisers can switch to other programming.

I believe advertisers are best suited to avoid content that enrages people.

I would not have a problem with a local advertiser on this website, or any other programming on WCHL. I just think Franken is over the line. Many agree with me.



Why don't you get there's a difference between what you as an individual do and what a business does?

It is not unreasonable at all for a business to avoid controversy. Its primary responsibility is to keep as many customers happy as possible. That's the only way a business survives, or prospers. When CH Tire succeeds, it contributes to the community through property and sales taxes. It contributes to the community through having discretionary funds to donate to charity. It also contributes to the community by providing jobs to folks who spend their earnings at other local businesses (not to mention raise families).

Those very real, life-affecting responsibilities far outweigh any moral duty to keep some ads running on programming that offends a part of its customer base.

It's admirable that you, individually, proudly espouse your views. Many business owners also, as individuals, support causes. But they generally leave their business out of it, because many other people rely on that business for their livelihood.

When you pull your business from CH Tire, don't just think about its affect on Marc Pons, think about its affect on the guy in the back who's fixing your car and doesn't have a clue what all this fuss is about.

Thank you Christy for explaining this situation. Unfortunately some people jump to conclusions instead of finding out the full details . . And in this case, the facts are that Chapel Hill Tire doesn't want to support specific political commentary on either side. They just want to sell tires, fix cars, and give us traffic updates.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is to admit to misunderstanding something and move on.

Anita, by sponsoring all of WCHL's programming, CH Tire IS supporting political commentary. They were doing it before Air America started, and they're still doing it now.

All these complaints about "getting political" really appear to be complaints about views that one disagrees with. I am faced with viewpoints (and actions) that I find repugnant every day, and yet somehow I am able to go on breathing and make room in the world for ideas other than my own. I don't find it threatening that others don't always agree with me. Name-calling and yelling "shut up" the loudest doesn't promote my values or my views. (This is why I don't really enjoy most talk radio.)

So Todd, if you are so opposed to "hate radio" as you have repeatedly said, when are you calling on WPTF's sponsors to pull their support from the Rush Limbaugh show? And how do you justify linking to on your blog while telling the world you are against hate radio? (As you say: "I call it Hate Radio because it's all about what [the host] hates.")

I have run my first ever correction at to cover any confusion I may have caused in previous posts about advertisers vs. sponsors.


You write: "To my friends from "Switzerland," I personally believe that neutrality in the face of injustice is immoral."

This rings similar to Bush's, "You're either with us or against us." If you take that dualistic logic to an extreme, then those of us who opposed the US invasion of Iraq supported Saddam.

You cite Switzerland's wartime record:

"The neutral countries may have prolonged the Third Reich's ability to wage war by trading with it." (Eizenstat Report, 1997.)

In fact, Switzerland's record was mixed, as it provided more per-capita refugee assistance than the Anglo-Saxons, and as it provided a communications base for underground operations across occupied Europe. If Switzerland introduced anti-Semitic refugee policies, it also saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.

And the US itself remained largely neutral until Lend-Lease in March 1941. Talk about prolonging the Third Reich's ability to wage war.

I'm making two points. First, almost any subject allows room for more than two views. And second, self-preservation sometimes dictates compartmentalized policies by either countries or companies or individuals. I would alter a business decision based on a company's active politics, rather than on its sticking to its business serving a broad political base.

(Is there a vocally pro-Francken tire company around here? If not, and if you shift business from CH Tire, then you are punishing CH Tire for having to respond to Todd Melet's threatened boycott.)

Chapel Hill Tire does not carry bike tires, so I do not think they will be hurt by any backlash over this post.


How is it only political or controversial only when it (apparently) disagrees with YOUR poltiics? The many stations that carry conservative talk radio in the Triangle and elsewhere don't seem to find it hurting their bottom line. So this is Chapel Hill and we do things differently here. That's why many people move here year after year.

It's not like WCHL fired all their news staff and it 's not like they run nothing but Air America. They still carry a very broad range of opinions and they still cover local issues the same way they have been for years. Is it just not tolerable to agree with less than every single word they broadcast? That's a pretty ridiculous standard. It's you who are doing the "polarizing," not the radio station that allows for more then one viewpoint.

This conversation is getting repetitive and boring - not unlike talk radio. Thanks for the demonstration.

There's nothing wrong, per se, with opinion radio.

But stations that run it need to be prepared for the consequences. In this case, putting good businesses who are loyal advertisers in a very difficult - damned if you do, damned if you don't - position.

That's easier to do in major markets when many alternatives exist, and while many Triangle stations' coverage area includes Chapel Hill, there's only one which truly covers this community, in its own words, to the exclusion of the rest of the Triangle.

When a station positions itself like that, it runs risks when it opts to showcase opinions of just one segment of the community.

Interesting figures...

In a classic 1992 survey (that desperately needs to be repeated), Marquette University’s Department of Journalism tallied questionnaire results from 147 editors of daily newspapers.

Among the findings:

• 93.2 percent said sponsors had “threatened to withdraw advertising from [the] paper because of content of the stories.” (89 percent replied that the advertisers followed through on this threat.)

• 89.9 percent responded that advertisers had “tried to influence the content of a news story or feature.”

• 36.7 percent said that advertisers had “succeeded in influencing news or features in [the] newspaper.”

• 71.4 percent said that ‘an advertiser tried to kill a story at [the] newspaper.”

• 55.1 percent revealed that they had gotten “pressure from within [the] paper to write or tailor news stories to please advertisers.”

In the decade since this poll, the media have become even more corporate and more consolidated, so it’s hard to imagine that the situation has improved.

Source Title: “50 Things your not supposed to know”


This is why our small town radio station should have stayed out of politics. It's polarizing.

WCHL had done so much to bring the community together. What a shame Jim Heavnor's experiment is causing his advertisers to be threatened by extremists on both the right and the left. (And don't kid yourself, Ruby, your sentiment is no different than those who send the negative email to CH Tire in the first place.)

Personally, I hope Air America goes under soon, as all signs indicate, so WCHL can get back to being an inclusive voice of Chapel Hill/Carrboro.

Where do you keep getting this stuff about WCHL 'getting into politics?' WCHL has long carried opinion-talk radio. It has often been right-wing. It also had some liberal-leaning programming. How does carrying Al Franken differ from that?

If WCHL "stayed out of politics" it would be very boring indeed. Ron Stutts' (and others') matter-of-fact presentation of local news events is great and commonly hits on topics that the newspapers miss. But you need a whole lot of other programming as well in order to fill up the whole day with talk-radio.

So what's wrong with an opinion radio show? You right-wingers love that Limbaugh/Bort version of the same, right? Or are you also haranging WDNC and other AM radio stations about that?

As for Marc Pons (who is a great guy and community-minded businessman), if he doesn't want to sponsor the Air America programming, then so be it. But surely you can't be surprised if some of his customers don't care for his decision . . .

-Mark Chilton

PS When did Ruby suggest that she was doing anything different than the people who complained about the Air America ads in the first place? I think her point was that she was indeed doing the same thing. She's voting with her pocketbook, just like Marc and some of Marc's customers.

PPS Have you actually listened to Al Franken? I think his politics are largely in-tune with Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents, as is evidenced by comparing GW Bush's vote totals from Nov 2000 with Al Gore's in Orange County. You talk like Franken is some kind of fringe-figure. He's kind of mainstream around here . . .

To my friends from "Switzerland," I personally believe that neutrality in the face of injustice is immoral. "The neutral countries may have prolonged the Third Reich's ability to wage war by trading with it." (Eizenstat Report, 1997 )

We all have a larger obligation to welfare of the community of which we are a part. And, yes I do make my shopping decisions based partially on politics, that is why you will rarely find me at Wal*Mart, McDonald's, Barnes & Noble, etc. whenever I have reasonable alternatives. As I said earlier, voting with our dollars is essential to the healthy functioning of our "capitalist democracy."

To Christy, I think the CHTire decision is understandable. However, if I responded that way every time I got a couple of angry, uninformed criticisms online, this website wouldn't be here. If people who think Al Franken qualifies as "hate radio" are allowed to be the cultural arbiters of our community, I think we'll all regret it.

Ruby, please don't pull your business from CH Tire based on some misinformation floating around. CH Tire is not and was never a sponsor of Al Franken's show. They actually sponsor traffic safety for children, and run general advertising as well on our station. Their ads rotate throughout our programming, as do most advertisers. Recently CH Tire received several rather nasty e-mails accusing them of sponsoring "hate radio" which obviously concerned them. They simply want to service cars, as they have done wonderfully for 51 years, and not get dragged into political fights which polarize their customers. As GM, I suggested we keep the Franken hours out of their rotation to protect them from what I consider unfair and uninformed attacks. I hope many of you out there actually increase your business with CH Tire to let them know not everyone feels the way those e-mailers do. The "local Republican wingnut blogger" also lists another of our clients on his site as an Air America sponsor. Again, not true.

Does WCHL carry all of Air America's broadcast day or only segments?

They only carry two programs. See for much more info about this.

Of course you can pull your dollars from a sponsor.

However, perhaps you should give the chapel hill tire owner the benefit of the doubt when he's reported to have said he just wants to stay away from politics.

After all, he probably bought an all day schedule before WCHL changed programming. Now that they have, he wants to avoid all the grief that he's getting about either supporting or not supporting a political program. Remember, his primary concern has to be keeping all customers happy. That means, usually, staying away from politics. After all, look at how you're dumping on him for asking to be placed only in non-political shows. Just think what those who don't like Franken's politics would say if he stays put. It's really not fair to him.

So I go back to my question. Do businesses which deserve your patronage have to support your causes, or do they just have to refrain from not supporting those causes you disagree with, or do they have to keep supporting your causes even if they never intended to when they signed up their schedule, or is it okay if they just leave the politics to people like us and stick to the business they know best?

Chapel Hill Tire does great work, is a locally owned, family business that's been around for generations and supports lots of local charities. Let's not get too caught up in its attempt to stay out of politics and hurt a pretty good corporate citizen.

Does that mean every business you patronize has an obligation to support causes you support?

What if they just want to stay neutral so as not to bring all this on them?

If a sponsor pulls ads because of politics people are certainly free to pull dollars from such a sponsor due to politics- what's fair is fair.

And to think I just had a tire replaced there.

ABC won't distribute Michael moores movie. ABC terminates Sam Donaldson's show for no reason. What a repressive and anti-intellectual country this is becoming.

No, I'm pulling my patronage due to it's business practices which I find objectionable as they discourage values that I hold dear.

I'm voting with my dollars, the essence of capitalism!

This may not matter to you, but according to the blog you cite, the owner is only asking for ads to be removed from political programming on WCHL. It does not say he is "pulling his sponsorship of WHCL."

Ruby, you aren't pulling your patronage of Chapel Hill Tire due to its politics, are you?

I have to walk because I leave my car there. Duh.

Why would you walk to a tire store?


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