Monday, September 15, 2008

Responsible Media Management

Hi kids, it's time to play "watch what you step in!" I'm your host, Lavender Pitt, and I'm here to tell you a little story about what happens when you express your opinion. First, a little background:

Anti-Palin rally organizers receive threats

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.

Please feel free to click on the title for a link to the full story; however, this is not the point of the story. I emailed the station casually with the following email:

From: Rai Goldin
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 5:09 PM
Subject: Eddie Burke's right to swing his fist

end's at the tip of people's noses, ans he is responsible for every harrassing phonecall those women reveived. He had no right to give out those people's phone numbers and he should bloody well be fired for working against the public's safety.

Rachel Goldin
Tucson AZ

Please note that all embarrassing punctuation mistakes on my part have not been edited out of this edition; sometimes veracity trumps accuracy! I figured I'd get no reply, or at best a boilerplate generic acknowledgment. Instead, this is what I got:
From: ""
To: Rai Goldin
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 8:55:53 PM
Subject: Re: Eddie Burke's right to swing his fist

weaaaaa....y dont you cry a little is called free speech for a reason....go cry to your mom...not to us

I was floored by this response, as it confirmed my worst-nightmare fears about the kind of wing-nut loonies they let play with the transmitter when they get snowed in up there. Alaska's finally getting the kind of attention that one of the fifty United States ought to get; some journalists are blossoming under the light, but other media outlets seem to wither under the glare. I thought I'd have to write this one off, and sent a reply indicating as such:

From: Rai Goldin
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 4:45 AM
Subject: Re: Eddie Burke's right to swing his fist

Wow, are you representing a broadcast radio show? Or do you let staffers' middleschoolers answer the mail?! I thought I was reaching a media outlet; sorry, my mistake.

This was, as I figured, the end of the nonsense; but lo, another email just fluttered my way, from the general manager of the station:

I do not know who sent that message, I will check our records and see who was here then. But it is station policy not to give out numbers and Eddie will be punished accordingly.
Again sorry for the previous email.
Justin McDonald-GM

I thanked him for his concern in the matter, and let him know I was very interested in the follow-up for the conclusion of the matter. If and when I receive any more correspondence, I shall let you know.

A few points:
  1. Eddie Burke does not have the right to give out people's numbers on the air with an implicit go-ahead to call them up and give them a hard time
  2. This is an abuse of the freedom of speech- any emotional wear and tear these anti-Palin organizers got as a result of Mr. Brke's actions are a responsibility that is at his feet.
  3. The anit-Palin organization was bigger than her welcome -home rally, and is being under-reported as of this hour by the mainstream media.


Michi-chan said...

Bleh.. Conservative radio. I hope they did not make phone calls on the air to these people. If so, they would be in real deep doo doo.

While the first amendment protects the station to a point, it is just totally WRONG to be giving out personal information on the air. If any criminal activity arises from the behavior, it is possible that the FCC could get involved. I would have to dig up the case law.


Anonymous said...

yay rachel!!! Pissing off the whole country, one state at a time!

peace,love, and anarchy

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