Earlier this week I wrote about “Gunny” Bob Newman and his comments on his KOA radio show that all Muslims in America should be outfitted with tracking devices. Here’s what I said on Tuesday:
If Imus can get canned for calling someone a “nappy headed â€˜ho,” then I think “Gunny” certainly should be in hot water for suggesting that all Muslims be outfitted with tracking devices. What Imus said was, at best, in poor taste, but what “Gunny” said is potentially dangerous…
…What “Gunny” is doing is more than perpetuating a stereotype – he’s inciting fear and telling listeners that it is okay to discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs. That’s socially irresponsible, and it’s dangerous.
The outcry against “Gunny” has been consistent since last week, led by Colorado Media Matters and the liberal group Progress Now, and advertisers are now starting to hit back as well. As The Denver Post reports:
At least three metro-area businesses have asked radio station KOA-850 AM to pull their advertisements from the “Gunny Bob” Newman show following remarks about Muslims made last week by the conservative talk-show host.
The companies, Excel Roofing, Ralph Schomp Automotive and Three Tomatoes Catering, asked that the ads run in different time slots on KOA after being petitioned by ProgressNowAction, an advocacy group in Denver.
At least one other advertiser with the radio station is also considering asking that its spots be removed from Newman’s show, said Michael Huttner, the group’s executive director.
“We are turning up the volume,” Huttner said. “We are going to increase it until (the radio station) feels the heat and understands that this type of hate- mongering will not be tolerated.”
In response to the growing controversy, KOA channeled another Newman: “Alfred E.” Their reaction to the outcry against “Gunny” has been little more than “What, Me Worry?”
The station posted a note on the home page of the Web site for the “Gunny” show, which was the classic non-apology apology:
Newsradio 850 KOA understands that some of you may have been offended by remarks Gunny Bob made regarding Muslim immigrants to the United States. That was not the intention. 850 KOA believes in being fair and respectful while encouraging discussion and debate of complex issues.
In other words, KOA realizes you might have been offended, but since that wasn’t their intention, they don’t care. That’s sort of like punching your spouse in the face and then saying, “I didn’t mean to make you bleed.”
Look, “Gunny” obviously meant to be offensive – after all, that’s the whole point of being a “shock jock” radio personality – and KOA should be ashamed of themselves for defending him. “Gunny” has a right to his opinion, but KOA has a duty to be responsible in what it puts on the air. There’s a difference between being controversial and offensive, and being flat-out dangerous. Suggesting that the government monitor an entire subsection of Americans isn’t okay. Employees of KOA should be embarrassed in the manner in which their station just looks the other way.