Dave Richards for August 14th…………
--Okay, now President Trump has sent out another obviously inappropriate “Tweet” on the social media platform agreeing with a heckler who called CNN anchor Chris Cuomo a “Fredo”. I guess today it’s considered as bad as the “N”-word to Italians. Cuomo got steamed and participated in a heated and profane exchange with the heckler. CNN says it supports Cuomo. O-f-f-f-f Co-u-r-s-e they do, anything resembling a dog fight, street brawl, or train wreck that will bring ratings is A-OK with CNN brass. After all, they’ve lost any pretense of respectability years ago in my professional opinion.
If the guy worked for me, and used profanity on the air, it would not be condoned and he’d have been on the carpet in my office pronto for a review of his future employment with the company, if you get my meaning. Of course, the penalties for profanity are different for an FCC licensed over-the-air operation than for a pay-cable channel, but you’d think the standards for a national organization like CNN would be at least as high as for a local radio or TV station, wouldn’t you?
And speaking of local TV, I saw a clip the other day of a young lady reporter for Channel 10 TV who, while she was doing a live report on the air, had her microphone nearly ripped from her hand when a by-stander jumped on camera and yelled something into her mic to be broadcast. The reporter showed her professionalism by pulling the mic back from the trouble-maker and finishing her report as if it hadn’t even happened. That reporter could work for me any day! Wish I had caught her name, but congratulations to her and let’s hope more people in radio and TV follow her example and keep cool under pressure.
--When I was young, the worst thing you could call someone was a Communist, or its vernacularal equivalent, a “Commie”. It was meant that you were un-American, a person unfit to live among us. Most people who got tagged with that label actually weren’t members of the Communist Party, of course. It was just a slur someone who didn’t like you hung on you to cause you trouble.
There were Communists living in our country, of course. Some of them did spy on the rest of us and make reports to Communist officials. But you didn’t see them. The really dangerous people stayed in the shadows, by choice, so they could be more effective at their work of disrupting American society.
Most people understood this and most of us know that the people who were called Communists weren’t. The real ones were hidden from us.
Fast forward the old time machine to today. Being a Communist is no big deal anymore. If you called someone a “Commie”, most people would say, “so what? Who cares?” I think this is why you never hear anyone being called a Communist today. Today “Racist” is the new Communist!
We’ve come a long way from calling playground foes “Booger-Heads” and “Super-Creeps”, haven’t we? Whatever we can call someone we don’t like that will hurt their feelings or cause others to not like them is what we’ll call them even though we know it isn’t true. It’s so simple, every time you don’t like someone, today all you need to do is call them a racist. But, just like in the school yard and back in the days of the Cold War, the ones who get the new label of today are not what they are called.
Here’s the problem. There really are racists out there. And, just like the communists of decades ago, they stay out of sight. They agitate from the background. They plant the seeds of hate and doubt and then stand back for others to finish their dirty work.
What’s really dangerous, in my view, is that we will eventually call so many people ‘racists’ who aren’t, that real racists will be empowered to ply their divisive trade un-impeded because the public is de-sensitized to the term.
What can be done? Well, the first thing we could do is not believe it when someone is called a ‘racist’ in anger by another. Or, we could go back to calling people ‘Super-Creeps’ and ‘Booger-Heads’.
Or maybe we could stop acting like children and try to argue matters of public disagreement intellectually instead of emotionally.
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.