John DePetro is still on the air »« Neither the expertise nor the legitimacy

He called women union protesters “Whores”

Steve Ahlquist has a great post about being invited to be on a right-wing talk radio show and why he said no and why it’s not true that all publicity is good publicity because it’s publicity.

WPRO’s Tara Granahan called me at 5:45pm Monday night to ask me if I would come on and do an interview with her about the May 1st Day of Reason proclamation Governor Chafee was kind enough to sign on behalf of the Humanists of Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition of Rhode Island. I asked her if this was for the “talk side” of WPRO or for the “news side.” Granahan told me that she was covering for Matt Allen’s talk show and that she would like to have me on to discuss the proclamation, but she also knew where I was going with my question. She knows that as long as John DePetro is employed at WPRO, I will be honoring the “For Our Daughters” campaign and not appearing on any WPRO talk radio programs.

For those of you who don’t know, For Our Daughters was formed in the wake of comments made by John DePetro last year in which he called women union protesters “Whores.” DePetro was suspended for a while, but the station ultimately brought him back on the air, where he remains to this day. For Our Daughters has asked people who support women to avoid going on any WPRO Talk shows until DePetro is removed from the station.

Pause to let that sink in.

He WHAT? They WHAT?

He called women union protesters “Whores.”

The station suspended him for awhile but ultimately brought him back on the air.

Unfuckingbelievable.

Read Steve’s post; he intersperses rude tweets from DePetro – tweets dated yesterday – throughout. DePetro is a classic Twitter bully.

In person, radio show shock jocks like DePetro want to give the impression that they are better than the audience they are catering to. The big secret is that it’s all a big game, a way to make money and news radio hosts don’t really believe that what they are doing is worth anything, or that any of the issues they drone on about are truly important. It’s all about raising the emotional blood pressure of the audience, and selling commercials.

That makes it even more disgusting.

I first met Tara Granahan during the Cranston prayer banner kerfuffle my niece, Jessica Ahlquist, was involved in. Granahan asked me if I would do a quick interview. I told her that I didn’t like the way her station treated my family, and she quickly went into her standard line about how the news side and the talk side of WPRO were separate, and that she would treat me fairly. As it turns out, she didn’t treat me fairly, in my opinion. Going on her morning news program once or twice on different issues over the following years didn’t endear her to me either. She asked leading questions, and she seemed more interested in getting me flustered so that I would say something stupid than really asking for my views.

So he’s not doing the show.

The idea that one should go on any show and access any media that will have you is flawed. We can pick and choose who we deal with, and it does not hurt our causes to avoid appearing on a station that supports misogynist bigots.

Indeed it does not. It’s the other way around. It hurts our causes to link them to misogynist bigots. You can’t have everything. You can’t have the highest possible numbers and decent colleagues. Pure numbers are necessary for some things, but for an effective and durable movement, you need people who aren’t malevolent shits.

 

Comments

  1. Blanche Quizno says

    Wait – were the women in question, the ones unionizing, sex trade workers? Because if they were, well, that’s one thing. You know, it would be really good for sex workers to have a strong union…

    Science advocate Bill Nye (the science guy) recently went on an invite to do a creationism debate, which only served to make a bunch of money for the creationists. Nye was warned that no good could possibly come of it, but he apparently felt that he might reach some people via that forum that he couldn’t otherwise reach. But there’s a reason those people aren’t tuning in to see/hear science programs, you see. I believe Nye regretted doing the debate afterward, but don’t quote me.

    Similarly, Richard Dawkins consistently refuses the many invitations to debate Christian William Lane Craig. Craig has tried to bully Dawkins into sharing a stage with him, but Dawkins is resolute in his refusal. One of my favorite Dawkins comments (a quote from someone else) with regard to this situation is “That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine”.

    Dawkins has even written an open letter explaining the (very good) reasons why he will never honor Craig with his appearance. Here are a few excerpts:

    For some years now, Craig has been increasingly importunate in his efforts to cajole, harass or defame me into a debate with him. … Craig’s latest stalking foray has taken the form of a string of increasingly hectoring challenges to confront him in Oxford this October. I took pleasure in refusing again, which threw him and his followers into a frenzy of blogging, tweeting and YouTubed accusations of cowardice. To this I would only say I that I turn down hundreds of more worthy invitations every year, I have publicly engaged an archbishop of York, two archbishops of Canterbury, many bishops and the chief rabbi, and I’m looking forward to my imminent, doubtless civilised encounter with the present archbishop of Canterbury.

    In an epitome of bullying presumption, Craig now proposes to place an empty chair on a stage in Oxford next week to symbolise my absence. The idea of cashing in on another’s name by conniving to share a stage with him is hardly new. But what are we to make of this attempt to turn my non-appearance into a self-promotion stunt? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig

    It’s a shame Clint Eastwood didn’t realize that the whole “empty chair on a stage” stunt would be so transparently embarrassing…

    Clarification: I’m disappointed with Dawkins’ persistent and repeated demonstrations of his misogynist attitudes, but he still has his moments.

  2. says

    In person, radio show shock jocks like DePetro want to give the impression that they are better than the audience they are catering to. The big secret is that it’s all a big game, a way to make money and news radio hosts don’t really believe that what they are doing is worth anything, or that any of the issues they drone on about are truly important. It’s all about raising the emotional blood pressure of the audience, and selling commercials.

    It’s actually the other way around. Sincere but ignorant bigots are slightly less detestable than the cynical hacks who pander to them.

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