Friday, June 11, 2004

Should he get suspended? 

A disc jockey at the University of Alaska radio station was suspended, after he "turned a Sunday radio show into a 'celebration' that Ronald Reagan 'was finally dead'."

"No tape of the show was available. According to the disc jockey, he berated Reagan for his foreign policy in Latin America, Iraq and Afghanistan, and for what the student called a 'homophobic' response to the AIDS epidemic.

" 'I said that I was sick of all of the media that was glorifying Reagan and rewriting history that was pretty despicable,' he said. 'Basically, what the gist of the show was, it was a celebration that Ronald Reagan was dead, was finally dead'."
An interesting conundrum.

1) I believe that Reagan was the best American president in the last fifty years.

2) I believe that the disc jockey is a f**kwit.

3) But do I believe that f**wits should be punished for their opinion and publicly censored? I'm not so sure.

4) There is the free speech angle. Of course, the disc jockey is not being censored by the government but by the station management, who are perfectly entitled to make whatever decisions they want.

5) There's also the free market argument against censorship - the listeners who don't agree with the disc jockey in question will switch to other radio stations (which is what political news consumers are increasingly doing on a larger scale).

6) The extension of the free market argument is that the advertising revenue will follow wherever the sufficient number of listeners goes, thus punishing the "offending" station commercially.

7) On the other hand, hard-left political rhetoric might in turn attract new listeners to the station, balancing the outflow.

8) To complicate matters further, not all media outlets survive on advertising; BBC in the UK and ABC in Australia live off public funding, which makes them generally unresponsive to ratings and commercial pressures, and therefore havens of unreconstructed leftie bias. I'm not sure what the situation is at KSUA-FM.

What a topic. Any thought?


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