From Dan Gaffney, host at WXDE (Delaware 105.9), FaceBook page - http://www.facebook.com/DanGaffneyShow:
Important follow up: Not about the “sign” flap directly, but about the fallout from it. After attacks on my family by some ill-informed vigilantes and a few other members of the community (who will stay un-named by me for now) I need to post the following....
From Matt Walsh, host at WLAP, an AM news/talk station out of Lexington, KY, FaceBook Page - http://www.facebook.com/mattwalshradio:
Here's an email I received from an anonymous wimp this morning:
"Matt, you are bringing two children into a world that is dangerous enough. They don't need their own home to be a death trap. You said you have a gun in your house. How could you keep something like that within the vicinity of CHILDREN? What if they get their hands on it? What then? All of your love for the second amendment will go out the window, that's what. Your gun crazy rants are too much to take. You are a reckless radio host and now you will be a reckless father. Fool. With any luck you'll be fired before your children are born."
You gotta love the faceless cowards. They'll never come up to you in public, look you in the eye like a man and make these personal attacks. No, they sit behind their keyboards like sniveling little weaklings and pass their absurd judgments as they wish all sorts of bad things upon you and your family. I'm used to it by now. It comes with the territory. I just hope that one day God will grant me my wish of a face to face with one of these bloated trolls. But I'm sure he won't, for the troll's sake.
With those two excerpts in place, we want to put two points up front. First, as the rest of the editorial will show, we are not "picking on" Mr. Gaffney nor Mr. Walsh. They simply provided us with readily accsessible quotes to use an example. Second, never do we condone the use of direct threats to any person or a person's family and friends.
The sentiments echoed in both of these posts are the same sentiments echoed by the "national stars" of talk radio such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Stewart, Maher...and the list goes on. If you listen to talk radio enough, every pundit out there will complain of the "threats" received.
If you have never listened to talk radio, save for maybe one favorite personality, you don't need to read any further. The editorial will be lost on you. For fans of the talk radio format of entertainment, please read on.
Anytime anyone enters the public arena, he is up for ridicule and, yes, threats against him and his family. (Please note, I am using formal English, which requires the masculine form. Feel free to replace he with she or he/she.) The big name public figures (like those on radio or TV) receive threats on a daily basis. Less public figures (like anyone who posts their opinions publicly on the Internet), receive occasional threats. As Mr. Walsh aptly put it, it goes with the territory. You piss people off, they'll try their damnedest to piss you off.
The simple solution, of course, is to stop reading a person's FaceBook page, change radio stations, or flip the TV station. Problem solved.
Not quite. Turning off the lesser public folk, like us at The Coffee Party, that's relatively easy to do. Who the Hell reads this blog anyways?
For the local public figures on radio or TV, flipping stations is not so easy. They are the public figures who have the advertising dollars behind them to keep them on air and, potentially, influence the community's attitudes, public policy, and outside perceptions of the community as a whole, for better or worse. If you care about your community, you're not so apt to flip channels to ignore those who you think may be doing more harm than good for the community you live in. Move to the national public figures and now you multiplied the effect a thousand fold.
Want an example? We mentioned Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Stewart, and Maher. Have you listened to all of them or do you know them because of the influence their punditry has had on our political system and society? We have never listened to Ann Coulter because we refuse to listen to a woman who speaks with an Adam's apple, but we're very aware of who she is and how she helps shape American sentiment. See? Turning them off doesn't lessen their effect, an effect that will eventually affect you.
What does this have to do with the two local pundits quoted in the opening of this article and the point of this editorial? Re-read what both hosts said, but, more specifically, read how they said it. They both give a clue why pundits generate tons of money for the advertisers and why listeners get irate with them. It's called bullying, that concept many pundits refuse to acknowledge as a real problem, yet they are the biggest bullies around.
First, with Mr. Gaffney. "Oh woe is me. I received threats to me and my family because of what I said." (Yes, that's paraphrasing and not a direct quote.) Then he issues a subtle and open-ended threat of his own - some people who wrote him, of whom disagrees with him, are in danger of being "exposed" for their "hateful vitriol" sometime in the future.
Second, with Mr. Walsh, he opens his commentary with a quote from an "anonymous wimp". Then he proceeds to talk in generic terms about anonymous writers to his show as "faceless cowards", which, of course, implies the writer of the email that prompted the post is a faceless coward. Oh, and anonymous writers love to sit behind "their keyboards like sniveling weaklings and pass their absurd judgments..." Well, that sounds a lot like the talk show pundits sitting anonymously behind their microphones passing absurd judgments.
Here's the deal. Free speech comes with a price we're all very keenly aware of. You say what you want, you piss people off. In the old days, no big deal. (Not quite, but that's another topic.) With information available to everyone at their fingertips, you have to be careful who you piss off today. Piss them off enough, they can find you in a few clicks of a mouse. That is why this blog remains anonymous.
If you choose a career of pissing people off, deal with the vitriol. Hopefully, you are making good money to afford state-of-the-art security systems around your home, and, depending on your popularity, bodyguards. If not, change career fields.
For the rest of us, as long as we know you have the power to tell your listeners who we are, as Mr. Gaffney suggested; Mr. Walsh has done in the past; and, at least Mr. Limbaugh has done, if not others, we'll remain anonymous when we voice our criticism of what you have to say. We want to be heard, but we don't think being heard is worth getting beaten up or vandalized because of your rabid fans. You chose the profession so deal with the vitriol. Those of us who email you chose to talk to you one-on-one. The smart ones will keep it anonymous because we know the bullies behind the microphones will gladly name names because they have their rabid fans to back them up.