When Radio is Used to Foment Hate

[OPINION] Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN radio host Bob Davis expressed his hatred of Sandy Hook victims during a recent broadcast, telling them to “go to hell.” According to The Huffington Post, Davis made his comment while expressing his concern that the victims of the tragedy were being used as political tools to in some way curb Second Amendment rights. Davis apparently felt personally threatened, claiming that the victims were being used to take away his liberty. You can hear the segment in the clip above.

Telling families whose children were senselessly killed––who are now dedicating themselves to putting into place legislation that would make it harder for those with criminal backgrounds or mental disabilities to obtain firearms––that they “can go to hell” is itself senseless. Davis demonstrating a complete lack of sympathy and an utter disrespect of the victims (publicly, over the air mind you) is incomprehensible and mind-boggling. Davis, of course, is entitled to his opinion. But when his opinion––in response to violence––is itself expressive of violence, that’s where his First Amendment rights begin to blur.

But here’s where it gets more insidious: “Davis & Emmer in the Morning,” like all radio shows, is dependent upon advertising revenue in order to remain economically viable. In other words, without advertisers willing to pay to air ads on their program, the program wouldn’t exist. That is, of course, how the mass media generally works. So either Davis was trying to boost his ratings by being intentionally inhumane and controversial, or he his genuinely an inhumane and insensitive person. Either way, he shouldn’t be placed in front of a microphone. That his radio station,  Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130, continues to allow him on the air should be troubling to everyone.

Thanks to Christina Moore for the tip.

Sources: huffingtonpost.com, Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130

NYC Subway Anti-Jihad Ad: Free Expression or Poor Taste?

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A federal court has ruled that the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority must allow the above ad to appear on 10 NYC subways. Supporters of the ad regard it as a First Amendment victory, while critics claim the ad’s sponsor (The American Freedom Defense Initiative) “fuels and fosters anti-Muslim bigotry in society” by branding Muslims with hate speech.

What ethical issues are involved here? If we can agree that one source of ethical friction–all things being equal–is the inciting of conflict, is this ad guilty? Does the ad fan the flames of conflict, or does it represent (as its sponsor claims) the expression of a legitimate point of view?