To Ignore It Is To Endorse It
San Diego Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer made an anti-Semitic joke during this week’s preseason game. Here’s the story. Clear Channel has suspended Bauer one game for the off-color quip.
We chatted about this on last night’s Sports Radio Twitter Chat (#SRCHAT) and there were those who believed it was no big deal and everyone should lighten up and those who believed one game suspension was too light.
I believe CC was right in taking action and more over there are lessons for all of us in radio to take away.
- To ignore it is to endorse it. Old and ugly stereotyping is a big deal. We can no longer write off this stuff (racism & sexism included) as being okay if someone is of a different generation, a different cultural background or didn’t have the intention of hurting or offending. As an industry when we give free passes we make it more acceptable.
- Respect your audience regardless of race, sex or creed.Broadcasters need to understand their audience is broad, diverse, and reactionary. Yes, you want to banter to feel like you’re just a couple of guys watching sports at a pub. But, you’re not.
- Words carry meaning, power and elicit emotional responses. Words can build people up and cut them down to the quick. Let’s be careful how we use them.
- Laughter isn’t a measurement of appropriateness or offensiveness. Just because people laugh at a joke, doesn’t mean it’s okay for the radio. Surprisingly, some folks on twitter last night thought the joke was fine and wasn’t mean-spirited. It couldn’t have been, because they laughed at it.
I’m not saying as a broadcaster you should never walk the line, but this wasn’t an edgy opinion, this was disgusting and outdated social stereotype masked in a one-liner. There is a difference.