STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Missing Comma: Opie, Anthony and the Media

Last week, I talked about Sirius XM’s decision to fire shock jock Anthony Cumia.

Along with the other Sirius XM listeners who hadn’t cancelled their subscription over this, I anxiously waited for Monday’s O&A show, which featured a dejected-sounding Opie and Jim not only lamenting their co-host’s firing, but the predictable fan and media reaction.

According to Opie, the main issue with the tweets was timing; they came before a holiday weekend and an upcoming planned hiatus. “If we could’ve got back on the radio, me, Anthony and Jimmy, we would’ve figured our way out of this one. Easily. Because the jokes would’ve been there.”

They also criticized the Washington Post’s op-eds, along with other publications’ similar knee-jerk reactions.

Whenever a political correctness crisis like this happens, passages like this are standard:

“Some supporters cite First Amendment rights, as they always do in such cases, until someone helpfully points out that freedom of speech does not mean freedom of speech without consequences. You have the right to say or Tweet whatever you want and others have the right to object and be offended. Depending on what the contract says, your employer has the right to forgive or fire. I know few people who could insult colleagues or toss a string of vile invective at potential clients and come into work the next day as though nothing had happened.”

Embarrassing, isn’t it? Because judging by the way Opie, Anthony and Jim talk to their fans and people who call into the show, Sirius XM should have pulled the plug a long time ago if that’s how their contracts work; the same contracts that lock the remaining jocks into a show they barely want to be part of anymore. It’s astounding how so much of the media response reflects an outright misunderstanding of not only Anthony’s motives in the infamous tweets, but O&A’s entire brand.

Was the “black friend” tweet all part of Anthony’s “shock” routine? Probably. This writer’s reasoning is so skewed that the comments on the article make more sense.

Commenter Mcaff has a more articulate (read: less expletive-ridden; “debating” free speech often seems akin to banging your head against a wall) response than I would’ve come up with on the fly:

“I have listened to Opie and Anthony and I strongly disagree with almost everything Anthony Cumia says. He’s usually wrong on a range of topics from gun control to race relations. His co-hosts are a bit to the left on most issues and the debate makes for lively, entertaining radio. I strongly disagree with Cumia, but I WANT TO HEAR EVERY WORD OF IT. In my opinion, Reverend Al Sharpton has made far more inflammatory remarks on his television program but I WANT TO HEAR HIM TOO. They both have the right to voice their opinion and I have the right to hear them.”

This type of response also underscores the points that Jeremy Weiland makes in his essay that I linked to last week.

If PC shills at the Washington Post really wanted to end racism, they wouldn’t waste netspace on articles like this, and would talk incessantly about prison demographics, poverty statistics and the drug war instead.

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