Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sponsoring an Anti-Christian Bigot: WKLH Responds

An e-mail from WKLH:
Hi John,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Bill Maher show. I’ll call you shortly, but first a little background about our promotional involvement.

Our agreement with Pabst/Riverside was a term agreement whereby we partnered to promote several shows within a calendar window.

We are involved in actual artist booking & recommendation ONLY for those shows that benefit station-specific events or charities such as our Christmas for Kids benefit or Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin fundraisers.

At the time of the arrangement Mr. Maher had not made his insensitive remarks, although we will not hide behind that circumstance as an excuse.

The vast majority of shows we have promoted have been well received and non-controversial, including the many that have supported our Dave & Carole Miracle Marathon for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Christmas for Kids.

Mr. Maher’s comments have obviously offended many people. While we usually let the market dictate the success or failure of a given show, we will reconsider our promotional involvement with this show.

Thank you for sharing your comments.

Bob Bellini
Program Director
96.5 WKLH Milwaukee
We talked to Bellini after receiving this e-mail, and the people who run WKLH will be meeting later today to decide what to do about this situation.

Bellini made it clear that he is no fan of Maher.

WKLH could simply “pull its sponsorship” of Maher, although Bellini pointed out that “the horse is out of the barn” in some ways. Promotional materials already printed can’t be unprinted.

But he conceded that WKLH could, if it wanted, stop giving away tickets to the Maher performance and take the promotional blurb off its website.

Such actions, while not large in the entire scope of things, would at least send the symbolic message that WKLH does not condone or support Maher’s anti-Christian bigotry.

A call to 414-978-9000, or an e-mail to Tjoerres@mkeradiogrp.com (station manager Tom Joerres) with a civil statement about how the station should distance itself from this kind of bigotry would be in order.

We can’t imagine WKLH promoting or supporting a comedian who was famous for attacking blacks or gays. Attacking Christians should be equally embarrassing to WKLH.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Brett said...

Setting to one side the comedy paradigm here, let's define a key term being thrown around: "bigot." I know there are textbooks written on the subject of bigotry, but I understand the word "bigot" to essentially mean an intolerance attributable to personal prejudices such that the prejudice's object is the subject of hate.

It seems to me that casting Maher as a "bigot" is more than a little misplaced. A disbeliever? No doubt. An open critic? Sure, in the same vein as George Carlin. But a bigot? Here's the critical difference between Maher and your run-of-the-mill bigot: Maher certainly thinks the world would be better off without erecting temples to whatever golden savior individuals choose, but Maher's opinions are informed not by his prejudices but by the hypocrisy and inherent contradictions he sees (and others have seen for CENTURIES). Maher's opinions are not about the reinforcement of preconceived notions. If Maher were saying that he hates "Christians" (whatever that means) because his father told him so, that'd be a different discussion.

If there is to be a frank discussion on the merits of Maher's opinions, then so be it. But let's avoid the hue and cry imbibed in "bigot." And please don't coin me a lefty. I'm ambidextrous.

1:16 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...


It seems to me that casting Maher as a "bigot" is more than a little misplaced. A disbeliever? No doubt. An open critic? Sure, in the same vein as George Carlin. But a bigot? Here's the critical difference between Maher and your run-of-the-mill bigot: Maher certainly thinks the world would be better off without erecting temples to whatever golden savior individuals choose, but Maher's opinions are informed not by his prejudices but by the hypocrisy and inherent contradictions he sees (and others have seen for CENTURIES).


You are simply saying that you agree with him about Christians.

And he didn't start out neutral toward Christians and then decide they are evil.

Just as Hitler didn't start out neutral toward the Jews and observe ("as people had for centuries") that they were evil.

He started out hating Jews, and then reached "conclusions" consistent with his hatred.

But if you want to see venom spewed at Christians, go to his show.

But you won't see the American logo there.

4:33 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Brett said...

It's clear you don't like Christians, but it takes a lot of chutzpah to expect that people who are Christians, or businesses who want to sell to Christians, to subsidize your prejudices.

Just pay for your own hate speech.

You have that right.

4:35 PM  

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