Hate and Hypocrisy in the Cox Empire

Let’s face it: Right-wing talk radio acquired the moniker “hate radio” for a reason. It’s full of racism, religious bigotry, paranoia, homophobia and sexism.

One would think the media would be near-unanimous in condemning the use of public–repeat: public–airwaves to broadcast speech more appropriate to a meeting of a Klan Klavern. Over at the Cox-owned Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they did express outrage at recent comments by Don Imus. But Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial writers only went ballistic when hate speech was broadcast on stations that compete with Cox’s own radio and TV outlets. The newspaper had no such criticism aimed at often more virulent racism on Cox stations.

Indeed, part of Imus’ outburst was highlighted by a racist remark about the hairdos of a women’s basketball team, and his reference to the athletes as “hos.”

Yet a year ago, Cox’s lead talk-radio host, Neal Boortz, referred to a black congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney: “She looks like a ghetto slut. It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory.” Hairdo and derogatory sexual references are hardly distinguishable from the remarks that got Imus fired.

Why the media should be surprised by Don Imus’ recent megaracist outburst about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team is beyond me. Imus has been erupting with similar filth for years. The fact that so many media pundits go on his radio and television shows to hawk their books is probably one reason Imus’ racism has been given a pass.

The April 12 Journal-Constution contained an editorial denouncing Imus and calling for him to get the boot. Imus and his producer “ought to be fired,” harrumphed the editorial, penned by Maureen Downey.

The editorial chastised CBS for syndicating Imus, Atlanta station WFOM-AM for airing him and MSNBC for broadcasting his morning television program.

But, hmmm, something seemed to be missing from the editorial. Oh, yes, the fact that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s sister stations in Atlanta – ABC-affiliated WSB-TV and WSB-AM – are competitors to CBS, WFOM and MSNBC. Acknowledging that Cox has a stake in slamming its competition would be what we in this business call “journalism ethics,” something that’s apparently in short supply at the Atlanta newspaper.

But the story gets worse for Atlanta’s pathetic excuse for a daily newspaper. WSB-AM, Atlanta’s top-ranked radio station, has its own contingent of blowhard racists and hate-mongers. The syndicated Michael Savage and Atlanta-based Boortz have long records of racist rhetorical excesses, sexism, religious hatred and incitement of class warfare. Savage especially makes Imus look like an amateur in the hate department.

Cox knows this, of course. But when the Cox cash registers are ringing, forget about ethics and civil discourse, and bring on the ratings-garnering bigots. (Editorial Page Empress Cynthia Tucker and Downey did not respond to questions about their Imus commentary.)

I think it’s just dandy that Cox is calling for the ouster of broadcast personalities who spout racism. The hypocrites at Cox should first get the log out of their own eye before pointing to the mote in another broadcaster’s eye.

John Sugg is editor of Creative Loafing. He can be reached at john.sugg@creativeloafing.com



More articles by:
November 14, 2019
Laura Carlsen
Mexico’s LeBaron Massacre and the War That Will Not Cease
Joe Emersberger
Oppose the Military Coup in Bolivia. Spare Us Your “Critiques”
Ron Jacobs
Trump’s Drug Deal Goes to Congress: Impeachment, Day One
Paul Edwards
Peak Hubris
Tamara Pearson
US and Corporations Key Factors Behind Most Violent Year Yet in Mexico
Jonah Raskin
Love and Death in the Age of Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness
W. T. Whitney
To Confront Climate Change Humanity Needs Socialism
John Feffer
Examining Trump World’s Fantastic Claims About Ukraine
Nicky Reid
“What About the Children?” Youth Rights Before Parental Police States
Binoy Kampmark
Incinerating Logic: Bush Fires and Climate Change
John Horning
The Joshua Tree is Us
Andrew Stewart
Noel Ignatiev and the Great Divide
Cesar Chelala
Soap Operas as Teaching Tools
Chelli Stanley
In O’odham Land
November 13, 2019
Vijay Prashad
After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
Charles Pierson
How Not to End a Forever War
Kenneth Surin
“We’ll See You on the Barricades”: Bojo Johnson’s Poundshop Churchill Imitation
Nick Alexandrov
Murder Like It’s 1495: U.S.-Backed Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
George Ochenski
Montana’s Radioactive Waste Legacy
Brian Terrell
A Doubtful Proposition: a Reflection on the Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7
Nick Pemberton
Assange, Zuckerberg and Free Speech
James Bovard
The “Officer Friendly” Police Fantasy
Dean Baker
The Logic of Medical Co-Payments
Jeff Mackler
Chicago Teachers Divided Over Strike Settlement
Binoy Kampmark
The ISC Report: Russian Connections in Albion?
Norman Solomon
Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge
Jesse Jackson
Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure
Manuel García, Jr.
Criminalated Warmongers
November 12, 2019
Nino Pagliccia
Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War
Patrick Cockburn
How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq
Jonathan Cook
Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians
Jim Kavanagh
Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage
Susan Babbitt
Fidel, Three Years Later
Dean Baker
A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security is What America Needs
Trump’s Crime Against Humanity
Victor Grossman
The Wall and General Pyrrhus
Yoko Liriano
De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines
Ana Paula Vargas – Vijay Prashad
Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?
Thomas Knapp
Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights
Wim Laven
Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?
Colin Todhunter
Agrarian Crisis and Malnutrition: GM Agriculture Is Not the Answer
Binoy Kampmark
Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Akio Tanaka
Response to Pete Dolack Articles on WBAI and Pacifica
Nyla Ali Khan
Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque