To Err on Air

Letters from the week of October 24, 2002

The beautiful thing about this whole affair is the simple fact that it was pressure on advertisers from hundreds of outraged individuals and the resulting pressure on KUPD management from these advertisers that got this "victim" fired. You seem (quite mistakenly) to believe that "shock jocks" provide some essential contribution to society (furthering freedom of speech?). What they offer is reassurance for the immature that immaturity isn't really that bad. But when the stuff doesn't sell, the speech isn't so free anymore, is it?

The lesson is very simple. True freedom requires responsibility. You don't seem to quite get this, but (thanks to the volume and quantity of appropriate outrage) Beau knows!

Timothy Barker
St. Louis, Missouri

Red scare: I'm a Cardinals fan. Your piece is a parody, right?

I don't condone death threats. If it is true Beau Duran is getting them, then I'm sorry. You recite no evidence that they are all coming from St. Louis, though I'm sure some have originated there. I believe he is sincere in his remorse, but then again you have to wonder because the station's initial reaction, from its general manager, was that this was no big deal and that no action would be taken against Duran. He got remorseful when the national outcry built. And when advertisers boycotted. But still, I sense he's sorry now.

As for Tony La Russa, his comments were a bit over the top, but he's a sensitive guy. He was defending the honor of a dead colleague and his family. Contrary to your absurd suggestion, baseball is not increasingly thuggish. I defy you to produce any evidence supporting this thesis. It's clear you do not cover sports.

It's also clear that your moral compass needs a tune-up if you think a two-week belated apology compensates for publicly insulting a widow, present as a guest in your city, to witness her fallen husband's team on its march in the playoffs. You see, to her, this was the last team her husband would ever be a part of. If they were to earn a championship, it would honor his memory, as he had partially contributed to the season. That's over now, unfortunately. It's sad that you could not perceive this.

Another glaring example of your ignorance of the custom of hospitality is your failure to comprehend the propriety in Duran's apology to the Diamondbacks. You see, they were hosting the Cardinals, and especially the Cardinals' guests.

If your child, or dimwitted brother-in-law, insults a guest in your home, do you not apologize on their behalf? Does the offender not owe you, as host, an apology for insulting your guest?

You, sir, need a lesson in manners. And you need a better sense of perspective. What makes you bitter enough to belittle a team trying to keep alive the memories of people close to or part of the organization?

William Barrett
Raleigh, North Carolina

Beau coup: Nice defense of Beau Duran. As many things go, interpretation of events depends on one's perspective on them.

You seem quick to defend a young man's poor manners, and the trash that I assume you enjoy listening to each morning. We in Tulsa get some feeds like that, too. They are funny for a while, but let me ask you this -- if you have a friend who talks trash, after the novelty wears off, do you still hang with them? I'm guessing not, based on my assumption that you have something on the ball enough to have landed you this public forum that, frankly, I think you are taking advantage of in this instance.

Mr. Duran acted his age. He was rude. He was inconsiderate. And he is correct to apologize, as are the others responsible for letting him on the air. I'm sure lessons have been learned by all this by those involved, and for myself, I'm sorry they had to be learned in such a public way.

Your assumptions concerning Mr. La Russa and his response to a rude and uncalled-for act do surprise me. Mr. Kile was on a team. People bond on a team. And these guys are men, and respond to things in physical ways. I seriously doubt that any death threats can be attributable to Mr. La Russa's comments, but there are nutcases out there who will do things like that. Those are the cowards of the world, faceless creatures who go nuts when handed a computer or a pen.

I implore you to remember your privilege in all this: You are the exclusive owner of a very public forum (at the pleasure of your boss). Maybe you ought to get back to remaining impartial, and reporting things as they are, instead of how you assume they are.

Grow up. It's over. And not just that radio station, but all of Phoenix has a bit of tarnish on it because of the actions of a 22-year-old radio station employee.

Paul Hardy
Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Base Bawl

Fan club: Glad to hear that there's at least one real baseball fan in town ("A Fan for All Seasons," Spiked, October 10). It takes a while to build a tradition, to get people behind the team all the time. And to learn the game.

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