Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What's Goin' On?

-As Elmer Fudd would say..."This is vewwy, vewwy stwange".

The NAACP St. Louis chapter holds a press conference to announce that they were wrong when they commended the management of KTRS last week for firing Dave Lenihan when he uttered a racial slur. You'll remember Dr. Lenihan inadvertently...according to most stated opinions...spit out the word "coon" instead of "coup" when referring to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her qualifications to be NFL Commissioner. Lenihan then...unfortunately and unprofessionally...exacerbated the malaprop by taking the next thirty seconds of air time to apologize for what he had said.

KTRS GM Tim Dorsey...after deliberating a full 20 minutes...announced to the 550 listening audience that the decision was made to terminate Lenihan. It was a no-tolerance decision and resulting action that has since been hailed by some, and castigated by others, for it's swiftness and certainty. Some have suggested that the station's actions were part of a stunt, or that they already...after only eight days on the air...had other plans for Lenihan's time slot and were waiting for the opportunity to "swing the hatchet". Others believe the action was just wrong-headed and an overreaction to what might be perceived as a willingness to allow borderline racist comments find their way on the air.

Whatever the real story, we now are way into the secondary phase of this drama where questioning the motivations of those who wish to perpetuate it becomes necessary. Sure, it's an interesting little segment of employee/employer relations, but isn't it over? Apparently not to some.

What's in it for the NAACP to announce that they were wrong about Lenihan? Are they really that much about fairness, equality, and personal and human rights? Is it another opportunity to get some "face time" with the local media? Can coming out on Lenihan's side of the issue really be a beneficial move for the cause of the organization? Do they really want to have avowed conservative and supporter of most of the orgnization's enemy causes...get his job back?

What's in it for Lenihan? He's said if KTRS changes it's mind and offers him his job back...he would take it. That won't happen. By joining the NAACP prior to today's press conference has he taken a misstep in a potential Republican/conservative political career? Is he really just a nice guy who wants people he might have offended to know that he's sorry?

Unfortunately, the answers to most of the questions St. Louisans are presented with here are not easily found. It was interesting though, to see Caucasians and African-Americans at the same press conference table with the blacks speaking out in support of whites. "Vewwy, vewwy stwange" for St. Louis. But encouraging.


Anonymous said...

Life is like a box of chocolates.....hehe you never know what your gonna get. Oops is that racist?

Anonymous said...

From the NAACP's standpoint, this was an easy stance. They can say they supported a conservative while knowing their efforts had no chance of succeeding, and that the two parties would agree to some kind of settlement.

From the host's standpoint, this won't hurt his political career. The firing will win him more votes than a brief association with the NAACP will take votes away.