Subtitle: Republican Annoyed by Uppity Blacks with Phones

Watch and listen, and marvel at it. Marvel at the attitude of the caller, which I’m sure is fairly widespread. Marvel as well at the way the host handles the call. For which he should be fired instantly.

There was another way to handle this, of course. Let’s see what Jon Stewart would have done:

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  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    April 1, 2010

    I love Jon Stewart.

  2. #2 Deen
    April 1, 2010

    Someone needs to give Jon Stewart a medal.

  3. #3 mxh
    April 1, 2010

    wtf?? “We appreciate your input.”??? He essentially said that the caller is right. How does that guy still have a job??

  4. #4 Nemo
    April 1, 2010

    No, “we appreciate your input” is a totally neutral blow-off. “I understand your concern” is perhaps a little too sympathetic, but still ambiguous.

    The C-SPAN hosts are nothing if not neutral. And not “both sides” neutral, but really neutral. I don’t think they usually cut people off except for going on too long, although I’m not sure, because most of the people who call in are morons, just like this guy, and I tend to tune out when they go to the phones.

    Anyway, I don’t think you could do much more to condemn this caller than to let him finish his own rant.

  5. #5 Ellie
    April 1, 2010

    Oh come on, give the guy a break. He’s in the spotlight, being stunned by the what’s spewing from the caller and he has to come up with something witty and crushing? He isn’t John Stewart; that’s why he works for CSpan and not The Daily Show!

    Sure, the caller was obnoxious (to put it mildly), sure, he probably should have been cut off and, sure, it would have been MUCH better if the presenter had said something to make it clear that the views of the caller were not those of the himself or the network and that he found them offensive; but don’t you think asking for the guy to be sacked is a little disproportionate? I would have thought a better solution would have been to learn from the mistake and instigate some sort of caller screening to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    He didn’t agree with or condone what the caller said and he looked cripplingly uncomfortable. Much as we like the John Stewart approach, saying “Go f*ck yourself” is hardly a realistic option for a morning CSpan presenter. He could have handled it better but firing a guy for being too polite is not going to improve things. Sheesh.

    This sort of attitude is no different than what we see from the teabaggers; just because you’re directing your ire in a more PC direction, it doesn’t make you better than them.

    How about you let go of the knee-jerk blame culture and actually focus on learning from the mistakes and making things better rather than crucifying some guy to feed your own need for revenge?

    Perhaps you could write to CSpan and ask them to formally apologize for allowing such views to get to air and to ask them to take steps to prevent it happening again. That seems to me to be a far more reasonable and productive response.


  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 1, 2010

    Ellie, you do have a point. I was thinking some of the same things. I do think it was totally wrong to say the words he said .. “we appreciate your input” etc. Those are supportive words and this tirade should not have been anointed with anything like that. On the other hand, c-span is where lots of crazy nutbags call in all the time, and it is part of the role of the network. Letting the guy go on for a while is actually what he had to do.

    Yet, he could have cut it off a bit sooner, and moved gracefully on to the next caller.

    Who, hopefully, would have been some liberal-commie black guy pretending to be a Republican who loves Obama.

  7. #7 Joshua Zelinsky
    April 2, 2010

    Greg, “we appreciate your input” is so close to a reflexive phrase it likely doesn’t mean anything. In fact, to my reading in this context the subtext of that phrase is pretty negative. I agree with Ellie on this.

  8. #8 Joshua Zelinsky
    April 2, 2010

    Incidentally, there’s evidence that if anything C-SPAN has less black representation than a random sample would predict. See for example

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    April 2, 2010

    “Greg, “we appreciate your input” is so close to a reflexive phrase it likely doesn’t mean anything. In fact, to my reading in this context the subtext of that phrase is pretty negative. I agree with Ellie on this.”

    I’m not totally disagreeing with the basic idea here, but no, that it is reflexive is not admissible. A professional hosty guy answering phones on this kind of show is not allowed the luxury of reflexes. Not professional at all.

    As to the veracity of what the guy was saying, that’s a whole nuther issue. I don’t watch c-span often. I had no idea they had a “republican line’ but now that I know about it, I fully intend to abuse it … 🙂

  10. #10 cdrealist
    April 2, 2010

    CSPAN hosts have strict rules about not reacting to even the stupidest callers. He was just following orders.

  11. #11 forumfokurtu
    April 2, 2010

    Someone needs to give Jon Stewart a medal.

  12. #12 momkat
    April 2, 2010

    “We appreciate your input” is right up there with “your concern is noted”, pretty much dismissive. I think he handled it appropriately in his network’s context. “Go fuck yourself, buddy!” might have given some of their viewers heart attacks as they clutched their pearls. Face it, C-SPAN is pretty much for people who like to watch paint dry.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    April 2, 2010

    momkat: well, I think JS was parodying what the appropriate response would be.