I missed an interesting story yesterday with my focus on waiting for the Site C announcement – I’ll have a blog post on Site C soon, but I’ve received quite a few messages asking what I think of this:
Where to start… how about a little history? CFOX is not a news station. It’s rock station with a lot of shock-jock radio. The Jeff O’Neil show is famous (infamous?) for the stunts he and his co-hosts pull,along with games like this one. Kind of like a milder Howard Stern. I’d never heard of this game so I did a bit of looking around on the net. Clearly, it’s not intended to be a literal game, and one most people would imagine played in drunken college stupors during frat parties ( I see online it’s also played by teens as well) but what happened yesterday just ended up being wrong on many levels.
1.How it came to be that someone at CKNW figured that their regular listeners would enjoy the Jeff O’Neil show – even with guest hosts – is frankly, beyond me. Having been a guest on NW many times, I can assure you that if CKNW listeners wanted to hear CFOX, they would be already tuned into CFOX. If this was an attempt to draw in some new listeners to CKNW, it failed miserably.
2. It is implausible that anyone who has listened to the Jeff O’ Neil Show, or previously been on his show could claim to be shocked or surprised by anything said,done or asked on his show.Everyone who guests on his show knows very well anything could happen, and this isn’t the first time Global hosts have been on the show. To claim otherwise is disingenuous. If you don’t want to be put in an awkward position, don’t do it. He is not going to tone it down for anyone,or another station.
3. Freedom of speech protects every Canadian, barring hate speech or threats – implied or real. The Jeff O’ Neil show is definitely not my thing, yet it clearly has had lasting power with their audience. Fine. I make the comparison to the really bad TV shows out there that end up lasting forever like Big Brother- I don’t watch them either,but I get there is an audience for it. Had this not been simulcast on CKNW, likely no one would have noticed because the audience doesn’t cross over.
4. The situation was made worse by defending it in the face of very real outrage by women and men alike who have never heard of this game( including myself, until this) and consider it unacceptable and misogynist. Joking about any politician being eff’d, killed or married isn’t funny, especially with newscasters who report or deal with said politicians.
Violence against anyone is a sensitive and very real issue. We’ve just endured the Ghomeshi revelations and subsequent confessions of women around the world. Ironically, just the day before this segment aired, Global aired this story of violence against women and the sobering stats of how many women have been killed in BC this year alone by a partner: http://globalnews.ca/news/1728385/he-beat-me-to-a-pulp-b-c-faces-epidemic-of-domestic-violence/
“There have been 20 murders, seven attempted murders and nine perpetrators have taken their own lives in murder-suicides.”
It shouldn’t require an explanation of why this game is offensive to many, but if you needed one, that link above tells you why.
I think for the Global hosts involved – who regularly report stories on politics, or violence and present those to their audience – it’s a problem when you knowingly guest in another venue that might put you at odds with your regular role. Lesson learned.
CKNW apologized, and Global has done the same. Jeff O’ Neil will likely still keep playing pranks and games like this, and it can’t be said by anyone who might appear from this point on that they didn’t expect whatever came at them.
They too, have offered an apology http://www.cfox.com/2014/12/16/from-the-jeff-oneil-show/
Like it or not – and I don’t– that frat house stuff is his shtick.
It’s often twisted,but if his listeners didn’t like it, he wouldn’t be doing it. As mentioned above,had this not been simulcast on CKNW, likely no one would have noticed because the audience doesn’t cross over.
Global morning host Sophie Lui was on earlier this year, played the same game, was given the names of some of her colleagues as choices and no outrage… but then it wasn’t simulcast on CKNW. https://soundcloud.com/cfoxvan/the-jeff-oneil-show-vs-sophie
Our right to freedom of speech comes with responsibility.
Part of that is personal judgement on what is appropriate for an age group, a venue or a certain audience – much like the way movie ratings are done to protect children from inappropriate content.
We don’t consider that censorship, we call it common sense – something that was missing on several fronts in this event.