Once again, just like in the Woody and Wilcox case, the ugly spectre of censorship has raised its fearful visage over the talk radio community in Anchorage, Alaska. Justin McDonald, the station manager of KBYR-AM 700, announced on Septmeber 15th, 2008 that he is suspending popular conservative shock jock Eddie Burke without pay for a week for broadcasting the personal phone numbers of activists involved with Alaska Women Reject Palin, an ad hoc "spin-off" of WomenAgainstPalin. Full story published by the Anchorage Daily News; story will also be posted later by KTUU Channel 2.
As a result of Burke broadcasting the phone numbers, the anti-Palin activists reported receiving "threatening" phone calls. As a result, McDonald decided that Burke had violated station policy, explaining his reasoning in a public statement. Although McDonald attempts to balance everyone's First Amendment rights, he cannot condone inciting violence or harm. Even though he acknowledges that Burke did not intend to cause harm, his broadcasting the phone numbers led to harm. So he considered it necessary to suspend Burke for violating the station's policy, which apparently calls for not broadcasting the phone numbers of private parties without their consent.
However, if the activists didn't want their phone numbers publicized, they shouldn't have put them on the press release they published. They should have used "disposable" cell phone numbers, or restricted communication to e-mail only. To publish your phone number publicly, and then bitch when people contact you is somewhat hypocritical. It's too bad they got threatening phone calls, but unfortunately they set themselves up for it. Eddie Burke shouldn't be paying the price for their thoughtlessness.
Burke did try to make amends. Not only did he express regrets over calling the group a bunch of "socialist baby-killing maggots", but he showed up at the anti-Palin rally and reached out to the protestors. Realistically, Alaska Women Against Palin aren't a bunch of "socialist maggots"; most of them have valid concerns. However, there's a small core of Obama supporters who are extremist pro-choice feminists, and that's primarily to whom Burke was directing his criticism.
Ironically, both Eddie Burke and KFQD's Dan Fagan, both conservative, are on opposite ends of the scale on the Palin question. While Burke is a Palinbot, Fagan is a Palinphobe. Burke will be back on the air effective Monday September 22nd. His program airs on KBYR Monday through Friday from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Those who want to take issue with Justin McDonald's decision can e-mail the station at firstname.lastname@example.org.