Monday, November 01, 2010

Free Speech "Crisis" Over, Conservative Shock Jock Dan Fagan To Go Back On The Air At KFQD; John Tracy Scrambling To Cover His Tracks

Our earliest indication that the "Dan Fagan crisis" would be short-lived and would end well was published in the Alaska Ear column on October 31st, when Sheila Toomey wrote that KFQD manager Dennis Bookey had merely told Fagan to take the day off on Friday October 29th and that Fagan would be back on the air in his normal 2-5 P.M. time slot on November 1st.

This has indeed been confirmed by Dan Fagan himself. In this column on The Alaska Standard, Fagan not only states that he'll be back on the air, but that one of his guests will be Dennis Bookey. By temporarily sidelining Fagan on Friday, Bookey's intent may have been primarily to throw a bone to the "Lisaholics" who were baying for his blood, and to mount a preemptive defense against a possible FEC complaint of "electioneering" by the Murkowski campaign. KFQD's attorneys have reviewed Fagan's controversial Thursday show, and concluded that Fagan had done nothing wrong. It also looks like that, unlike other local jocks who have sinned against the Cult of Political Correctness, Fagan won't be forced to embark upon an elaborate and humiliating campaign of public penance.

Fagan defends his role in launching Operation Alaska Chaos. He maintains the state of Alaska decided to illegally assist Murkowski by printing a list of write in candidates and the 146 people who filed last minute "write-in" candidacies were not going to stand by and do nothing. They were determined to minimize the state's effort to stack the deck in favor of Murkowski. But Fagan's promises of a free trip to Hawaii were clearly a joke.

If there is a "bad guy" in this deal, it's John Tracy. Tracy, the former KTUU Channel 2 news director and current CEO of Bradley-Reid, called Dennis Bookey on Friday demanding that Bookey sanction Fagan, saying that he would be forced to “take some action” if nothing were done. Tracy, who is also a media consultant to the Murkowski campaign, apparently checked with Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney before calling Bookey; it is suggested that Sweeney may have called Murkowski and got a green light from her before giving Tracy his own green light to proceed.

Meanwhile, stung by the ferocity of public backlash against him and the Mukowski campaign, to include criticism from national heavyweights such as Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, John Tracy is now scrambling to cover his tracks. In an LTE entitled "Write-in appeal was attempt to tamper with the election", published November 1st in the Anchorage Daily News, Tracy continues to stubbornly insist that Fagan was trying to tamper with the election, claiming that Fagan was attempting to throw the election into confusion and get votes for Lisa Murkowski thrown out. Tracy says he cited Fagan's own on-the-air statements to KFQD management and they took the action they deemed appropriate, claiming that there were no threats of any kind. Of course, direct threats were not necessary; the implicit threat of a cash-flush company and campaign against a much less financially-powerful radio station was enough to prompt Dennis Bookey to at least throw a bone to the Lisaholics.

So, who's up and who's down?

-- UP: Dan Fagan, who handled this incident with class and didn't dump on his general manager Dennis Bookey, but also stood tall and defended his actions.
-- EVEN: Dennis Bookey, who effectively balanced free speech concerns with the need to defend his operation against possible judicial terrorism.
-- DOWN: John Tracy. Once the highly-respected news director of KTUU Channel 2, who, along with Steve McDonald, built KTUU into a trusted journalistic powerhouse, he now reveals himself to be just another common corporate thug and political hack.

No comments:

Post a Comment