Radio, TV hosts revamp walkout policy
by Rusty Carr
NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 17, 2010 — The Broadcast Service Executive Research Society (BSERS) today announced an overhaul of its code of ethics in the wake of a controversy over three of its members. Long-time BSERS Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar of The View walked off the set of their own show Oct. 14 when fellow member Bill O'Reilly said he objected to the placement of the so-called Ground Zero mosque because "Muslims killed us on 9/11!"
Behar immediately took the name of her Lord God in vain, followed by Goldberg's use of a vulgar expletive, and then they stormed off the set in protest.
"I wasn't going to sit there and let that dirty Irish American Christian besmirch the name of good Muslims everywhere," Behar said later.
Goldberg said she couldn't abide the presence of a bigot.
"I don't care if a person is a racial bigot, a religious bigot or a political bigot," she said. "If somebody criticizes a whole group for the actions of a few individuals, that's just plain wrong. Of course, I should have expected this type of behavior from a white Republican so-called Christian man. They're all a bunch of bigoted idiots!"
Barbara Walters told O'Reilly he should not have demeaned a whole religion over the acts of a few individuals.
"I'm sorry if I offended some who thought I implied that all Muslims attacked us on 9/11," he said. "I stupidly assumed that people would know that I meant Americans were killed on 9/11 only by Muslims who attacked them and not by Muslims who did not. I am indeed sorry that I overestimated the ability of my critics to comprehend the complexities of my argments and, therefore, apologize and vow never to do that again."
Walters nodded her approval, and Behar and Goldberg returned to their thrones.
"I just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't the Muslim religion that killed our people in 2001," Behar said. "It was just Muslim people — not all Muslims, mind you — just the Muslims who actually did terrorist acts. But now that you've apologized, I'll come back."
"Me, too," Goldberg piped in.
O'Reilly then clarified his logic.
"It wasn't all Muslims who attacked us on 9/11," he said. "Only those Muslims who participated in the attacks actually attacked us. And that is why the families of 9/11 victims of the attacks by those particular few Muslims are opposed to the Ground Zero mosque. I found it interesting, however, that many, many Muslims applauded the attack on 9/11 and that the people who propose to build the Ground Zero mosque refuse to call an Islamic organization terrorist even when the group publicly approves of, trains and funds Islamic terrorists."
The BSERS board of directors met the following day to discuss its walkout policy. Society Chairman Lews Scannan read the following statement: at a news conference this morning:
"We do not condone a BSERS' walking off his or her own show except in extenuating circumstances, such as when the host or hostess disagrees with a guest and is unable to talk over the host or mute the guest's microphone.
"If members of BSERS have factual evidence and/or statistics that are adequate to rebut guests' statements, it is a violation of the BSERS code of ethics to leave the set of the show. This does not apply, however, if a guest's use of facts, knowledge of history and communication skills exceed the ability of the host to counter the guest's arguments. In such a circumstance, it is advisable for the host to admit that he or she is one of our professional BSERS and leave the set or immediately end the program, at least temporarily."
Skinnyreporter asked several nationally prominent radio and TV talk show hosts for their reaction to the society's relaxed standards. All but one agreed with the change. Most hosts said the change would promote an increased participation of conservative guests on network shows
"I myself plan to invite Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh on my show together on Oct. 22," said Keith Olbermann, who hosts the lowest rated talk show in America, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. "My fans who expect to see me that day should plan to change channels, however, as I plan to leave the set as soon as those two idiots walk on."
Comedian Jon Stewart, whose The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the No. 1 source of news for college-age students who voted for President Barack Obama, said he enjoys the give and take that results when he debates a conservative with little broadcasting experience but has been reluctant to invite well-spoken conservatives who could defuse his comedic derision with "boring history and statistics."
"I'm still ahead of Skinnyreporter as the nation's foremost purveyor of spurious news," he said, "I've joined BSERS because I often cross into a journalist's world. Now I can feel perfectly comfortable in either going to a commercial break and quickly replacing somebody who lets facts get in the way of my arguments, or I can just walk off the show so that my guest won't have anybody to talk to."
Behar herself said she now feels comfortable in inviting Ann Coulter back on The View.
"Last time Ms. Coulter got me a mite confused," Behar said. "I was thinking that it was Eugene McCarthy who was responsible for McCarthyism, and Coulter embarrassed me by correcting me on national TV and telling me that Eugene was my man.
"And then she took it a step further in proving that Joe McCarthy wasn't in charge of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, as I had been taught, because as a senator he wasn't even a member of the House. I hated hearing that Joe McCarthy is one of the five men most often credited with bringing down the Soviet Union.
If she tries to pull that intellectual baloney on me next time, I'll just pull the plug."