But his local show might stay
If you want to pop the bubbly celebrating former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh leaving his radio show because he’s running for the Republican nomination to oust President Trump, you might want to send the champagne back to Binny’s.
In fact, you might not want to even bother buying the bottle.
Walsh’s decision to run against President Trump in the upcoming primary is really nothing to celebrate, given he has his own history of making racist comments on his WIND-AM radio show and on Twitter.
On Sunday, the former congressman officially announced his candidacy on ABC’s This Week, saying Trump has polarized the country and isn’t doing a good job as President. Reaction to his announced run has been overwhelmingly negative, as plenty of Illinois politicians from both sides of the aisle aren’t taking his candidacy seriously.
Given President Trump is indeed a racist buffoon, Walsh has his own problems with the issue of race. As documented on this blog, Walsh has used racist language on his show and on Twitter numerous times – one while discussing the Washington Redskins’ name on-air on WIND, the other time when he attacked President Obama and African-Americans three years ago on Twitter after five police officers were shot and killed in Dallas.
This blog called for WIND owner Salem Communications to fire Walsh and if they didn’t, urged the FCC to pull the station’s licence. It never happened of course, given the FCC and the media industry have long ago abandoned the public interest. And Salem – like HBO with Bill Maher and retired boxing commentator Larry Merchant beforehand, never disciplined him for his remarks. Walsh is representative of what is wrong with this medium as a being waste of a human life seems to be the only requirement for a job in talk radio.
But Walsh has taken steps to rehab his image from being a racist, deadbeat father: he’s apologized for his behavior and has actually opened up a dialogue with Maze Jackson of African-American talk radio station WVON-AM. But it’s his past that stands out the most with most people and he won’t be easily forgiven since he never faced any repercussions for his comments.
Regarding his local and nationally syndicated radio show, the latter is being removed from the airwaves next month due to the FCC’s equal-time rule, stating stations have to give opponents equal time. On Sunday’s Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont, Walsh reluctantly said he was done with talk radio.
But that may not be the case regarding his local program. In a interview with Robert Feder, WIND boss Jeff Reisman said his station would proceed with Walsh’s program going forward but only“in a manner consistent with FCC regulations as they apply to candidates for political office as well as with Joe’s employment agreement.” In other words, they’ll keep him on the air as much as they can – or at least find the way to skirt around FCC rules, which is incredibly easy to do.
As I’ve documented here over the years, racism is a big problem in the industry, from Maher’s comments to the racial escapades on Survivor, not to mention recent shenanigans on Big Brother and in CBS’ executive suites. Walsh running for office is just another way for him to get publicity for himself and as such, he’s once again being rewarded and not facing any repercussions regarding his past – which in the media business, is very much the norm.