Monday, December 04, 2017

It's Management

I'll try to tl;dr this a bit, but you should read the whole thing as you should the piece which prompted it.

Basically, WNYC set up a radio show which was supposed to be a bit more diverse (however you want to think about that) than typical NPR offerings. A white host kept bullying his black female cohosts out of their jobs. He became the host. Management considered the bully victims the problem. That's before we even get to the sexual harassment.

These things are all part of a whole. You can't really separate them. I'm not downplaying the sexual harassment and its effects on the victims. But the broader question is why management protected this guy who is, at the very least, a bullying asshole who drove minority women employees away. It's a question that can be asked even before the sexual harassment issue is raised. I make this point not because I think the sexual harassment doesn't matter, but because I think in this case arguing about when lines are crossed obscures a bigger issue (lines were crossed! obviously! I am not arguing).

As is often with "the talent" - and even moreso in connection with nonprofits who aren't strictly tied to the need for ratings and advertising dollars, which is the usual excuse - just what makes them so valuable? A public radio station has a public mission and if a few listeners tuned out because Hockenberry wasn't the host...does that matter? (I am not asserting this is true...I have no idea if listeners tuned in because of him).

I'm not saying the profit motive justifies protecting Bill O'Reilly morally, but it is a justification. He made us money, so we covered for him. But in nonprofit world... why?