Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stifle yourself, Barry Nolan?

Barry Nolan, beloved Boston media personality, was told to stifle his outrage at the local Emmy Award that was granted to Fox News Channel's Bill O’Reilly. He didn't. He was fired from his hosting job at "Backstage" that airs on CN8, The Comcast Network.

Acoording to a Boston Herald article, Nolan knew he was risking his job when he disseminated leaflets that contained some of O'Reilly's quotations, but "nobody likes it when people tell them to stifle, not even Edith Bunker."

No, they don't. And I'm surprised and disappointed that a major market media outlet such as CN8 would penalize Barry Nolan -- a personality whom Bostonians grew to admire during his days as co-host of the long-gone, but never forgotten "Evening Magazine" -- for his respectful and justified demonstration of dismay over the local Emmy Award's choice of honorees.

We, as media consumers, enjoy telling ourselves that we control the media with our choices. If we admire Barry Nolan, then we watch him, and he gets more airtime. If we find Bill O’Reilly's belligerence intolerable, then we ignore him, and he gets less airtime.

It seems that, in this case, media consumers didn't get a vote. But, if this media consumer did get a vote, then TV viewers in New England would continue enjoying Barry Nolan for many, many years to come as the host of "Backstage," and Bill O’Reilly would be pounding the pavement right now looking for another platform for his malice.

I also believe that no one -- no author, no expert, and no well-intentioned person with a respectful message to disseminate -- should be barred from airing that message. No one should be "stifled." And certainly not a good soul like Nolan.

But that's just this media consumer's opinion.

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