Radio Hypocrisy 2
So yesterday I got in a fight on Twitter with a couple local radio personalities: Sarah Burke, and Mark Cameron. Both host shows here in the city on a terrestrial radio station. It all started with this:
Sarah Burke posted the link to the ‘open letter to Miley Cyrus from the AriZona Ice Tea manager’ thing that has been going viral for the last couple days. Of course, the letter was NOT written by anyone from AriZona, it was written by a Funny or Die contributor. At no point does Burke mention this in the comment, but that’s not the worst of it… the worst of it is that she now believes that it’s funny to write an open letter to a celebrity and criticize them publicly. But wait… a few years ago, I did the exact same thing… with her! I wrote an open letter to Sarah Burke, something that resulted in her being incredibly upset over (she went out of her way to get my phone number from a mutual friend to call me to tell me how unhappy she was about it, and she e-mailed me several times to try and get me to delete the letter, at one time trying to threaten legal action). I’ve since deleted the entire thing (I did so after she came back to London after a stint in Kingston, figuring she deserved a fresh start), but here were some of the highlights:
Since your appointment to the [station name] weekend host position, I have been listening to your work quite frequently, as I do most of my driving around the city during the hours your shows are on, and I am an avid [station name] listener. I’ve enjoyed the work of the last several [station name] weekend hosts [I named a bunch of hosts]. Each one brought something different to their shows [I listed a bunch of unique elements each previous host had utilized], However, with you, Sarah, I have yet to pick out a single thing that makes your shows unique, with one exception: they’re uniquely awful.
Most of this letter centered on a BRUTAL bit she had done one Mother’s Day, where she interviewed a security guard, the only person that was in the building with her that day:
Very David Letterman-esque of you. So you give him a call, and start talking to him about his mother… who you immediately mention has passed away. WHAT!? What kind of dark turn has this taken? It’s Mother’s Day and now I’m listening to some old man talk about his dead mother and how they enjoyed going to dog shows. Well, hold on, everyone enjoys dogs, so now I’m thinking “maybe Burke is going to salvage this in some way”. So you ask him how his wife and kids are… Sarah, you’ve picked the saddest old man in the world to put on the radio, as he explains that he and the wife are separated, and I’m pretty sure he mentioned he doesn’t see the kids that often. AND after all of that, you decide to wish him a “Happy Mothers Day”. I suspect he will not be having a Happy Mother’s Day, nor will other people who are in a similar situation that may have been trying to not think about how depressing their lives are and just wanted to listen to the radio and be entertained. I wouldn’t be surprised if that security guard was found later that day hanging in the janitor’s closet with a note sticking out of his pants that just said “Burke”, written in tears.
I wanted to let Burke know that I’m glad she’s changed her mind about open letters, so I tweeted her the above photo and my screen captured comment, which of course she deleted immediately and blocked me from commenting further. That’s fine, it’s their Facebook page, and they can do what they want (and it’s not like I don’t have enough places to post things). The following Twitter conversation ensued:
Burke is notorious for lazy show prep. I’ve heard numerous bits where she essentially read a Buzzfeed article (without saying it was from Buzzfeed too, so that makes it even worse). But anyway, clearly she tries to brush me off, she thinks she’s in the right so that’s all that matters. If you don’t believe you’re a hypocrite or that you’ve lied to your audience, I guess you’re not a hypocrite or a liar.
So, that’s that. She’s brushed me off, I’m not pursuing the conversation any further, we’ve both said our goodbyes and it’s all over. Right? Nope, because the Gallant White Knight Mark Cameron must come to save poor Princess Burke! You see, Burke’s just a girl who can’t take care of herself, and mean smelly old Buckley just picks on women, and must be taught a lesson by this brave warrior, who is not at all a hypocrite either, as we’re about to see. Of course, he never thought that this has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her being fucking terrible at her profession (This is a radio host who segued a story about a child’s death into a station contest, and she once referred to former Maple Leaf’s head coach Pat Burns as “alive and well” 2 weeks before he succumbed to the cancer that he’d been living with for some time… very “well” indeed). I believe I’ve included every tweet, and the only editing that has taken place was the order the tweets were made, in an attempt to make this look like a coherent conversation (but it’s Twitter, where it would be easier to find Bigfoot than a coherent conversation). None of the context has been changed, and I have not edited anything to make myself look better. This is the conversation, and you’re all free-thinking human beings who can make their own minds up about what they’ve just read.
Of course, Mark Cameron no doubt thinks he’s walked away the victor. As I said to one of my fans on Twitter later that night that claimed I was “destroying him”, “Arguments are only won in the minds of those who participate.” I’m sure Mark is very happy with this. But I don’t believe he should be for the following reasons:
- He sat at his keyboard calling me “chicken shit” and a “coward who sits behind their comp”, then claimed he doesn’t stand for personal attacks (which, at no point during these conversations did I personally attack anyone, I only critiqued their professional work). Nothing hypocritical there of course.
- He tried to bring gender into it right off the bat, to attempt to twist it into some other sort of angle that has nothing to do with the topic (which is that Burke was in the wrong for posting this considering she got so upset when she was criticized as a public figure, and for posting it as a legit article).
- He acted foolish while representing his employer (even though he claims his personal account doesn’t represent his employer, he speaks for them on several occasions in his tweets and even claims I’m welcome to come meet with them… I’ll bring the donuts!)
- He keeps claiming that because the Funny or Die letter was satire, that makes it ok. They’re still being critical of Miley and trashing her behavior, which is what makes the letter funny. But it’s ok because it’s satire. So he’s fine with personal attacks on Miley Cyrus (who by the way is a woman, last we all checked), but doesn’t see how that’s hypocritical.
- He claims that I should meet with them to discuss issues I have with their station, then claims he wouldn’t want to meet with me anyway. Of course, I’M the coward still, him calling me “chicken shit” from a computer in the safety of his own home, that’s as brave as it gets.
- He shows that he clearly doesn’t understand how The Onion works. If someone posted an article from The Onion but claimed it was real, they’d be laughed at by anyone who knows what The Onion is. That’s exactly what Burke did with the Funny or Die article. If he’s claiming that the station’s Facebook page is like The Onion, so they can post fake news and report it as real… well, they’re not. First off, The Onion doesn’t repost fake news stories that someone else wrote and claim they’re true, they write their own fake news stories and never make any claims about anything. Second of all, this radio station is not The Onion. And they never will be. The worst Onion writer is 10x better than anyone working for any terrestrial radio station on the planet.
- He tries to be condescending toward me because “he could pass me on the street and have no idea who I am”, but I have a bigger following than him on every major social networking site and more people hear my work every week than hear his work. In fact, people have PAID to hear my work. As far as I’m aware, no one has ever bought a collection of Mark Cameron’s bits, and they only listen to him because they have to listen to him for a few minutes every hour in between the songs they want to hear. When people come to my channel, they’re coming to listen to me.
So, that was my Wednesday night. Fighting with hypocritical radio hosts who are fine with dishing it out, but not fine with being scrutinized themselves. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the studio. Forever.