August 23, 2005

WMAL's Michael Graham fired for anti-Islam remarks

ABC talk radio station WMAL/Washington has officially fired morning host Michael Graham for his comments regarding Islam in general, and Islamic terrorism in particular.

Graham was suspended at the end of July after demands from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Graham's comments (truthful comments as far as I'm concerned) referred to Islam as a terrorist organization. CAIR called those statements "hate speech," and demanded Graham's suspension. WMAL management capitulated on that point and suspended Graham.

CAIR demanded that Graham apologize for his comments. Graham refused.

CAIR then said that Graham's suspension was not enough. They wanted Graham fired. Obviously the notion of free speech and commentary by talk show hosts is foreign to CAIR. Amazingly, WMAL management complied with CAIR's demand, and fired Graham.

WMAL President and General Manager released a statement indicating that Graham's comments went "over the line," and that the reason that Graham was fired was that he disobeyed a direct order from management -- that he apologize on-air for his comments and back down from his position.

Graham released a statement on his firing yesterday.

On July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be "punished" for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism. Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed "hate radio" by CAIR.

CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have now been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed "offensive," and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology. ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as "additional outreach efforts" to those people or groups who felt offended.

I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.

I cannot join ABC Radio in bowing to CAIR's wishes. And I will not apologize for my opinions or retract the truth.

Who's programming WMAL, ABC or CAIR?

WMAL's capitulation to CAIR opens the door for CAIR to go after talk show hosts, columnists, and perhaps even bloggers who are poltically incorrect and make what they perceive as "offensive" statements.

How long before they invade the blogosphere and demand that certain blogs be removed?

A lot sooner than you might think.

Posted by mhking at August 23, 2005 08:05 AM | TrackBack

This isn't the first time he has been fired from a radio station, and it isn't the first time he crossed the line at WMAL. But let's face it: if he had been raking in the advertising revenue with huge ratings, he wouldn't have been let go so quickly. You know it, and I know it.

It's a business. Maybe some day UNICEF will get into the talk radio business. Until then, it's a profit motive.

Posted by: Ralph at August 25, 2005 12:08 PM
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