Rosen wouldn’t fire Gunny

I asked KOA’s Mike Rosen about his column in today’s Rocky.

I wrote: “You wrote in today’s Rocky that you’d have fired Churchill for what he said on and off campus, because his free speech rights are much broader in the Constitution than in his job. Would you also have fired Gunny Bob for his bigoted statement that Muslim immigrants, including naturalized citizens, should be tagged and stripped of their civil rights? This discrimination is apparently forbidden under Clear Channel’s employee code of conduct. Thanks for your views on this.”

Rosen replied: “No, I wouldn’t fire him. It would certainly be KOA’s prerogative to fire him, or me, if it chose.  But Gunny isn’t a college professor operating under a scholarly code of conduct at a taxpayer-funded institution.  He’s a talk show host with strong opinions employed by a private sector company. Have you listened to Keith Olberman or Air America lately? I disagree with your assertion that it violates Clear Channel’s employee code of conduct or FCC restrictions, for that matter.  Perhaps you could show me exactly what you’re referring to.  My understanding is that for on-air personalities, the policy relates more to language and off-color subject matter than to political opinions.  Gunny’s proposal was harsh, and goes farther than I would, but his language wasn’t obscene.”


One Response to “Rosen wouldn’t fire Gunny”

  1. bmenezes Says:

    I see, so because Churchill works for a taxpayer-funded institution he should be fired for abusive speech, but because Newman works for a private sector company — one that Rosen conveniently neglects to mention relies on use of the taxpayer-owned airwaves to conduct its business — he’s allowed to call for the persecution of a group of people who include U.S. citizens solely on the basis of their religion.

    Rosen may want to actually read his company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. It states on page 15 that the company:

    “…will not tolerate any speech or conduct that is intended to, or has the effect of, discriminating against or harassing any qualified applicant or employee because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), national origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status or any condition protected by law.”

    The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics also states, in its Introduction, that the Code “is essential to maintaining and furthering our reputation for fair and ethical practices among our customers, shareholders, employees and communities.”

    In other words, Newman would be “subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge” for violating these policies in his treatment of another Clear Channel employee. But Rosen is claiming rather dubiously that Newman is allowed to engage in behavior antithetical to the Code in his treatment of members of the public, Clear Channel’s customers, by engaging in discriminatory and harassing speech based on religion.

    Rosen is promoting a double standard that says: Clear Channel employees must follow the Code among themselves but can violate its principles all they want when it comes to their customers — members of the listening public — by advocating unconstitutional conduct and engaging in bigoted speech.

    I wonder what Clear Channel’s other customers — its advertisers — would think about Rosen’s idea that the company’s employees don’t have to follow this Code of Conduct in dealing with people or entities outside the company?

    Bill Menezes
    Editorial Director
    Colorado Media Matters

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