The decision by the administrators of Idaho Radio News to solidify their comment policy went unnoticed by most. Claiming to have the "inside scoop on Idaho's radio industry," Idaho Radio News concentrates mostly on the Boise market and has been operating at the hands of Don Day since 2003. The timing and catalyst for the new comment policy in question is interesting, to say the least. In late September a reader posted an "out-of bounds comment" entirely in Spanish. Non-English comments will no longer be tolerated. In addition to non-English comments, the lesser rule now forbids inflammatory comments.
In response to the announcement of the new comment policy, one reader noted that his comments to another reader in Spanish were intended to articulate his irritation with said reader for spouting offensive commentary on "whites or anglos" that would be offensive to other "broad-minded latinos." This reader wasn't the catalyst for the new comment policy and the original comment in question was removed. The reader goes on to say in his response to the new comment policy that "latinos don't have a corner on the market as it concerns "OUR" latin-american culture."
In one single comment, we are privy to one of the most common underlying tensions residing in rural Idaho, the tension that exists between the Hispanic/Latino community and the white community. Whatever the original, inflammatory, non-English comment was, you can be sure that very rhetoric had been used before on the Idaho Radio News site and without the response of a new comment policy.
Remember in June when the entire Idaho progressive blogosphere was up in arms regarding racist statements broadcast on Rupert-based KBAR by radio host Zeb Bell? Those statements, degrading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, were met with equally offensive comments from readers of Idaho Radio News who likened the situation to an earlier racially-fueled situation stemming from the desecration of a Mexican flag at Minico High School. A comment from the Minico controversy published unfiltered at Idaho Radio News:
Roger W. Morgan
on May 15th, 2008 at 5:16 p.m.
Just try this “innocent” little stunt in Mexico. Then tell us all about racism. For the record, you can not intimidate me in any way shape or form, by using that term as an expression of my viewpoint. If it is racism and you want to class it as such….be my guest and I will wear your label proudly.
We have had enough, paying for all their babies and medical expenses!!! They get it all for free!! We have had enough of this pandering to them as if they are so mistreated and abused….If that is so then go back to Mexico. SPEAK THE DAMN LANGUAGE!!! ASSIMILATE AND BECOME AMERICANS!!!!
My wife retired from teaching. She would tell her Mexican students that they really needed to learn ENGLISH. Their response??? verbatim it was this “F**** You we are not Americans, we are Mexicans. YOU NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK MEXICAN.”
Talk to me about this innocent little thingy. Where do they get that idea???? FROM THEIR HOMES!!! Your white liberal guilt is really showing!!!
When wisely countered by the radio host involved in the Minico controversy who mentioned that Mr. Morgan may need some sensitivity training, he had this to say:
Let me give you a true story in SENSITIVITY AND GOODNESS. Let’s change the names and places, but the story is true. The Mendoza family does this scam each and every year. When time comes for field work to start here in Idaho, they leave McAllen Texas. Before leaving however they stop into the local welfare office and claim they are destitute. They have six children, or at least claim that many. The local welfare office gives them $1000 dollars. Of they go headed north. Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, it is a stop at the local welfare office, and claim they are destitute….another $1000 dollars to “help them out.” Then they arrive in lets pick a town, Emmett. First stop, the local welfare office where you guessed it….another $1000….to “help them out.”
So….we paid them $3000 dollars to come up here and work??? Gosh, I guess we all need some more sensitivity training.
I could go on and on. These hard working misunderstood people, who have destroyed Nampa and Caldwell. Oh I like this one….they are all just PEACE LOVING PEOPLE….and all the drive by shootings are simply a figment of our imagination. All the gang graffiti is really white AMERICANS trying to mistreat these poor misunderstood people.
GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!
In this case, Mr. Morgan was not asked to dial it down a notch. He embraced the label of racist and continued spewing hate and misinformation (all emphasis is that of Mr. Morgan):
You and all your ilk are the damn racists. You see everything in skin color. I see everything in CULTURE. You want to “HELP” the poor Mexican…and by your idea of HELP you are in fact enabling them to continue being the way they are. TELL THEM THE DAMN TRUTH. Here is a start, how about STOP MILKING THE WELFARE SYSTEM. Another start….TURN IN THOSE YOU KNOW WHO YOU KNOW ARE MAKING ILLEGAL IDENTIFICATIONS. Oh here is another one….STAND AND PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART WHEN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS PLAYED….THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT FEEDS YOU AND PAYS YOU TO RAISE ALL YOUR DAMN WELFARE BABIES SO SHOW SOME RESPECT.
Is it because Mr. Morgan's inflammatory and disgusting rant about Hispanics was in English that it remained on the site? I doubt it. Was it because Mr. Morgan's rant didn't defame any one person? Of course not, his rant was a defamation of an entire community. Was it because his comments were not riddled in profanity that it was allowed to remain on the site? Right.
If you can stomach the hatred, Mr. Morgan's comments in their entirety are still in the archives of the Idaho Radio News site. And if they weren't, you can surely believe that his brand of hatred remains in the smallest Idaho towns with or without the largest populations of Hispanics/Latinos. Keep in mind, Mr. Morgan is not ranting about the Hispanics in Rupert, Idaho. He's ranting about the Hispanic communities in or around Boise. This isn't an issue, a tension, limited to rural southeastern Idaho. It never has been.
Whatever the motivation behind the decision to reassess their comment policy, Idaho Radio News is far too late. The tide of racism and hatred infiltrated that site long before a reader decided to post an insult written in Spanish. In fact, the most inflammatory, insulting, and offensive comments contained there are not written in any non-English language.