- Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Discusses Mortgage Rules at Consumer Federation of America Meeting
- UPDATED LINKS: Dangerous Hydrogen Fluoride Among Water Emissions Sent to Huntington Waste Treatment Plant According to EPA
- WORK SESSION: Council Holds Solemn Preparation, While Discussing Skatepark, Comprehensive Plan
- Ellen Wilson First Spouse Gold Coin Available December 9
- Day Three: Stewart Receives 2013 NMPA Myers Brothers Award
- Police seized hundreds of thousands in cash, firearms and pills during investigation
- Huntington Mayor's Dad, Dr. Don Williams Passes
- MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Defense Dept. Contracts for Dec. 6, 2013
- Send Off Planned for Huntington Highlanders to State Championship
- BREAKING... Condolences to Huntington Mayor Steve Williams & Family on the Passing of his Dad.
Councilman Ball Spoke for Himself, Did not Want Talk Show Host Fired, Simply an Apology
Since the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, statements uttered have been subjected to scrutiny, particularly those that hint of something bad. It's part of the vigilance in scratching for a way to prevent a mass catastrophe.
Talk radio has become a city and region's open forum, particularly those fortunate enough to have local in studio personalities broadcasting in an increasingly via satellite broadcast medium.
Huntington has three popular issue oriented programs. Two are hosted by former mayors, Robert Nelson and Jean Dean. The third happens to be Tom Roten. He's not a shock-jock, but he expresses his opinions, whether popular or not. He calls officials on the carpet. His show has instituted live debates, such as between Steve Williams and Kim Wolfe for mayor.
David Ball, a retired firefighter, current musician, and member of Huntington City Council, seldom listens to talk radio. Ball says he listens to music. However, while dial spinning, he caught a portion of Roten's 6 a.m.-9 a.m. show.
It's undisputed that the host called out the Major Hassan at Fort Hood. Roten preached that the now convicted murderer “doesn’t deserve a trial. He should be taken to a public square and shot with a BULLET DIPPED IN PIGS BLOOD!” The next speaker added, “and his body wrapped in a pig’s skin”.
Ball personally considered that "hate" and as part of his concern, he prepared a statement which he would read during the Aug. 8, 2013 Huntington City Council meeting.
During one portion of his statement, he asked that Clear Channel consider taking the program "and its hate filled message out of their rotation".
That spawned a buzz of speculation, specifically to whom was Councilman Ball speaking on behalf?
"I did not want to take away his job", Ball said prior to the work session Thursday, August 22, adding that an apology would be deemed appropriate.
Referring to Ball’s seat as on the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, he queried what the reaction would be by, for instance, the family of a new Muslim doctor wanting to move to Huntington. “I want Huntington to be an [inclusive] welcoming city”.
Ball cleared making the personal statement with council chair Mark Bates. He spoke to the Mayor. He vented with vice chair Sandra Clements.
Councilman Gary Bunn injected that the statement was “blown up” into a misrepresentation that “council was trying to silence Roten.”
Attesting to the lack of advance knowledge, councilman Tom McGuffin “had no idea” what the August 8 statement would be.
Freelance writer David (Alligator Jackson) Williamson also believed council was “trying to run Tom Roten off the air by using the hate card”, stating that Roten’s statement has been spun out of context.
Williamson continued, “Tom is a good man. He does not spread hate, he just offers up a point of view that others do not want to hear. Roten scares some politicians because he is objective and wants people to hear the whole story… The problem is Tom is not a bigot or a hater. Tom Roten is a patriot and a man of God. He has strong feelings when it comes to terrorism or anything that has a negative impact on our country.”
Ball stressed that the administration had referred to Clear Channel as a “good partner”.
While not rescinding his personal statement, Ball reiterated, “I have nothing personal against Mr. Roten”. Still, Roten’s remarks concern and upset him, suggesting the host is “taking up causes of the far right in 90 seconds.” Bottom line, per Ball, the talk show host was acting like “a bully” in the Fort Hood remark.
Moving beyond the statement, Ball asked that people “get on board and fasten their seatbelts” on the good ship Huntington. “This is the best we have been since the 50s and 60s. I’m not going to let people derail it.”
THE STATEMENT BY BALL:
Many inquiries have been made about my comments at the Huntington City Council meeting Monday. Below is the text of my comments and I stand behind them firmly:
Later in this meeting we will be discussing part of the new and exciting vision that the Mayor and many of us have for our city. It is indeed a wonderful time to live in Huntington. However, on Thursday, Aug. 8, that vision along with the good name and welcoming nature of Huntingtonians came under attack. Not with guns or bombs but an attack so pervasive in nature I felt compelled to bring it to this forum so that every attempt can be made to rid Huntington of this vicious enemy.....and it’s name is HATE.
Radio Station WVHU, A Clear Channel Communications Station has a morning radio talk show, The Tom Roten Show whose host, Mr Roten, showed a total lack of class and morality while spreading his vile hate laced rhetoric. While speaking about the ongoing trial of accused murderer Maj. Hassan at Ft Hood, Mr Roten’s hateful comments and disrespect of all Muslims incited his callers into tirades of hate. He claims morality and patriotism but shows a total disrespect for our rule of law and the true principles on which this country was founded. He says, “this muslim radical doesn’t deserve a trial. He should be taken to a public square and shot with a BULLET DIPPED IN PIGS BLOOD!” The next speaker added, “and his body wrapped in a pig’s skin”. Ladies and gentlemen, this is simply not tolerable and will not be accepted as such by this Councilman.
Clear Channel Communications has partnered with the city and many other organizations to do good things for Huntington and its citizens and I would hope that good relationship can continue, but before that can happen I must ask the executives of Clear Channel to publicly let the citizens of Huntington know if they support this message of hate, bigotry and intolerance and, if they don’t, what their plan is to eliminate this show and its hate filled message from their rotation.
I find it compulsory as a Christian, a Huntingtonian and now your public servant to stand up against all hate and to you, this is my pledge. I know we have already prayed, but I must conclude with another short prayer. I just recently heard this prayer and feel it is some of the most beautiful words ever prayed.