This isn’t new ground. Radio talk show hosts have said politically incorrect things in the past, and they’ll say offensive things in the future. It’s an extremely high-stress job, with pressures including everything from creating an audience to keeping your boss(es) and sponsors happy to creating content that keeps people talking. Anything to stay in the limelight. If you’re in the radio game, the most crushing blow isn’t being told you’re pissing too many people off, it’s that nobody cares.
In these days of multiple competing — yet interconnected — electronic mediums that update in real time without scripts or filters, media stars need to attempt/pretend to be masters at every method of attention-getting in existence, regardless if in reality they only possess strengths in one specific field. Anything to stay in the limelight. That’s why you see radio hosts like Tony Bruno trying to come up with hilarious, conversation-sparking tweets … and failing miserably.
When I listened to Bruce Bochy in the dugout before Sunday’s game, the part where he called Bruno’s deleted tweet “racist” registered with me — but so did the part of the interview when Bochy purported not to know who Bruno was. Ouch. It’s all in the video I filmed this morning in the Giants dugout:
After deleting the tweet that started all this on Friday night, Bruno posted a widely-panned apology on his Facebook page soon after. Most of the complaints about that apology focused on its last line, which read, “All of you people resorting to name calling are more classless and vile.” Somehow Bruno, who’s been communicating effectively enough to hold several radio jobs over a period of several decades, didn’t realize that people don’t like Facebook posts where a guy calls people names (classless, vile) because they called him names (racist), all because he called someone from another race a name (illegal alien).
Back to the drawing board.
Now we have a brand new Facebook apology from Tony Bruno. Presented in its entirety, with my thoughts after each paragraph…
Saddened to see the vulture mentality and bad knowledge by the many who have joined the sheep on facebook,twitter and blogs who did not hear my radio show yet jump to conclusions about me without knowing a single thing about me or my 40 year career. My stupid and insensitive twitter post was up less than 1 minute before I realized it was caustic, it was removed immediately and I typed a quick apology on twitter and here. Since I was doing my live radio show, I apologized more emphatically on the air, and the podcast is available on my website(tonybrunoshow.com, hour 3) for those who choose to actually get some facts to go along with the hearsay or bloggers who spread falsehoods about my apology not being “sincere”.
Nice use of “bad knowledge,” Tony. Also, nice job mining for traffic on your podcast. Too bad you aren’t in trouble for something that occurred on your radio show, it’s for something “stupid and insensitive” you posted on Twitter. And it wasn’t that your apology wasn’t sincere, it’s that it wasn’t even an apology. Apologizing doesn’t mean you back up the points you wouldn’t take back — they’re where you apologize for the bad/dumb/offensive thing you said and allow the people who are listening to the apology make their own decision on whether or not to accept the apology. And if they don’t think the apology is sincere, it probably isn’t.
Many have whipped themselves into a frenzy of hate with vile, profane and even threats of violence in their “copy and paste” world of instant justice. I will spare you the embarassment of reposting these truly ugly messages. Others who feel my apologies and body of work aren’t good enough for their “selective morality” have called for my dismissal.
Readers: if anyone is actually using the phrase “selective morality” as their rationale for calling for Bruno to lose his job (or their rationale for anything, really), can you send me that information or link to it in the comments section? Quotation marks are generally used to indicate something that is being said by another party. Who calls their own way of thinking “selective morality”? And who calls someone’s way of thinking “selective morality” unless their No. 1 goal is to discredit that way of thinking?
But Tony’s right about one thing: what’s worse than this “copy and paste” world we live in? All this “instant justice,” and trusting what we see with our eyeballs — it’s really sickening. What the hell happened to the good old days, when HEARSAY decided things in AMERICA???
(However, the image of Bruno using his hands to make air quotes while he writes this apology with voice recognition software is an amusing one. So this maybe this apology isn’t a total loss.)
I know who and what I am and deal with many who post racist and insensitive comments all the time and hide behind a lie of being hacked or simply not caring what people say. I don’t hide behind anything I have ever said or done.
You know, except for when I try to delete what I said one minute after I realized it was “caustic” and apology-worthy.
What I posted was reaction to something that goes beyond Giants-Phillies rivalry baseball. My position on “unwritten rules” of baseball has been consistent. Managers who order a pitcher to throw at someone to “send a message” for whatever the infraction, is an act of cowardice. Anyone who defends it as “part of the game for over 100 years” is, in essence, suggesting that our society should stay in the dark ages. Listen to my show last Monday night when I scolded Jered Weaver of the Angels for throwing at the head of Detroit’s Alex Avila on Sunday and you will see my consistent disdain for the “unwritten rules”. Should we start teaching little leaguers to throw at the big kid on the other team when he hits a couple of home runs because your son couldn’t get him out? Would the logic be: teaching the kids how the big leaguers do it? None of this defends what was posted in a moment of anger on Friday night and I immediately realized the stupidity by removing it, acknowledging it and have felt horrible about it ever since. The fact that 2 or 3 people who want to destroy my life are fanning the flames of true hate by spreading this all over the world wide web just disappoints me as someone who prides himself on being a man who embraces all races, religions and opinions. Most of my rational thinking audience and followers can attest to that fact. Hope this provides a better understanding to many who remain confused, mis-iniformed or just like to hear the whole story.
I have to wonder if Bruno lists me (who actually enjoyed his segment with Radnich for a longer stretch of time than most radio hosts get to stay on the air, until they ran out of stuff to talk about and recycled the same topics every day) as one of the “2 or 3 people who want to destroy (his) life.” I had no axe to grind when I pulled all the tweet and the first Facebook apology together; I saw people talking about his racist comment (calling someone an “illegal alien” just because they have brown skin and a last name ending with “ez” is racist, and Bruno knows it) on Twitter and explored the issue further.
And here he is again, dismissing the issue at hand (that he clicked send after typing something that pissed people off) with a tired diatribe about his disdain for the unwritten rules in baseball. How groundbreaking. That reminds me — when you think about it, baseball games are just too darned long these days, aren’t they? And what’s the deal with Al Gore claiming he invented the Internet (or as Bruno would call it, the “world wide web”)? And will that wacky Brett Favre ever make a decision and stick to it?
But my favorite part of this apology is the end, where he says (emphasis mine), “Most of my rational thinking audience and followers can attest to that fact.” Even Bruno knows that some rational people, people who have listened to him on the radio either regularly or intermittently for years, wrote him off this past weekend as someone who, when angry, turns to irrational thoughts and ideas to make him feel better. Forget the tweeting and Facebooking so many of us do to keep the circle of publicity and SEO rolling — Bruno’s job is to communicate his thoughts to the audience. He didn’t do his job.
Bruno’s main defense strategy — besides counterattacking — is to fall back on what he’s been his whole career — that’s where the whole “40 year career” thing comes in. And while he’s been on many shows on many stations in many markets during his career, he isn’t Don Imus. He isn’t a shock jock. The “illegal alien” tweet was out of character. And Bruno’s audience, while moderately rabid (check out some of the comments backing him up below his Facebook apologies), probably isn’t big enough to save him in several markets, including the Bay Area. I’m not sure he’ll lose his job entirely (although he may end up on an extended vacation of some sort starting tomorrow), but it’s hard to imagine how these angry Facebook apologies are going to help his cause.