Look, I have a weird job. I'm well aware. If I say anything beyond what time it is and what the temperature is, someone is going to start giving birth to baby cows over it.
This morning's subjects included bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and vandalism "against headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis," leading me to wonder what kind of headstones we're talking about, since the Jewish burial site with which I'm most familiar doesn't have any headstones you can see from the road.
I also continued to mock Sunday's "Today I'm a Muslim" protest in NYC, as I'm sure 99% of those engaged did at least one thing that day or weekend that is strictly forbidden by Islam.
Here's the e-mail I received this afternoon, followed by my response:
I am not a fan of you or your show. In fact, I had never heard of you before my boss asked me (Jewish) and my Muslim coworker several ridiculous questions about our religions. Once we debunked the myths he heard, I asked where he heard such silly things and found out that they came from YOU.
Jews have headstones. That's a fact. If you had looked up pictures of the hate crime that occurred in a Jewish cemetery before sharing your thoughts about it, disguised as FACTS, you wouldn't have made such a fool of yourself, and you probably wouldn't be receiving this email today. To claim, on a public platform, that the vandalism in University City did not occur simply because you are undereducated on our customs is not just irresponsible. It's lying. It's undermining the pain that my community is currently going through.
To share that Muslims cannot have dogs, or play instruments, or any of the other ridiculous things you said on the air, with people listening who are potentially even less educated than you, is furthering the senseless hatred towards marginalized religious groups in our country while we are ALREADY STRUGGLING.
Anti-semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes are on the rise since the election, and now you have played a part in that. I hope you see that this weight is now on your shoulders.
I ask that you please research your stories before sharing them on the air, and please refrain from sharing your personal opinion if you do not have the facts to back it up. We need this now more than ever. While you may think it is a harmless radio show, someone may take a liking to you, alter their opinion on one of the groups discussed, and take action....like, maybe, knocking over a bunch of headstones (you know, those things that Jews definitely DO HAVE).
Additionally, I ask that you issue a public redaction of all of the incorrect things you have said about Jews and Muslims during your show in the past few days. Your listeners deserve the truth.
Now is the time to end fake news and alternative facts. Please take a step back and see what your role is in the latest cycle of hatred that Jews and Muslims are stuck in the middle of.
Thank you for reaching out, Ariel. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of the telephone game, where you start off saying something, and -- by the time it gets passed along to someone else -- it's slightly different?
I never said on the air that the vandalism didn't happen. My question about headstones had to do with markers that stand above the ground vs. those that lay flat on the ground, which I'm familiar with seeing at the Jewish cemetery off 84th and L (near where I grew up).
My list of actions forbidden by strict Islam came from one who fled the faith and has some who want to kill him for doing so. There are many stories like that out there, and what one Muslim in Yemen may believe is different from how our Muslim friends who live in Omaha may conduct themselves. I took great pains to separate the peaceful tenants of Islam from the way that some Middle Eastern dictators have turned it into a Puritanical form of government.
I've been doing talk radio for 20 years, and the most frustrating thing I deal with is people who hear one thing, and claim I said another. Or they miss the entire point. But, I completely understand that people have busy lives, and they don't get a chance to hear or comprehend every single thing I say. I get it. That's why I'm always thankful when someone like you e-mails me to ask for clarification (which is a nice way I'll choose to characterize your message to me!).
I think it's very cool you work someplace where a talk-radio-listening boss can get a conversation about these serious issues going between Jewish and Muslim co-workers, and I'm honored to have a role in fostering that dialogue that I hope was constructive.
I hope you're having a nice afternoon,
I haven't received a response yet, but I only just replied. I'm hopeful it's along the same lines as this give-and-take during yesterday's show:
I cannot believe that the Omaha listeners tune into your show. After five minutes of listening to you, I can tell you are an idiot.
Thanks, Mark! Have a nice day anyway!
Scott, I would like to apologize for my email yesterday. I let my disagreement with what you were saying yesterday get the better of me. Calling you an idiot was wrong and I apologize for that.
No worries, Mark -- happens all the time (and I deserve much of it)! I'm just honored you checked out the show. We don't talk angry politics all the time, so you're always welcome to check us out in the future!