Michael Berry, the former city councilman who
now runs KTRH and other Clear Channel AM stations here used to run Clear Channel's AM Stations here but who now simply hosts a talk show, has had a federal complaint filed against him by CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
For some reason they don't like the fact that when a caller to Berry's show supported building a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, Berry responded: "No, no, Tony, you can't build a mosque at the site of 9/11. No, you can't. No, you can't. And I'll tell you this -- if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up...I hope the mosque isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that."
(This came after his first question, which was whether the accented guy's name was really Tony.)
Berry has said on his blog that he went too far:
"While I stand by my disagreement of the building of the mosque on the site, I SHOULD NOT have said 'I hope someone blows it up.' That was dumb, and beneath me. I was trying to show "Tony" how much I opposed his opinion, but I went too far. For that, I apologize to my listeners."
He tells Hair Balls the same thing.
"The guy taunted me, and I am passionate that building a mosque on that site is an affront to the families of victims," he told us. (His blog, by the way, also states "I did NOT advocate bombing any mosque," which is parsing Bill Clinton would be proud of.)
Berry says that his comment was a reaction to the over-the-top comments the caller made, but it actually comes well before the caller went into shouting mode.
CAIR filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. In a press release it said:
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"Calls for acts of violence against houses of worship must never be tolerated or excused," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We ask the FCC to demonstrate that incitement to violence is never acceptable on our nation's airwaves."
He said Berry's call to violence against an American mosque is of particular concern, coming as it does after a bombing at a mosque in Jacksonville, Fla., earlier this month.
Berry tells Hair Balls he doesn't expect us to appreciate the subtle, nuanced approach he took in the call.
"I know how this story looks before you write it," he says. "Painting me as a lunatic is too fun to pass up. I get that."
Well, when you make it so easy.......