In America, shock jocks are a part of our culture. Beginning in 1966 with Petey Greene, thought to be the original shock jock, we have had some of the greats such as Redd Foxx, Lenny Bruce, and Benny Bell grace the airwaves with their brand of filth and rhetoric. The name of the game is simple, ratings, lots of them. They want to get your attention, so they will get known, get more sponsors, and make more money.
The Australian duo behind the hoax royal phone call Mel Greig and Michael Christian are now in the middle of an international incident. They placed a phone call to King Edward VII’s Hospital, disguised their voice as the queen, and learned information about Kate the Dutchess of Windsor’s medical condition. The nurse who gave the information, Jacintha Saldanha, has since met a fatal end, it is still not confirmed if she took her own life or not, but it is assumed by many. Nick Kaldas, deputy commissioner for New South Wales Police, have contacted Australian authorities about possible criminal charges against the DJs for the phone call.
The DJs accused are in hiding, and on administrative leave from the radio station pending an investigation of possible policy changes regarding such pranks in the future.
I myself am a radio DJ, I would make Gandhi cry on the radio if it would get me some ratings, that’s the name of the game, is it right? No of course not. Is it proper for Rush Limbaugh to call Sandra Fluke a whore? No, but it got his name in the press, and upped his listening audience. Is it proper for Howard Stern to have half naked woman on his show so they can talk candidly about their sex life? No it isn’t, but is gets ratings, which gets Stern a cool 90 million dollar contract.
If Sandra Fluke killed herself over the remarks Limbaugh made, would he face charges? No, sadly his ratings would go up even more. It’s sickening, but that’s how radio works these days.
I think these DJs will feel some guilt, but they need to realize in the end, they did not pull the trigger, they did not kill anyone. I just hope the police in Sydney agree.