If ever you're in need of an excellent (if painful) example of what not to do as a talk radio host--or journalist, or blogger, etc.--then look no further than the recent and still to fully play out saga of WTAQ radio host Jerry Bader. In a broadcast shortly after Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton announced that she was dropping out of the gubernatorial race, Bader made the bold-faced accusation that her reason for doing so was related to a lesbian extramarital affair. Bader stated over and over again that he was "reporting factually."
But of course he was doing no such thing. It was, in fact, a complete fabrication and quite the slanderous piece of reporting to boot. Lawton was, rightfully, pretty angry about the whole thing, and Bader has since retracted the piece and been suspended from his job for two weeks.
Not before several conservative bloggers and talkers gleefully spread the false information as far and wide as possible. Since it came out that the whole thing was a giant fraud, most have either removed their posts entirely or posted retractions and apologies.
The whole thing is a sad but solid example of how stories can spread like wildfire on the internet, regardless of their validity. The fiasco could also be examined for how not to go about sourcing and reporting information. Call it Bader 101.
I have to agree with Lawton that I don't think a mere two week suspension is enough punishment for the guy, and hope that the station takes further action. They should, really, if they hope to avoid being part of the inevitable slander lawsuit filed against Bader by Lawton.
And those who repeated the nonsense should perhaps take a moment or two to examine their own motivations for doing so. Maybe the desperate champing at the bit for any "negative" news about people with political affiliations they don't like isn't such a hot idea after all. Maybe we could all stand to adopt a little more patience, critical thinking, and due diligence.
It's a lesson Jerry Bader is (hopefully) learning the hard way.