Editor’s Note: There’s nothing the media loves more than a media story, except maybe a media story with the strong whiff of abortion politics. And so it was that the firing of Houston radio talk show host Scott Braddock by News 92 in Houston became a blogosphere and Twitter cause celebre, with coverage everywhere from the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News to the Quorum Report, Raw Story and the Texas Observer.
Because Braddock’s firing occurred shortly after an interview he did about Texas’s new sonogram law for women who are considering getting an abortion, some of those outlets were to quick to see an element of censorship to Braddock’s dismissal. Strictly speaking, that did not appear to be the case, though Braddock has said the station’s current acting program director seems uncomfortable with hard-hitting topics of any kind. And the station’s rationale for the dismissal—that Braddock’s guest appearance on a non-commercial radio station, during which he re-aired a portion of the interview he did for News 92, was in violation of his contract—either seems like an overreaction or an excuse to get rid of someone that they wanted to get rid of anyway.
But what was ultimately most striking about the the aftermath of the firing is how support for Braddock, who has previously worked for KTRH in Houston Newsradio, 1080 KRLD in Dallas and CBS Radio and the Texas State Networks, came from all points on the political spectrum - something that is pretty hard to come by in Texas politics (or the media) these days. As much of the coverage noted, Braddock’s dismissal was protested not just by his colleagues and progressive bloggers, but also Texans for Life, and the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity. All sides praised Braddock’s program as a truly open and substantive forum.
Below is Braddock’s own retelling of the past two weeks, which was originally printed yesterday on his own website. Braddock is currently looking for his next job, which may or may not mean moving to another state.
“I love radio and I love Texas,” he told the TM Daily Post . “I hope I don’t have to choose.”
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I stood in my kitchen at home in Houston and tried to assure a woman who recently had an abortion that I would be fair to her if she appeared on my radio program.
As I talked to Carolyn Jones, who had called me from Austin, she was very nervous about what questions I might ask her on the air. As has always been my policy, I didn’t give her any specific questions, but I let her know she’d get the chance to tell people about her experience with new restrictions on abortions in Texas. She’d get a fair shake, which is all I ever promise anyone.
We did the interview on News 92 FM. Jones didn’t come with talking points. She didn’t come with spin. One reason an interview like this is compelling is you can hear how the person with no broadcast experience isn’t ever quite sure how to begin their answer to a question. There’s a nervousness there that just isn’t an issue for someone like me who lives his life on the airwaves. She wasn’t comfortable at all, but she stayed with it and told total strangers all about some of what would otherwise be some of the most private moments of her life.
Right after the interview, one of my colleagues dropped by the studio and said “Oh my God that was hard to listen to.”
I asked “Why?”