I have to admit that when I see the name Opie, I immediately think of Mayberry, Andy Griffith and Ron Howard before he shaved. Now I understand that shock jock Anthony Cumia was fired last week by Sirius XM for being, I think the technical term is, a tweeting moron. His on-air partner Greg Hughes — known to all by the same moniker as Sheriff Taylor’s kid — is said to be “devastated.”
Take heart, Opie — I promise, your Anthony will be back. Just remember what happened to Andy Rooney.
In the late winter of 1990 David Burke, the newly appointed president of CBS News, suspended Rooney, who was 71 at the time and the most popular cast-member of Sunday Night Live — I mean 60 Minutes — for three months. The trouble had begun a few weeks earlier, during a year-end special, when the curmudgeonly commentator expressed his opinion that “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead to premature death.”
This was in the pre-Internet era, of course, which just goes to show that a) the Web didn’t invent mass-media stupidity and b) the Web also didn’t invent the widespread belief in massively stupid commentary.
You’ve doubtless surmised by now that I don’t have much sympathy for Anthony Cumia’s predicament. I hate hate speech, in any form, but especially when promoted by people in power, which, certainly through no …