KRBD Addresses Why It Broadcast Rep. Young’s “Wetback” Comments

The response to Alaska Rep. Don Young’s “wetback” comments broadcast on KRBD yesterday has already reached the national spotlight, after Speaker John Boehner slammed his Republican colleague for “offensive” remarks “beneath the dignity of the office [Young] holds.”

Banner

We emailed KRBD earlier today to ask them why they broadcast Young’s comments without any follow-up questions about what he said or what his words meant. The original story was called “Don Young talks economy, Arctic development,” and news of Young’s “wetback” comments appeared in the middle of the story. Here is what the station sent to us in response to our questions:

During a recent news conference in Ketchikan, Alaska, Congressman Don Young used a slur when referring to migrant farm workers. He used it in an anecdote when talking about an issue unrelated to immigration.

KRBD chose to use the quote, and air it in context. We believe that people should know when their elected officials use inappropriate terms.

KRBD sent the story out to state media, and in an email let other stations know that the quote was in the story. The reaction to the piece was not a surprise, although the speed with which it spread was a little unexpected. KRBD plans to produce a follow-up story today delving more deeply into the issue.

KRBD is a local community radio station from Ketchikan, Alaska. It also broadcasts National Public Radio shows as well as shows from the BBC World Service.

In the meantime, several online petitions asking for Young to resign have been launched. Presente.org published its petition here:

To Representative Don Young:

Your use of the word “wetback” was unnacceptable in your father’s time and it is unacceptable now. There is a long and harmful history behind that term and no member of Congress should be able to say it without consequence.

Your use of the term and the non-apology you offerred in response suggest you should not be representing the people of the United States and that’s why we’re calling on you to resign.

email
, ,

Leave a Reply