Imagine that you are reading about the latest violence in Baltimore or Maryland, adding to the ever-continuing homicides and non-fatal violence, or the general miseries of youth therein.
Imagine also you are driving along in your car, as I was the other day, listening to a talk radio show that is castigating “Cancel Culture” and referring to other hosts on that same station who, the host maintains, were as appalled and repulsed by the “Cancel Culture” as he.
Now add to your experience the fact that the show to which you are listening is on the very station that unembarrassedly and unapologetically canceled you and the topic of fatherlessness over a year ago.
Would you not find these experiences antithetical to solving cities’ problems and a mite hypocritical?
The Cancel Culture, which generally refers to ostracism per the subject’s being politically at odds with the perpetrating agent, is known to every centrist and conservative with a significant or quasi-significant political presence.
One critically important topic that has attracted cancel culture is speaking the truth about the miseries of fatherlessness and its attendant social calamities in Baltimore and other areas of Maryland.
Over my long career as a conservative academic, I have been precluded from publishing and speaking in a number of venues, due to my general tory perspectives, but, until WBAL Radio’s cancellation of me (and, earlier, another conservative), my being persona non grata was always negated somewhat by some ethical principals — often liberals — who wouldn’t sanction such nuclear undemocratic practices.
WBAL Radio’s cancellation was not pretty, but it was quiet— no thank you’s, no good-byes, no discussion; just nothingness, after 40+ years of commentary on many of their shows.
WBAL used to be different.
Almost through his retirement, I was a paid regular on the great Ron Smith’s show, the heyday period of ‘BAL. No topic was beyond Ron’s choice of discussion because of fear or timorousness. After Ron’s passing, I continued on WBAL’s airwaves really almost whenever I pleased, including many talk shows but most frequently on Clarence Mitchell IV’s (known affectionately as C-4) show, their top-draw talk show host.
I trusted him to the extent that I started telling him in 2019 of conservatives’ difficulty of getting shows and newspapers to discuss the cardinal issue of fatherlessness as it related to the existence of violence and social upheaval in our state, cities, and country.
C-4 said to me, and this is almost a direct quote, “Don’t worry…any time you find it difficult to discuss fatherlessness, just let me know, and I’ll put you on, even though I don’t agree with you.” We had this almost identical conversation time after time after time — again, off-air, I had never known him to be dishonest.
But this promise turned out not to be true.
Several weeks after our last conversation, I called his show when he was discussing murders and violence in Baltimore and Maryland. As I was talking about fatherlessness, I found out, as I was speaking, that he had for the first time ever simply hung up on me. Wondering if I could have simply misunderstood what happened, I learned that he would not respond to me going forward.
For years I have written extensively and spoken to audiences on fatherlessness —72% and higher incidence of families in Baltimore City, correlationally and causally connected to higher levels of homicide, shootings, general violence, poverty, school dysfunction, school bullying, and family misery. Fatherlessness is the major cause of virtually all disproportionate youth self-destruction, sociological ruin, and diminishment of future occupational and financial success. I have also written about much of the media’s refusal to even write about it for fear of offending their readership.
Just a few of my articles include pieces in The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, Maryland Matters, and Maryland Reporter, including lectures as well, such as my speaking to various religious groups and others.
Fatherlessness is the most significant unspoken cause of misery in this country. When I criticized a Baltimore mayoral debate for ignoring the topic, one of the good candidates, Bob Wallace, wrote in Maryland Reporter that he would make it a major priority in his possible mayoralty. Fatherlessness continues to be ignored, by media, teachers, political leaders, religious leaders, and most everyone else.
This is not the only topic bizarrely missing from most media: the transgressions of Louis Farrakhan are rarely covered, nor are his supporters mentioned, such as Maryland Sen. Jill Carter.
Cancel Culture describes the arrogant, hypocritical, and anti-democratic strategies to undermine the marketplace of ideas. It is why following the 2020 national election, major segments of the public indicated to opinion pollsters that they were not even aware of certain material issues.
When WBAL Radio cancels discussion of fatherlessness and a longtime guest — employee in order to ensure silence on the issue, it not only reveals their underlying anti-freedom-of-speech philosophy, it also stops the possibility of free-flowing conversation’s leading to solutions of major — perhaps the major — society-destroying problems. It is also utterly unprofessional.
Richard E. Vatz is professor emeritus of political rhetoric at Towson University and author of The Only Authentic of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (Authors Press, 2022) and many other works, essays and op-eds. He is a Distinguished Professor at Towson University and has won a number of teaching awards.