April 17, 2010
I wrote a piece that is appearing in today's Sacramento Bee about why KDND 107.9 The End's license to broadcast should be taken away. See it here.
Somehow, people today seem to think that a corporation which invites (lures?) people into a contest so they can increase their own profits are not to be held responsible when their own contest goes awry, to the point of killing someone. These people cite personal responsibility; let's not forget, corporations are "persons" too; where's their personal responsibility?
I am reminded of the Roald Dahl short story "Man from the South." It's the story of a man who makes a bet with a second man to light a cigarette lighter ten times in a row. If the second man succeeds, the first will give him his car. If he fails, the first man will cut off one of the second man's fingers.
So what if a radio station sponsored a contest like that? Not too many people know you can die from drinking too much water, but any fool knows what having your finger cut off would mean. So would it be okay for a radio station to put on a contest like that? You know it would be a ratings bonanza, and ratings mean advertising dollars. Why not just allow corporations to prey on stupid people and make a fortune doing it? After all, they're not killing anybody.
Part of the answer is radio stations are licensed to serve the public interest. Clearly, a contest like that does not serve the public. Neither did The End's water drinking contest.