Villanova basketball on WNTP

[email protected]

Villanova University basketball games are broadcast on WNTP 990 AM, a Salem Radio Networks station. WNTP features a daily lineup of nationally syndicated conservative radio talk shows, including hosts like Bill Bennett, a former Reagan administration official; Michael Savage, who generally lives up to his name; and Laura Ingraham, a former clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

These hosts often espouse controversial right-wing views. That’s OK for them, because controversy attracts listeners. But controversy is not necessarily good for station sponsors or for a prestigious institution like Villanova that broadcasts its games on WNTP, especially when a host crosses the line from controversial political commentary to malicious personal attacks.

That’s exactly what happened recently on the Laura Ingraham Show. During her morning talk show on January 24, Ingraham engaged in a mean-spirited attack on Robert Reich, a prominent liberal who served as Labor Secretary (1993-97) and who was born with a rare, growth-stunting congenital disorder.

Ingraham introduced audio clips of Reich speaking about Social Security with a slurring reference to his size as well as a factual error: “A towering figure in American politics, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Reich, discussing the future of Social Security,” she said.

Ingraham proceeded to play clips of Reich interspersed with audio clips of Munchkin characters from the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” At one point, she speeded up a Reich clip to sound like a Munchkin voice. She concluded her Reich-attack with this comment: “You know, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is one of my favorite movies, and the Coroner and the Mayor and all of those figures just came to mind.”

Disagreeing with Reich’s positions is legitimate; making fun of his size to a national audience is reprehensible. All politics aside, Reich deserves credit for overcoming his disability.

Ingraham owes Reich an on-air apology. WNTP, which is granted use of the public airways, is duty bound to demand that Ingraham apologize. If Ingraham does not apologize, then Villanova should consider finding another radio outlet. The University should not do business with and lend its credibility to a station that airs crass and demeaning insults of a man who deserves nothing but credit and respect.


Paul ConlowMoorestown, [email protected]