The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

18 September 2007

John Kerry Taser Incident, Talk Radio Response


Will Some Hosts Short-Circuit Their Own Careers?

In the peculiar world of talk radio hosting, most breaking news stories fall from the sky in a way that can be discussed without much heavy lifting.

Occasionally, however, a topic comes along that's a bit more complicated. For lazy hosts not accustomed to thinking through their show prep, this can present career- damaging pitfalls.

After a University of Florida student activist was tasered for apparently asking Senator John Kerry one too many questions, today became one of those tricky days. After reviewing the coverage, including video shot at the event, how would you handle this one?

Would you ask why campus police seemed so intent on tasering this kid, even if he did seem obnoxious? Would you explore why Senator Kerry reacted in such a seemingly disaffected manner? How about looking into the number of deaths caused by the misuse of this weapon?

Or, hosting your own program, might you take the easy way out and simply laugh at 21- year- old Andrew Meyer while playing a clip of his screams?

First, let's take a look at what we know so far, then examine some of the on- air response.

From FOX News:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested Monday when he attempted to speak at a forum with U.S. Sen. John Kerry during a question and answer session, university officials said.

Andrew Meyer, 21, asked Kerry why he did not contest the 2004 presidential election, which he lost to President Bush, and why there had been no moves to impeach Bush.

"He apparently asked several questions — he went on for quite awhile — then he was asked to stop," university spokesman Steve Orlando said. "He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off then he became upset."

While as many as four police officers tried to remove Meyer from the forum, he yelled for help and asked "What did I do?" Minutes after Meyer started speaking, he was Tasered.

Meyer was charged with resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records. No bond had been set. Meyer was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, a jail official said.

Orlando said university police would conduct an internal investigation on the incident.

"The police department does have a standard procedure for when they use force, including when they use a Taser," Orlando said. "That is what the internal investigation would address — whether the proper procedures were followed, whether the officers acted appropriately."

From Channel 10 in Florida:

Student Zapped With Taser Caught On Tape

Florida Student Who Questioned John Kerry To Be In Court

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested after trying to ask U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., about the 2004 election and other subjects during a campus forum.

Videos of the incident posted on several Web sites show officers pulling Andrew Meyer, 21, away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President George W. Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

"He apparently asked several questions -- he went on for quite awhile -- then he was asked to stop," university spokesman Steve Orlando said. "He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off, then he became upset."

From Michelle Malkin:

You know what the lamest part is? Listening to impotent John Kerry’s voice droning apathetically during the entire incident.


Update: Speaking of tasers, did you know that immigration officers cannot use them against illegal aliens in federal detention facilities? Yep. Tom Tancredo is challenging the differential treatment. Too bad Meyer didn’t claim he was “undocumented”…

And from Ace Of Spades:

Questioner Arrested, Tasered At Kerry Q&A

"What did I do?" he wants to know. It's a fair question.

Boy, that security team sure was in a wicked hurry to lay hands on someone disrespecting a Democrat, weren't they?

Meanwhile protesters are allowed to menace and charge conservative speakers at will.

In fairness, he seems to have hogged the mic for a while.

The guy carries on like a bitch, and I sure hope he's not one of ours (he seems to be Truther-ish), but still, the alacrity with which campus security jumps to protect a Democrats' dignity is surprising. Couldn't they have just turned off the mic and ignored him?

Don't expect to see this make the news. Only Republicans are complicit in the Ill Winds Chilling Dissent.

And of course, the now- infamous YouTube video clip:

So how have radio talkers handled this so far? Two separate morning hosts in Boston didn't even bother to delve into the issues we've raised above. Instead, in a true sign of lazy, sloppy work, they simply played the clip of Meyer begging not to be tasered and repeatedly laughed at him.

Isn't that easy? Let's get a cheap chuckle out of the guy.

While his behavior was somewhat out- of- hand, it's hard to justify the weapon discharges, isn't it?

And even if you disagree with the Radio Equalizer's position, the point of talk radio is to bring a debate about the day's key issues to the table. From there, it's up to callers to decide whether they agree with the host or not. The lazy talker fails to frame the story or find the right ways to cover it, ruining the topic.

By contrast, Rush Limbaugh looked at the material and found his own angle: after a long career as an anti- government protestor, why did John Kerry look so befuddled by the student's behavior? Didn't he once participate in many similar actions? Why wasn't he more sympathetic or understanding?

Instead, Kerry merely droned on with his boring lecture while Meyers continues to scream. A full day later, the senator from Massachusetts has now condemned the arrest. Why did it take so long to form an opinion?

In addition, FOX News Radio's Judge Andrew Napolitano is incensed with both the police and John Kerry. Johnny Dollar has the clip here.

When issues emerge that are a bit more complicated than usual, the distinction between thoughtful and substandard hosts becomes more clear. Today, a few of these guys may find a taser gun has short-circuited their own career potential.

UPDATE: Meyer has heckled others in the past.

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • Is talk radio serious discussion of issues or is it entertainment and cheap laughs? What gets ratings?

    It's true that the taser can be deadly but you probably won't hear much discussion of that
    (interesting topic, though) because
    there's tons of entertainment value in that whole film/audio clip.

    The "leave Brittney alone" clip,
    the OJ tape, and now this. It'll
    be lots of goofing around on them
    on talk radio.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 18 September, 2007 14:25  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 18 September, 2007 14:29  

  • >>Why did it take so long to form an opinion?

    Mr Kerry no doubt formed focus groups and had deep discussions with his
    aides before making a decision. Why has it taken him so long to fight the Swift Boat Veterans and their
    (alleged) "lies" about him?
    Gotta hand it to a take-charge
    guy like that.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 18 September, 2007 14:29  

  • Disgusting...but that's America now.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 18 September, 2007 16:02  

  • raccoon and Hash--you are both right in this case.


    And that trailer park trash slut Ms. Spears--THROW HER OUT OF THIS COUNTRY! SAME WITH KEVIN FEDERLINE!

    Now in terms of the Taser, you need to know this guy who got zapped was a journalism major--not sure if it matters. Florida is known for its j-school program.

    It owns three or four broadcast outlets including WUFT Channel 5 (PBS), WUFT Radio (NPR/Classical) and WRUF 850, a commercial news/talk station with heavy emphasis on sports. Then again U of F is back to back NCAA basketball champs and the defending college football champions as well.

    And Gainesville does have some commercial TV Stations. In terms of news, there's ABC 20 WCJB and Fox 51 WOGX. The former is a locally run station while the latter is for the most part run out of a master control at WOFL Fox 35 Orlando. BTB, both OGX and OFL are Fox owned.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 18 September, 2007 19:45  

  • This is the vantage point of the taser incident at the Kerry speech that no one wants you to see. Check it out at

    By Blogger Third Rail, at 19 September, 2007 06:48  

  • Horrible video.

    Lovely to see the other "good German" students, undoubtedly products of their typical neocon upbringing, cheer and applaud with joy at the prospect of another human being tortured...

    No excuse. Those pigs should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (that this fascist police state will allow)...

    Did you see the fat one smiling in the background? 90% of NYPD cops have exactly this mentality.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 19 September, 2007 07:29  

  • hash, has NYPD tased you lately? You know when you try to apply your highly entitled socialist principles in real life, you get locked up for theft and you get beaten if you resist arrest. That is reality, hash. Get used to it.

    By Blogger PCD, at 19 September, 2007 09:56  

  • I for once agree with Limbaugh. Kerry stood on stage like an impotent , weak man, showing NO leadership what so ever. This was police brutality, this is police state tatics at it's finset. All Kerry did was stand there, muttering his answer to the quite frankly FRIENDLY QUESTION.

    PCD, your a warped, degenerate piece of shit, you really need to be depoted. Your fine, with police dragging a KID, who was asking a question at a political forum, and tasering him? Your a sick, little fascist, freak of nature, you really are a sick bastard, who has no idea how to be an American. This is BLATENT FASCISM, the police dragged away a kid who was participating in a Question and Answer forum. PCD accepts this! YOU ARE NOT AN AMERICAN, PCD, , your a GOOD GERMAN,
    PCD, stands for Pathetic Cowardly disgrace.

    I cant believe I agree with Limbaugh on Kerry I think the sky is falling!

    I have said this before 99.9% of police officers are degenerate bullies who cant wait to toss cuffs on you and beat you down. I have NO RESPECT for police officers, they are SCUM in my book, not professionals, BULLIES.
    This opinion will NEVER CHANGE. Only thing lower than a COP is a politician

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 19 September, 2007 10:59  

  • Yeah the police are out of control. They should lower the voltage on the taser to 110v.

    By Blogger pf1, at 20 September, 2007 01:04  

  • the reaction to the students speech no matter how vulgar or offensive was totally reprehensible and unnecessary! i found a lot of info at this on website along with some other good articles:

    By Blogger A bunch of crazy chickens, at 24 September, 2007 16:18  

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