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Apr 14

Bye, Bye, Marty


Marty makes the blogs: Part 2

Poor Powerball is still knee-deep in this madness.

“I’m dishearten by many of the things I’ve seen in the press. I’m disappointed how this whole thing has been handled. Just know many of the things being said are false, at best there are only pieces of truth out there. “

Meanwhile, conservative uber-blogger LaShawn Barber has given us her take on things.

“The freedom to share the Gospel as taught in the Bible was why the Reformation took place. There was a time when people were being burned at the stake for not believing that bread was the literal body of Christ or that the mother of Jesus was sinless. While Marty Minto is no Martin Luther, he was doing what the Reformation gave him and others freedom to do. ‘Alienating listeners’ is just a new cover on the same old, rotten book.”

LaShawn is an interesting blogger and I respect her opinions, but I think she’s way off the mark here. Marty is not a martyr for the Reformation. He’s a good guy with a loud mouth and chip on his shoulder. Even if he’s right about the Catholic Church (Obviously I don’t think he is), he certainly wasn’t winning any souls to his side with his demeanor. You’ll win more friends with honey than vinegar, friend. That doesn’t mean obfuscating the Gospelto make it more palatable. I just means meeting people where they are in life and loving them as Christ would. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Eric Ragle at Evangelical Underground seems to be convinced that some sort of conspiracy to placate Catholic listeners was responsible for Marty’s firing. He also seems to think local reporters are infallible and assumes that they actually listened to the show prior to reporting the story. From the comments:

Me: “Please don’t go down this road. As a Christian and particularly as a Catholic I beg of you not to start making unfounded accusations (or hinting at any).”

ER: “How is this [accusation of Catholic discrimination] unfounded? Don’t you think it suspicious that the Diocese had not complained about Minto but the radio station called them to announce he had been fired?

Forget all of the religious implication. Is it suspicious or not?”

Me: “It’s confusing and odd, but I wouldn’t leap to suspicious. I’ve seen this story generate a lot of awful, venomous anti-Catholic bigotry. To merely say ‘It’s suspicious’ without being more specific, is inviting people to assume the diocese was lying. I find it odd that the diocese was contacted, but given that they freely offered that odd fact, I doubt that they conspired with station management to get Marty fired.

Another important point – Marty was fired for more than just the pope thing. That week-long highly biased appraisal of Catholic doctrines was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. You can find the official press release from WORD-FM, as well as comments from Marty?s producer, on my blog, by the way.”

ER: “Well I’m certainly not implying that the diocese is at fault, but I do think that the radio may have been looking to score points with the diocese, thus the notification.

What else would WORD-FM have us believe [than that he was fired for more than the pope thing]?”

Me: “As a listener of the show, I can assure you that his abrasiveness extended well beyond Catholicism.”

ER: “I mean absolutely no offense whatsoever, but at this point I think we couldn’t exactly classify you as unbiased. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Me: “Most of the time Marty didn’t talk about Catholic doctrine. Frankly, if he did, I probably would have given up battling windmills and listened to a different station. Therefore, most of the time I was listening as just another Christian with no more or less bias than any other Christian. There was a lot I liked about Marty’s show, but there were alos a number of things I disliked. His treatment of callers he disagreed with often left something to be desired. He was alos rather uncritical of his own doctrinal beliefs. For a man who didn’t want to be under a pope, he certainly pontificated like one. It would have been nice if he didn’t automatically assume his positions were right and go from there. Some intellectual honesty and willingness to put his beliefs to test (by his own standards of Scripture interpreting Scripture, even) from time to time would have gone a long way.

I notice you’ve posted the Scarborough Country transcript and highlighted the bit where Marty mentions his producer. His producer (Shaun ‘Powerball’ Pierce) didn’t fire him. Nor did he ask that he be fired. If you ever actually read his blog (http://powerballplace.blogspot.com), you’d know that he and Marty are friends. Shaun has had to deal with a lot of false and hurtful accusations because of this mess. Please don’t add to them.”

ER: “Look, I realize you’ve taken it upon yourself to issue some damage control in this situation, but I’m not adding anything to this situation, only relating facts. The significance of his producer being Catholic is big and needs to be noted for people to make accurate judgements.

I normally don’t allow external links, but in order to allow your defense, I’ll let it remain. You have yet to answer my question regarding your obvious bias in this situation. “

Me: “1) I confess I did not read your comment policy before posting that link. I’m sorry.
2) Does being Catholic affect my view of the situation? Yes. Doesn’t being an Evangelical affect yours?
3) Let’s be clear. On the whole, I like Marty and I enjoyed his show. I am not out to demonize him.
4) Should Marty have been fired? I really don’t know. I’m not privy to a lot of the behind-the-scenes info. However, as a daily listener to the show, I know what Marty’s on-air demeanor was like. His views on Catholic doctrine annoyed me – mostly in how badly he misunderstood them – but that didn’t stop me from listening to or enjoying the show. If his coverage of Catholicism is what got him fired, I’ll eat my words and be very disappointed with WORD-FM and other responsible parties. However, there were many other issues that he handled very poorly and he often lacked compassion for people in their suffering. For instance, he refused to believe that alcoholism or any other addiction might have a biophysical component that might impair someone’s will and relieve some of their culpability for their sins. Marty has, on the whole, a good on-air presense, is a nice guy, and is interesting to listen to. On the other hand, sometimes he crossed lines.

I just read the comment policies and found no explicit or implicit prohibition on external links unless you deem them to be ‘anti-christ’.

For the record, I’m not ‘attempting to flame or start another ridiculous debate’ or ‘take a shot at the champ’. I just wan
t people to ‘[p]lease be respectful’ because they ‘just might learn something new’. I don’t think anyone but those parties directly involved really know all the reasons why Marty was fired. I fail to see how conjecture based on incomplete and poor researched media reports enlightens anyone or shows them the love and saving power of Jesus Christ. “

ER: “And an avid ‘listener of the show can assume to know more than local reporters?

You’ve begun to contradict yourself. I’m pulling the plug on this one. “

That comment thread is now closed. I find it ironic that someone claiming that Marty was censored by Catholic discrimination was so quick to pull the plug on me.

Fellow Christian Carnival contributor Byron Harvey, of A Ticking Time Blog, offers some intelligent thoughts on the matter.

“I like Marty; the few times I’ve chosen to grit out the bad reception and listen to him, I think he’s done a pretty good job. When I heard of his firing this week, I dashed off a personal email to him, thanking him for his good work. And I prepared to go blog’s-a-blazin’ with righteous indignation directed squarely at WORD-FM and any bystanders who might have happened too close by….Having had a pretty bad experience personally with WORD-FM,…I figured that I had all the grist I needed to let loose with both cannons.”

“But a funny thing happened on the way to the blog”

“In doing my fact-checking at WORD-FM, I happened upon a link to an article for pastors written by Ron Walters, the Vice-President for Church Relations for Salem Communications, the parent company of WORD-FM. Reading Ron’s pedigree, and having an honest desire to fix the problems I see vis a vis Christian media -rather than merely rail at them – I decided to email Ron to get his side of the story…I was a bit abrupt in my first email to him; I told him that, because of a previous experience, I didn’t have a lot of regard for either WORD-FM nor for Salem, but that I’d give him a chance to respond to my questions; to wit, 1.) was there ‘more than met the eye’ regarding Marty’s firing? And 2.) would the station have fired Marty merely for entertaining a question regarding the state of the pope’s soul. Ron’s answers to me were that yes, there was more to the story than was being reported while at the same time, I should point out that Ron was very clear in his respect for Marty and his ministry, and that, no, Marty would not have been fired merely for this.”

….

“…Are we doing our homework before we cut loose? Or are we only getting one side of the story? It seems to me that we need to take the extra few minutes to check out both sides….There is a time and place to criticize, and no one who reads this blog with any regularity would think I shied away from that. But I want to be part of the solution to the problems with Christian media, and if I can build a platform for doing that by showing some restraint, then restraint will be the order of the day. And the order of the blog”

It’s nice to see that at least one Evangelical isn’t going off half-cocked.

Get Religion has finally reported on this story. Unfortunately, the coverage is rather anemic and apparently entirely based on the Tribune-Review article. No additional digging was done. The assumption is made that the article accurately reports the reason for Marty’s firing. I’m not convinced. The piece ends with Terry Mattingly mentioning a mildly interesting point about Catholics listening to Evangelical radio stations. *yawn* Aren’t the consipracy theories flooding the blogosphere more interesting and worth shedding some light on?

In more exciting news, Marty has issued a statement to “Friends and Supporters” via his website. It’s too long to quote here. I’ll assume folks go there and read it for themselves. Suffice to say that he’s perpetuating the conspiracy theories I’ve seen on numerous blogs. He also makes some comments about WORD-FM general manager Chuck Gratner that may or may not be true. He also fails to see the difference between being a talented radio personality and being appropriate for a Christian station. It’s not inconsistent for Gratner and the station to reward him for his accomplishments and to also fire him for not meeting expectations.

On a side note, I hate to kick a man when he’s down, but would it have hurt for him to use a spelling/grammar checker? It’s one thing to butcher English on the air when you don’t have a grammar or pronunciation aid handy. It just looks sloppy when it’s typed up as his ‘official’ rebuttal for the world to see.

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