Over the past couple of days, we have seen what happens when you put some humans behind microphones with little or no adult supervision. We had Tony Kornheiser being suspended for being Tony Kornheiser and we had Mike Milbury being raked over the coals for being Don Cherry. The details of both cases have been chewed to a fine gristle by now. But the conjunction of the two episodes does suggest a certain course of action going forward.
People in the business of mass communication should realize that it is not their job to be stupid.
I happen to know both of these guys -- Kornheiser rather better than Milbury, I think. I don't think the former should have been suspended, but I don't think he should consider it part of his job to throw ignorance and sexism out there with 50,000 watts behind it. And I'm sure that Milbury still sees Alexei Yashin's contract in his dreams at night, but I don't think he should consider it part of his job to throw ignorance and xenophobia out there across national TV. And both of them are smart enough to know that.
(And please, for the love of God, spare me the argument that these two are somehow bravely standing up to the forces of "political correctness." It takes absolutely no courage at all to be a man who criticizes a woman's appearence on sports-talk radio, nor does it require any to go gubba-gubba about European hockey players to an American and Canadian audience.)
(And does an international audience really need to hear a lecture on cheap shots from the Ron Artest of the NHL?)
If you're hired to communicate, then being stupid, even for profit, ought to be a career-killer -- unless, of course, your bosses think that their audiences are stupid, too. In which case, they should say so. Being stupid for profit is a lot of things, even profitable. But it shouldn't be part of the media, and it's no kind of a job for grown-ups.