Is WGN-AM 720 unfairly quieting angry Garry Meier fans from its Facebook page or were they left with no choice? That is the question in response to Susan Vethacke, who claims to have been blocked from WGN’s Facebook in posts on the Chicagoland Radio & Media message board.
Vethacke identifies herself as the creator of the Facebook group, Bring Back Garry Meier — a group that has 1,400 likes. I composed a mini write-up of that group here on June 13. The removal of Meier from the terrestrial AM 720 to the online-stream WGN.FM has been a controversial subject for the 90 year old news/talk station.
While I previously wrote that I admired the efforts of the Bring Back Garry Meier Facebook group, my opinion have changed. It seems that no matter what WGN posts to their Facebook, the comments area are hijacked by Vetacke and other angry Meier fans. I thought it was mildly inappropriate, for example, when fans hijacked a post that was designated to congratulate the newly engaged Karen Conti, a frequent WGN guest and legal expert. When any fringe group crosses a certain line, they start to hurt their cause rather than help it. Whether hijacking a thread about one’s marital engagement is considered crossing the line is left to individual opinion.
Another point worth making is that WGN blocking Meier fans from commenting on their Facebook is not a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech applies to the protection of speech from the government via the First Amendment. You can’t call your boss a “jack ass” and expect not to get fired because of freedom of speech. WGN has the right to dictate comments on its Facebook, just as I have the right to dictate reader comments on this blog.
If the moving of Meier was all political, even at the potential expense of ratings and advertising revenue, then it seems even more unlikely that WGN management would reverse course, even if the move does pan out to be a mistake.