Feature

Mark Foley’s second act

Should a Florida radio station give a platform to a disgraced former congressman?

What happened
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R, Fla) -- who resigned in 2006 after it emerged he’d sent sexually explicit e-mails and text messages to underage male House pages -- is starting a new job: radio host. Foley’s politics-themed talk show will be heard on the AM dial starting Sept. 22, in his former Palm Beach congressional district. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

What the commentators said
Foley’s host station, WSVU AM, is exhibiting "a certain tone deafness" here, said Mark Howard in News Corpse. The show’s title, "Inside the Mind of Mark Foley," is tasteless and off-putting, but then again, so is the idea of giving voice to a "sexual predator."

I don’t get the outrage here, said Jason Zengerle in The New Republic. It’s not like Foley’s new "glorified deejay job" is going to make him a public official again. And besides, it’s not so uncommon for sex-scandal-tarred politicians to get media jobs -- "see Eliot Spitzer’s recent turn as a Slate columnist." Foley was never convicted, and he was punished by losing his House seat, so let him earn a living in peace.

WSVU is betting that people who tune in to hear its regular fare of Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and Red Sox games, said Stephanie Condon in CBS News, will also want to know what’s going on in Mark Foley’s mind. But the station isn’t wagering much. Foley will work for free and bring along his own advertisers.

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