Paul Finebaum, thou dost protest too much. Far too much. Apparently a Never to Yield Foundation examination of the sidesteps and diversions the national radio host took to justify a series of blatantly defamatory comments he made during a lecture at Birmingham Southern College struck a raw nerve.
Finebaum spent a significant portion of his Thursday broadcast throwing smoke grenades, spinning like a pinwheel in a hurricane, deflecting, obfuscating, diverting and building shaky ad hominem arguments in response to the issues raised by the Never to Yield Foundation. He spent most of his focus on the messenger. He even had his usual sycophants (plants with their own private call-in number) to toss a few ill-informed and inflammatory brickbats. What Finebaum never really did was truthfully and honestly address the issues at hand.
What prompted him to take every talking point from the tin-foil hat-wearing ultra fringe, babbling loon message board haters and promote them as even remotely legitimate in front of an assembly of college students?
Rather than provide a rational explanation for his off the grid assault, Finebaum laughably attempted to pass his screed off as an academic exercise. All he wanted was to educate, he claimed. He honestly wanted the students to compare Auburn and Alabama from a business standpoint, nothing more, nothing less. That sounds great, except that anyone who actually heard his lecture would never be able to reconcile that idea with what he actually said. We simply pointed that out.
Finebaum attempted to frame it as if the mission of the Never to Yield Foundation was to run him off the air because we don’t like something he said. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The idea that this Foundation is a “terrorist organization” or an “attack group” is silly. That’s not what we are, nor is it what we hope to be. Some of the comments on Finebaum’s show from his regular Bama supporting callers perfectly captured the toxic atmosphere the Foundation hopes to defuse by insisting that those who have a platform act in a responsible manner. Their calls were predictably pathetic and it’s extremely disappointing that Finebaum didn’t take the opportunity to dial back the rhetoric.
It is not, nor will it ever be, the mission of the Never to Yield Foundation to run him off the air, and certainly not because we didn’t like something he said…suggesting such was his primary mode of obfuscation. Nothing could be further from the truth. We understand that it’s not easy to fill three to four hours of a live show every day, and that his inflammatory statements are a huge part of his entertainment value, his uncanny ability to sensationalize benign tidbits of information and make them seem malignant. It’s genius.
We’re fully aware Finebaum isn’t going anywhere any time soon and at no time did we call for his removal from the air. We don’t want Finebaum off the air. His show can at times be entertaining and has occasionally been informative particularly when he’s not pandering to one of his misguided regulars. We understand that.
We also understand that Finebaum attempts in his own self-serving way to be fair as a general rule.
As we noted in the original article, Finebaum will serve whatever agenda serves him best. That’s how he builds his audience. When the allegations surrounding Cam Newton’s recruitment first surfaced, Finebaum was one of the few in the media who didn’t enter every interview with torches lit and pitchforks sharpened. That does not give him carte blanche to launch scalding attacks on Auburn without justification as he did at Birmingham Southern.
Finebaum’s relative fairness is the reason his rambling message-board-lunatic rant at Birmingham Southern was so disappointing and demanded a response. It wasn’t that Finebaum offered an opinion with which we disagreed. It was the derisive tone of his unwarranted attacks on Gene Chizik, Auburn administration, Auburn players and Auburn University as a whole. It was the venue in which he chose to unleash his invective. It was out of character,it served no purpose, educational or otherwise, and Finebaum should expect to be held accountable.
We know Finebaum isn’t going anywhere. It’s not our purpose to promote that agenda. That certainly doesn’t mean that those who find his comments offensive or insulting should stand idle. Finebaum deserves to know what you think.
We’re not going anywhere either. When someone denigrates Auburn without justification as Finebaum did at Birmingham Southern, we intend to respond. The days of meekly allowing all manner of baseless slurs to be directed at Auburn are over.
Suffering in silence is vastly overrated.