Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Is Freedom of Speech Dead in Rhode Island?

Since 2013, I have been a columnist, commentator, and correspondent to New England  readership.

After the 2012 Presidential disappointment, with President Obama winning a second term, I was convinced that the Republican Party needed a Fifty-State strategy.

Right away, I began contacting Republican leaders in deep blue states along the Eastern Seaboard, including Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island, arguably the most liberal state in the Union, where Republicans eke out a paltry 9% of the registration.

I sent some columns to one Internet only media company based in Providence, who took up my piece: “Roger Williams would be a Republican in RI”.

As a California conservative writing in liberal New England, I could carve out a niche, which I did for two sites: Providence, RI, and Worcester, MA. I got a lot of traffic, and two of my articles were considered in the Top 10 for Go Local Worcester that year.

Because of creative differences, as well as frustration with the leadership at the first site, I quit but kept writing to other open news sites. During that time, another media company reached out to me, 990WBOB, an internet radio station as well as blog site. Friends of mine from the previous company had brought me on board.

There, I corrected the record on a Mother Jones article, in Breitbart, and discussed candidate Charlie Baker’s rise in Massachusetts, as well as one of my favorite governors: Paul LePage of Maine (“Tell them to kiss my butt!”). One local legislator reported to me a leftist assault which got his Facebook page shut down.

As in Rep. Chippendale’s case, freedom of speech has taken some heavy attacks in New England. Today I report that I have become another casualty.

The company director, Adam Palazio, wanted to provide me a forum for my articles and also my own radio show: “The State of the Union.” He praised my work a number of times, and informed the rest of the staff that I was getting a large amount of the traffic on the site.

Two weeks ago, Palazio and crew announced their intentions for a Veterans Day Fundraiser, with F-Bomb Friday”:
WBOB Says F-U to the FCC to Support Our Nation's Heroes


The event, which runs from 8 pm to 11 pm (EST), will feature celebrity cameos and listener call-ins aimed at saying the F-word as often as possible, and for good reason -- every F-Bomb equals a two dollar donation to Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (

I was really disturbed by this idea, and I communicated my concerns to Mr. Palazio:

That does not present a strong, respectable image for the radio show. But more importantly, I think that it does not reflect well on our veterans or our country. How about: "We will donate $2 for every time someone says 'Veteran'"?

For the record,  one of the other radio hosts on the station shared with me his difficulty in finding people to participate.

Later that day, Palazio responded in a fashion I was not prepared for:

At this time Arthur we should probably part ways. Some of your articles are far more offensive then a few f-bombs.

Really? A number of the posts received many hits, and a few comments. Many of the articles on 990WBOB were not getting comments, likes, or retweets.

Your stance on homosexuality is primitive and dangerous yet I publish your work and stand by your right to express yourself. So for you to be uncomfortable with this in anyway not only offends me but the entire team as well.

So, my stance on homosexuality is the reason he let me go? For the record, these are the articles I wrote touching on homosexuality: LGBT Caucus in Congress; RI State Senator Nesselbush. In one of my radio programs in particular, I shared concerns about homosexual conduct, its true origins, and the need to defend religious liberty, although I did not reserve my opinions support marriage between one man and one woman, plus the necessity of protecting businesses, churches, and charities from a rising militancy against freedom of conscience in this country.

Palazio continued:

For to long we have walked on eggshells afraid to offend anyone. It got us no were. However when I finally did trust my gut and stop being so serious I not only made a name for myself but 990WBOB as well. For you to feel this way tells me your only going to be offended sooner then later and your not among like minds. It's very unfortunate that those with the strongest opinions usually have the narrowest mindsets.

At one point, the CEO claims that he is offended, and therefore everyone else is offended. Then he decides that I will be offended, before anything else has been spoken. What is going on? For the record, having a strong opinion never indicates a narrow mindset. Those who have formed their conclusions through research and evidence often reach strong opinions. Such is the essence of critical thinking.

Now, even local Internet media companies are getting intimidated or easily offended over differences of opinion. Freedom of speech means nothing if there is no freedom to speak or write freely. To be summarily dismissed, without warning, is reprehensible. This I wrote back to Palazio, and much more:

I am disappointed in your lack of candor, or courage. You could have had the courage to say something - request I write on other subjects. In one sense, you are right-- it is not a good fit -- I deserve better than your lack leadership.
John DePetro

Sadly, in Rhode Island, this rising assault on freedom of speech is nothing new. WPRO radio host John DePetro faced an extended boycott from public sector unions because of his relentless exposes on their tactics and aggressive agenda against RI taxpayers. Raymond McKay, an IT employee in Warwick, Rhode Island would have lost his job if he ran for US Senate in 2014.
Raymond McKay
Now, Palazio has discreetly shown me the door without any notice from 990WBOB.

So, I must ask: Is freedom of speech dead in Rhode Island?

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