Rice opens door to talk show host rehiring...but host remains fired (correction)

Some of what should have happened regarding the dismissal of KTRS on-air personality Dave Lenihan actually did happen: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accepted Lenihan's profuse apology for inadvertently using the word 'coon' while discussing her, and station chief Tim Dorsey took advantage of the reprieve from on high to rescind his firing of the embattled host - a firing that should never have happened in the first place and which helped inflate a verbal accident into a nationally-reported incident. NOTE: Lenihan was not rehired by Dorsey, as I erroneously posted earlier. Lenihan's slot has been filled by McGraw Milhaven, another previously fired KTRS announcer.

"My understanding is that he apologized, said he didn't mean it," Rice told "Fox News Sunday." "I accept that because we all say things from time to time that we
shouldn't say or didn't mean to say."

The statement - made on the Bush administration's favorite news outlet, FOX - was very gracious of Dr. Rice, even if she rather shamelessly used the occasion to equate a verbal gaffe with bloody violence and political stumbling in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for Lenihan, he now gets to walk the rocky trail of public redemption starting with a trip to the woodshed: a "visit" with Harold Crumpton, president of St. Louis' NAACP chapter. He may find himself onstage on Oprah Winfrey's show before it's all said and done (and if he does, remember that you read it here first), but it is to be hoped that the grace demonstrated by Rice will guide future discussions of Lenihan's slip of the lip.

As for Dorsey: I'm no media expert, so I'm not sure how much weight to give to suggestions that the KTRS chief used this incident as cheap publicity for his station. It's clear enough, however, that his shoot-from-the-hip dismissal of Lenihan before the mic was even cold did a lot to aggravate the situation, and showed fairly poor judgment. Lenihan's not the only one who needs to learn a lesson here.

And will everyone at KTRS please practice using the delay button? That's what they do at the grown-up stations.

(Cross-post your heart and hope to die...)

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