WPGB-FM (104.7) morning talk host Jim Quinn apologized to listeners on yesterday's program for comments he made in the past about slavery and welfare.
During a broadcast last November in which he was criticizing public welfare, Quinn drew a parallel to slavery: "You get a free house, you get free food, and you get rewarded for having children. Oh, wait a minute ... There is a difference: The slave had to work for it."
His comments were picked up by the liberal/progressive media watchdog group Media Matters, which monitors high-profile radio talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in the "Radioactive" section of its Web site.
"When you are on the air for as long as I have been, I suppose it's only a matter of time before you say something that cannot be adequately defended. My comments comparing welfare to slavery was one such event," Quinn told listeners yesterday. "The purpose of my comments was to make the point that servitude can be accomplished by pandering as well as by oppression. It was not my intention to discuss the fine points of the issue or the moral hazards therein. However, that does not excuse the fact that in making my point I treated a deadly serious issue in a manner so cavalier as to be indefensible."
He said that while he felt the original point he was making was valid, "the way in which it was presented was grossly inappropriate."
Quinn said he was not coerced into making the apology by the station. "It is my conscience that moves me to post this [on the show's Web site]. It is simply the right thing to do. I was wrong.
"To those who were offended, both friend and foe and my treasured co-host Rose, I say please accept my most profound apology, you deserve better than that from me."
The text of the apology is posted on the "Quinn and Rose Show" War Room site.
"Quinn and Rose" airs weekdays on WPGB, 17 other stations and on XM Satellite Radio.
Adrian McCoy can be reached at 412-263-1865 or firstname.lastname@example.org .