Michael Berry is an interesting character. He is the husband of Texas’ outgoing Secretary of State, the father of two adopted Ethiopian children and most notably, a right wing radio host in Houston.
He like so many others who profit off of the social strife of some and the deep seeded anger of others, could not avoid throwing gas on the Ferguson fire.
He called the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture part of the “pro thug narrative,” and when members of the St. Louis Rams did it in protest of the Grand Jury’s decision, he questioned their intelligence and insulted their families. He later encouraged his fans to share screenshots he posted of crime statistics, that without context, suggests that Blacks are more prone to murder and cops killing Black people is less of a problem than it used to be. He also posted a meme that suggested only Black people loot or riot, “I’m so white, that during the riots I went out and bought a television.”
Michael likes to stir the pot, and rile folks up especially when it comes to anti-Islamic rhetoric and race baiting. The insatiable appetite for vile commentary of his audience has even led him to overstep his own boundaries, or at least the ones set by his station.
In 2010 the Council on Islamic Relations filed a complaint with the FCC over his wish that someone blow up the mosque that was being considered near ground zero of the World Trade Center. He said, “ And I’ll tell you this — if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up … I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up, and I mean that.”
He was sure to affirm “he meant that” but after the complaint was filed, he “apologize[d]” on air but only after suggesting his 1st Amendment rights were being infringed upon and reassuring listeners that he has not changed his position on the mosque. He said he believed CAIR, “hopes to intimidate anyone who disagrees with them. They have filed a complaint against the MICHAEL BERRY SHOW, because we had the audacity to suggest that a mosque should not be built on our near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack … I did NOT advocate bombing any mosque.”
Precisely the reason folks like Berry are dangerous is because those in their vast audience usually don’t get a “sit down let’s be adults here” conversation with their boss (or another responsible adult). One commenter responded to his apology by saying, “I totally agree with Mr. Berry’s comment. I’m glad someone has the balls to tell it like it is. Building such a thing (even near the site) WOULD be the biggest slap in the face to those people who died that day and their families. Good for you Michael!” He was not alone in his sentiment.
The damage is done, and with no real responsibility taken. He just plays the victim as someone who is being intimidated into silence instead of recognizing that the real issue and focus of the complaint was his promotion of violence.
Berry not taking responsibility for his actions seems more than a one-time thing. Back in 2012 he was accused of a hit and run at a gay bar he was seen leaving in Montrose. Its ensuing drama is karma at its best — except for one part. Despite eye witnesses and video footage from the bar he never admitted to doing anything wrong. After multiple investigations, he settled with the hit and run victim who said he just wanted the man to pay to have his car fixed.
Some people never change, and if their antics are that profitable, why would they? After the hit and run incident Berry said, “I’ve always said when you do what I do, the way I do it, you make enemies…When you poke your finger in as many people’s eye as I do every day, you make enemies.”
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Here are a few examples: