SHAFAQNA – A prominent radio host on WGMD 92.7 FM – United States – Jake Smith, said on air that “as far as I’m concerned, not every Muslim is guilty, but every Muslim is suspect” of sympathizing with Islamic extremists.
When a caller to his show said Smith was “a bigot.” Smith replied, “you’re a jackass.”
He has not returned to WGMD’s airwaves since.
Smith’s 97 seconds of verbal sparring, which aired during the live “Mike and Jake in the Morning” show Feb. 20 on WGMD, led to his dismissal from the station that same day, Smith said in an interview, although word of that dismissal is just now leaking out.
During a segment of the morning show focusing on Islamic extremism, Smith said: “Muslims do not stand up for America – and they don’t, they didn’t stand up for America during 9/11, they didn’t stand up for America during Ft. Hood, they’ve never stood out and said, ‘This has to stop’ – I haven’t heard one Muslim in this country do that.
“As far as I’m concerned, not every Muslim is guilty, but every Muslim is suspect,” he continued.
A caller challenged him by citing the example of Kareem Khan, a 28-year-old Muslim from New Jersey who enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11 and died in combat in Iraq in 2007.
“He died for his country,” the caller, who wasn’t asked for his name in the broadcast, said. “That’s great, but not enough Muslims have done that, sir!” Smith responded.
Cutting through some crosstalk as Smith and the caller yelled at each other, the caller said simply, “bigot.”
“I’m a bigot? You know what, you’re a bigot!” Smith replied angrily. “Oh, you’re a jackass. You know what? You’re done. That jackass.”
Although Smith freely discussed the episode when asked about it by phone Friday, the station has not noted on-air his absence from the airwaves. “Mike and Jake in the Morning” became “Mike Bradley in the Morning,” overnight. The station’s manager, Walt Palmer, confirmed Smith’s last day with the station was Feb. 20, although he declined to discuss why.
Smith, 57, told The News Journal the station’s ownership was displeased with how he handled the call and told him he’d have to treat such callers differently in the future. When Smith said he wouldn’t, he said he was canned.
“I thought I had the right to defend myself. He called me a racist; I’m not a racist,” Smith said Friday. “I, unfortunately, stood up for a principle I thought was important.”
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Friday he’s nearly lost count of how many times his own group, along with others, has condemned and castigated violent acts by Islamic extremists.
“Every Muslim group in America, and many of those I know of around the world – I mean, our own organization has issued dozens of condemnations of terrorism, and ISIS, and the Charlie Hebdo attacks,” Hooper said. “We get that question every time we go on talk radio.”
In the Jan. 12 The News Journal, representatives of six Delaware mosques signed a letter to the editor saying the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris constituted a “terrible slaughter,” and said “there is nothing noble or meritorious about this terrorist act. It was a crime against humanity and we condemn it without reservation.”
For some radio hosts to discount or ignore such statements, Hooper said, is “all too common. We call it hate radio.”
Smith – who went by an air name for WGMD, and refused to give his real name – did not join co-host Mike Bradley for the morning drive-time show on Feb. 21, the day after the call.