Content Warning: Islamophobia and racism
On the March 16 episode of conservative talk radio show Chuck Morse Speaks, “Trump Travel Ban,” host Chuck Morse said that allowing Muslims into America would change the dynamic of our society.
He thinks that Islamic law is not compatible with American democracy and that under the religion, women can be killed. He said, “Since the influx of Muslim immigrants in this country, there has been an increase in these sorts of killings. And for reasons that are quite interesting, the New York Times, which is the left leaning establishment mouthpiece doesn’t report this. They’ll report there was a killing, that a girl was killed by her father or her brother, but they won’t report that the family was Muslim, they leave that out.”
Chuck Morse Speaks is a Tufts WMFO radio show. At 10 a.m. on Thursdays since early this November, Morse talks about a range of current events in a racist and Islamophobic way under the guise of the “conservative perspective.”
Morse, who identified himself on air as Jewish, said that it was immoral to deny Jews entry into the U.S. from Nazi Germany, but letting in Muslims could change our society. It has nothing to do with race or even religion, he said on air, just their “ideology”—which he said is to destroy nation states worldwide. In an episode of his show titled “Censorship at Tufts” he asked, “Do we want to allow Muslim immigration into this country? It’s a difficult question. I would respectfully say no.”
Morse is a middle-aged community member and DJ. He speaks favorably of Trump, saying that his inaugural address is “something by conventional meaning every school child should learn and read and memorize,” and he’s written several nonfiction books, with titles like The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism, Was Hitler a Leftist? and The War against Judaism.
In “Censorship at Tufts University” Morse said he believes that Tufts students are afraid to speak out because of bias reports, what he calls “thought police.” He said that Tufts has created “an apparatus, a group of people who are taking phone calls from students who want to report someone who has engaged in politically incorrect conversations.” He added that saying something racist in this day and age is unlikely, and that what is offensive is a subjective decision.
In contrast, Tufts defines a bias incident as “any act directed against a person or property that includes the use of slurs or epithets expressing bias on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.”
On his show, he compared the system to communist China. “Tufts isn’t that bad but we seem to be moving in that direction,” Morse said. “Do we want a society where comments we don’t agree with are reported to the authorities?”
When junior and Tufts Observer staff member Kayden Mimmack first heard the show playing a few days before the recent presidential election at Brown & Brew, he was surprised and upset to hear Morse speaking about the “gender fluidity movement.” He said he’s heard the show several times and is always upset by it—and concerned that Morse’s words represent Tufts.
Mimmack explained, “He’s consistently pushing ill-informed, deeply biased perspectives regurgitated from right-wing news sources as well as borderline hate speech, and I don’t think we should be embracing this and allowing his show to be representative of or influential toward the people who live and work here.”
According to WMFO Co-General Manager and senior Hunter Howard, and Web Master and senior Ben Tanen, the show has received complaints about the content. Acting in accordance with their policies, they are in the process of investigating the claims and deciding what the best course of action is moving forward.
Morse said he believes the charges are “frivolous,” but added, “Nevertheless, I respect the right of Tufts University, a privately owned institution, and WMFO to censor my performance….I will do my best to stay within censorship guidelines.” He said that his show aims to share his insights and “diverse opinion” with Tufts to create dialogue.
According to Howard, WMFO follows regulations from the FCC, Federal Communications Commission, as well as Tufts rules—like those for anti-discrimination and sexual harassment. Howard explains, “With that, though, there is ambiguity; it isn’t clearly defined what you can and can’t say.”
Complaints, Howard said, are usually technical. If it’s against FCC rules, WMFO goes through a suspension and possible removal process. If it’s less explicit, like violating Tufts values, they typically reach out to the DJ. Howard points out that the FCC prohibits a station from censoring someone’s material based on their personal views.
While Howard recognizes the station’s responsibility for quality control, he said that their guiding principal is “freeform ideology.” He explained, “We really try and place as few restrictions on the variety of things we can get.”
Tanen elaborated, “If you have an interest in having a show and you’ve shown the technical ability to have a show and you adhere to all the regulations that we talked about and we make sure everyone sticks to those regulations, your voice is allowed on WMFO… We encourage people to have a show if they want one.”
First-year Charlie Billings, a WMFO DJ host of Blue Noise, said, “I think that it’s inappropriate for people to spew hate speech on the radio, but, even though I totally disagree with [Morse’s] stances and there’s some seriously messed up intrinsic and very thinly veiled bias at play here, I believe that most of what he’s saying is covered under free speech.”
Mimmack believes that WMFO shouldn’t allow the spread of a hateful ideology, or the attack of specific groups, “Allowing a show like this one with blindingly obvious hateful, racist, and bigoted content to air under the defense of ‘free speech’ makes WMFO and Tufts as a whole complicit in what is said and legitimizes those viewpoints…This show isn’t just political disagreements over tax rates or party politics, this is the demonization, dehumanization, and humiliation of entire groups of people, and that should have no place on WMFO.”