I do not really expect much in the way of scholarship, thoughtfuness or intellectual depth from radio and television commentators in New Zealand. It is a small country and obviously draws from a very shallow talent pool. But is it too much to expect that they will stay away giving vent to their latent racism while on air? In recent years we had Paul Holmes calling the UN Secretary General a "cheeky darky". Then came the asinine jokes from the crude Paul Henry. Now we have Murray Deaker with his euphemism for blacks.
The strange thing is that in each of these cases the employers of these commentators, rather than expressing their dismay and condemning the comments, jumped up to defend these people and suggested that it was not a big deal.
It is a very big deal. Of course, I have no delusions that these people will turn into enlightened souls any time soon. But could we at least expect their employers to set slightly higher standards and ask their commentators to keep a check on the racist remarks during a broadcast? And how about the Broadcasting Standards Authority? Does it have any teeth at all?