This past weekend, Kimberly Noel Kardashian West was on Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, a program produced by WBEZ and NPR and broadcast nationwide. She was pretty funny. Also pretty funny: the long-time listeners of the show who hated that she was on it.
“From time to time, we have someone on the show who we can’t believe agreed to be on the show,” guest host Mike Pesca said before Kim’s segment. Unfortunately for the show, a number of listeners emailed NPR’s ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen telling her that they can’t believe Wait Wait booked Kim either, an outrage similar to how Kim was dismissed before appearing a Re/code’s Code/Mobile tech conference. Just as tech people told Re/code’s Kara Swisher that she had “jumped the shark” (a term the Kardashian sisters did not know), NPR listeners said the same to Jensen.
Jensen writes that she loves getting emails from Wait Wait listeners:
I will admit it. In my not–quite five months as NPR’s Ombudsman, I’ve found one reliable source of joy: the Monday morning email—there’s at least one each week—from a listener outraged by whatever bad taste joke Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! has told on its latest episode. This Monday, the inbox was overflowing.
And with words like these, how could you not?
“Everyone is allowed one mulligan, and you just had yours.”
“She has no business in any civilized forum.”
“I have enjoyed your show for years, but I found the inclusion of Kim Kardashian so misguided and offensive, I fear I will never be able to listen again (hyperbolic, yes, but vapid, talentless, and shallow individuals who have not earned fame or fortune through an ounce of hard work have no place on a show of such caliber).”
Even people who don’t understand how donating to their local public radio station doesn’t actually directly support NPR or WBEZ, which is NPR’s Chicago affiliate (and, full disclosure, my former employer), were upset.
“I recently gave a small gift to my local NPR station. Had I heard your Saturday show before I made my gift, I wouldn’t have donated. The Kardashians represent much of what is wrong with America today — and I listen to NPR to get AWAY from Kardashian-like garbage.”
Luckily, public radio listeners are always pretty polite.
Monthly sustaining donor Sharonn Flaucher of Tuftonboro, N.H., is “seriously thinking about dropping my membership. I thought NPR had a certain class/values and it looks like we might be heading in another direction that I’m not willing to go with you. Just thought I’d give you a heads up. Have a sparkling day!”
You know what, let’s all chill and have a sparkling day.
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