Beloved (by white people) New York City radio host Bernard McGuirk has passed away at the age of 64 after battling prostate cancer. His station, WABC, made the announcement Thursday, the New York Post reported, and an outpouring of condolences and posthumous praise has been flowing for the “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” co-host ever since.
From the Post:
He had been on the air in the city since 1986 and was the executive producer of the nationally syndicated program “Imus in the Morning.”
In 2007, McGuirk moved to WABC with Don Imus, the late radio icon, and his “personality from day one dramatically improved the camaraderie and morale of the entire radio station,” the station said in a statement.
McGuirk had co-hosted “Bernie & Sid” since 2018, and his talents recently propelled it to the top-rated morning radio show in New York, after the station was bought by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media Group Inc. in March 2020.
“We just started doing things the way radio was meant to be. We went back to basic formatics and we didn’t let big corporation thinking or corporation-type thinking where it was done for the money; it was done for what the product was and we invested in the product,” WABC president Chad Lopez told The Post about the show’s rise to the top of the ratings.
“We allowed him to be who it was and that’s a huge part of the success of the show,” he continued.
“He was able to just be himself and just do it and that’s what made that show number one. He was witty and didn’t mince his words and just spoke the truth.”
So, clearly, a lot of people remember McGuirk fondly. Those people are not likely to be of a demographic that understands the impact of on-air bigotry, misogynoir and blatant anti-Blackness. On the other hand, Black people who are familiar with McGuirk (all nine or so of us) are likely to remember him as the white guy who joined equally white, racist and deceased shock jock Don Imus in denigrating Black women on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team for no other reason than they were Black female athletes who looked “rough” in their eyes.
Y’all remember this exchange:
Imus: So, I watched the basketball game last night between — a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women’s final.
“Bernie and Sid” co-host Sid Rosenberg: Yeah, Tennessee won last night — seventh championship for [Tennessee coach] Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
Imus: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and —
McGuirk: Some hard-core hoes.
IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hoes there. I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some — woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like — kinda like — I don’t know.
McGuirk: A Spike Lee thing.
McGuirk: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes — that movie that he had.
McGuirk was referring to director Spike Lee’s 1988 HBCU satire “School Daze,” which separated the women’s basketball players into two teams: The dark-skinned “Jigaboos” and the light-skinned “Wannabees.” But what did the real-life Rutger’s athletes have to do with the fictional characters in a satirical commentary on colorism within the Black community? And why did these white men feel the need to keep referring to these Black women as “hoes”? I suppose that was McGuirk being allowed to “just be himself” and speak the “truth.”
Side note: This might be a good time to remind y’all that McGuirk’s co-host isn’t any better. In 2001, Rosenberg said on air: “One time, a friend, he says to me, ‘Listen, one of these days you’re gonna see Venus and Serena Williams in Playboy.’ I said, ‘You’ve got a better shot at National Geographic.’ ”
It’s almost as if hatred toward Black women is so commonplace in these white men’s worlds that they were out here bragging about it like they were elementary school students and it was earning them smiley face stickers.
While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning that Bernard McGuirk was a dedicated Donald Trump supporter who defended and dismissed Trump’s “grab’em by the p******” comments as “locker room talk”
He also whined about progressives—“the party, the ideology, of supposed tolerance—they’re the LEAST tolerant people,” because they’re not right-wing extremist politicians.
Another side note: For some reason, conservatives liken intolerance toward conservatives to intolerance toward people of certain races, genders, nationalities and faiths. It’s not terribly surprising that right-wingers have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to the social concept of “tolerance.”
Anyway, R.I.P. Bernard McGuirk.