KAYAK and “All-American Muslim” … a question of tone

Robert Birge, the chief marketing manager of a company called KAYAK, found himself having to defend his company from accusations of religious bigotry because they stopped advertising on a program called “All-American Muslim.” I’m as against giving in to appeals from crazy religious bigots as the next All-American liberal, but I’ve no reason to doubt his explanation. What caught my eye, though, was a demonstration of how an executive in defense mode, can sometimes lose track of the tone of what he is saying. After commenting on the “vitriol” in many of the emails from the Islamophobes, he wrote: “Many of the emails I’ve received expressing disappointment in our decision have been much more civil, and I applaud you for that.” And then, as Frank and Nancy might have said, he went and spoiled it all by adding: “Lastly, I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.” Civility towards me, excellent; civility to others, apparently, not so much.

My guess—that’s all it is—is that Mr. Birge was so hot under the collar about the accusations of bigotry that his internal editor blew its top. But it says something good about where we are in America today that he knew he had to defend his company from the allegation that it harbored anti-Moslem bigots.