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Here's why I won't be talking about the Middle East on NewsTalk again

Posted By: John Downs · 7/18/2014 4:28:00 PM

The current situation in Gaza is newsworthy. It's a compelling story. And it could make for a great conversation on NewsTalk 1010. All too often, however, it fails to function on real-time talk radio.

NewsTalk 1010's Ryan Doyle has been in the talk game longer than me. When we worked together I couldn't understand why he was often reluctant to discuss abortion, native affairs and Middle East issues. This week has been a real wake-up call as to why certain topics are simply toxic to civil discourse.

Those texting or calling in to the station are usually not representative of the overall listening audience. These are listeners with something to say, and they want their voices heard. As we've heard this week, some are tightly connected to the conflict, with loved ones in Israel being forced into shelters to escape the shelling from Gaza. Another listener, who identified himself as ...

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About Friendly Fire

John Downs has been an award-winning radio reporter and personality in news and talk radio in Toronto since 1998, primarily covering Toronto City Hall. His individual work has been recognized by the Radio and Television News Directors Association of Canada, including the Sam Ross Award for Best National Commentary in 2007.

He is currently co-hosting Friendly Fire alongside Ryan Doyle in the evenings 7pm – 10pm on NEWSTALK 1010. Prior to joining NEWSTALK 1010 Downs hosted the John Downs Show, a news-based talk program on CFMJ AM640 in Toronto.  Some of Downs' higher profile assignments have included, SARS, blackouts, pope-wrangling, and most recently, rubber bullet dodging at G20 protests.