Public Radio Station Lashes Out at GOP Congressman

Tells career Army officer to get a ‘real job… and not live off the taxpayers money’

Chris Gibson
Chris Gibson / AP
October 1, 2014

A staffer at a local radio station in upstate New York lashed out at a Republican congressman earlier this month, expressing hope that his Democratic challenger would win in November and telling the career Army officer to get a "real job."

"Someday (hopefully) he will be replaced by Sean Eldridge," wrote an employee of WIOX Radio to the reelection campaign of Rep. Chris Gibson (R., N.Y.) in a Sept. 18 email to Gibson aide Rebecca Shaw.

Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, is the Democratic candidate in New York’s 19th district, where he has lived for less than two years.

Gibson’s campaign emailed local news organizations a press release regarding the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades union’s endorsement of the congressman.

A WIOX employee used the press release to express his annoyance with Gibson’s career as a member of the military.

"Cool," a WIOX staffer wrote in response. "Someday maybe he will find a real job like the rest of us and not live off the taxpayers [sic] money as he has done his whole life."

Gibson is a former colonel in the U.S. Army who served seven combat tours, including four in Iraq.

Eldridge, meanwhile, earned his fortune by marrying Mark Zuckerberg’s randomly assigned college roommate.

"Someday (hopefully never) perhaps [Gibson’s] voting record will demonstrate that he really cares about the community and not play part [sic] politics," the WIOX employee went on.

WIOX merged with Binghamton-based public radio station WSKG last year. The latter was chartered by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York and the New York State Department of Education.

On Sunday, WIOX interviewed Eldridge on air. "Great conversation," the candidate said on his Facebook page. "Covered a lot of important topics from why I oppose fracking to how we can achieve universal access to high-speed Internet in our region."

A staffer for the Gibson campaign tweeted a screenshot of the WIOX email on Wednesday.

WIOX host Kent Garrett said the staffer in question "should have sent [the email] on their personal account," and that it "doesn’t reflect the position of the station."

WIOX has hosted both Eldridge and Gibson for on-air interviews, Garrett noted.