Mpls Co. Pulls Talk-Show Ads Over Newtown Remarks

Atomic Data ended its sponsorship of the Davis and Emmer show, saying that one of the hosts’ remarks “crossed the line of civility.”

A Minneapolis-based IT services provider recently announced that it has ended its corporate sponsorship for the Davis and Emmer show on News Talk AM 1130, due to controversial remarks made by one of the program’s hosts.

Atomic Data revoked its sponsorship in response to on-air statements made by Bob Davis regarding gun control and the victims of December’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

During the program, which aired April 12, Davis and Tom Emmer, a former Minnesota gubernatorial candidate, discussed proposed gun legislation. Davis voiced his frustration with the way in which gun-control advocates allegedly “trot out the victims” of tragedies such as the shooting in Newtown in order to advance their agenda.

“I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown, or any other shooting: I don’t care if it’s here in Minneapolis or anyplace else. Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss. . .”

“I would stand in front of them and tell them, ‘Go to hell,’” he added.

The full program can be accessed here.

Atomic Data said in a statement that its mission is “to empower people through the use of technology” that “facilitates civil, informed, and respectful discussions and decision making amongst businesses, students, communities, and government.” The company said it supports people’s rights to voice their opinions, but it believes Davis’ remarks “crossed the line of civility.”

“When you’re the kind of company that strives every day to support community organizations of all kinds, we simply cannot support the kind of things Mr. Davis has been saying on the air,” the company said.

A Monday call to News Talk AM 1130 was not immediately returned, although Davis responded during an April 15 program to the backlash his statements received. “I do not hide behind flowery language, I do not pull my punches, and when I’m passionate about something it comes out on the air, it’s real, and it will always be that way,” Davis told listeners. He described his controversial statements as “an emotional predecessor to a thought, which can and will find a more refined expression by me and others in the future.”

Davis said, however, that “it’s critical that people who have suffered a tragedy are able to speak, and it’s understandable” that they would want to dedicate their lives to the memory of their children. “But it's also critical that our constitutional rights are protected,” he added.

Several days later, Davis returned to the subject and told listeners that he “made an inappropriate comment” and “did not mean to criticize the families of the victims . . . I want to offer my most sincere and total apology to all the families for any further pain those words may have caused,” according to a report by the Star Tribune.

When recently contacted by the Star Tribune, Gregg Swedberg, an executive with the AM station’s parent company, Clear Channel, declined to say whether Davis was disciplined for his comment. Swedberg told the Minneapolis newspaper that Atomic Data is the only advertiser to pull its ads from the show.

Atomic Data is a growing Twin Cities company that provides managed IT services, including data center management, private cloud solutions, and private enterprise networks. The company announced earlier this month that it acquired St. Paul-based DanburyIT for an undisclosed sum. Prior to the acquisition, Atomic Data was projecting 2013 revenue of $15 million, up from $12 million the previous year. With the addition of DanburyIT, whose 2012 revenue totaled $1 million, Atomic Data now expects its 2013 revenue to reach between $16 million and $18 million.