This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, August 30, 2021
I am going to tell you his name, but you probably won’t recognize it. His name is Mike Richards. You may not know his name, but you have probably heard of him. He was the new host of Jeopardy for one episode before internet trolls got ahold of some tape of something he said years ago. Because of this tape, he was forced to resign.
Now, a couple of things.
First, no one will be able to replace Alex Trebek. Any hope you ever had of that happening you might as well put out of your mind. He was the most popular gameshow host of all time, having hosted Jeopardy for 37 years. I remember when Jeopardy was the new show on TV (I was 9 years old). Many of us grew up with Trebek hosting the show. He may have been Canadian, but he is as much a part of Americana as any other public figure. It was so great to see Trebek get a cameo in Ryan Reynolds’ new movie, Free Guy. (Also a great movie, by the way).
Second, how sick of a person do you have to be to see something good happen for someone, and the first thing you do is sift through their past to find a reason to take that away from them? I am sure Mike Richards was vetted, and they made sure nothing in his past was illegal. Why couldn’t we just leave it at that? Why was the first instinct to take that away from him? It’s something I will never understand.
One of the reasons given for the smear campaign to get Richards out of the job was because the “fans” and I use that term lightly, didn’t get the host they wanted. I would like to know how many episodes of Jeopardy these people who are such rabid fans watch in a given year. The host they wanted was LeVar Burton. People of my generations know Burton very well in that he hosted a TV show we Gen Xers grew up on called Reading Rainbow, which was a part of PBS and shown in many schools when we were young. He went on to play Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He wore some of the coolest sunglasses ever produced in that show.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter to me who hosts Jeopardy. The point of this article is that I am sick to death of internet trolls. Why can’t we just allow decisions to be made and let them be what they need to be? Burton was not chosen to host the show and I am sure there was a reason for that. Based on whatever criteria the producers had, they chose Richards. Since the internet mob didn’t get their way, Richards will probably never be able to work again because of what was unearthed in the quest to destroy him.
It breaks my heart that Richards, who probably grew up watching Jeopardy like I did, got to be the new host for only one episode. Then the internet destroyed him over comments made in a podcast back in the early days of the internet. Do words really have that much power? I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that I didn’t have access to media and electronics that could leave a permanent record when I was growing up. It takes so little to get cancelled anymore that I am absolutely certain I would have posted something back in the 80s or 90s that would cost me more than I could afford to pay today.
I hope that Burton gets the job. It would be so nice to see him go back to his roots of educational TV. But I hope for his sake that the internet mob doesn’t find something disagreeable in his past or else he will be out after one episode as well. It must be a thrill to have that much power over another person; a responsibility I would never want.
The moral to this story is to be so very careful about what you preserve in electronic media because once you post it, you can never take it back.