After unceremoniously flipping the switch, Governor Chafee said he is surprised Rhode Islanders aren’t more supportive the state’s long history of religious freedom and tolerance but said he’s surprised more of the local media isn’t focusing on how those values contrast with controversy over the holiday tree.
“I’ve been surprised there hasn’t been more respect for our history here,” he told me in an exclusive interview after lighting the tree. “There hasn’t been that intellectual discussion about that in Rhode Island about these concepts that are now several centuries old.”
He wouldn’t speak directly about the coverage on WPRO in general or John DePetro’s in particular, but he did say it’s up to advertisers, not politicians, to determine who get a soap box on the radio dial.
“I’ve always thought advertisers make decisions on where they advertise,” when asked about the shock jock’s vitriolic and often untrue diatribes against the state’s tradition of calling the decoration a holiday tree.
Watch a short video of my conversation with Gov. Chafee here below: