Friday, April 13, 2007


Don Imus' professional death means we can all move along. Nothing else to see here, save for the squashed remains of an aging announcer who was trampled because he said something crass.

But like any member of a crowd whipped into mass hysteria, we're nursing a post-mob hangover. Destruction can be satisfying, even fun, but once it's over there's always a mess to clean up. Some wow finish.

(For past CHATTER posts on the Imus mess, click here and here.)

Anyone even glancingly familiar with radio knew Imus was notorious for being rude. So why was he fired for acting like he's always acted?

According to The Associated Press:
Imus had a long history of inflammatory remarks. But something struck a raw nerve when he targeted the Rutgers team -- which includes a class valedictorian, a future lawyer and a musical prodigy -- after they lost in the NCAA championship game.
Ah, "something" did him in. Glad to see we've identified the specific problem.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the firing "a victory for public decency. No one should use the public airwaves to transmit racial or sexual degradation."

Added the Rev. Al Sharpton: "He says he wants to be forgiven. I hope he continues in that process. But we cannot afford a precedent established that the airways can commercialize and mainstream sexism and racism."

With sweeping statements like these, there can be no shock (or awe) when the call for more heads swings into full cry. As Reuters reports:
Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee said on Friday that if broadcaster Don Imus could lose his job for making racist remarks then other media members should lose their jobs too. ...

Huckabee drew comparisons with other controversial television figures like Rosie O'Donnell of "The View" and Bill Maher of HBO.

"I think if Imus is going to get fired, then there's a number of other people who need to go out the door," Huckabee told Radio Iowa. "Rosie's probably's got to go. Bill Maher has to go. Gosh, half of television and talk radio has to go."
Liberals want the focus now to shift to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and other right-wing talkers. Conservative yakkers are already warning that they are the next targets. Limbaugh, long a favorite bullseye for the left, has called Sen. Barack Obama a "halfrican-American," a nonsense phrase he's also assigned to Halle Berry, the actress.

Speaking of Berry, we can't wait for next year, when she stars in "Nappily Ever After," a movie she's also producing.

"Oh, it's a crazy world," the character Ilsa Lund said in another movie from another era. "Anything can happen." Take her advice, and kiss as if it's your last time.


Anonymous said...

We'll see if this one really has legs. When the next Anna Nichole or Rosie vs Donald story comes across...the mob might be deverted. It seems like the Mob has a short attention span.

W. Shadow

Anonymous said...

The more challenging outcome, for everyone involved on all sides, would be for Imus to return after a 2-week suspension. Would he be able to reform himself? Could those offended control their outrage over his mere presence? Could those who back him or who cry foul over the unscathed hiphop vulgarians manage not to gloat? Could advertisers bear to keep sinking money into his show? In short, would we all be able to get a grip? It would be quite a test for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Al and Jesse,

Fair warning -- What goes around comes around.

The Committee for Clean Airwaves

Ken said...

We'll see how offended Al and Jesse are when it comes to reform the foul-mouthed gangsta rappers and their stream of offensive words. I'll wait and watch!!

Anonymous said...

Comparing rap music lyrics to comments by a talk show host, although important this situation, is not the issue. Lets compare statements made by talk show hosts instead...Some of the "conservative talkers" should be held accountable for some things they have said on the (federally regulated) air waves. Calling someone a traitor for a (proven) specific action is one thing, but to call entire groups (read Dems and liberals) traitors this country simply because of their opinions is quite offensive.
It's generally considered offensive to question ones religion, but our own local religious conservative talker VINCENT DAVID johnson SCHATTENJIRK once said on his station (K-HATE radio) that "a Democrat can't be a Christian." That's pretty damn offensive to christians and dems but I don;t believe I heard one complaint (or apology) about that. Good cause for complaining to advertisers I think.
And by the way, before anyone advises me to "turn the channel", I already have. I stopped listening to VDj when he made those remarks. Haven't listened to him for several months and I'm a much better person for it.
I hate to come back to the tired old phrase "where's the outrage?" but where in the hell is it?

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about freedom of speech. Either you're for it, and all that that entails, or you're for censorship and therefore by default against freedom of speech.

It isn't freedom of speech if only particular points of view are allowed or are acceptable.

Personally, I think Imus had a right to his job as protected by the 1st Amendment. That doesn't mean I think he was right, or anything but crass. I just think he's entitled to whatever his opinion is...

As for defamation of character, libel, and slander... there are already laws on the books for that. This could've been handled in court by any Rutgers student that wanted to sue him, and they would have had the full cooperation and support of the ACLU.

But no, we as a nation had to make a statement about political correctness out of Don Imus. Enjoy the freedom of speech you enjoy, readers, while you can still speak at all. Censorship is slowly creeping in, and it doesn't look like anything will stop it.

I remember being called any and all sorts of unflattering to downright ugly things from the day I entered school as a child, and as recently as last year. I got over every single one. As a nation we need to get our priorities straight. One curmudgeon shock jock's off-the-cuff blatherings do not an entire society define. Or so I thought before we defined ourselves as police officers of speech in the aftermath.

I'm bored with Imus and disgusted with everyone who has forgotten that freedom of speech is one of the greatest freedoms we enjoy in this country. Immigrants come here craving it. Every American uses or misuses it every day. And we have servicemen dying right now defending our right to it.

Try not to forget that when you're telling someone else what to say and how to say it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% anon 713pm. In my rambling post directly before yours, I was simply trying to point out the hypocracy of conservative talk radio hosts their core listeners.