A day in the life of Don Imus

I’ve kind of avoided the subject of Don Imus, because this whole thing is getting old.   Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Ann Coulter, Isaiah Washington, Tim Hardaway – it’s numbing how much intolerance there is.   My friend Grace asked me what comments I found more disturbing: Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Donovan Mcnabb or Don Imus’ comments on the Rutger’s women team.   My response was that Limbaugh’s comments were more hurtful because they attempted to belittle Mcnabb’s accomplishments based on race, but I’ll agree to say that the source of the comments are more from ignorance than out and out hate.   Imus’ comments are pure bigotry no question.   There was no intelligent discourse.   He couldn’t say “oh here are the PC police once again”.   There was nothing redeeming in what he said.   The best part is he keeps digging himself deeper.

Today he’s on full damage control, issuing apologies on his show and then going on Al Sharpton’s radio show to face the fire.   His comments are littered with examples that show he still just doesn’t get it.   This morning he said he knows African-Americans.   This is the famed “I’ve got black friends” defense and is always the go to defense of the worst bigots.   As if having a black cleaning woman or doorman excuses his behavior.   I wonder how many black people would call Imus a friend.   Then today on Al Sharpton’s radio show, Imus became frustrated and said he can’t win with “you people”.   Obviously he’s learned his lesson (sarcasm).

Here’s the thing:   MSNBC (who at the writing of this has suspended Imus for 2 weeks) and   WFAN who syndicates the show will fight to keep Imus.   Why? Because all of this lends credibility and importance to someone who has not be credible or important in years, or in other words, people will be listening now.   You shouldn’t shake your head at the fact that Imus said what he did, but that the companies that employ people like him Coulter and Limbaugh continue to do so regardless of the fact that their actions are indefensible.

For someone that does what Imus does, this type of controversy does nothing but increase ratings and put more money in the pockets of his bosses.   There will be no lack of suiters if he does lose his job.

9 thoughts on “A day in the life of Don Imus

  1. He’s a dope, but I wouldn’t fire him or ask he be fired. I don’t think he’s some big racist either, he’s just a guy who does stupid bits on his radio show. Sure he’s racist on some level, but most people are…we’re just trying to hide this when we lash out at public figures for what they say. It’s easy to poitn and say ‘there’s the bad guy’, even when many have lots of negative feelings towards other people.

  2. There is a difference between ignorance and racism. If Imus’ job is to make money for his bosses by being hateful, then we have every right to call them on it.

    I don’t think everyone is racist to the extent of clouding their judgment and their value to society. At the point where that isn’t true – then they deserve to be punished.

  3. I don’t know how public figures keep doing this. And I don’t care for apologies at this point. After all of the recent public gaffes and talks of anger rehab and putting the community together, it’s pointless. Kramer is not going to heal the great divide. And neither will Don Imus.

    There is no excuse he could possibly make for uttering those words, which don’t even make sense. And his target choice is ridiculous. Sports anchors have been fired for much less. And I think it’s the right thing to do.

    I’m a big advocate of free speech, and a part of me is glad to know where people really stand on the issues. But First Amendment protection is not extended to the marketplace. His sponsors and employers have every right to take action, because he screwed up while carrying their flags. I’m surprised and disgusted that there hasn’t been more done on their end.

    If you, as a corporate citizen of this country, allow an employee to put this hatred out into the world with little or no consequence, then you are implicitly saying that what he did is okay. CBS Radio and MSNBC are unbelievable. I’ve never thought much of either organization (and it’s hard for me to say BOYCOTT! since I’ve never paid much attention to their productions), but the message is loud and clear. This behavior is acceptable to them.

    Money will be the ultimate arbiter here, as it always is. If his advertisers pull out, then maybe his big dumb corporate home will finally get it. If there is any pressure to be applied by the public, I’m betting advertisers is the way to go. Making the business of hate speech unprofitable to Corporate America is the only way to activate what little remains of their sense of decency.

  4. Corporate citizenship; that is what everyone seems to forget here. He has every right to say what he wants, but in a market driven society – there may be consequences for those opinions. This is important, because it reinforces that these opinions are wrong. Simply ignoring them or not acting, reinforces that the opinions are right.

    Take a look at the punishment that the NFL put on Pacman Jones and Chris Henry. It may not change their behavior – but it may change the behavior of those behind them – and that’s the point.

  5. I just wish the response from the African-American community wasn’t being primarily presented by Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson and Al Sharpton. Passionate speakers, but not ones without some pretty crappy stuff in their backgrounds, too. I’d rather hear more from the women of Rutgers, who can speak passionately on their own behalf, and with no baggage…

    I almost ran over Al Sharpton when he jaywalked on a side street in Georgetown a couple of years ago. The man has the most billowy silk suits I’ve ever seen on a human being. I flipped him the bird. He was pissed. One of his bodyguards had to pull him back out of the street he’d walked into…

  6. I’ve always had a grudging acceptance of Jackson and Sharpton. They’re activists – not politicians and I feel that with what they are battling that in order to be heard and make a difference in this day and age – you need to be as bold on the left as they are on the right. So yes, they have their faults, but I think it’s a function of trying to make sure they’re heard.

    It is funny though that when something like this happens – the white person has to apologize to either one of them as if they literally are talking to the entire black population. It’s rather expedient.

  7. “It’s rather expedient.” I have to remember to not be drinking anything when I read your blog. Poland Springs up one’s nose is just not a good thing. ;)

  8. There’s never been a shortage of idiocy in radio, but it still amazes me when a veteran air personality can do something so indefensible and still expect it to be taken as a joke.

    If anything good is to come of this (yet another) debacle, it’ll be because of great people like C. Vivian Stringer. She has been the personification of dignity under pressure, appropriately defending her players, and remaining calm, eloquent and respectful even while appropriately angry and strong. One might have excused her at this point if she had espoused some racist thoughts toward Imus, yet she’s risen above that, to participate in what I hope will become a trend — a return to civility and working to eliminate disrespect and insult in all communities.

    Idealistic as it seems, I’d prefer not to hear anyone cross the line of hurtfulness, whether it be Don Imus, Rev. Jackson, Michael Richards, rap artists, or even us while dissing Mr. Bush and Ms. Coulter and their compatriates.

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