I’ve been laid off before and it doth sucketh. The only thing that has to suck harder is being fired not once, but twice, in a 24 hour period. Well Don Imus has been fired by both NBC and CBS in the past day. (ABC and Fox are debating whether or not to fire Imus even though he apparently works for neither).
It’s amazing how much of a story this has become. Because it involved two basketball teams, it’s a sports story and entertainment on top of being a national news story so we get to see it on ESPN and the E network as well as on CNN. Add to this that in the Youtube generation, the embarrassment gets forwarded and watched on demand. Imus is getting more press coverage than George Bush did the day after election day last year.
The funny thing is it isn’t like no one knew Imus thought this way. He has a history of saying racist, sexist comments and at no time did he risk losing his job. He is being fired for simply doing what he did daily for years. The difference is that he dared to make his employers and sponsors look bad. Don’t get drawn in by the stern statements and finger wagging – if this had quickly disappeared from page 1, he’d be saying the same shit tomorrow. No, what he did wrong was to embarrass them and the result is that they need to publicly distance themselves from him. This firing won’t change his mind or the minds of anyone like him. What it will do is remind every bigot that it’s better to keep your thoughts to themselves. Honestly I prefer my bigots to wear white hoods and robes. The devil you know…
So Don Imus is without a job and CBS and MSNBC (as well as the sponsors) can act as if none of this happened. Staples and American Express will simply move their ad dollars to Limbaugh and not skip a beat. The bad man has been banished. Unfortunately the people who created and enabled the bad man are free to do it again – and we can’t fire them.
At some point these corporations need to be held responsible for the words their employees spout. No more “The views expressed by the racist, bigoted, asshole we’re paying millions of dollars to, do not represent the views of the company making big money” bullshit.
Imus has every right to say and think what he wants. But his getting paid for it is what really is the shame of it all.