Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Don Imus under fire for racist comments

Don Imus is under scrutiny for racist comments he made last week, even if he says he's sorry. From The New York Times:
Given that Mr. Imus spent part of last week describing the student athletes at Rutgers as “nappy-headed hos,” you might think he’d have trouble booking anyone, let alone A-list establishment names.

But Mr. Imus, who has been given a pass for this sort of comment in the past, also generously provides airtime to those parts of the news media and political apparatus that would generally be expected to bring him to account.

Mr. Imus’s comment about the Rutgers team last week was not just, as they say, over the line — you can’t even see the line from where he landed. It was not a gaffe, a slip of the tongue, a joke in poor taste.

(Nor was the on-air comment to Mr. Imus by the show’s longtime producer, Bernard McGuirk, calling the women’s final the “Jigaboos vs. the Wannabees,” in a bad attempt to borrow a phrase from a Spike Lee movie.) Mr. Imus’s slur was the kind of unalloyed racial insult that might not have passed muster on a low-watt AM station in the Jim Crow South.
We live in a corporate media saturated society that seems to prize double standards. Make fun of NASCAR and look out. (And by the way, last time I checked NASCAR is both a corporation and a sport rather than a group of citizens, even if it is most popular in certain regions and classes.)

Call black athletes by the most demeaning, racist names imaginable, and the corporate PR machine goes into over-drive, not because anyone watching the books is actually sorry, but because they have to protect a profit center named Don Imus.

MSNBC, which is also home to Keith Olbermann, is under no First Amendment obligation to continue to air Imus, any more than they are under a Constitutional obligation to give UFO theorists a three hour show.

(Imus's radio show is cable-cast as well.)

Our media environment is diseased, polluted by all sorts of crackpots, racists, cranks and thugs who "just say what they think" or "try to be funny." It's called judgment, and Imus doesn't have any and never did. Anyone who ever suffered through one of his shows has known that for a long time. It's time for him to go.

UPDATE-- The president of the New Jersey NAACP has called for Imus to resign and Imus is scheduled to be on Al Sharpton's radio show tomorrow.

<< Home