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Imus Not in the Morning: Why and What Next?

For the first time in four decades, Don Imus is not on the radio this morning. Radio entertainers come and go, and the notion that there is some First Amendment issue here, or that Imus is somehow a journalist because his show featured lots of prominent politicians, is just silly. But the sacking of Imus by CBS Radio yesterday is nonetheless an indicator that we have allowed ourselves to become brittle and kneejerk on matters of speech.

On the former Imus program this morning, there has been much sadness and anger about the fact that the corporate suits pulled the plug on the show before the 67-year-old deejay could finish the last day of his fundraising marathon for research on sudden infant death syndrome. Imus's wife Deirdre and his longtime sidekick and newsman Charles McCord are doing today's show; it's not yet clear what will air starting Monday on Washington's WTNT or any of the other 60-odd stations that carried the Imus show.

So, what actually happened here?

On one level, this was the marketplace at work. Not the marketplace of ideas so much as the pure market of money: Sponsors said, as they often do, that they would not associate themselves with controversial programming. Once the money stream dried up, Imus was finished. That's pretty simple and there's nothing notorious or evil about that.

But as often happens in such cases, the companies that sacked Imus--CBS Radio and MSNBC TV--pretended that this was about unacceptable racism and sexism, that Imus and company had crossed some unwritten line, that some speech is simply beyond the pale. Which is utter hogwash. Other morning hosts and shock jocks will be on relatively good behavior today and for the next few weeks, but on the morning that Imus called the Rutgers women's basketball team a bunch of "nappy-headed hos," that ugly and searing remark was certainly not in the Top Ten of revolting things said on American radio. Leave aside the very good debate point about how any number of hit rap songs contain equally bad slurs, if not worse. Forget for a moment that CBS and other radio stations happily continue to air those songs.

Focus just on apples and apples: Imus and his fellow radio talk show hosts. Even there, the Imus show was a shining beacon of serious discussion compared to many of his competitors and colleagues across the country. On both ends of the political spectrum, people who think the level of language and chatter in our pop culture has descended to unacceptable depths are wondering why Imus was singled out for this treatment.

On the right, the Media Research Center points to ugliness from the mouth of former Air America talk host Al Franken, the comedian who is now running for a U.S. Senate seat:

"The President's father...has said that outing a CIA agent is treason....What it looks like is going to happen is that [Lewis] Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed....I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed."

From the left, a group called Media Matters has taken to compiling lists of ugly slurs uttered on the air by various prominent talk hosts. Some examples:

On the March 31, 2006, broadcast of his radio program, Neal Boortz said that then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." Boortz was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.

Or this:

On the August 23, 2006, broadcast of his radio program, Rush Limbaugh commented on a season of CBS' reality TV program Survivor in which contestants were originally divided into competing "tribes" by ethnicity. Limbaugh stated that the contest was "not going to be fair if there's a lot of water events" and suggested that "blacks can't swim." Limbaugh stated that "our early money" is on "the Hispanic tribe" -- which he said could include "a Cuban," "a Nicaraguan," or "a Mexican or two" -- provided they don't "start fighting for supremacy amongst themselves." Limbaugh added that Hispanics have "probably shown the most survival tactics," that they "have shown a remarkable ability to cross borders," and that they can "do it without water for a long time, they don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do." When the Survivor producers decided to dissolve the show's racially segregated "tribes" after only two episodes, Limbaugh declared that "[t]here can only be one reason for this ... that is the white tribe had to be winning."

Or this:

On the March 20 broadcast of his radio show, Michael Savage discussed a San Francisco Chronicle report detailing the murder of a transgender woman whose body was found naked near a freeway outside San Francisco. Savage read a sentence from the article stating that "it appeared the victim had been in the process of becoming a woman," to which Savage replied: "Yeah, process of becoming a woman -- psychopath. [She] should have been in a back ward in a straitjacket for years, howling on major medication." He went on to say, "And what's this sympathy, constant sympathy for sexually confused people? Why should we have constant sympathy for people who are freaks in every society?" adding, "But you know what? You're never gonna make me respect the freak. I don't want to respect the freak." Savage concluded: "The freak ought to be glad that they're allowed to walk around without begging for something. You know, I'm sick and tired of the whole country begging, bending over backwards for the junkie, the freak, the pervert, the illegal immigrant. All of them are better than everybody else. Sick. Everything is upside down."

Somehow, the folks at Media Matters would have us believe that these rants are reason to remove these highly popular talk hosts from the air, that their speech is unacceptable and must be punished. What this or any other group can easily chronicle is the fact that American listeners flock to programs featuring talkers who use colorful and inflammatory language to express the frustrations, antipathies and hateful fantasies that lurk inside the minds of a great many people. Yeah, so? Where is the straight line from such venting and yammering to actual hate on the part of listeners? Every single tool mankind has developed to express and play with ideas and emotions--the novel, the poem, the story, comedy, tragedy, the movies, radio and TV--depends heavily on the idea that there are characters who say and do ugly and aggressive things, and just because we want to watch and listen to those things does not necessarily mean that we agree or that we would do the same.

Fairy tales are violent and ugly because, as Bruno Bettelheim taught, man requires harsh fantasies to work through and consider the traumas and travails that infect every life. Wild, raving talk hosts serve a similar purpose. The right-thinking scolds who collect nasty quotations from talk show hosts are always shocked when I show them that the very same people who join them in listening to National Public Radio or watching Nightline or public TV are also the hardcore audience for Howard Stern or Don Imus. Amazingly, human beings can have multiple facets.

So, again, what really happened here? Why did Imus fall while so many others continue standing?

The I-man ran into a unique blend of circumstances, a perfect storm of closed-mindedness, genuine hurt, and opportunistic vengeance. These are the factors that made this incident a big deal when so many similar moments on the radio go by unnoticed:

--Imus's slur against the hoops players was broadcast not only on radio, but on TV, which in today's video-clip-happy environment meant that it quickly made it to YouTube. Radio is ephemeral; TV and video, thanks to the Web, are forever.

--Imus lashed out not as his usual mix of targets--politicians, media blowhards and the powerful--but against a bunch of attractive and sympathetic 18- and 19-year-old college kids.

--Al Sharpton brilliantly picked up on the Imus comment and mau-maued the talk host, and Imus, failing to see that you cannot win against a ruthless charlatan, fell into the trap and went on Sharpton's show.

--It was a long holiday weekend and there wasn't much in the news for the voracious cable channels, which were thrilled to have a good new outrage to turn into a long-running saga, morality play and soap opera.

--Imus had the bad fortune to be working for two companies that are in difficult competitive situations, in media with declining audiences. In such a climate of fear and desperation, panic and fear play especially strong roles.

What next? Imus will go silent for a time, and then he will return, almost surely not on network broadcast radio, but somewhere, either on a New York radio station that is hard up for ratings and publicity, or in the safe environs of satellite radio, where the bad boys go to deliver their fare unrestricted by concerns about federal licenses or nervous Nellie sponsors.

And the rest of the guys on the radio will pretend to be good boys for a little while, and then their bosses will very subtly let them know that it's safe to go back into the water, because the ratings need a boost and nobody's looking anymore, and we can all resume our lives of contradictions and antagonisms and fantasies about saying the things that the bad boys on the radio get to say every morning. Except when they don't.

By Marc Fisher |  April 13, 2007; 8:10 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Careful Marc.

Your words: --Al Sharpton brilliantly picked up on the Imus comment and mau-maued the talk host, and Imus, failing to see that you cannot win against a ruthless charlatan, fell into the trap and went on Sharpton's show.

"Mau-mauing," a transitive verb meaning "to menace through intimidating tactics; to intimidate, harass; to terrorize, especially in a political and/or racial context."

Don't let Al know you are talking about him that way or you may be next.

Actually I agree with you. Sharpton is a punk looking for free publicity. Imus (and the press) gave it to him.

Posted by: SoMD | April 13, 2007 9:02 AM

Absolutely brilliant post Marc.

I guess Don and Mike, also employed by CBS, will be fired later today, right? They routinely belittle homosexuals on their show.

I assume Savage and the others you mention will be next.

Wait, this won't happen?

Posted by: Who's next? | April 13, 2007 9:22 AM

Marc---brilliant. Once again, a complete bullseye. You read it right and say it well. How refreshing. How rare.

Posted by: Andy | April 13, 2007 9:24 AM

When people have been getting preferential treatment for 50 years they come to enjoy that special status of "victim" and use every opportunity to enhance it. Can't ignore and rise above an insult and remain a victim; can't rise to true equality, it's scary, so better to participate in a feed a frenzy that lets you retain the status you are used to, a "victim".

Posted by: Stick | April 13, 2007 9:25 AM

I disagree with the comment above. Sharpton does not carry that much weight over the radio waves. It was the sponsorship money that did Imus in #1 (Can't run a show without revenue) and the Rutgers woman's bball team press conference #2 - He cowardly crapped on a team of intelligent young woman, including their long tenured nationally respected head coach. It was over. Imus had been in trouble for racially insensitive issues before...This last episode was the boulder that broke the camel's back.

Posted by: Eric | April 13, 2007 9:28 AM

Nice try. I especially liked the way you worked Bruno Bettelheim in there. But I still can't tell if you are saying it is good to allow hate speech -the fairy tale argument- or bad to allow it, and then censure it -the mau-mau argument. But you beg the question. The people listening to this, and obviously, Imus himself, DO NOT THINK HE IS WRONG. And that's why he needs to slapped down. Is this like playing whack-a-mole? Sure. But you gotta do it, because the alternative is worse.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 13, 2007 9:32 AM

Yup, Marc. You hit that nail on the head.

Posted by: SDiego | April 13, 2007 9:34 AM

Blah Blah Blah Blah!
Enough already- this particular "call out" was directed toward Don Imus- who by all standards given his tenure in the Radio Biz should have known better and done better.
You can link a long list of comments stated over the media waves- it does not change that when you get to the top of the mountain in your business and there are many people riding on your coattails you should know better. Don Imus is not some "shock jock" from the middle of nowhere and neither were his charities- ranch etc. High dollar charity driven projects that he and his wife are involved with should have been thought of before he opened his big middle aged male mouth and let one fly.
Enough rationalizing - it was wrong and they went to the mountain and brought Mohamed down. Over the years I have come to enjoy his show and his rages against the current administration, the war and politicians in general. So now that is gone- the planet will keep spinning and we the viewers/listeners will channel our interest to someone else who will eventually bring him/herself down due to an ego that should have been put in check and reminded that others depend on this ego for there lively hood and income. Don Imus refused to learn the important lessons and was doomed to bring himself down.

Posted by: 4444 | April 13, 2007 9:35 AM

Bring Imus Back.!!!!. He has paid the price. Give him a chance. I will make it a point to support the sponsors products if they can show compassion

Posted by: Jane Runkson | April 13, 2007 9:35 AM

Imus was crap anyway, who cares.

Posted by: Chris | April 13, 2007 9:36 AM


Of course, Bettelheim was a fraud, a plagiarist and an abuser of the children left in his care.

Too bad he didn't live long enough to be your dream host.

Posted by: F | April 13, 2007 9:37 AM

Marc, yesterdays POST had a column by Sally Somebody suggesting that Don Imus's punishment shouyld be buying tix for, and attending, a full year of Rutgers Womens basketball. May I suggest that we take it a step farther- make NIFONG the official water-boy for the Duke lacrosse team, and Crystal Mangum ("rape" accuser)to clean the locker rooms!!

Posted by: Peabody | April 13, 2007 9:38 AM

I was hoping in addition to the from the left you would post from the right as well

Guess this is asking too much from a left-wing hack masquearding as a journalist

Posted by: from the left | April 13, 2007 9:39 AM

Let's fire all those who enabled Imus by repeatedly going on his show despite even worse comments in the past (re: Gwen Ifill, Jews, etc.): we can start with Frank Rich, Tim Russert and a bunch of the same media hounds who demanded Imus be fired.

Posted by: ADR | April 13, 2007 9:40 AM

Another thing: I hope Black Rock becomes its own tombstone--complete with copy-cat Katie Couric. Epitaph--they done Imus in. It did them in.

Posted by: SDiego | April 13, 2007 9:42 AM

Marc, I agree with your premise and would have just liked you to say that Imus's remarks were offensive, sexist, racist and stupid.

I agree with you on Sharpton and you should have included the peson that another post columnist referred to as Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson in the quote about mau-mauing this incident.

I hope that we don't now fire everyone that makes a nasty remark. But I do hope that politicians will commit to using these remarks as a focal point for a national discussion on racism-sexism-and homophobia. That will do a lot more than firing these guys and women.

Let's remember that hate is a learned trait. Let's teach the next generation that it is wrong. Firing these guys won't cure hate.

Posted by: peter | April 13, 2007 9:42 AM

Interesting the 3 people you quoted are all conservative talk show hosts. No liberals ever make inappropriate remarks?

Posted by: Terry | April 13, 2007 9:44 AM

How is it that Sharpton "picked-up on" the Imus remark. It was on ESPN before the "weekend." These remarks were appalling. Imus had a long track record of vitriol, vile, and mean-spirited remarks that at times came at the expense of people who did not merit his attack. You call it "the perfect storm" some of call it "enough is enough."

Posted by: Tony from Va. | April 13, 2007 9:45 AM

Get 'em all off the air. They poison and pollute *my airwaves* that the FCC has allowed to grow foul over the years. The FCC should also apologize to the Rutgers basketball team and to Americans in general.

While we're apologizing, Revs. Sharpton and Jackson should apologize to the African-American community for tolerating and promoting the double standard of language and anti-women behavior among African-American artists as well. It all stinks.

Sometimes decency and civil behavior should trump freedom of speech.

Check out the musings of Shaun Powell, a sports columnist for "Newsday" (the newspaper) for a much more rational, thoughtful take on this whole subject.

Posted by: Richard | April 13, 2007 9:47 AM

Another contributing circumstance to this is that any public figure that had a bone to pick with Imus (for example, Hilary Clinton) jumped on the bandwagon to fuel the flames. Al Roker, whose feelings have been hurt by Imus in the past saw his chance to pay him back. I hope Imus comes back, he made me think about different aspects of politics and our society. His work and generosity for the needs of children is to be absolutely admired. His wife is great too.

I hope he doesn't retire to write books or something. Please Don, get back on the horse!

Posted by: MOM | April 13, 2007 9:48 AM

I'd defend Imus' right to say insulting things on the air--but obviously others, such as the executives he works for and the advertisers on the show, have an equal right to express their beliefs by refusing to support him.

And anyone who listens to and enjoys humor that insults other people should maybe look in the mirror and wonder why. Maybe Imus and others were threatened by the success of the Rutgers women and were trying to "put them in their place"? We should be celebrating their accomplishments instead. It would be a better world. Take a moment to imagine being 18 or 19 years old, and achieving something spectacular, and then being insulted that way... would you find it funny or would you be devastated. What purpose does devastating young people serve Imus... or us?


Posted by: 2Mariner3 | April 13, 2007 9:48 AM

Most of these comments prove one thing: issues of racial and gender disparity in this country have been swept under the rug for far too long. You people just don't get it. Would you be so willing to dismiss these vile comments if they were directed at your lily white sisters and mothers? Is it okay to hurl racial and sexist labels at young, accomplished women as long as they don't look like you? I'd test that theory, however, the terms of use on this site state, "User reviews and comments that include profanity or PERSONAL ATTACKS or other INAPPROPRIATE comments or material will be removed from the site." The main excuse here seems to be, "Well, everyone else does it." Would you let your child get away with a sorry excuse like that? The fact is that the airwaves in this country are owned by the people, ALL of the people, not just white, privileged people. When those airwaves are used to hurl racist, sexist remarks at ANYONE, then the privilege of using those airwaves should be removed.

Posted by: Kelly Johnson | April 13, 2007 9:48 AM

I listen to only two things on the radio: Imus (for the last 22 years) and NPR. Your piece is dead on.

Posted by: WSaid | April 13, 2007 9:49 AM

What about his team? Charles, Bernie, Chris, Amy, Lou?? What will happen to them? They have families to support too.

The two week suspension should have been enough. Don knows he said a bad thing, so do we. He apologized (more than he should of). His apology should have been between him and the girls he insulted ONLY. He shouldn't be removed from a sucessful show that brought a lot of entertainment value and revenue because of this stupid insensitive comment. He is a crotchety old geezer who insults people on a daily basis, no matter what race. He is funny, entertaining, and that's why we love him.

Posted by: Cathy | April 13, 2007 9:51 AM

Looking forward to Imus on satellite radio where I don't have to listen to commercials and we can all watch when CBS just keeps going down, down, down. At least on satellite we can listen to what we want - not listen to what a sponsor chooses for us!

Posted by: steely | April 13, 2007 9:52 AM

One thing is sure that this country is quite sleazy. If Duke case shocked no one, because the preprator was a black woman; how does civil rights become so obessessed when derogatory comments are made against a team. The mentality of minority--especially Jessy Jeckson, Al Sharp seems that they are acting far superior than they really are. Look at whole Africa, have these Civil Rights Leaders donated a penny from their pocket, if they are really so concerned. Figure it out. On average each person in US is better off than most of other countries. Then why this whining about not getting equal treatment.

Posted by: Civil Rights | April 13, 2007 9:53 AM

What's most unfortunate is that with 2 wars going on and a growing scandal over the WH and the RNC destroying the historical record of this failing presidency, Marc is able to accurately refer to this as a weekend when there wasn't "much in the news." Depressingly, these days "not much in the news" means "we are anxiously awaiting the paternity results for Anna Nicole's kid."

Posted by: E. Fisher | April 13, 2007 9:54 AM

Imus isn't somehow to be excused because there are other people out there saying more vile and hateful things. I reject any attempt you make to justify his behavior because he isn't the worst of the worst. It just proves the point that people need to start holding these other bigots responsible for their bile.

Limbaugh has already been fired from ESPN for saying racist and idiotic things on air. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he was fired again for it in the future.

Posted by: M Street, D.C. | April 13, 2007 9:54 AM

The media never ceases to amaze me. They can pick and choose the target of the day and create intense drama over things that appear to be nothing more than some common everyday human ignorance. I don't know that I've ever met a person who didn't say something stupid, slanderous, or insensitive at some point in time. That doesn't make them evil or not worth anything. Don't get me wrong...I don't like Imus and I think his comments were dumb, especially for targeting some young girls on a high from a huge accomplishment, but come on...
Somebody must have been egging these girls on. The drama - OYE! If that's the worst thing these girls ever have to deal with is an old jock making some stupid remarks, they'll be lucky. Better get some body armor. Welcome to 2007.

Posted by: Patty | April 13, 2007 9:57 AM

I suspect that Imus was given free rein all these years because those that he bashed daily were public figures that many enjoyed watching get sliced down. So his remarks were embraced by so many. Unfortunately all that fun came to an end when he took aim at innocent women just playing ball. It was then that his comments were no longer funny and he was shown the door.

I think the challenge today is for radio/tv hosts to be interesting enough to refrain from using loud language just to keep their audience. I listen to many different talk radio programs, but the minute they start ripping people because they think differently than the host, I turn it off for the day and hope the program the next day will reflect better manners and that I might actually learn something.

Posted by: Susan Kachmar | April 13, 2007 10:00 AM

Well said Marc. A friend of mine posed a good question to me the other day? Where do folks like The "Rev." Al Sharpton and the "Rev." Jesse Jackson get their money? Well, they get it from "opportunistic vengeance" (great way to put it btw). Their cohorts troll the media headlines just looking for their next victim which gets their names in the papers and on their faces on the TV on various talk shows, etc. As you said regarding the firing of Imus...It wasn't due to morality or indecency, it was all about $$$$$$$$. While Al and Jesse claim they are causing all of this uproar for the greater good, they're not...they're doing it for the benefit of their bank accounts. It's ridiculous. That, and the hypocrisy is astounding. I could go on and on, but I find it unstomachable that these guys won their battle...These two are people who have publicly said things like "Hymietown" and "Diamond Salesmen", obvious racial slurs, and still managed to salvage their careers...They were (more or less) FORGIVEN. The most ironic thing about the whole thing, to me, is that the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson are...key word here...Reverends! Purported "Christians" (cough, cough, BS)!!! Is not the sole basis of Christianity FORGIVENESS!?! Practice what you preach? For these two...absolutely not! Hence, your description of the "Rev." Al as a "ruthless chalatan" was right on the money. And Money Rules the World.

Posted by: Balakili | April 13, 2007 10:03 AM

I don't think a rap star could get away with singing in this derogatory fashion from the standpoint of a spectator of a women's college basketball team. I'm not sure what "mau mau" means as a verb. I know it's an action word that is only used with respect to people of color by people who are white. It's not a term ever used by Africans or people of African descent. The African Americans I have seen on television and have heard on the radio about this issue have comported themselves with a great deal more dignity, maturity and civility than Imus' defenders.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 10:03 AM

While I agree for the most part with your column, I think you left out some major reasons why Imus got into so much trouble. The first is his CBS supporters jumped ship, one went to head up Sirius and the other recently resigned after a parting of the ways with higher level management. The second was they were looking for a reason to let him go and were willing to make a deal with any kind of complaintant to get rid of him.
That being said, I also think, Imus, the coach and Rutgers completely mishandled the situation. The coach should not have allowed men the opportunity to speak for her, she should have called Imus and demanded that she and her team be on the show. Imus, when she didn't call,should have called her. Now Imus, an alleged misogynistic racist is off the air and Rutgers-like Duke-will always be perceived in association with Sharpton and Jackson and I as a woman around the same age as the coach am disappointed in her letting men take over a situation that she had the power to handle herself.
The real sad part of this whole story is that I truly would have enjoyed watching, or listening to, the verbal trouncing the Rutger's women would have given Imus and his crew. In my head I saw it as another Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs tennis match, with the same potential societal change.
It's all sad.

Posted by: Maggie | April 13, 2007 10:08 AM

I think the Post a Comment instructions sum up things well: "User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

Imus defamed a specific group of young women and paid the price for it. What would readers want to happen if it was their daughter, sister, or mother who was called out on national airwaves.

People do need to stop buying lots of today's music and maybe the music execs and radio chiefs will stop promoting it. However, you cannot use that as an excuse to slander a specific team of high acheiving young women.

Posted by: 2separate issues | April 13, 2007 10:09 AM

Marc, thanks for the insightful article. Whether you invoke the name of Bettelheim or not, the fact is that all societies have "licensed fools" (from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night)who say the things that no one else can get away with. Such language is cathartic and always challenges the maturity and intelligence of the listener. A comic must be free to approach this forbidden language and sometimes transgress where the rest of us cannot. The "licensed fool," whether Lenny Bruce, Richard Prior, Imus or Shakespeare himself must be free to speak the "unspeakable." It is sad indeed if our society cannot tolerate such voices, and it demonstrates our insecurity and shallowness as a democracy.

Posted by: Saul | April 13, 2007 10:10 AM

I feel that your comments are spot-on. Also I think it's troubling that our society has become so unforgiving. While Don Imus' program wasn't everyone's cup of tea, he as a radio personality, has tirelessly provided entertainment for a large and loyal audience for a very long time. Over the years, he has grown as a person and has unselfishly contributed to the wellbeing of ailing children. Yes, he made a mistake - a big mistake, but he has acknowledged it and has repeatedly apologized for having done so. While some form of reasonable punishment was in order, I think it would have been more productive in the long run for Rev. Sharpton et al, to champion the concept of forgiveness. By doing so, those who were offended could simply have taken the moral high road in this matter and everyone could have moved on more quickly.

Posted by: Millerman | April 13, 2007 10:11 AM

It is amazing...the people of America can't even see it happening right under their noses... How much longer before we and others who believe and supported rights to have thoughts and emotions plus the rights to express them... are told we have to ride in the back of the bus. DUH was this not what the black community of this nation fought so hard to have (rights)and now want to take away from the rest of the world if it doesn't agree with their point of view..While I do not agree with the things Imus said... I will say this... I was taught if you put a dress on that shows off your butt cheeks and you go out... then you can't come a crying when people talk about you... You knew it was going to happen. That is what a talk show host does...talks... calls out feedback...over stepped line... yes... firing materila NO!!What happen to equal rights for all Americans? Imus is an American...Explain... Not that I agree with gay's points in life but let's face it there was a remark made by a black memeber of a popular show on ABC not once but twice.... Two weeks rehab and back to work... GROW UP people, Equal rights is slowly being pushed out the door for those of us who continue to pay the price for what our fore fathers did... I for one am sick of hearing how mistreated people think they are... Cause in basic America you are treated as you present yourself... by general America... the percent that are jerks will always be jerks no matter if they are red, yellow black or white... a jerk is a jerk... Face it...We can all creat a soapbox to stand on if we wanted too..

Posted by: J | April 13, 2007 10:13 AM

a forty-year career and the TV newscast of Imus's rant against the Rutgers players was the first time I'd ever heard him speak. I wouldn't even know where to look for him on the radio dial. Guess I'm doing something right!

Posted by: ralph | April 13, 2007 10:15 AM

It's one thing to pick on politicians or celebrities who are putting themselves out there in the public forum (although I don't think that the comments listed above were appropriate either), it's another thing for someone with power (i.e. a radio show host) to use that forum to single out and degrade a certain 10 or 12 private citizens, just for fun.

This isn't some abstract fairy tale, this is real life. Creeps can fantasize all they want about saying the things that Imus said....but it's also society's role to say that actually saying those sort of things just isn't acceptable. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen often enough, but I'm happy that this time we held someone accountable. Societal norms can change, for better as well as for worse....our standards are low enough as it is. No matter what some idiot's fantasies are, I don't want this country to reach a state where every time I step on the basketball court society considers me fair game for someone to spew sexual (or racial) slurs at me. If this expection of basic decency and manners are too much of a burden for someone, then they can take care of their issues through therapy or prayer or writing in a private journal, not a radio show.

Posted by: from a former female basketball player | April 13, 2007 10:17 AM

You know, Marc, frankly, I found Michael Wilbon's column considerably more persuasive. Have you read his opinion of Imus and his show?

I think Wilbon is one of the smartest columnists at the Post, and I think you need to overcome every one of his arguments before disagreeing with his assessment.

Posted by: Ryan | April 13, 2007 10:17 AM

We don't know what will air on WTNT in part because no local reporters have to our knowledge even bothered to ask Clear Channel representatives the question. Will Imus' replacement here be better or worse, there's no frame of reference to know yet.

Posted by: Everett W. | April 13, 2007 10:18 AM

Concerning mau-mauing. The term originally came from Kenya, in regards to an uprising by the Kikuyu tribe in the 1950's. It came into use in it's current form in the late 60's and early 70's in the US. See "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers" a 1970 book by Tom Wolfe,

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2007 10:19 AM

Ok, lets see if I got it right.

Imus made a stupid comment, a bad joke. He was quite contrite and apologized multiple times.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were so deeply offended that they could not, would not accept the apologies and continued to fan the flames of scandal.

Yet Jesse, not in joke mode, called New York "Hymietown" and Sharpton falsely accused the police of raping a teenager. Certainly he wasn't trying to tell a joke either.

So Imus was ignorant and has lost his long-standing career. Jesse and Al were duplicitous liars and bigots and yet retain high positions of influence.

Did I get it all right?

Posted by: ThisIsAJoke? | April 13, 2007 10:24 AM

So who does Al Sharpton work for? Who are his sponsors? I'm ready to boycott.

Posted by: Uam Uam | April 13, 2007 10:30 AM

Don Imus lost his job.

That is all.

Let's not get too twisted up about this 67 year old man making $8 million a year to insult people at his whim.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 10:33 AM

Boycott CBS and MSNBC totally, regardless of the shows, radio and TV. Avoid products and services from the companies that pulled their advertisements. Imus has done more good for the general public than the hurt caused by a few misguided slips of the tongue. If that causes a person to get fired and the world all upset, then remove all the songs from the air waves that state far worse, remove all content that could possibly be deemed offensive to anyone. How does one go about starting a boycott on a large scale if your name's not Sharpton or Jackson?

Posted by: MVB | April 13, 2007 10:40 AM

I think people are giving Sharpton and Jackson more credit than they deserve. Conversely, I am certain that you are NOT giving black people the credit they deserve as a group with diverse thoughts on this and myriad other issues.

The internet drove Imus out of a job. I am on several online forums and the level of discourse was diverse and well thought out. The right to free speech, the decline of social standards, the effect of the internet and music video imagery...all these things were discussed in detail.

But at the end of the day most people just couldn't get beyond the fact that he picked on some teenage girls and ruined what should have been a highlight of their young lives.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 10:41 AM

You were right on the Mark Marc:)
when we finally realize that we are our own undoing, it will be too late.
if Don Imus's remarks offended anyone then they should be offended.
we have and are becoming a country of Lazy, PC Bulls#!t artists pretending to care about an obviously harmless set of remarks not intended to hurt anyone and to a greater extent drawing exposure to the School and their students. I dont believe the Rutgers Womens Basketballl Team ever received this much press since it came into existence. Give me a Break.....

Posted by: Derrell | April 13, 2007 10:44 AM

I appreciate your column. Sharpton and Jackson are truly repugnant moneygrubbers of the various black generations. They sound good, but generally they have done absolutely nothing to help society. They have shown to be divisive, and misleading, and have perpetuated the myth that if you are black you are not are born without ennoblement, and that is the fault of the whites.
The rap society is nothing but a mere footnote in their world and that is deplorable. The rap and hip-hop, and all the crap surrounding that is the black culture's Iraq. Shame on all black and white people of influence, for ignoring the black youth problem for twenty-five years, and letting this sad excuse for culture and lifestyle perpetuate. And, now look what we have. Some old rich white dude, on a power trip talking lame trash to innocent women of substance. He hit a nerve, but he is just another one who has hit that nerve, that day...only he was heard. He jumped on the bandwagon and spoke like a different than a lame fifty-five year old white man who keeps using the word "cool", and "dude" lame. Imus forgot that only black folk could talk like that to black folk and get laughs. It is written in black doctrine. Ask Al Sharpton, or Snoop Dog, or Fifty Cent, or any other of that group of thugs.

This is not civil rights in action. This is plain ignorance and stupidity, and the ego-driven desire to be in the public eye. And, it will not stop....I see five year old boys and girls acting out the hip-hop lifestyle... How sick have these black leaders allowed the recent black generations to become, without so much as a word? There have been some, but still they talk about the white man and his hold.
Black leaders routinely are squandering their opportunities to bring education, to encourage love and peace, and to provide guidance and encouragement. There really is no true leadership. The cheering squad for all this racial equality consists of the fat cats with big egos in custom made suits, shirts, and whatever else they squander someone else's money on. They do not even deserve to be called leftovers from the Civil Rights era. And, to compare them to Martin and Malcolm would be a sin.

Imus is a foolish acting person, yes. However, I believe he will create more good out of this chaos than all the loud black public figures could hope to dream of. He thought he was cool enough to pull off the phrase, but he forgot he wasn't black...because only a black man can pull of that phrase - and get a laugh. Is that right? Is that integrity? Too allow such a thing to ever have been invented, this phrase, and used daily -over and over again- is your fault. You should be writing at least one weekly column about that. But, it won't sell, as you well know. So ignore it, and your grandchild will be faced with it within their peer groups. ACT like you truly care...dig deep, look at the wealth in your life, your gifts, your blessings, and communicate that to these young children who should be off to fine colleges - just like the beautiful children of the Rutgers team.

I am a father, and I cared so truly and so deeply. My daughter is successful, not because she is white (in fact she is mixed race), but because she understood; she was asked by her parents to reflect and understand that when one wishes to be successful and make a contribution to society, the world understands that and will help dramatically.

In the end, Imus has proves relevant to society.

Posted by: R. E. Tomaselli | April 13, 2007 10:48 AM

This whole thing is not about Imus, it is about the Jesse Sharptons of the world smelling blood and going for as much air time as they can. Those two supposed leaders have spewed more vile comments across all ethnic groups than Imus could conceive. Al and Jesse should walk by Wilson High some day, which I do frequently, and listen to the demeaning comments all races make to each other in ordinary, daily conversation. Why haven't Al Jackson done anything about that? Where is the outrage when the cameras are not rolling?

Posted by: Pharis | April 13, 2007 10:50 AM

I need to know where the word "ho" came from. Who made this word into mainstream? Who uses this word consistently? I believe this was one of the words being considered for the desire to have E -bonics taught in our classrooms several years ago. Does anyone remember that? The entire world knows the IMUS statement was bad-yes, I have considered my feelings if it was directed at my family member. We need people with the ability to remove ALL rap music, ALL rap videos, All black/white shows, ALL black/white movies, ALL docu's showing white people painting their faces black and vice versa, and so on. I have never seen a culture insult their own more than the black culture. Please read Bill Cosby's book and another collegue of his(also a black man), who also wrote a most acurate portrayal. Finally, in the Webster's II New College Dictionary the word "ho" is defined as" used esp. to attract attentiopn to something sighted or to urge onward" and it is the symbol for HOLMIUM. What else do Sharpton and Jackson have to do? What a sad world this has become.

Posted by: N. Romanelli | April 13, 2007 10:55 AM

It "refers to the Mau Mau movement in Kenya , that rose up in protest to the theft of their land by the British. Mau Mau is european-invented name; the Gikuyu people is the Kenyan name." Ref: Racial Slur Database. As a verb it only used by people like Tony Blankley. No one ever accuses whites like Michael Savage, or Neil Boortz of mau mauing no matter how loudly they howl for their white male minority rights. The fact that Tom Wolfe used it in a book title half a century ago doesn't make it right as term for public discourse today. The conservatives have to jealously defend their right to ad hominum because it's all they have.

You're talking about a demographic that is so fearful of contact with minorities that they spend 10 hours a week commuting just so they can sit around watching mostly minorities play football deep in their basement man caves in white suburbs. The want preserve the halcyon days of their forefather (Ward Cleaver). Talk radio provides the intellectual underpinning of this vacuous lifestyle.

Through insult, Imus tapped into the fear and resentment many people seem to have for anybody not like them who has the affrontery to intrude into their white suburban bubble through mass media and made millions doing it.
-- Kerry

Posted by: @Kerry | April 13, 2007 10:56 AM

I am an African American college educated woman and I find his comment unacceptable. His comment let me know as an african american Women that no matter how many degrees I obtain I will still be known as an nappyhead --. That hurts. I don't care if it is from Imus or a black rapper that language is unacceptable. We (African American women) will not put up with it.

Posted by: Vickki | April 13, 2007 10:57 AM

I have enjoyed along with this column, the columns of Jason Whitlock of Kansas City.

Jackon as the bigot?...Heimie Town? He was there at M. L. King's dreadful assination? He said he was, he was not. He is a fake in a well-talilored suit.

Sharton is a joke. A finger-pointing joke who never worked a day in his life and earned his own money.

Both will be thought of as fools in the years to come.

Posted by: Cecil Salem | April 13, 2007 11:02 AM

I have enjoyed along with this column, the columns of Jason Whitlock of Kansas City.

Jackon as the bigot?...Heimie Town? He was there at M. L. King's dreadful assination? He said he was, he was not. He is a fake in a well-talilored suit.

Sharton is a joke. A finger-pointing joke who never worked a day in his life and earned his own money.

Both will be thought of as fools in the years to come.

Posted by: Cecil Salem | April 13, 2007 11:02 AM

I think worse than what Imus said is how sad it is that RUTGERS feel that is the worse thing that could happen when they(RUTGERS) have sign a convicted child molester, anal rapist, REGGIE DIXON yo play football.. now that something to talk about .. Rutgers what is your moral stand on that

Posted by: Toni | April 13, 2007 11:05 AM

Kerry...based on your posting,it sounds like Imus tapped into more than just white male's fear and resentment...

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 11:07 AM

Your pieceis dead-on. It is infuriating to see Sharpton givin any air time at all - given that his entire career is built on a fraud. Jackson is a has-been. Civil rights leaders theses days are having a hard time justifying their existence - they've gotten everything they've asked for in the last 40 years and then some...only to see their constituents fail to rise up...preferring instead to be victims and celebrating their percieved second-class status.

Posted by: Paul | April 13, 2007 11:08 AM

Jesse and Shaprton NOT! we are talking about Imus. America has run out of excuses for its treatment of people of color. Shame on you all that do not defend young positive women. All the while this nation accepts the gutter as a new standard.

Posted by: John | April 13, 2007 11:10 AM

Jackson and Sharpton are constantly used by the Marc Fishers of the world to mask and justify their support for the indefensible. Jackson and Sharpton were bit players in this matter. Marc Fisher and others of his ilk never mention the vast spectrum of successful African Americans and women (liberal and conservative) across this country who found Imus' comments revolting and called for his dismissal. Why? Because defending and excusing a serial bigot like Imus is much easier when you mention the credibility challenged Sharpton and Jackson. It's amazing how often we choose to miss the forest for the trees.

Posted by: PA | April 13, 2007 11:12 AM

Imus apologized, have yet to hear apologies from Rvs. Jackson and Sharpton about their rush to judement and witch hunt against the innocent duke lacrosse players. Who can we boycott to presssure them to do the right thing?

Posted by: ChrisMc | April 13, 2007 11:13 AM

I liked Maggie's approach to the incident until she turned it into a feminist crusade.

Imus would not have battled a 'Tennis Match'. He's smart enough to know that he crossed the line and would have accepted his lambasting in a 'fair is fair' mode.

--- CHAS

Posted by: Charles | April 13, 2007 11:17 AM

Kieth -- I am a married white male with two daughters. Also a veteran.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 11:18 AM

Do people really believe that we who listen to the Imus in the Morning Program are all racists?? That may be the most damaging thing in the end. No one knows me or whether I agree with anything that Imus says. Yet because of the thought provoking discussion and interesting subjects and guests, I find that the show adds more to the greater good in this country than not. The fact that such rash decisions are made before these variables can be thought of just goes to my point.

If you do not listen to the show, then please do not think that anyone who does can listen to such patently uniformed opinions.

While certainly not an issue of free speech, this is an issue of a rash decision and a slap in the face to those of us who find the show worth listening to. Are we bad people? I would say that is a ridiculous thing to surmise as you do not know me or what I am about.

Imus spoke ugly words. He did NOT have ugly intentions. That does mean something and if it doesn't then your sense of justice is the same as those prosecutors who railroad innocent minorities to jail based on what everything LOOKS like from the outside. I really don't understand this.

I can assure you that both CBS and NBC is looking for viewers who fall directly in my demographic. They have lost me. I will make a real effort to never support any sponsor who left the show and to fully support those who were loyal. To be blunt, the Sharpton, Jackson demographic, is not what they are looking for and they would never publicly admit that...because they are true and total hypocrites.

Posted by: Jim | April 13, 2007 11:20 AM

John, it is all too obvious that as long as black people accept Jessie and Al, they can hardly expect white people to get too upset about people like IMUS. Incidentally, John, I have yet to see one posting in any forum which actaually was anything but negative on what Imus said.

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 11:22 AM

This to me is purely
a MORAL question and when you blindly take everything at face value and allow your leaders to act from an opportunistic, uninformed
basis, then that takes away any credibilty and sympathy that I had for your cause. Which I will add was a tremendous amount prior to this incident. I can't believe how burned I feel by so many people.

You want say that what Imus said was wrong and that it hurt people, that's fine and it's absolutely true, but - unless you know him and the show - don't tell me you bettered
society by forcing him off the air. I call it the "George Bailey Correlation". If you take away Imus from the earth as if he did not exist, is
humanity and the dialogue of the nation worse off or better off? You know my answer is absolutely much worse. If you did the same for Sharpton, Limbaugh, Jackson, Savage and the rest of the haters...The same
answer cannot be given.

What a sad sad day for for America. There are variables to every issue and if you do not look at and accept those variables, justice is not served...ever.

Posted by: Jim | April 13, 2007 11:32 AM

This IS the best reasoned and written column I have read on this whole disgraceful episode...Kudos to a mainstream media guy to not be totally blinded my the guilt ridden white liberal syndrome.

Posted by: Phillip | April 13, 2007 11:33 AM

If I were an athlete who had just reached the pinacle of success in my sport I would be confident enough to deal with the inevitable publicity that comes with being on top. There are always going to be people taking shots at you when you're number one. The fact that some old man's inappropriate joke has scarred the girls on the team for life is truly shocking to me. If I could have an opportunity to play hoops on national television for a national championship I would gladly let people call me whatever they wanted all day long - I would never let their ignorance taint my accomplishments.

Once Imus apologized I think it would have been much more effective if the team had come forward and said "who cares what Imus said? We're one of the two best teams in the country and nothing he can say will take that away from us." This whole uproar only makes the racial divide larger, not smaller.

Imus has always taken shots at everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, etc... and all humor is based in some part of pointing out the differences among people. The day that no one notices a difference is the day the racial divide has closed.

Posted by: K | April 13, 2007 11:35 AM

"Imus spoke ugly words. He did NOT have ugly intentions."


That would be fine if he were sitting at a bar talking to his friend. But he was broadcasting to 21 million people and being paid by someone.

Once again, I fail to see what Sharpton and Jackson have to do with this other than people's dislike of them.

Just a little newsflash: a fair amount of black people don't like them either. I personally call them "the ambulance chasers of racial inequality".

But even a broken clock is right twice a day. And it was Imus's time, ya know?

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 11:37 AM

If Sharpton, Jackson and the other self-appointed camera light chasers really wanted anythign other than another notch in their belt, they would focus more on helping whites to understand whay those comments hurt, and blacks to understand more why whites say those things. People repeat what they hear, and when things like "'ho" become acceptable in one area, like hip hop, that other audiences hear, then it is just a matter of time before at some point those words wil be appropriated, just like everything else "gangsta" has been by whites, from clothing to lyrics. Understanding goes both ways, and getting the guy fired, and therfore off the air and shut up, will do nothing to further understanding. But at least Jesse and Al have another notch on their otherwise empty and hypocritical resumes.

Posted by: J Reiter | April 13, 2007 11:44 AM

article on Imus's meeting with the Rutgers team:

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 11:58 AM

I was actually surprised we didn't have Mayor Barely up their beside the Rev.'s getting free airtime while spouting out their hatred and lack of Christian forgiveness - look that part up, Al & Jesse, it's in the Book.

Just goes to show ya - ya gotta sober up sometimes or the world will pass ya by.

Posted by: SoMD | April 13, 2007 11:58 AM

Al and Jesse Al and Jesse. It's downright Pavlovian how conservatives have been trained to take the opposite view on any issue from Al and Jesse. Couldn't Al and Jesse be right just ONCE. And forget Al and Jesse. What about Harold (Ford) Barack (Obama) and Clarence (Paige). It's true the stridency of black activists was off putting to whites in the 80's, decades after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But even Al and Jesse speak in measure tones these days. It's the white conservatives who are now out of tune and out of step with the mainstream in terms of their communications style. There is no more urban and suburban. The Internet is making everyone urban. You might be driving an SUV but more and more we're all on the subway. It's a painful adjustment for some white Americans and a leadership opportunity for the more urban African American culture.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 12:01 PM


Since we all are just playing the VICTIMS, let us see how white America would react if they were put into chains for hundreds of years. Then released and given nothing for the torture MENTAL and PHYSICAL. Then only to still be antagonized by racial slurs by white america.

Posted by: william | April 13, 2007 12:03 PM

As we all know, Don Imus was fired from CBS Radio yesterday, thus probably ending his radio career -- for the moment. In addition, he met the Rutgers Women's Basketball team at the governor's mansion in Trenton, NJ.

Well, it's a shame that a man had to get fired, but Mr. Imus went to the well one way too many times. A lot of disgusting stuff was said by Imus (a shtick that has been done time in and time again), but this time he caught and run out of business.

However, I don't even think the problem is Imus -- it is the culture at large.

I am going to hold Imus to a higher standard than your run-of-the-mill hip hop artists and rappers who have to engage in such language.

As long as hip hop and rap artists use derogatory terms to describe women, and executives can make millions peddling the stuff, then it will give guys like Imus and others reinforcement to use those stereotypes.

If black people demean each other in that fashion, what would those outside the community think?

Everyone asks why Imus would say what he did? Well, look at MTV, VH1, BET and listen to the radio on a daily basis.

I don't even want to get into the role of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I see them both as opportunists and instigators who both have their own and well documented baggage.

However, I find them both to be irrelevant n this case, but their roles as activists has to be really taken at face value.

In the end, it has shown all of us that the issue of race is still the 'third rail' in society.

Anthony -

Posted by: Anthony | April 13, 2007 12:06 PM

Ahh!1 Harold ford! the guy that Imus supported, likes, and gave a ton of air time to. Where is he now?

Posted by: JR | April 13, 2007 12:08 PM

shocked dad

I am sorry that you cannot accept the fact that those of us who looked forward to a show that had much more than the standard network discourse of yelling and screaming about useless and meaningless subjects are not willing to say that it was "Imus' time". I for one, had no dislike of Sharpton and Jackson until this episode because it is the first episode they have been involved in, that I am actually aware of the facts, and feel that I can make an informed decision. Unlike the people criticizing Imus, I actually do not endorse making such serious decisions while emotion is high and understanding is low.

Unfortunately you make my point. I am sure that you and I agree on most issues as typically your argument is one that I would make. This episode has shaken my faith in a lot of people that I used to think quite highly of. I also do not get to have something that I look forward to and enjoy very much and I did not say anything. I consider myself incredibly resentful of the hate radio that is on the airwaves and I totally understand that people are very upset. It is not just Imus that is defending himself. Good people are trying to be heard that are informed and sympathetic to racial inequality and insensitiveness. Credibility has gone out the window and it is pretty sad.

Posted by: Jim | April 13, 2007 12:10 PM

Cecil Salem: Whatever you might think about Jesse Jackson, he was indeed with MLK at the Lorraine Motel when King was assassinated. He's right there in the pictures.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 13, 2007 12:15 PM

Al and Jesse Al and Jesse. It's downright Pavlovian how conservatives have been trained to take the opposite view of on any issue from Al and Jesse. Couldn't Al and Jesse be right just ONCE. And forget Al and Jesse. What about Harold (Ford) Barack (Obama) and Clarence (Paige). It's true the stridency of black activists was off putting to whites in the 80's, decades after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But even Al and Jesse speak in measure tones these days. It's the white conservatives who are now out of tune and out of step with the mainstream.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 12:21 PM

Marc, I've been pretty critical of you -- basically I think you're a lazy journalist, both in terms of your effort and your intellect. But apart from the part about the First Amendment -- the Amendment is not at issue, but its principles supporting open unfettered deabte are -- and the comment about the Rutgers players -- appealing they are, attractive they are not -- this piece is easily the best thing I've read of yours ever. As for Imus' future on satellite, I think it unlikely, simply because he doesn't pull a large audience, unlike Howard Stern. He needs advertisers who need his affluent audience, and that's an over-the-air scenario. The fact is, he's old, his show is old and tired -- and I listened to him for years, but it was years ago -- he's lost his fastball, and I can't see him working for a second tier outlet. He's already a multi-millionaire, I think he retires to the ranch. I just regret that a lynch mob led by Jackson and Sharpton denied him the opportunity to leave on his own terms. What's next, Tawana Brawley doing analysis on MSNBC?However offensive his comments, he is a complex, intelligent and perceptive individual who didn't deserve to lose his career over this ill-considered comment, which, discussed in the context of Spike Lee's School Days, was way more sophisticated than most people can appreciate.

Posted by: RL | April 13, 2007 12:22 PM


The Rutgers coach and the kids on the team are getting hate e-mails.

While they may be a minority of his audience, I think even Imus would say, "god, THOSE are my fans? Jeez, where along the line did I stop paying attention?"

Well, the fact is that people have been paying attention to the "lowest common denominator" style of humor that is the shock jock way since the Greaseman. The Greaseman got axed the in the same way for the same reasons as Imus. This is nothing new. What is shocking is that Imus was not smarter than this. Apparently people like you, in his audience, are. What is his excuse? Oh yeah, HE WAS JUST JOKING.

Well, there wasn't a darn thing funny about it. Nobody has laughed yet. Not the players, not the coach, not Imus, not his wife...shoot he even almost got the govenor ironic would THAT have been? All over his foolish mouth.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 12:23 PM

I hope the little kids with cancer and the vets recovering in a much better hospital (thanks to Imus) will understand that they are back on the back burner...or will Sharpten and Jackson pick up the slack?...I think this is a huge step back for all of us.
I think msnbc has pulled the plug on more than Imus, I for one, will enjoy watching their ratings fall down in leaps and bounds.

Posted by: ex-msnbc watcher | April 13, 2007 12:23 PM

Al and Jesse Al and Jesse. It's downright Pavlovian how conservatives have been trained to take the opposite view of on any issue from Al and Jesse. Couldn't Al and Jesse be right just ONCE. And forget Al and Jesse. What about Harold (Ford) Barack (Obama) and Clarence (Paige). It's true the stridency of black activists was off putting to whites in the 80's, decades after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But even Al and Jesse speak in measure tones these days. It's the white conservatives who are now out of tune and out of step with the mainstream.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 12:23 PM


Posted by: t1 | April 13, 2007 12:28 PM

Kerry, How would you characterize the 'mainstream' you believe white conservatives are 'out of tune and out of step with'?

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 12:29 PM

I wonder how many people who have criticised Don Imus and participated in his removal from radio and television, have done as much good as he has for other people?

I wonder how his "punishment" will affect his ability to even more good and what that means for children and others?

I wonder who will pick up the slack and fill his void?

Posted by: John Walsh | April 13, 2007 12:32 PM

actually, the loss of imus could have a real impact on the 08 election. he provided one of the rare looks at the real candidate, as he did not put up with their rhetoric or BS. the positive portion of his style also carried over to msnbc, in all their shows, as a place that tried to drive real answers. imus, (his comments were inexcusable and vile) made msnbc better, and drove a better environment for the intelligent listener/voter. i hope he ends up back on air, i will listen.

Posted by: jose | April 13, 2007 12:32 PM

His attempt to be funny became offensive. But the punishment exceeded the crime. Especially considering his extensive charity work, which African American children benefit from. Maybe a month suspension instead of 2 weeks would've quieted the lynch mob. NBC and CBS capitulated to the moral and ethical midgets of Jackson and Sharpton, so this guarantees we'll relive this again one day.

Anybody have the time and place for Sharpton and Jackson's march against offensive rap lyrics?

Posted by: Harold | April 13, 2007 12:33 PM

It's a great day for Howard Stern fans.

Posted by: Justin | April 13, 2007 12:37 PM

Where's Harold Ford? Good question. Imus was a big supporter of his run for the Senate. He was annoyed at the treatment Ford received ... of course that's conveniently forgotten now.

Posted by: Jawja | April 13, 2007 12:40 PM

"preferential treatment for 50 years" compared to what? Say, 400 years (and counting) of preferential treatment for some people we know?

The Rutgers Ladies Basketball team did not ask for nor want Imus' job. I agree that if the sponsors had not started pulling out, he would probably still have a job. The team and it's coach are intelligent enough to know why he was fired and it was not because of the reasons the networks, etc. have given. When money stops talking, folks get walking (papers that is).

Posted by: Ohreallynow | April 13, 2007 12:45 PM

Mr. Fisher,
In your article you ask where is the straight line from American's venting to action.

Hmm, could it be Iraq?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2007 12:52 PM

Response to Kieth: The conservative idea that insensity is some kind of cherished birthright. Maybe that was true before. But there is no more urban and suburban. The Internet is making everyone urban. You might be driving an SUV in the suburbs, but more and more we're all in some sense on the subway. People today have to be less invidualistic, and more mindful of other people's feeling and sensibilities. That's part of the price of this new technology. It's a painful adjustment for some white Americans particularly and a leadership opportunity for the urban African Americans. They have more practice living beside and within the context of different cultures than most whites. Young people get it. And like Imus more and more people are going to be figuring out figure that they can trust their "minority" neighbor more than they can say corporate management and will ignore the hypnotic siren song of "drive time" talk radio.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 1:01 PM

I know some of you defend Imus and see this as a double standard and want to have the same right to say the things that rappers, gang members, and pimps have. You absolutely do have those rights if you choose to or aspire to use them, go ahead your kid may also when he sees you do it. I know a lot of people including me hate rap music and and your worst nightmare is for your kid to start talking like them and acting like them. I think the problem with these type arguments is they become the same argument in life as politics. Those on the right say Clinton did it or those on the left say Bush did it. This becomes the problem you want this to be the standard of acceptable behavior now for your guy or your kid.
What did Imus do that was so bad? He made it personal. Rap musicians don't pick out specific people to talk about. Imus did. If these same girls played for your school rather than Rutgers and he said these same things would it still be ok with you? We all laugh at Jeff Foxworthy making fun of us rednecks. I guess if I look at something your wife or daughter does and call her a redneck you might take it personal because it it is.
In our society the rich and famous are open game for criticism because they have have the power to defend themselves. Imus makes fun of people out there that are part of the media and nobody really cares they can get their own forum in the media and have the money to sue him. If Brittany Spears grew corn rows and he called her a nappy headed ho many would laugh. Imus is rich and powerful and like a bully he made fun of some poor young anonymous college girls who play basketball. This was the big bully at your school who made fun of the handicapped kid who could do nothing.
I am a Libertarian why would I not defend free speech. I absolutely do. He has a right to say those things. Those who objected also had the right to do so as well. Their voice was heard and the advertisers for Imus chose to pull their money from the Imus show as they no longer wanted to be associated with him. NBC and CBS in turn made a business decision and elected to fire him. Bad behavior can get you fired. Is it really news when shock jocks lose their jobs for saying outrageous things? I thought this was part of the risk they take for the high reward they are paid. Will Imus get another job I have no doubt.
I think it is a good thing that maybe we can say to our kid somebody was fired for using language we would not want our kid using. Why is that a bad thing? Think of it like the story they made up about George Washington chopping down that cherry tree and he could not tell a lie. Are rappers, pimps, gang members, Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton, or those who do things you find many find outrageous what you want us to be like also. The problem here is when the rest of society talks like a pimp how soon before it is the norm? Maybe next time somebody uses the word ho you need to call them on it and walk away.

Posted by: Dave | April 13, 2007 1:13 PM

Wow! I love this blog. He has a track record of insulting everyone - not just blacks. I stopped listening years ago, not because he IS a bigot (I don't know him to say yes or no on this) but because his routines got out of control. He attacked the Rutgers team in his own backyard. He has a huge fan base in the New York area. Rutgers has been celebrated recently for it's success in collegiate athletics with the football team and now the women's team. However, I do not believe for one minute that the remarks Imus made about the Rutgers women's team would have reached a national level if he'd said it about some other team. Unfortunately for him, it was too close to home.

Also, I am sick to death of people turning this into a counter argument on rap or hip hop music. Imus said that the terms he used originated in the black community. I strongly disagree. These terms have been used against blacks for over 400 years.

And they are still used in TV shows like the Sopranos, Oscar winning movies and the like. They are entertainment choices just like purchasing unrated versions of music is. So get off of that argument.

I'm also sick of Meredith Vierra and others in the entertainment news industry behaving like they don't listen to M&M and others that record this type of music. I'd love to hear her reaction to someone calling her a "ho" or maybe even calling her child a "ho".

Would she still be defending Imus in that case? I think not.

Posted by: Not in your own back yard | April 13, 2007 1:22 PM

It's interesting to note how similar Fisher's list of "factors" is to the list of factors in David Carr's story "Flying Solo Past the Point of No Return" in the 4/13/2007 issue of the New York Times. I guess that means that both of the analyses must be correct.

Posted by: Hmmmmm | April 13, 2007 1:28 PM

Kerry, Conservatives don't hold a monopoly on being insensitive. As to being "more mindful of other people's feelings and sensibilities" I couldn't agree long as it applies equally to all.

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 1:33 PM

Harold | April 13, 2007 12:33 PM


Sharpton has talked AT LENGTH about the lyrics and images in rap music and videos.

You are on a computer, do a search. Stop being lazy.

Unfortunately, nobody wants Al Sharpton on TV when he wants to talk about it. No ratings for that.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 1:37 PM

Ordinarily, I wouldn't listen to Imus if he were in my dining room, but I did see part of his sentence on Sharpton's show.

Sharpton is a blowhard, but the telling scene was Imus's outburst when he was called, of all things, a used-car salesman.

Oh, the humanity.

Imus, who apparently owns no mirror or he wouldn't criticize anyone else's hair, was really pissed off.

It wasn't like Sharpton had called him a saggy-assed, prunefaced, faux-folksy cracker. (Maybe Al No-I'm-Not-Don-King knows better nowadays than to talk about people's hair.)

Imus had a lengthy ride on the gravy train, and he's not worried about where his next cowboy hat is coming from.

Posted by: Another voice | April 13, 2007 1:44 PM

The Al Franken quote does not belong in this group as an example of hate speech. He does not make any ethnic, racial, or sexual slurs. He presents a syllogism:

1. The outing of a CIA agent is treason.
2. The penalty for treason is death.
3. Libby and Rove outed Plame.

Libby and Rove will be executed.

What makes it funny is the irony that clearly neither will be executed. It's not ugliness, it's pointing out the absurdity and hypocricy of the situation.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2007 2:04 PM

These people need to lighten up. He is more of a comedian than anything. We need to stop taking things so serious. When things are funny just laugh. His show was the only News Casting I've ever enjoyed. I've never had a nickname before but I'd love it if you would all call me "nappy headed hoe" it has a nice ring to it!!

Posted by: Tracy | April 13, 2007 2:06 PM

How big is Stern's satellite audience? It is ironic that Speech tends to be more free when the less audience it has. Lenny was cool until he became sucessful. Imus wanted to influential and on the edge. His remarks if repeated by Savage (who also was tossed of Cable, cable for God's sake) would not have resonated as much. When Imus goes to Satellite if can say anything he wishes because no one will be listening except those persons truly committed to his (and their's) additions. As despite your overwrought hue and cry, Free Speech survives, as this blog demonstrates.

Posted by: A Hardwick | April 13, 2007 2:10 PM

I agree the tennis match was kind of a feminist fantasy, but I still think everyone would be better served if the Rutger's Women were given the chance to go one on one with Imus and Bernard. Don't you agree?

I have other problems with Imus' firing. Because my husband is member of the Air National Guard I really wanted the planned show with the wounded Iraq war veterans to go forward. It would nice to hear what they have to say without military PR handlers muzzling them. They too are now victims of this mess. I hope that Sharpton, Jackson, Roker, Allen and the advertisers who pulled their support from Imus, will apply as much pressure on MSNBC and CBS to find those men a new and equally open media venue. They have voices that need to be heard as loudly as the voices of the Rutger's Women. Both groups deserve the chance to speak in the kind of forum that Imus provided for his media and political guests.

Posted by: Maggie | April 13, 2007 2:12 PM

How lame. In a silly attempt to present a "balanced" argument, Fisher has to come up with an example of a personality on the left saying something hateful or bigoted, and the best he can do is come up with Al Franken's entirely farcical speculation that Since Bush's own father claimed that outing Valerie Plame was treasonous, that Scooter would be executed. That hardly compares to the racism of Neil Boortz or Rush Limbaugh. For that matter, their racism is far worse than anything Imus said. They're the ones who should be out of radio.

Posted by: John | April 13, 2007 2:19 PM

Please READ:
Reading some of your comments, I guess you got what you wanted...a bunch of hypocrites passing the blame to everyone else but Imus. Let us not forget how many tv stations (Sinclair broadcasting for e.g.) refused to air the reading of names and showing photos of the dead soldiers--for political reasons (how about that for supporting the troops). Or, CBS pulling the Reagan show, and so on. Also, Imus was on MSNBC not BET or MTV, and I thought that his show was some type of news show, not a rap video or Howard Stern. And, if you really knew rap then you'd know that most rappers are talking about "street women," exotic dancers, etc., not their sisters, mothers, or college basketball players! Sadly, I know racial animus is at play for all of those who defend Imus, including this author (who I'll make a point not to read any further as my own little protest). There is no way a legitimate news show could allow him to insult so many, not only blacks, but all women. Finally, the show was terrible, can't believe it lasted that long....oh wait, it makes sense now, look who's defending him--I'll refrain from "calling names"

Posted by: gildatruth | April 13, 2007 2:23 PM

Exactly! Sharpton and Jackson are both angry black, racist charlatans looking to throw gasoline on every fire where a white man might burn. Imus' remarks were wrong and he deserved to be punished, but Jackson and Sharpton are shills looking to get publicity and push their racist agendas.

Posted by: John in Boulder | April 13, 2007 2:30 PM

Nicely done, Marc. Amidst the chaos enveloping us (thanks to a globally-aware, up-to-the-second-in-your-face frenzied media), it is so reassuring to encounter some simple sanity. In a few months we will all (those on both sides of the issue) look back on these last few days and shake our heads in collective wonderment that so many people could bazoon so much out of control over so pathetically small a spectacle. Maybe it is because every now and then, to paraphrase some Batman and Joker bantering, we all need to go a little bit nuts in order to find our center once again.

In any case, as Imus and his ilk fall by the wayside, mankind marches on, and as it does, his (and her) skin, dark or not, groweth thin.

Posted by: Bryan | April 13, 2007 2:31 PM

Kieth: Some liberals might be insensitive and some conservatives might be libertines. But for conservative being insensitive is part of their ideology, and for liberals it isn't. Are these liberals who are posting: "It's just a joke get over it" about Imus' comments? William F. Buckley's long running PBS TV show was called "Firing Line." "Shots Fired" is a book by an award winning conservative op-ed writer, is a conservative blog, "Savage Nation" is a conservative radio show and "Raw" Fisher is a conservative columnist. Is there maybe a pattern here?

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 2:34 PM

I wish that people would quit acting as if this were the first time that Imus had "slipped". In fact, he made a career of it. Unfortunately, he's not alone.

One of the problems is that many people and companies support these types of views until the support becomes public, only backing out to maintain their images.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Posted by: Ellen | April 13, 2007 2:35 PM

Some Random Musings From a Black Woman:

1. I believe that the whole thing was blown out of proportion. The media tends to do this... in this case, they did it to one of their own.

2. I accept Imus' apology... and yes, I was offended by his statements (which is why I never was a loyal listener/watcher). I also get offended by anti-semitic remarks, although I am not Jewish. I abhor bigotry in all forms, and yet acknowledge that all people have prejudices--we're human and we can't help it.

3. I find a lot of hip-hop music offensive (and poor quality), and likewise am not a loyal listener/watcher/supporter.

4. The fact that some Black hip-hop artists create music that includes self-degrading racist/misogynistic statements still does NOT make it alright for anyone else to do the same in some other media. Arguments that hip-hop artists say the same all day every day are simply not persuasive, and do not excuse what Imus said.

5. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do not speak for me or the entirety of Black America. Black people have an array of diverging views, just like white people. (I also believe Sharpton and Jackson played a smaller role in Imus' ousting than that with which they are being credited.)

6. I sympathize with Imus, and do not necessarily think that his firing is right. Surgeons make mistakes on the operating table, people die, they get sued, etc. I have made mistakes on my job, and thankfully have not been fired. There is a difference between a mistake and an intentional act. It depends on the circumstances and your job.

7. I hope this scenario does not repeat itself. I fear that if we begin to scrutizine every single remark that everyone makes, it will come back to haunt us all. There's a reason why the First Amendment was first...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2007 2:36 PM

Marc, can you imagine yourself describing how a white radio/tv host "mau-maued" their guest? I can't.

Posted by: delores | April 13, 2007 2:36 PM

There's a big difference between the affect of what Imus said versus the affect of ugly remarks said by others. I've never seen anyone shed a tear from being hurt by anything a rapper or hip-hop comedian said. Sure, a guy like Howard Stern says controversial things that get any number of people angry, but I haven't seen anyone shed a tear over a Stern remark either.

Posted by: Mongoose | April 13, 2007 2:37 PM

Posted by: Tracy | April 13, 2007 02:06 PM


But he wasn't funny. Chris Rock is funny. Carlos Mencia is funny. You can do race jokes and be funny. Has anybody here seen Mencia's retard skit? Hysterical.

Don wasn't funny. He was mean and he paid for it. What is the big deal?

I will leave you with Mencia's joke rule #1. If you can't tell a joke about a group of people IN FRONT of that group of people...IT IS NOT FUNNY!

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 2:39 PM

Kerry....sure sounds like a right wing conspiracy to me.

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 2:40 PM


Not all of us who are disgusted with the Sharpton/Jackson bandwagon are arch conservatives. I worked on the Kerry/Edwards campaign and think Bush is the worst president since James Buchanan. Nevertheless, I agree with Marc's piece. I also believe Imus' ouster is the result of two angry,racist bigots blackmailing CBS and MSNBC. I'm disappointed that Obama fell into their racist trap.

Posted by: John in Boulder | April 13, 2007 2:44 PM

Re: the quote from Al Franken. Does anyone in the world truly believe Franken thinks Rove and Libby will be executed? Please. The guy has been a professional comedian for decades. His quote is hardly on par with Imus' or any of the other offensive ones cited.

Posted by: Lenny | April 13, 2007 2:44 PM

John in Boulder | April 13, 2007 02:44 PM


You cannot actually believe that Sharpton and Jackson have that kind of pull, do you?

You worked on the Kerry/Edward campaign, you have to know better than that. They are hardly heavy hitters politically anymore.

That you think they could strongarm CBS is comical.

Fell into a racist trap? Well then so did Michael Wilbon, Gewn Ifill, Al Roker...have you seen the list of people who have had it with this type of programming?

Stop blaming AL and Jesse for Imus's lack of common sense and decency.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 2:52 PM

Howard Stern for FCC Commissioner!!

Posted by: Election-winner Ashcroft | April 13, 2007 3:07 PM

Shocked Dad, Why is it you and others seem to equate attacking Al and Jessie to defending Imus? All three belong in the same putrid boat and that is exactly the point.

Posted by: kieth miller | April 13, 2007 3:11 PM

I think for something to be a conspiracy it has to be a secret. My point was that conservatives make no secret of being insensitive. In fact they are proud of it. This kind of joking on a program where U.S. Senators announce their intentions to run for president is completely unacceptable. The world is getting smaller and there is no monocultural majority even in the United States.

For conservatives to preserve the other things that they hold dear, it is going to be they who are going to have "get over" something this time, not liberals, or "minorities." They've been wrong before and they'll be right again. Liberals too.

Posted by: Kerry | April 13, 2007 3:11 PM

keith miller | April 13, 2007 03:11 PM


I called Al and Jesse "ambulance chasers for racial inequality" myself.

But I in no way think they railroaded or strong armed anybody into doing anything in this case. Which is what others are saying. Did they make sure to keep it in the media spotlight? Sure. But so did LOTS of people including myself.

One of my hard and fast rules for debates is STICK TO THE SUBJECT. The subject is what Don Imus said. Not Jesse and Al's background. Not hip hop music. Al and Jesse may have chased the ambulance, but Don caused the accident, if you follow my analogy.

The mere fact that you say that they all belong in the same putrid boat means you don't get the point, IMHO. This is Imus's boat and he is going down in it by himself. To place blame anywhere else (Al and Jesse's racist agenda, according to John in Boulder) is just looking for straw men.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 3:51 PM

Imus is gone. Amen. Now I'm waiting to see how many women degraging rappers the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton shut down. "With justice and liberty for all." Or is Justice peeking through her blindford? Gentlemen, prove your integrity.

Posted by: Gonzo | April 13, 2007 3:51 PM

"I'm out of order, you're out of order, this whole court is out of order!"

Says it all.

Meanwhile, our soldiers are being slaughtered in a senseless war, our Attorney General is a liar and our President is an international joke.

We're out of order.

Posted by: Soonerthought | April 13, 2007 3:59 PM

Great insights as usual, Marc. One aspect of this story that fails to get mentioned is that the stream of influential guests on the show would have all but disappeared had the show been allowed to continue after all of the notoriety. The great print and on-air reporters and columnists, and especially the politicians, would be pilloried if they were to continue to enable Imus. Newsweek magazine and other media would ultimately command its journalists to abandon their regular visits. So, even if the commercial dollars did not dry up, the reason many of us listened to the show likely would have. The sad fact is that this misanthrope of limited intellect was the only person on the airwaves able to draw a mass audience to listen to often serious and illuminating discourse. Because of his remarks and the reaction to them, Don Imus had to go. He was vulgar, self-referential, and vile in his characterizations of others, regardless of race, creed, or political affiliation. I'll not miss him. But I'll certainly miss the forum he provided.

Posted by: Phil in Raleigh | April 13, 2007 4:01 PM

Three articles dating back more than two years on Sharpton and his view on rap music and what he has been doing about it.

That took 30 seconds on google.

You clowns type/talk more than you think/investigate.

Posted by: shocked dad | April 13, 2007 4:05 PM

For the "Reverends" Sharpton, Jackson, Soaries:

I ask you to RE-READ this Scripture of Jesus' Gospel:

Scripture: John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

I heard the "Reverend" Soaries quote fromn the Bible -- "... you reap what you sow ..." on CNN. This DOES NOT supercede the Scripture highlighted above during this EASTER time!!

Sharpton, Jackson and company -- NEED to step back and think about what has benn done to Imus! He has done WRONG based on what he said about the Rutgers women athletes!!! However, he has apologized -- over and over - and over again -- and deserves AT MINIMUM another chance for redemption -- as the death & resurrection Jesus Christ has provided to us as an example.

The multiple firings of IMUS over this incident -- without giving him a 2nd chance for redemption shows an EXTREME sign of weakness and self-righteous on the part of CBS and NBC management. Do this "management" really and truly CARE about the impact of the stupid IMUS comment on the Rutgers woman athletes?! NO! -- They care about the $$ they are losing about the advertisers pulling out of the IMUS Show at this time. This is another reason why BOTH BSC and MSNBC are going down the drain and FOX is kicking their butts!!

Well, guess what? CBS and MSNBC you have just thrown another shovel of dirt on your graves.

These actions by ALL involved in this incident -- including IMUS -- has just fueled the fire of RACIAL DIVISION again -- which is makes Sharpton and Jackson and company ever more happy and prosperous at the EXPENSE of finding a REAL solution towards achieving racial and gender harmony!

I can feel a new REVOLUTION is quietly emerging underground within this country. The result = Civil War II -- if we do not find a REAL and HONEST solution. Not a "solution" that is SUPERFICIALLY POLITICALLY CORRECT!

What a bunch of farce and hypocritical group of people and actions that have been highlighted across this situation!!

Posted by: Kax | April 13, 2007 4:18 PM

Since when is Al Franken a liberal talk show host?????

Posted by: Beth | April 13, 2007 4:21 PM


Thank you for your fair note on Imus. Too bad you and many others today are too late to prevent the injustice.

BTW does Sally "what's her name" read your column? She could sure learn a something and might not write the the ridicules stuff she wrote yesterday, just to appease the ignorant masses, who, most likely, probaly never heard of Imus .. never mind listen to him or know what other really good things he's done.

Alas, thank you again..

Posted by: Richard 8370 | April 13, 2007 4:29 PM

Civil War II - give me a break. I would hope it would take more than the firing of Imus to start a Civil War. You had better worry about outside factions like terrorist.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2007 4:34 PM

Poster N. Romanelli writes, "I need to know where the word "ho" came from. Who made this word into mainstream?"

It was comedian Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live who brought this word into mainstream usage. Murphy was using it in the context of comedy, of being funny, and it worked for me back then. Remember those SNL skits, everyone?

Posted by: MarkT | April 13, 2007 5:50 PM

I respect Jesse Jackson. He is a man that wants to see good for all people; regardless of color. Al Sharpton, on the other hand, can take a slow boat back to Africa. If they would even have him!! He's a leech and don't think for a minute that he speaks for all blacks!

Posted by: Alicia | April 13, 2007 8:47 PM

Black on White... it's alright..
White on Black... it's an attack!!

Posted by: Patrick | April 13, 2007 10:07 PM

If I get offended by the rap music that entertains them, they tell me not to listen to it. But if they get offended by Imus (who, by the way, I find entertaining), instead of not listening to him, they get him fired.

Posted by: Rob Holecko ( | April 14, 2007 12:41 AM

Can anyone tell me when the Duke lacrosse players are going to be on Oprah? What? They're not? Wonder why?

Posted by: Joe | April 14, 2007 11:51 AM

Can anyone tell me which church it is again that the esteemed "Reverands" Sharpton and Jackson preach at on Sundays? Just curious.

Posted by: Jim | April 14, 2007 5:29 PM

Marc, have you read Colbert King's column or Michael Wilbon's column on this issue? Their columns clearly come down on the other side of this issue. And King is absolutely right: People have been using Sharpton and Jackson as smoke screens in their defense of Imus.

Anyway, Marc, I have to say that, as a white guy, it's a little presumptuous to think that you could understand the depth of the offense of Imus's comments. I'm a white guy, too, and I don't pretend to be able to understand what it's like to be a black person in this country. I can try to imagine the feelings, but the reality is that the history of oppression of blacks in this country creates entirely different perspectives depending on whether you are black or not.

Quite simply, it is impossible for me, as a white guy, to fully understand the depth to which this kind of racism cuts. Yes, white people experience racism in this country as well, but it is, due to history and the structure of this country, quite different.

Because of these basic facts, I always take black people's opinions on such incidents as this one into account when forming my own thoughts. In fact, I take them rather strongly into account. With such eloquent, thought-out, and ultimately emotionally laden opinions against Imus being made by King and Wilbon, I cannot in good conscience defend Imus.

Posted by: Bryan | April 14, 2007 7:14 PM

Marc: As was stated in another post, the Rutgers team is not getting hate mail. For all we know death threats could have been made. I would venture to say that some of that was triggered by Imus' remark. So this incident involves more than someone in the mass media channeling our collective dark side. (I credit Mrs. Imus (according to CNN) for asking people to stop sending hate mail.) He made those women a target. I don't recall anyone in the mainstream media who defended the Dixie Chicks when Clear Channel banned their records and smashed their CD's. They, too, received death threats. Is that the price people have to pay now if some shock jock decides to go after someone?

Posted by: Kathleen | April 14, 2007 8:47 PM

What happened to Imus is disgraceful. Bill Bennett said "black babies should be aborted to reduce the crime rate", and Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have all said racist remarks, but that hypocrite Al Sharpton didn't attack them. The firing of Don Imus was done by cowards whose sponsors were leaving them, nothing more. At the same time, all the media figures who disgracefully abandoned Imus, never seemed to have a problem with him, when they needed his help getting a book sold. Imus will be back, probably on Sirius, since the CEO Mel Karmazan is a friend of Imus's. And he will be ripping into Sharpton, Jackson, and the cowards at CBS and MSNBC.

Posted by: Devin Leonard | April 14, 2007 11:15 PM

Imus had a history. This wasn't his first time or his nundredth time. And for all of you people who are using this as an excuse for your own hatred, that's exactly why it had to be done. For your information, Imus went to SHARPTON for his apology tour. The words Mr. Fisher uses prove his real feelings. As a Jewish person, I didn't appreciate being called a money grubbing bastard. I thought what he called Gwen Ifil was uncalled for. You remember Greaseman, who made that comment about Lauryn Hill and the Texas incident when a Black man was dragged from the back of a pickup truck.You probably think that he should have been allowed to stay on a big radio station instead of some little station in Maryland. What's so unreasonable about wanting to be treated with respect?

Posted by: raduodogi | April 15, 2007 3:49 PM

If firing Imus only means that to have kept him would imply that what he said is acceptable, then firing him was the right thing to do; after all, this is supposedly done in the spirit of fairness and equality; right? With that being said, then what must also happen, even if only being indirectly fair to Imus himself...Is that all rappers & hip-hoppers who've been guilty of the same improprieties,(in lyrics and videos,) be now held accountable for their roles in the denigration of women; the word "denigration" and the act thereof, is what after all, seemed to be what spurned the whole controversy to begin with; or at least used as an excuse for it. This would seem to be the next step, for failure to do so would not only allow it to continue, thus confirming the existence of a suspected double standard, but also make it appear as though the aforementioned groups shared no culpability in what has made it so commonplace to begin with.

Posted by: Michael Lange | April 16, 2007 4:35 PM

Taken From Wikipedia: Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment. The right is preserved in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is granted formal recognition by the laws of most nations. Nonetheless the degree to which the right is upheld in practice varies greatly from one nation to another. In many nations, particularly those with relatively authoritarian forms of government, overt government censorship is enforced. Censorship has also been claimed to occur in other forms (see propaganda model) and there are different approaches to issues such as hate speech, obscenity, and defamation laws even in countries seen as liberal democracies.

What I think needs to happen here is a unified effort; one that hits with the same veracity that the black community has hit Imus with. Using rappers and the so called hip-hop culture as an example. Firstly, if you listen to that trash, Stop! If you are buying it, Stop! If you watch Flava TV.(or anything like it) Stop! If your children have CDs' of it, destroy them. If your children wear the baggy pants, cut holes in them.(this put a halt to it when my best friend did it with his boys.) Cash in the gold chains and rings embodying hip-hop. Cease to purchase anything that advertisers use rap or hip-hop to sell. I for one wrote Heineken (maker of beer) when they did it, and they not only responded, telling me that the commercial would be pulled...but actually did it. Good luck with others though; for I've tried to no avail. Even stop buying Koolaid if you like drinking red sugar. The advertisers threats were the last straw that broke Imus. Let's see what happens when we pull out from the advertisers.

Posted by: Michael Lange | April 16, 2007 6:40 PM

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