Good Riddance To The Truly Unapologetically Racist Don Imus

Don Imus should’ve been fired years ago.  Ever since Howard Stern kicked his ass in the New York radio market in the 1980s, there’s been no reason for him to stay in broadcasting.  Yet, somehow, despite very low ratings, countless unfunny, asinine remarks, unapologetic imitation (he’s stolen Stern’s career moves and material for years) and a bizarre, unconvincing transformation from morning “comedian” to political interviewer, he managed to persevere.  That all came to an end sometime last week.
 
As we all know by now, during a live April 4th broadcast of Imus In The Morning, there was a discussion about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.  During the MSNBC Television simulcast, footage of the players in action was shown while Imus and his crew made dopey, offensive remarks.  IITM executive producer Bernard McGuirk called the ladies “hard-core ‘hos” which inspired the 67-year-old host to say, “That’s some nappy-headed ‘hos there.”  He laughed as he spoke.
 
Later that same day, Media Matters For America, the liberal watchdog group devoted to shining a daily spotlight on conservative hate speech and misinformation, did a report on the incident.  Reaction was swift and mostly negative.
 
Two days later, Imus made his first “apology” on the air.  But the day before that initial response to the immediate outrage, Imus wasn’t so sorry.  During his April 5th broadcast, the day after his infamous remarks, he told his listeners, “I don’t understand what the problem is, really.  People gotta relax, really.  Calm down.”  (These quotes are taken from a Salon.com article called “He’s sorry now”.  As an aside, the article also showcases more awful comments about black people – namely, a couple of American Idol contestants – during the same broadcast that have been overlooked.  As you’ll discover, he’s too meanspirited to be funny.)
 
Does that sound like evidence of contrition?
 
Inevitably, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two of the biggest hypocrites when it comes to racism and making unfounded accusations, just had to get involved in this mess.  Much like Michael Richards late last year, for some unknown reason, Imus had to do Sharpton’s show and face the music.  (Click here to read most of what aired on the April 9th broadcast.)
 
The most telling exchange happened shortly after Imus sat down.  Sharpton asked him a point blank question:
 
“Mr. Imus, do you think it’s funny to call people nappy-headed ho’s?”
 
Imus’ response?  “No, I don’t.”
 
A huge lie – as I noted earlier, he can clearly be heard laughing while making the remark – which Sharpton called him on.
 
“So you thought it was funny Wednesday morning?”
 
And, much like Michael Richards, Imus responded by rambling and stumbling over his words.  He sounded more and more guilty the more he spoke.  His chronic incoherency and deceitful manner makes one wonder how he survived in the world of radio for many decades.  One also wonders why he thought appearing on this show was a good idea.
 
At one point, Sharpton took a phone call and Imus stupidly got into an argument with the caller.  He noted that he couldn’t win with “you people”, another comment that Sharpton called him on.  (Imus lamely said he was referring to the caller and Sharpton but come on, everybody knows he meant black people in general.)
 
It was a public relations disaster.  That same day, Imus was softly suspended for two weeks.  Big whoop, said many.
 
As the chorus of critics grew stronger every day, Imus’ advertisers started bailing.  As a result, MSNBC cancelled the TV simulcast on April 11th and CBS Radio cancelled the show outright the following day.
 
It was long overdue.
 
The irony of all of this is is the fact that Imus made far worse comments over his entire career both on and off the air.  Howard Stern and Robin Quivers have long condemned him for incidents that happened two decades ago behind the scenes at WNBC in New York.  On two different occasions he called two different black women “niggers”.  (Quivers was one of them.)  Management were informed of what was going on.  Their indifference to the matter and the lack of disciplinary action spoke volumes.  (Check out some of Stern’s choice barbs about Imus as selected by Radar.)
 
But what was worse were all the people who actually defended the guy.  People like Bill Maher, for instance, who called into a particular broadcast after the incident and said the following:
 
“I’m going to say what I feel and what I feel is you made a really bad, dumb joke. And it was insulting. No one would want to take credit for that joke. It was wrong.

But after you say you’re sorry a few times, I think then it’s on other people if they can’t accept an apology. I think there’s so much in this country about making people go away. It’s a mistake, you apologize, and you shouldn’t lose your livelihood.

It’s like nobody in this country can have one moment of discomfort. If you’re made to feel uncomfortable, the person who caused it has to go away. It’s ridiculous.

Yeah, it was a bad joke, it was really creepy. But after that, people should move on.

I talked to some of my black friends about this and, you know, they’re not tripping over this. It’s all this fake outrage in this country.”

 
What a blithering idiot.  Contrary to what Maher lamely offered on Imus In The Morning, this is not the first time Imus has gotten in trouble for saying something racist.  (Click here and here and here and here to see what I mean.)  Furthermore, the guy isn’t actually sorry.  Look how long it took him to “apologize” (2 days).  Also, on April 10th, while talking about his hopes for meeting with the Rutgers basketball team (he apologized to them in a meeting that reportedly lasted three hours and, remarkably, they accepted his apology), he noted, “…at some point, I stop playing.  So I don’t deserve to be fired. And I am not going to be fired without consequences. So, I should be punished and I’m being punished and not insignificantly, by the way. I’m not whining, because I don’t feel as bad as those kids feel, and I’ve said that several times. But, I’m not going to play forever.”
 
Does that sound like someone who is truly sorry about what he did or does it sound like a desperate broadcaster pleading for his job?  I’ll go with the latter.  Thankfully, his racist rhetoric finally caught up to him and he will no longer pollute the public airwaves with his tiresome bullshit.
 
Maher, normally a sensible and funny commentator, blew it big time with his remarks.  No wonder Howard Stern ripped him a new one on his Sirius Satellite broadcast.  (Maher used to be a frequent guest on Stern’s old terrestrial show, but then stopped showing up.  He also started badmouthing Stern, for some reason.  He did it again during his phone call to Imus.  Unlike Imus, Stern isn’t racist and frequently condemns those who are through serious comment and social satire.  Just ask Sal The Stockbroker who crosses the line time and time again.  Stern, to his eternal credit, never lets him off the hook, or anybody else, for that matter.)
 
But Maher isn’t the only one defending Imus.  Besides the remarkably dimwitted Rachel Marsden who actually lashes out at the Rutgers team, if you can believe it, there were numerous politicians and political pundits still willing to go on Imus’ show before it was actually taken off the airwaves.  (Radar has the list here.)  There were even those who were, get this, “undecided”.  How long has it been since they used their brains?  (Maureen Dowd, you should be ashamed for even going on that show in the first place.)
 
So, don’t cry a tear for the bigot Don Imus.  Yes, rappers use the word “ho” all the time.  Yes, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have spouted anti-Semitic remarks in the past.  Those aren’t good enough reasons to defend the guy.  In fact, as Media Matters For America has pointed out, Imus is far from the only offender in this regard.  You’ve got Bill O’Reilly who has referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks”, Ann Coulter who calls Muslims “towelheads”, Neal Boortz who called a controversial politician “a ghetto slut” because he didn’t like her haircut and on and on and on.
 
Imus is 67 years old.  He’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.  So are his angry white male conservative contemporaries, all of whom are over 40.
 
He won’t be missed.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, April 15, 2007
11:50 p.m.
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Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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