Thursday, April 12, 2007

Knock me over with a feather: Don Imus gets the boot

By Diane Silver

I have to admit it: I never expected a rich, straight, white guy like Don Imus who makes millions for his employers to even get a slap on the wrist for trash talking the Rutgers women's basketball team. Imagine my surprise when Imus got booted off both TV and radio.

Seldom do folks who trash women, blacks, gays, Jews, or a any other variety of the other not-in-power folk ever have suffer consequences for their nastiness. It's nice to see when it finally happens.

My award for the classiest performances in this whole mess (and do I really need to explain it?) go to Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer and her amazing team of young women. They set the standard this week in their news conference.

I suspect that it was, in fact, that event that finally knocked Imus off his untouchable perch. It is hard to ignore a bunch of fresh-faced innocents standing up to a bully and telling the truth about how much being called a whore, and a nappy-headed one at that, hurt.

Of course, cartoons like this one from The Wichita Eagle's Richard Crowson probably didn't help, either.

Although I haven't commented before, I have been watching the debate over Imus with interest. Here is a collection of my favorite articles and commentary on the topic.

PBS' Gwen Ifill talks about being smeared by Imus' racism.

The LA Times reports on how Imus had plenty of support from the mainstream for his nastiness.

The NY Times editorializes on the classiness of the Rutgers women.

Lynne Duke writes about whether or not one really can be a good person, while being so mean in public.


KSDP Focus said...

What I find depressing about all this is that he wasn't fired right away. He was given a 2 week suspension - to start next week. He was not fired until NBC and CBS say their wallets taking a hit with advertisers pulling out.

He was not fired for his racist comments. He was fired because he hurt the bottom line.

Don't get me wrong, I think given his history firing him was appropriate. But I wish it was really for what he did and not for what he was going to cost.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

But the good news is that the money people have figured out that they don't want to be associated with such nasty racist and sexist commentary. They've figured out that it might cost them business. And the fact that it would hurt their bottom line to be associated with Imus is a way of recognizing that people do reject his nasty so-called humor.
If you start firing people for what they say, you get on a slippery slope with the First Amendment. Much as I hate the shock jocks, I'd rather put up with them than run the risk that what I want to say might be prohibited. Though it is ironic that Imus could say something so ugly without getting hit with a fine from the FCC as long as he didn't use one of the deadly words.

Diane Silver said...

I agree with both kdsdp and Nancy. What I find depressing is that folks like Imus and Howard Stern even have an audience or ever had one, and Imus would still have one if his advertisers hadn't started pulling out. The issue for me also isn't just what he said about the Rutgers women this time, but what he has said for decades about gays, women, jews, blacks, etc.

Joe said...

When will we get some commentary on the Duke lacrosse case?

Certainly, this is an example of rights being trampled.

Diane Silver said...

hi Joe.

First, I wish I and my fellow bloggers had time to comment on every event that is worthy of it, but we don't. Unfortunately, none of us is getting paid to blog, so blogging always has to come second to our other activities that actually keep us in food and housing.

Second, what does not commenting on the Duke case have to do with Imus? If the prosecutor in the Duke case was wrong does that mean Imus is right?

Third, my very first thoughts on the Duke case are that:

(a) They should throw the book at the prosecutor who first brought the case and trampled on the rights of the accused. Note: That's why I'm a huge supporter of the rights of the accused> Any of us could be unfairly accused of a crime, which is why the Bill of Rights is so important.

(b) This kind of case only makes it harder for women who have been raped to be heard.

(c)I would still like to know what really happened and why the AG says the woman believes her stories, even when the stories contradict each other. What exactly DID happen? Is this a case of mental illness in the case of the accuser? Differing interpretations of "rape?" How would I have felt if what happened to that woman happened to me?

(d) These guys should never have been railroaded on rape and kidnapping charges. No one should be railroaded on any charge, no matter their race nor class. At the time of their party, though, these fellows sure seemed like folks I wouldn't want living on my block. What happened to those fellows is a tragedy. Unfortunately, what happens to young women at parties like the one they threw is also a tragedy, and that's a tragedy that folks often want to ignore.

How's that for a handy dandy 10 second opinion?

Honestly, Joe, you wouldn't believe the long list of things I want to post about. Even working for myself doesn't give me unlimited time to blog. That drives me crazy!!!