Monday, April 16, 2007

Don Imus Mistreated...

I won’t rehash the entire Don Imus vs Al Sharpton drama from last week. I think most of it was a lot of up roar over almost nothing. I stopped listening to Don Imus many years ago mainly because he hasn’t been funny in a really long time. However, any listener of the Imus show knows that he insults everyone. I honestly don’t believe what he said was that bad. It isn’t as bad as some of the things liberals have called the President, and it isn’t as bad as some of the things Republicans have called Mrs. Clinton. Anyone who thinks “nappy headed ho’s” is bad should read some of the lyrics from a few prominent rappers.

However, let’s say for the sake of argument that what Don Imus said was truly tasteless, despicable, and deplorable in every way those words can be used. I still think the way CBS handled the situation was wrong. This conversation comes up anytime someone says something on the radio that hurts the feelings of someone else with thinner skin. Don Imus is free to say whatever he wants. If you don’t like what he says, don’t listen to his show. I believe the market place will correct this problem. If enough people decide they don’t like what he says, no one will listen to his show, and then he will be unemployed. As it is, CBS was intimidated by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They bowed to pressure from these two self appointed leaders of the black community and fired Don Imus. Imus will probably now follow in the footsteps of Howard Stern and appear on satellite radio.

Emboldened by their success, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson now are turning their sites on other airwaves. These two would like to look at standards for industries like music or talk radio. Anytime someone like Sharpton or Jackson talk about standards, they mean legislation. I don’t think there should be legislation regarding what can or can’t be said on the radio or television. There is Freedom of Speech. If something is bad enough, people will stop listening, and Capitalism will work its magic.


Brandon said...


Don Imus didn't get fired for calling the Rutger's women basketball team "nappy headed hos," he got fired because many of his major sponsors for his show pulled their funding. If CBS was looking for an opportunity to fire Imus for something that he said on-air, they would've had no problems finding instances where he crossed the line in years past. The only difference between this controversy and the others is that this controversy took off in the media and his sponsors decided that they wouldn't risk losing business as a result of their sponsorship.

familyman said...

The Market Place DID correct this problem. Don Imus wasn't fired because CBS was bowing to pressure from Sharpton and Jackson. He was fired because his advertisers started pulling out.

So it worked just like it should.

Yes, Imus has the right to say whatever he wants. But, if advertisers are becoming more sensitive to what kind of programming they are hitching their name to, then they have just as much right to pull their support of that programming.

Andy D said...

I would hope you are both right. However, that is not what the text of the message from CBS sounds like. It sounds more like CBS fired Imus due to pressure from, “…our meetings with concerned groups…”. Do you see something in the message that leads you to believe I am misreading this?

familyman said...

There was a lot of outrage expressed about Imus' comments from all over the country. Not just from Sharpton and Jackson. And I think you are making quite a leap in interpreting "concerned groups" as just meaning those 2 guys. "concerned groups" could just as easily refer to advertisers.

Just like any other corporation, CBS probably isn't persuaded to take an action like removing Imus unless there are money factors in the equation.

And, on another note, just because worse things have been said, doesn't mean Imus' comments should go unchecked. As white adult males, you and I don't have the perspective required to really understand the effect his comments may have had on the girls at Rutgers.

Andy D said...

I believe concerned groups probably included a wide variety of people, not just Sharpton or Jackson. And I think Imus’ comments should be checked by the market. If CBS wants to put a suspension in place, I think that would be entirely appropriate.

I disagree with your statement that you or I can’t understand the effects these comments may or may not have had on the girls at Rutgers. We both understand what it is like for someone to insult us over our appearance or any factor that has nothing to do with who we are.

Our society has started down a dangerous path when only those from the identical background can criticize an individual. I think it makes no sense to say only a black woman can comment on this. It would be the same as saying only a white man could know what Imus truly meant when he made the comments in the first place.

familyman said...

What I mean, is that what might not seem so bad to you might be extremely hurtful to someone else by virtue of different cultural backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

So if somebody disrepects or says mean things about my home town i have the right to demand there firing? yeah the comments of on my home town might not be mean to you but they are mean to me because i come from a different geographical background. and before you tell me this is different, how do you know? you did not grow up there!
mountains out of mole hills is all this is. where is the good rev and big al when something good happens for the black man?

Andy D said...

I can understand that to some degree Familyman. My biggest complaint is that we have become such a politically correct society that the smallest thing seems to warrant a protest or an op-ed piece in the New York Times. We as a society need to grow thicker skin. There are some problems and issues that require non politically correct language in order to discuss them.

Anonymous, I am not sure I follow your point, but I will say this: People understand that comments can hurt without having the same background as each other. I understand completely that Imus’ comments can be offensive. I don’t dispute that. However, Imus shouldn’t be fired (nor should Rush, or Ann Coulter, or Bill Maher, or Rosie O’Donnell) simply because he (or she, or it) hurt some feelings. If sponsors are offended enough, or even the management team where Imus works, then that is one thing. But to fire a radio or TV personality simply because they made some controversial remarks seems a little overboard to me.

However, Anonymous does bring out another point…..where is Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton when things are going good?

Andy D said...


I am in the process of rethinking my position on this issue. According to a link at the Drudge Report,it turns out John Kerry aggress with me, so I am now very, very worried.

Epiphany11 said...

I completely agree with your point about freedom of speech, Andy. Although I - personally - would never support what Don Imus actually said, I am very protective of that amendment in particular. I'm afraid we as a nation are heading toward constantly having to walk on eggshells with whatever comes out of our mouths. Actually, I think we're well on our way to that place...

familyman said...

No body is stopping Don Imus from saying anything.

It's not like the government has stepped in and sensored him.

He can go say anything he wants.

But his employer has just as much right to decide they don't want those kinds of things said on their radio station. Freedom of speech doesn't oblige his employer to just let him say whatever he wants.

If there is truly a market out there of people who want to hear what Don Imus has to say, he'll end up with a show somewhere.

Freedom of speech works both ways. The general public and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have just as much right to complain about what Don Imus said as Don Imus had to say it.

Andy D said...

I, too, am afraid we now walk on too many eggshells. More people should say what they are thinking and not censor themselves simply for fear of some sort of PC label.

Familyman, you are right. Managers and Owners of different channels and radio stations have the right to air whatever they wish (within reason). I simply wished CBS had handled this differently. They were afraid of the damage that Imus did with his comments, while NBC seems not to care about the damage showing footage from the shooter on Monday may cause.

Both have the freedom to air what they wish.