Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus in the Morning

The Don Imus controversy has taken off like wildfire over the past week. His comment referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's" has led to his program's removal from MSNBC, and his radio show may be cancelled very soon. We shall see.

As a political & media junkie, I am a frequent listener to Imus's show. His revolving list of guests -- Tim Russert, David Gregory, John McCain, Harold Ford, David Brooks, Andrea Mitchell, and on and on -- made the program very entertaining, despite the show's low-brow attempt at humor that crossed the line from time to time.

Imus's comment was awful and shameful, especially given the fact that the audience he directed it at is not a public figure. For that comment I think he should be punished. However, total removal of his show from MSNBC and potentially his entire radio show's removal is overkill in my opinion. The punishment does not fit the crime, especially given the fact that there are many worse examples of misogyny and racist comments that exist on the airwaves. Targeting Don Imus only was a very selective and narrow-focused act.

I listened to Imus's show all week, and his attitude and apologies were very genuine and sincere to me. For people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to call for Imus's firing is actually counterproductive for their cause. At the very least this controversy has put discussions about race relations back into the public discourse. You can't turn on the TV this week without a panel discussion on the subject or read a newspaper online without an op-ed about Imus. If Imus's show is completely removed, so goes the discussion. It is swept under the rug until the next celebrity utters a misguided comment.

The article below -- from a sports columnist's perspective no less - is one of the better takes I have come across in the past few days about the controversy.

So how is the Rutgers team better served? By demanding Imus be fired, or by converting him into an ally and employing his powerful voice and platform? By silencing his microphone, or by engaging him in sustained and badly needed conversation about race and gender? By refusing his contrition, or by suggesting that he come and watch, close-up and firsthand, and get to know them and the game they love? Preferably, wearing a scarlet sweat shirt.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Paraphrasing Ann Coulter here: It's great to see liberal get the "Bums Rush" for a change. LOL.