Enough is enough. This is not the first time Don Imus has publicly insulted respectable women for no other reason than they are female and non-white. It’s time to show the network and advertisers that this is offensive and we do not want to hear or see this kind of behavior, ever. An apology is not sufficient.
Link: Fire Don Imus petition on MSNBC
WHY IS RACISM LESS ABHORRENT ON THE RADIO?
By Brad Kava
from: Mercury News
Article Launched: 04/09/2007 11:39:15 PM PDT
Like the cowboy he imagines himself to be, it’s time for Don Imus to pack up his hat and boots and stride off into the sunset, leaving behind his broadcast career on radio and TV.
Monday night, five days after he called the Rutgers University women’s basketball team that competed for the national championship “nappy-headed hos,” his MSNBC television show and CBS syndicated radio show were suspended for two weeks, after a firestorm of indignation from around the country.
“This comes after careful consideration in the days since his racist, abhorrent comments were made,” wrote MSNBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust.
CBS radio suspended him starting April 16, but is keeping him on for the rest of this week because of a charity telethon he was part of.
Which begs the question from any level-headed commentator: Why would these supposed bastions of public interest, using airwaves owned by the public, continue to pay someone who has voiced comments that are “racist and abhorrent?”
“Our statement speaks for itself,” said MSNBC’s Gollust, when asked in a phone interview. “That’s why we are taking the steps we are taking.”
San Jose State University Radio and Television professor Mike Adams spelled it out more cynically: “It’s all about making money. No one is going to get rid of someone who makes money.”
He’s right, and it may explain another troubling question: Why has television been so much stricter about policing racist and homophobic statements, than radio?
In 2003 radio host Michael Savage was canned from his MSNBC television show two days after making anti-gay comments, labeling a caller a “sodomite,” and saying he hoped he’d “get AIDS and die.”
Also, in 2003, ESPN accepted the resignation of radio talker Rush Limbaugh from his job as a football analyst three days after suggesting the media was overly supportive of football quarterback Donovan McNabb because he was African-American.
Both are still on radio, reaching millions of listeners, and still making comments similar to those that got them canned from TV.
Savage has said that women aren’t smart enough to vote; that Chinese are “little devils” who should be nuked; and that Marin County high school girls who were feeding the homeless were “sluts.”
Limbaugh’s March 19 song, “Barack the Magic Negro,” was a parody of a Los Angeles Times editorial, but done with the smirking glee of a fourth grader who gets away with using a racial epithet or swear word.
Both should have been fired, along with Imus.
Adams believes that both hosts had faces best kept on radio, and the fact that they weren’t succeeding on TV made it easier to fire them there.
That may be so, but should racism be any less abhorrent on radio?
“You can see it more easily on TV,” says Bob Agnew, radio program director of KNEW-AM (910) in San Francisco. “Is it that TV is more inflammatory? More exposed? The perception that it has more viewers? I don’t know.”
Agnew says that on TV or radio, he would have fired Imus for his statement.
“What came out of his mouth was completely wrong. If that was someone who worked for me, I’d immediately suspend him, subject to termination. Everyone is so litigious these days, you have to be careful.”
Imus’s show caters to the Washington, D.C., elite. His guests are elected officials, the only entertainment radio outlet to give them a place to be light and entertaining.
It’s something that up to now has been valuable for CBS, the network fined and battered by Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction,” a blink-of-an-eye flash that is remembered long after anyone can recall who played in the game.
There has been a lot less of an outcry over Imus’s lip slips than those of Howard Stern, who does far less to cater to political allies. Stern’s show was also on CBS radio before he left for Sirius Satellite radio.
Imus “got off easily,” says San Jose State’s Adams. “He must make lots of money and they are only doing a symbolic thing, not really punishing him.”
Until TV and radio executives abhor racism with the same vigilance they have for a slipped nipple, maybe they’re the ones who should be called “hos.”
AP New York
Imus critics say they’re tired of hearing hollow apologies
By JOCELYN NOVECK
AP National Writer
April 9, 2007, 8:21 PM EDT
NEW YORK — It’s a familiar dance that plays out ever more frequently in our popular culture. A public figure transgresses, and we wait to dissect the apology. Was it sincere enough? Contrite enough? Specific enough? Did he feel our pain?
Don Imus’ critics don’t really care. For them, it’s time to dispense with the ritual and move on to a world where actions have consequences.
And there were some consequences Monday, though not the firing of the radio host that some have called for in response to his “nappy-headed hos” comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Both CBS Radio and MSNBC, which airs simulcasts of Imus’ show, said they were suspending the program for two weeks.
Imus was working hard to save his job, especially in a testy appearance on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio program. But for some, the public apology _ used so often in the past year _ was seeming like a tired vehicle, even a “meaningless incantation,” in the words of ethics columnist Randy Cohen.
“I don’t care about an apology,” said Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief of Essence magazine. “You’re not a child on the playground. You’re an adult who needs to take responsibility for his actions. And there need to be consequences.”
The public apology has merely become a quick fix, Burt-Murray said, to get back to business as quickly as possible. “Michael Richards apologizes. We move on. Mel Gibson apologizes. We move on,” she said. “When does it stop? When do WE make it stop?”
For one of the nation’s top feminist activists as well, Imus’ efforts at public remorse are pointless.
“It’s completely hollow,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, who called his words “beyond racist and sexist.” Her organization launched a drive Sunday for members to contact Imus’ corporate bosses at CBS Corp. and NBC Universal to demand his firing _ and she says a few thousand have responded so far.
“This guy is just trying to get himself out of trouble,” said Gandy. “It’s hard to take him seriously when you look at his past. He’s not a first-time offender. The 47th time, I think it rings pretty false.”
Imus had made several attempts to apologize for his remarks _ his level of contrition apparently expanding with each new attempt. Last week, he said people should relax rather than be incensed over “some idiot comment meant to be amusing.” On Monday, he gave a 10-minute explanation on his own show, saying “you can’t make fun of everybody, because some people don’t deserve it,” and indicated the climate on his show would change. On Sharpton’s program, he acknowledged he’d gone “way too far.”
By the public-apology standards of the past year, he’s trying hard. And it’s been a busy time for apologies. Gibson went on national television with Diane Sawyer to say he wasn’t an anti-Semite. Richards, aka Kramer of “Seinfeld,” made a rambling apology on David Letterman’s show for his “n”-word tirade. Author James Frey faced the music with Oprah Winfrey. And Sen. John Kerry, after his gaffe about the military, went to explain himself at the microphones of … Don Imus.
This ever-rising chorus of mea culpas leaves Cohen, author of a syndicated ethics column, rather disgusted.
“What passes for a public apology is utterly pro forma,” he said. “It’s: `I apologize and I take full responsibility’ … after which the person goes right on and does the same thing as before.”
Cohen was careful to note that there ARE times when apologies are meaningful. When you’re in a fight, for example, and you say something hurtful at the height of passion, your apology means something.
Or when your apology has real meaning, such as recent official apologies for slavery by the Virginia Legislature and the North Carolina Senate.
Or when the person apologizing shows real, undeniable remorse and a clear intention never to repeat a similar offense again. Few people believe that about Imus, Cohen says.
The “nappy-headed ho” comments were “only a slightly exaggerated form of what Imus does every day,” Cohen says. “I’d fire the guy.”
Link:Fire Don Imus petition on MSNBC