Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus in Trouble

It took me three days to find out what Imus actually said about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Apparently, when he was commenting on their victory he said something like “there are a lot of nappy headed ho’s out there.” Well, I guess that wasn’t a nice thing to say. This morning CBS and MSNBC decided to suspend him for two weeks. I agree it was a terrible mistake and he has apologized for the entire three program hours every day since he realized what a stupid ugly thing it was to say. (It's become overwhelmingly tedious and self serving). And while it was not the first time he has said something offensive, the times dictated that his sponsors do something about it.

What is remarkable is the racial divide this event has produced. And although it was not a murder like OJ Simpson, it is breathtaking how many blacks want him to go permanently and how many whites have stepped up to say, “he’s a good guy, who said something terrible and the suspension is enough. I think It’s all about the money and the media. Jesse Jackson has a new platform. And he loves being the "Black" voice of moral outrage. This time, however, his outrage is tempered only by his hypocracy. Have we forgotten when he was running for President and referred to New York as Hymie Town and then refused to admit it was a racist comment. He 'rhymed' about how he meant it in a loving geographic statement—or some such crap, we allowed him to get away with it because he was black. We do the same with Al Sharpton--another more acceptable hypocrite.

Imus is often a self serving sexist racist schmuck but he’s no different than so many radio talk show hosts-he just has more interesting guest, some of whom are good friends of ours, some of whom are idiots. You have permission to speculate about which are which. To tell you the truth (this is merely something I say when I want you to think my truth is your truth), I am more offended by the ongoing banter about the attractive women with big boobs who work for the station and by the two dworks who do imitations of notable people (like Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, A Beach Boy and the Pope) who are mostly white. I find it offensive that as supposed comedians, they are simply not funny. I find it offensive that his talent free wife and brother have so much air time. Imus was on his way out the door until he did the White House Correspondent’s Dinner a few years ago, and took off on President Bush1—who was in attendance and not happy. People loved that and became his friends and guests.

Percentage wise, there are very few women and fewer African Americans in leadership positions in the media.. And those who are in senior positions will never speak up about it. There are all kinds of Black and female organizations that supposedly advocate for their constituencies—it’s not enough and they are never considered when people get promoted. If you look at the Imus staff you will find he has one or two senior minorities or women as producers. I’m not sure how many of them make policy decisions because I suspect that happens among the people you see on the show. But it’s certainly not limited to the Imus show.

When I was at USA Networks the CEO was one of very very few women who founded and ran cable network or any media conglomerate—I guess Sherry Lancing was her counterpart in the movies. In fact, Kay was probably the only woman who was in that position in television. She had created a corporate campaign called “Erase the Hate.” Developing the campaign became a big part of my job. But you can’t just tell people not to respect individual differences, you have to each people the reasons for respect at a young age – before they are taught to hate. And the campaign shouldn’t be about money, which is hard to explain to people who’s job it is to make money. So we were the “Erase the Hate” network with the most racist sexist successful program –World Wrestling, It happens and you just do the best you can to make your points and try to make the world better. But the other thing is that you have to realize that, as “Ave Q” says, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” We just are, it’s impossible not to be because we tell truly funny jokes that attack all different kinds of people. Constant political correctness is boring and unrealistic. Being politically incorrect does not make you a racist, it makes you not smart enough to talk with people who may be as irreverent as yourself. Being a racist on TV or in the media is stupid. And beyond that, with an Imus, it means you feel entitled to blurt whatever comes into your limited mind on or I suspect off the air.

Imus is a boys show which some girls watch –mostly those interested in the political guests. Because it is the only morning show where the guests have more than 30 seconds to talk about major world issues—only Star Jones gets more than that on the network morning shows. I don’t want Imus to get fired. I love picking on the white male turkeys who host the show and I love screaming at Imus when he says or does something ridiculous or self serving. If they are going to rethink the show they should leave the ‘salon’ approach alone and find a way for Imus to stop acting like a sophomoric high school boy when he decides how and who he’s going to talk to. And really, he needs to have more honest conversation with Black and Female guests. We’re just sayin...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Imus should have the entire Rutgars Women's basketball team as his first guest, for the entire show, on his return from the two week suspension.

He should simply sit there and listen to what the team members have to say.

The women would have a a great forum, and Imus might actually learn something.

I'm just sayin'

I would have signed in by Google can't seem to get's act together this morning to let me.

Evorgleb said...

If anyone cares to read it, One of our writers on Highbrid Nation actually worked wit Imus over the last few years at WFAN and had some really interesting things to say about the whole situation with Imus and he also has some inside info that the media hasn't mentioned about the whole story.

Seth said...

Screw Imus! Go Red Sox!

Walter Briggs said...

For a while, I,too, was in radio..trust me..it's waaay too easy to screw up, and it is only YOU with the Arbitron numbers dropping and YOU dealing with the station ownners. But there's a HUGE difference between a slip, and outright slur..As an aside, congrats to David for the appointment to the Freestyle Board, and shocking all of us by being on the Spring 07 cover!!

Anonymous said...

Self absorbation as a comic art form! Of course there are going to be screw ups. Imus should leave real people alone and stick to throttling politicians.

m_harding said...

Seth, Im surprised at your lack of thought over this very very serious topic, I mean, everyone knows Yankees are going to win.

Walt said...

Go Nationals!

Google is letting me back in. Guess I was a bad boy.